Of Need. [The 10/40 Window.]

Miriam and I at my "Bon Voyage" party today.

I want to ask you for a moment, to step into a world that is entirely unlike the one you presently belong to. A world where the air is heavy with the scent of unfamiliar spices and vibrant colors vie for your attention. The hopeless sound of a nearby mosque drones in the distance, as cries of “Allah Akbar” resonate from every dark, hidden corner. You are in a place where the liberties that you casually enjoy and the religious freedoms that you take for granted are merely a distant, foreign dream. Here, you run the risk of being burned alive for going against the religious grain of your family and culture-this is a world where right now, Fatima and Muhammad have their noses carefully pressed into their prayer rugs and are frantically reciting Arabic prayers that they do not understand in a panicked attempt to earn Allah’s pardon for their sins. They, like 1.6 billion others, pray to a god that cannot hear and cannot save.

Missiologists estimate that there are at least 1.6 billion unreached people [people with no access to the gospel] in the world today.

Of those 1.6 billion, something like 88% live in or around what is referred to as the 10/40 window. If you’re unfamiliar with the 10/40 window, it’s a term used to describe the region of the world within 10 degrees longitude and 40

Aida and I-she was one of the first girls that I met in Senegal!

degrees latitude from Western Africa to Eastern Asia. So, if you were to draw it on a map, the top would stretch from Portugal all the way through Japan, and the bottom would go from Guinea, through the lowest tip of India, and on to the Philippines.

If you walk with Jesus, this is an incredibly critical area of the world for you to be aware of-because most of the people in the 10/40 window do not have access to the gospel. The 10/40 window is home to the 31 least reached countries on the planet.  We’re talking about places where it would be all but impossible for someone to learn about Jesus even if they wanted to. That kind of acute isolation and oppression is difficult for most of us to even imagine. This is a startlingly different kind of need than we see in North and South America, where people that do not yet know or understand the gospel have easy access to it should they seek it out. Astonishingly, only 2.17% of unreached people live in North and South America combined!

Teaching some of the girls how to make crepes this afternoon.

 The 10/40 window is home to approximately 724 million Muslims, 787 million Hindus, and 240 million Buddhists. Many of these people live in countries that are closed to the gospel [read: Christians are unceremoniously thrown in jail or murdered]. These are some of the most painful, difficult places to live-in many of them, intense poverty is rampant, and political systems are unspeakably corrupt. In spite of that, Jesus has promised us that we’ll see people from “every tribe, tongue and nation” in heaven…so why the present disparity?

Romans 10:14-15 “How then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?

The problem is simple: they have not heard. Of all foreign missionaries working across the globe, a mere 4% are working to reach unreached people. Statistically, of all of the money poured into “missions” in the US, only 5.4% ever leaves America. Of

We decided to attempt a jumping picture-...it was a hysterical disaster!

that 5.4%, only .37% is used to take the gospel to unreached people. That means that of every 100 dollars given to “missions”, we’re sending about 2 cents to the area of the globe where it is most acutely needed!

That simply doesn’t make sense. Paul David Tripp once said, “We are called to put flesh and blood on who Christ is and what he came to do.” We have yet to do this for at least 1.6 billion dying people that are in desperate need of a Savior. We are effectively committing spiritual genocide.

The statistics that you just read aren’t simply statistics to me. They are names and faces of Senegalese women that I dearly love. Women that I said goodbye to a couple of hours ago-that probably will not hear the gospel or talk about Jesus again until I return in October. As excited as I am to hop on a plane in seventeen days, the idea of leaving my hopeless girls with no one to speak truth to them is difficult to grapple with.

If you walk with Jesus, would you consider asking Him how He would have you be involved in taking the life-saving message of the gospel to people that don’t have a way of hearing it right now? It’s only good news if it gets there in time.

“Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?’ And I said, ‘Here am I. Send me!’ Isaiah 6:8

Some of the sweet girls I've gotten to share the gospel with this year in Senegal.

[All statistics taken from the Joshua project and the Traveling Team.]

Trackbacks

  1. […] from becoming shark bait, I wouldn’t have met Miriam. Or Bineta. Or Aya. Or Fatou Ba. Or 1,000 other girls that have names and faces and stories […]

  2. […] I remember a long, sun-soaked afternoon about a year ago spent sitting at my kitchen table with Miriam [whom you’ve met before] and Fatou. Miriam is a devout Muslim, and is always covered from the top […]

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