To The Ends of the Earth
In the last two weeks, 100 years of our churches' missionary arm, AMT [Australian Missionary Tidings] office and magazine 'Serving Together' was celebrated in Adelaide, Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne. Included in the celebration was the book launch 'To The Ends of the Earth' which gives cameos of 660+ people who have gone from our churches to serve God in cross-cultural mission. In 1893 the first missionaries sent/commended from their home assembly/church were Mr & Mrs Ebenezer McGavin. They served in India, Italy and Tunisia.
Serving "As you read, you will be struck repeatedly by the sacrifices made . . . [these] missionaries demonstrate in their ministry an astounding tenacity and audacity." Despite challenging geographical and physical circumstances in which many serve or have served, what comes through is that these men and women "saw their contribution, not as a work to be endured" but as an obedient response to the call of Jesus to take the gospel to the ends of the earth.
Together "Cross-cultural mission is part of the Christian Brethren DNA. It is one of key identifying features and uniting factors between somewhat independent churches worldwide known as Christian Brethren. Other uniting factors include a common Bibliology, Christology, Ecclesiology, Soteriology and until recently, methodologies. "The figures show that on average over the 100 years, approximately one percent of Australian adult members have served cross-culturally at some time." Local churches and their members strongly back those serving in mission "through interest, prayers, finance and general support. Mission has not been the preserve of special interest groups, but is taken as a charge [from Jesus] to us all:'" "go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them . . . teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you . . ." Matthew 28:19–20. [based on the foreword].
The 352 page book 'To The Ends of the Earth' has eight contributing authors. The section on Africa gives the stories of 114 people. Dr Keith Graham writes: "The story of Christian Brethren Missions [CMML] in Africa over the last one hundred years is the story of the Gospel radiating out in a hostile environment from missionaries, mission stations, reducing languages to writing, Bible translation, planting local churches, establishing Bible Schools/Colleges, building hospitals, opening schools.
"Christian Brethren missionaries were pioneers in spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ in central Africa. Many died as a result of infectious diseases. There was significant spiritual opposition. This work has resulted in communities being changed and over 3000-5000 local churches being established in central Africa" [p 129].
Dr Keith Graham
Copies of the book are available from: