For many years I labored with radical passion and dedication to “reach” and disciple panta ta ethne (a phrase that comes directly out of the Biblical Greek which means all nations. This word is usually translated gentiles or nations in English). I learned to love this phrase and we little by little used it so much that it became like Spanish or English for our disciples and workers and missionaries. My fiery passion in the Spirit was so great that I earned the nickname among my Latino friends and pastors in different countries of the “Viking of Missions.” It was not meant to be a compliment by a Bolivian friend who started the whole thing. I was meant to be a criticism but we all began joke about it and to take it as a sort of positive thing.
But God was merciful and by His providence began to lovingly show me my error. I met a very very special servant of the Lord from New Zealand by the name of Viv Grigg (see a video on the “Poor Wise Man“. I love this precious brother!) who one fine and memorable morning made me rethink my fiery passion to reach unreached people groups and my missiology. I began to understand that I was missing an important element, no, I was missing the most important essential element necessary for the true success of God´s servant among the nations. That morning in 1987 he took me to the airport in LA, California, USA. I had been in LA receiving a training with Viv and some other missionaries on how to reach the world´s urban poor. As we sipped a delicious cup of Starbuck´s coffee he looked me square in the face and said: “Randy I have got to go back to Calcutta“. Calcutta is the famous city in India where Mother Teresa worked so many years among India´s poor. I replied asking: “Why, Viv? His answer was like a hot coal taken directly off of God´s altar and applied no so much to my lips but to my heart. It entered my heart and began from that moment to reorder my passion for God´s holy mission among the gentiles, it changed my priorities and the whole direction of my life and ministry. He simply said: “Because I want to know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;.” (He was of course just quoting Philippians 3:10) As I recall I said nothing. But I began to think he has changed the order and priority of things. He didn´t say, “Because Calcutta is a place governed by the goddess Kali.” He didn´t say: “Because the poverty is so great in Calcutta that each morning the carts carry off to throw in the garbage heap, hundreds or thousands that died on the streets during the night.” He didn´t say: “Because there are so many unreached peoples without a viable church planting and discipleship movement we just have to do something.” No, No No! He made no mention of none of those goal oriented and pragmatic reasons that most Evangelicals use in their approach to missions! It was the motivation of his mission to Calcutta that entered my heart like a thunderbolt!
There is more to come! We are translating it from our Spanish IFMB website.