COOPERATIVE PROGRAM: Let me tell you about …

MARTINSVILLE, Ind. -- Let me tell you about a couple of guys I have met in the last few months.

There is David (name changed to protect identity), who serves in one of the world's most populated cities. He is a godly man, has a great family and a tremendous desire to reach the unreached with the Gospel.

He is rock solid doctrinally and is somewhat of a specialist, in that God has uniquely equipped him with knowledge and a passion to reach some of the hardest to reach. He serves on the African continent and has a call to reach Muslims. He engages them every week, and God has opened the hearts of many who have accepted Christ as their Savior.

And then there is Elesio, who serves in one of the world's most under-served areas. He too is a godly man, with a great family and a tremendous passion to share the Gospel.

Like David, he is theologically solid and God has uniquely equipped him with the knowledge and ability to reach some who also are among the world's lost masses. He serves on the Asian continent and is a gifted pastor/teacher reaching his people with the Gospel. He is doing a fantastic job raising up leaders and teaching them to share their faith. Through their work, many have come to faith and several congregations have been planted.

What is different between David and Elesio besides their nationality and where they serve?

They are both godly men doing a fantastic job reaching the unreached, but Elesio has to leave his mission field to raise the support his family needs. He has very few people supporting the work to which God has called him. He lives modestly but often needs the support of others to make ends meet.

David, on the other hand, is one of around 3,700 missionaries supported by Cooperative Program dollars.

He is supported by our mission sending board and is able to devote himself fulltime to reaching the people God has entrusted to him. He doesn't have to worry about the support his family needs because Southern Baptist churches are holding the ropes by their faithful giving though the Cooperative Program.

Whether in North America or to the nations, your Cooperative Program dollars go a long way in holding the ropes of those who preach the Good News.

Rick Hillard is director of missional coordination for the State Convention of Baptists in Indiana. This column first appeared in the Indiana Baptist Magazine.
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