Stories of Impact
From Impossible Places
I just finished the busiest travel season of my 25 year tenure at Unknown Nations. It consisted of three separate trips to Asia within a seven week window … whew! The experiences of visiting refugee camps, seeing the impact of the Treasure, and dedicating water projects … Incredible!
I also want to share with you the honor of being asked to speak at an International missions conference in Indonesia. This platform gave Unknown Nations the opportunity to speak from our experience on the topic of reaching oral learners in the 10/40 window. It was exciting to share the vision that you have all been supporting with missions leaders from around the world. This amazing opportunity came as a result of a relationship with one of our world changing indigenous leaders.
In fact, as I reflect on this season of travel, my biggest takeaway was the same thing that I’ve always considered our greatest asset at Unknown Nations … our indigenous leaders! Over the years, the most common question I get asked is, “How do you meet these incredible people?” My answer has consistently been the same. “Are you familiar with the story of Philip and the Ethiopian eunuch?” While this is not the answer they were looking for, it paints a picture of how the Lord connects us and creates these kingdom relationships.
Let me tell you that story, so you can appreciate the backbone of Unknown Nations.
When a great persecution broke out in Jerusalem, the church was scattered. As the believers dispersed to Samaria, the waiter Philip was transformed into the heroic evangelist Philip. Suddenly he was casting out demons, proclaiming the Messiah, praying and seeing the paralyzed and lame healed! This is a full blown revival scene and Philip is the leader of the move of God.
At the peak of the revival, we encounter one of the more fascinating verses in the entire bible. We read in Acts 8:26 – “Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, ‘Go south to the road – the desert road- that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.’” What?!! I think this angel got his orders mixed up. I mean, that seems like an utter waste of resources. Why would anyone take the most influential person in a revival and send them to a place where there will be more goats than people!
As baffling as verse 26 is, verse 27 is even more remarkable. This verse demonstrates a tremendous level Christian maturity as Phillip heard the Lord’s voice and immediately obeyed. Acts 8:27 begins with, “So he started out…” There is no debate. There is no objection. And there is no reminder to the angel of how his role is irreplaceable. Just pure resolute and courageous obedience. Obedience that knew one assignment had ended and another was ready to begin. He simply knew his master's voice and trusted him enough to obey.
Philip would come to realize very quickly what his short term assignment would be, even though he never had the opportunity of seeing the long term impact. In a single moment, Philip’s life was intersected with an Ethiopian eunuch who was fumbling through a set of scrolls. He was a religious man without a relationship. The Spirit led Philip to explain to him the meaning of the words of Isaiah, describing the slaughter and humiliation Jesus would face in the absence of any justice.
It was in that moment Philip would realize the precision of the angel’s instruction. An intersection that changed a man and his country. Philip led the man to Christ and water baptized him so that he could pursue his own journey of obedience. Historians tell us that a revival, even greater than the one Philip led in Samaria, would break out in Ethiopia.
This encounter led to an historic revival. It involved the Holy Spirit, the Word of God and an evangelist. Is it possible that obediently carrying out Jesus' last four words could also follow this equation? At Unknown Nations, we know this to be true and we realize the importance of people like the eunuch … people like our world changing indigenous leaders.
Your support lets us share the Treasure of the Gospel one person at a time.