"Lord, I'll give myself to speak for You." Young Yohannan had no idea what those words of surrender would mean for his life and for millions of others in his generation. Once an insecure 16-year-old, he became a missionary statesman who has impacted the world of missions and whose unbending message has touched hungry hearts on every continent.
He chose to take the road less traveled many years ago, and today GFA, the mission he founded, is one of the most respected organizations in our time with thousands of national workers bringing hope to the most needy in South Asia.
KP Yohannan shares his message across North America and around the world inviting Christians to live a life of absolute surrender and commitment to Christ and to be a part of God's plan to bring hope to those who have never heard the Good News.
In our busy lives, it is easy to be so preoccupied with our own dreams and pursuits that we lose our eternal perspective. Both the joys of heaven and the crying needs of those suffering without Christ can seem unreal and far away.
But the harsh reality is that nearly 2 billion people of our generation have still never heard the Good News. What answers are we prepared to give to the living God when He asks about the blood of these multitudes on our hands?
I remember one day, some years ago, I was standing at a busy street corner in Bombay waiting for the light to turn green. There were little children everywhere, a common sight on busy corners throughout Asia. Tourists are cautioned not to give them anything because once you do, the others will all mob you. While I was at this corner, feeling a bit annoyed by little hands grabbing at me, I heard from behind me the voice of a young girl.
"Sir, my father died. My mother is sick. She can't beg anymore. And I have a little brother, who is very hungry. Would you please give me a few pennies so I can buy some bread and take it to him?" The light turned green, and everybody hurried on. But I couldn’t move. What she said pierced my heart. I turned around and saw this young girl, not yet 10 years old. I will never forget her face—one of the most beautiful faces I have ever seen on a child. She had big brown eyes, thick black hair almost the length of her body, dirty fingernails, and dust mingled with sweat running down her face. She was barefoot and in rags. She just stood there with her hand extended.
I put my hands in my pocket and took out all the money I could find and gave it to her. Then I walked on.Like the disciples on the road to Emmaus, I felt like an unseen stranger had joined me on this emotional walk. The silent question He asked was deep and penetrating, "So what do you think about the little beggar girl you just met? Is her life as valuable and precious as . . ." and the face of another young girl appeared in my mind's eye. I didn’t know the name of the girl on the street, but I for certain knew the name of this new face; it was my own little daughter, Sarah.
The question just kind of hung in the air as I walked on. Being a minister and quite familiar with the Bible, I knew right away what my answer was supposed to be.
"Of course, Lord! I care about her. The value of this little beggar girl's life means as much as that of my own daughter's."
No more questions were asked. I was left to process my own thoughts. What followed was one of the most difficult walks of my life. It was the first time I realized the pain and passion our Lord carries in His heart for the forgotten children in poor and destitute villages and slums.
Are we willing to have our hearts break with His at such sights? Can we open our hearts to a child crying out for hope? To a leper disfigured and rejected by his family? To a widow cast out by the very children she gave her life to love and care for?
Today, we have the great privilege of helping the needy and suffering find hope in Jesus' name. If we will commit to live for what is eternal, this generation can be reached with the Good News.
But it will take each one of us laying down our lives to follow in the footsteps of Christ, seeing the little ways He calls us to live simply so that others might simply live.
God reveals to people all over the world about the small sacrifices they can make in His name. In one instance, there was a mother who used to spend $30 every month to buy a special makeup she loved. She knew in her heart that it was only a fleeting thing, and she wanted to invest in something with eternal value. The Lord had been telling her family to die to the cares of this world and to take up their cross and follow Him. So they did, and He led them to support a child through GFA's Child Sponsorship Program. Together with her two sons, ages 7 and 9, she picked out a child to sponsor and pray for. Her boys even gave $2, the only money they had.
I pray that GFA (SA) will become like a bridge, giving you the opportunity to walk away from your own preoccupations and see the perishing multitudes through the eyes of Jesus.
May you allow God to use your life to impact the lives of millions through your prayers and partnership with our national brothers and sisters. A hundred years from now, you will be glad you did!
You can read more from KP Yohannan on his official blog at kpyohannan.org
Discover more of his writings online here as well.
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