At AFM, we like to think big and lay big plans. After all, the worldwide famine for the gospel is a massive ongoing calamity. 6,739 people groups totaling more than 3 billion people have no witness to the truth about salvation in Christ. More than 4,000 of those people groups don’t even have a Bible translation in their primary language! There is a massive Spirit-enabled work yet to undertake before we reach the second half of Matthew 24:14, “. . . and then the end will come.”
But considering the billions yet to be reached leads us to the paradox of witnessing: it happens one soul at a time. We see this reality in Christ’s parable of the lost sheep. If the shepherd was focused on numbers, would he have left the 99 sheep in the fold and set off into the darkness? No, he would have made a quick mental calculation and sadly written off the loss of the one. But Ellen White says in Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 187, “In the parable the shepherd goes out to search for one sheep—the very least that can be numbered. So if there had been but one lost soul, Christ would have died for that one.”
The Good Shepherd counts by ones, and so do AFM missionaries. Though we lay ambitious plans to reach entire people groups, our missionary rubber meets the road one neighbor, one friend, one patient, one student, one person at a time.
To celebrate this counting by ones, this month I asked our missionaries to write about individuals whose lives are changing as they encounter the Good Shepherd. I hope you enjoy their stories.