"Retired" AiG board member Dr. Mark Jackson is still highly involved in world missions---which is also why he is so thrilled with his long-time friend Dr. David Crandall now setting up AiG Worldwide (Dr. Crandall is currently in Thailand---we'll get a report from him soon).
Dr. Jackson recently arrived back from a trip to India and Bangladesh. He sent me the report below and the attached photographs. I thought it would be good for you to learn about one of AiG's board members and share his burden and vision for missions.
Dr. Jackson's report is a bit longer than I usually include in a blog, but it is a real-life missionary adventure. I suggest you read it to your whole family and then pray for the people in India, and pray for the children Dr. Jackson's daughter Cheryl teaches (our family supports Cheryl as a missionary to Bangladesh). Praise the Lord AiG has board members like Dr. Jackson.
Dr. Jackson writes:
Three weeks in January, 2006, were mountaintop experiences in my life. Literally. Leaving Raleigh, North Carolina, the first week in January, I flew to Bangkok, New Delhi, Kolkata, Manipur, Assam and Chittagong, Bangladesh.
For many years it has been my joy to have been the one drawing together the fruit of 75 years of missionary endeavors throughout the world into an organized Partnership of Fundamental Baptist Ministries. It now numbers over 8,000 churches in countries all over the world. Now retired, I am still accorded the opportunity to visit in these places and encourage the brethren, visit newly interested groups who wish to join hands with us, and to sense the fantastic joy of seeing what God is doing in places---other than America---and where churches are multiplying dramatically. I saw miracles of God's grace newly minted on the smiling faces of those who until recently had been worshipping sticks and stones.
In one small section of India, I drove hundreds of kilometers through terrible bush roads; preached in the churches, addressed the faculty, administration and students of a theological college of India; visited some new churches that have sprung up after the tsunami wiped out a large part of that corner of the country. The generous donations of many Christians and churches went into the hands of these men and they bought 12 parcels of land on which they are building new churches. One of them is a nice cement building but it only holds 125 sitting on the floor. They already have 400 new converts as members. When I first visited this group in 1999, they had a large Association of Churches numbering 1500 churches. When I was there again this time for a 4th visit, they now have over 3000! And they don't count them as churches until they have 12 baptized families. Until then they are called prayer groups, and they have hundreds of those! And people wonder why I like to keep going to these God-blessed corners of the world.
After many days in India I flew to Bangladesh. As you know, the country is largely Muslim, with about 10 percent that are mixed between Hindus and Buddhists. But there is another uncounted number of people who are neither. They are simply called Tribals. Most of them are animists, worshipping rocks, trees and so forth. They are in an unreached part of the country, quite far removed from societal integration, living in the far high country called the Hill Tracts. Through an intriguing story and a painful miracle of grace, God opened the door for the gospel to penetrate the Tracts. It was not too long until a sweeping revival began to happen and thousands were saved and whole villages came to Christ. One has to have special police permission to enter the Hill Tracts and sometimes it is just "forbidden" for no apparent reason. The last time I was there we were granted permission but were accompanied with armed soldiers every step of the way! Local friends worked on my behalf this time and permission was granted. Five of us made up a party and entered to visit with some of the villages and churches there.
The joy and anticipation of this visit to the Hill Tracts was that of which I spoke at the outset of this little report: a MOUNTAINTOP EXPERIENCE. We drove for miles, then took a 4-wheel-drive vehicle and went as far as that could go and then it was "shanks mare" from then on in. By "in" I mean UP and DOWN! We climbed nearly vertical mountains and slid down the other side. This old man kept thinking, "I have to go out the same way I came in!" But the climbs were worth every bit of the effort. We were welcomed in a Tipperah village that was Christian. They took us to their church, sliding down the side of a 100-yard hill. They sang for us; we preached to them. They enjoyed the medical ministrations of a doctor and two nurses that were with us; and they invited us to their homes for dinner. Seated on the floor, eating with your fingers, slurping the most delicious papaya I have ever eaten, enjoying rice and curry and chicken and goat.
Praying together we left to return to the city far away in more ways than one. A few hours visit to the William Carey Academy in Chittagong where my daughter serves as administrator for the grade school where the Bible is the textbook and joyous songs about the Savior are boisterously sung by 400 happy, jubilant children. Then home! Where churches are beautiful, the songs are perfect, the choir polished, the pews soft and everything is JUST SO! But where the passion for Christ is ho-hummy, and missions is something someone else does and sacrifice is not in our vocabulary.
It was thrilling this morning to walk around the Creation Museum and see the new floor in the bookstore---and other changes! Lots still to be done, but it is slowly coming together.
Thanks for stopping by,