Dr. Leroy Pennell recently celebrated 40 years of pastoring Heritage Baptist Church in Barrie, Ontario, Canada. Someone asked him, “How can a man pastor the same church for 40 years?”
He replied with only three words: “Never, never quit.”
As Gospel for Asia (GFA) looks back on 40 years of ministry, Dr. K.P. and Gisela Yohannan could respond in much the same way…
What did it take to get started? A calling and vision from the Lord to share the love of Jesus with millions of people halfway around the globe with.
What did it take for GFA to arrive at its 40th anniversary? It took 14,600 days of commitment to the call, 14,600 days of never quitting—all through the grace of God.
In 1952, John W. Peterson, the most prolific composer of Christian music at the time, wrote “It’s Not an Easy Road,” a song that describes 40 years of ministry.”
It’s not an easy road we are traveling to heaven,
For many are the thorns on the way.
It’s not an easy road, but the Savior is with us,
His presence gives us joy every day.
It’s not an easy road; there are trials and troubles,
And many are the dangers we meet.
But Jesus guards and keeps so that nothing can harm us.
And smooths the rugged path for our feet.
No, no, it’s not an easy road.
But Jesus walks beside me and brightens the journey,
And lightens every heavy load.
Dr. Yohannan was attempting to fulfill the Lord’s expectations when he and fellow believers mobilized GFA on July 3, 1979. Jesus was quite clear when He told potential disciples that “No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.”
Gospel for Asia-supported missionaries have served the Lord in places where no one had ever heard of Jesus, often because there was no one willing to go to the misery of the slums or leprosy colonies or the widows’ islands. No one was willing to trek to remote tribal villages where people lived, often in unreachable locations and in extreme poverty.
As GFA staff and the GFA-supported workers in Asia have refused to quit, tens of thousands have come to faith in Jesus Christ through national missionaries and pastors, compassion services, Bridge of Hope centers for school-age children, women’s ministries, Jesus Wells, and literacy classes, which transforms villages, and empowers men, women, and children to lead productive lives.
We look back only for a moment, out of thanksgiving for all the Lord has done. We commit to keeping our hand on the plow. We cannot begin to imagine what the Lord has planned for the next 40 years as we continue to share the love of Christ in word and deed with people in Asia.
To God be the glory; great things He has done! We look forward to the road ahead.
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