The following is a written interview I conducted with Paul Hattaway—author of several books including one of my favorites: The Heavenly Man: The Remarkable True Story of Chinese Christian Brother Yun. Paul is the founder and director of Asia Harvest and a prolific researcher and author.
This is the final portion of our four-part interview:
Reaching the 10-40 Window with Paul Hattaway
(Art) Tell us about the “Back to Jerusalem” movement.
(Paul) Back to Jerusalem is the name given by the Chinese Church in the 1930s and ’40s to describe their missionary vision. It does NOT mean the Chinese plan to rush to Jerusalem and evangelize it. Rather, it means their vision is to carry the Gospel back to where it began, in Jerusalem. They want to establish the kingdom of God in all the countries and among all the unreached ethnic groups BETWEEN China and Jerusalem. It so happens that over two billion of the most unevangelized people in the world inhabit more than 50 countries in that stretch of land. The strongholds of Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism all have multitudes of adherents there. While they realize the Great Commission is for all believers, the Chinese Christians believe God has called them to specifically target those areas that people consider the most difficult in the world. This vision was born decades ago, but went into hibernation for a long time before it resurfaced in the early 1990s. There are many thousands of Chinese willing to go and do whatever it takes to see these people hear about Jesus Christ for the first time. There are also many hurdles they need to overcome for this to be a reality, and solid training courses are being conducted in China to equip them to be effective ambassadors for Christ among these diverse cultures. At the moment the number of workers leaving China is just a trickle, but the hope is that it will rise to a steady flow and then a mighty torrent.
(Art) The Muslim population in America is growing rapidly. What should Christians know about sharing the Gospel with Muslims?
(Paul) We all know that it’s not easy sharing the Gospel with Muslims. If someone is planning to do so, I would first encourage them to read all they can about Islam. There are several excellent books available, some written by ex-Muslims, explaining the way Muslims think, the objections and prejudices they have towards Christianity, and ways Christians can approach them in an effective manner. Secondly, I would find some other believers with a burden to reach Muslims, and set up a prayer group, as without effective intercessory prayer it is impossible to break through the spiritual blindness of any person, but especially a Muslim. Thirdly, relationships need to be built, and the quality of your life needs to be consistent with the message you share. Muslims are fully aware that they and their friends are not able to live up to the ideals set forth in the Islamic faith, and they struggle with many temptations. If they can see a life that is truly free and full of grace and love, the Gospel becomes a reality to them. As a side-note, it may surprise you to know that most evangelists in China I have met consider it even more difficult to reach Buddhists than Muslims. The hundreds of millions of Buddhists seem to have been completely forgotten by many sections of the Body of Christ, because they are generally viewed as non-threatening, peaceable people. The reality is they are just as lost as Muslims and are also growing rapidly in the Western world.
(Art) How can people donate to any of the several causes affiliated with your ministry?
(Paul) It is important to understand that Asia Harvest is not a “traditional” type of mission organization that mobilizes and facilitates missionaries. Instead, for more than 20 years we have developed relationships with church leaders across Asia, and we help them be more effective in their ministries to the unreached. Our main focus is the most remote unreached people groups in the Himalayan region, Southeast Asia, Central Asia, and China. The projects and initiatives we conduct include Bible printing in more than 30 different languages, the main one being providing Chinese Bibles for the house church believers in China (we are nearing 3 million Bibles distributed, by the grace of God). We also support hundreds of Asian evangelists, Chinese pastors who have been injured or are suffering long-term illness as a result of persecution or imprisonment for the Gospel (we call this project the “Living Martyrs fund.” We also provide free surgeries to children in Vietnam who are disabled, and several other projects. We have a free newsletter that we are happy to send to any Christian who asks us. They can either email us at email@example.com or visit our website: www.AsiaHarvest.org, where there are many resources, encouraging testimonies, and other information about what God is doing throughout China and the rest of Asia. God bless you!
I can’t thank Brother Hattaway enough for his participation in our interview! In case you missed the first three segments, check out:
God bless, –Art