|A Global Mapping International Newsletter||Spring 1997|
Psychologists tell us that seeing is a learned skill.
You are familiar, perhaps, with the graphics or photographs that you cannot distinguish until you -- somehow -- learn how to see the real picture within them. Nowhere is this more true than in pursuing the mission of the church.
Just when the disciples thought they were seeing the situation clearly, Jesus rebuked them, "Open your eyes and look at the fields."
Fortunately, today, the church is learning to see anew.
The training program Perspectives on the World Christian Movement has been phenomenally successful in helping to open our eyes in the past decade. Probably no graphic has been more influential in evangelical missions in that period than the 10/40 Window, that area of Africa and Asia from 10 to 40 degrees north latitude. The 10/40 Window so poignantly rivets our attention on what, in many ways, is the most needy area of the world.
The recent groundswell of renewed interest in geography and maps reminds us that in a world rushing toward global digital community, location is becoming ever more important to us. Geographic education is rapidly expanding. Microsoft's new Encarta World Atlas CD-ROM has been wildly successful, predominantly outside the USA. And, increasingly,brilliant mapping is being done on the World Wide Web. Maps are hot!
This exploding new wealth of maps and mapping resources is helping the church to see where it is and where it needs to go. The work of God in the world today is being geographically displayed like never before.
Pastors are using color maps on overhead transparency to give their congregations a fresh view of the church and its mission.
Churches are learning about their neighborhoods by mapping local demographics.
Denominational leaders are using wall maps to understand their constituency.
Mission agency leaders are making strategic use of computerized "geographic information systems."
Seminary professors are teaching mission via assignments that have their students digging into atlases on CD-ROM.
Mission researchers and strategists are giving us new understanding through maps that show realities we can hardly believe. And by this summer we expect to unveil a new set of overhead transparencies which may open many eyes to "The Four Frontiers of Mission."
In the body of Christ, we need to hear one another with our different perspectives. We need to see what others see who stand elsewhere in God's world. We need to see what, indeed, God has already seen before us.
What you see depends on where you stand.
We look forward to the day when we can say, as the Apostle John did before us, ..."I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb." (Rev. 7:9).
A former Bible professor at Asbury Seminary used to tell his students, "Of a thousand people who can read, only one can see." Our mission at GMI is to raise that percentage.
For decades, evangelical mission leaders and strategists have rallied round the call for a "people group focus" for global evangelization. Seeing the evangelization of the peoples of the world via a map brought new reality to the strategy.
Maps, mapping and mapping resources. We do a lot of that around the offices of Global Mapping International.
We've created seven sets of color overhead transparency maps and this past year distributed over 5,000 copies to mission speakers, professors, pastors and teachers.
We produced the ground-breaking Status of Global Evangelization wall map, distributing over 60,000 copies. For the first time, mission leaders can see all the worlds' peoples in relation to the spread of the Gospel. (If you don't yet have one, call +1-800-866-3621 or +1-804-219-1000.)
We are always creating custom maps for churches, missionaries and writers, so they can help people see the world God has called them to serve.
We provide consulting to others who are producing maps for missions -- such as helping Bethany World Prayer Center develop maps for their invaluable collection of people profiles or AD2000 produce a map of least reached peoples for 20,000 delegates at the Urbana conference.
On the Research & Development side, we're in Phase II of the Language Mapping Project, completing the computer mapping of the locations of the languages groups of the world -- over 7000 languages!
This year we released an expanded version of the Global Ministry Mapping System CD-ROM, with newly-updated, detailed geo-political and peoples mapping of every country, along with powerful Windows software to enable users to create their own maps.
We have now distributed mapping software systems to over 400 Christian ministry organizations in 36 of the USA states and 52 other countries.
These end-users are backed up by expert technical support people here at GMI who answer their questions and point them to solutions.
Our Training Division trains ministry leaders in the use of mapping software both here at our offices and at workshops in various other places.
Our real joy is seeing the people we serve use GMI-provided resources to multiply the effectiveness of their own ministry to many other people.
GMI-supplied mapping software is being used today in 53 countries.
It's hard to believe GMI is a teenager already!
The ministry that began in 1983 as a "task force" -- we were incorporated as "Global Mapping Project" -- was planned to last only a couple of years.
We had some pretty aggressive plans back then. Within two years we hoped to have all the peoples of the world mapped out. We're just now reaching some of those original goals!
We are still about the business of seeking to ensure that "the right people have access to the right information in the right form."
I've just completed five years as president of GMI. And the recent board meeting gave me opportunity to reflect a bit.
What a privilege it is to serve our Lord, together with the excellent staff team at GMI and a complement of ministry partners around the world!
Today, we are stronger than ever. I believe we are, by God's grace, doing a better job of meeting more people's needs than ever before.
At GMI a variety of research & development, electronic publishing, and training & consulting ministries help give church and mission leaders around the world handles to make information work for them.
In 1997 we look forward to:
Laura has worked part-time at GMI for over a decade, squeezing us in between being Mom to four children and leading in the children's worship program at her church and a Moms-In-Touch prayer group.
Laura handles the financial side of GMI: the accounting, financial and government reporting, bookkeeping management, payroll, accounts payable, banking and insurances.
Laura and her husband Mike (GMI's CEO) and family attend Faith Evangelical Covenant Church in Colorado Springs.
Working from their home as volunteers, the father-son team of Bruce and Matt has created much of GMI's peoples mapping the past few years. They recently completed some 200 maps for Bethany World Prayer Center's Unreached People Profiles.
Bruce is a retired Air Force officer and medically retired from Lockheed. Matt is on the Lewis-Palmer High School freshman baseball team and an avid astronomer with his own observatory.
Their family of five lives in Black Forest, Colorado, where they attend the First Baptist Church.
Paul Hattaway, Director of Asian Minorities Outreach, recently invested a week here under our Visiting Trainee Program. The GMI Training Division was able to help him take the next step to clearly identify and map unreached peoples in Southeast Asia. He is preparing a new book on these peoples and wants to include 300+ maps.
After the training Paul said, "I am grateful for the invaluable experience I gained during my time...and know the new knowledge I gained will be extremely helpful to our ministry."
If a week or two as a Visiting Trainee at GMI might be helpful to you, too, write to Dr. Stan Nussbaum, Director of Training or visit the training section of our Web site for more information: http://www.gmi.org/training/visiting.htm
Don't forget ICCM '97 The International Conference on Computing and Missions, June 6-10 at Abilene Christian University. For more information: Tel: 915-674-3706 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: http://www.iccm.org
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