Mohammed* lives in an Arabic speaking country where it is illegal to preach the gospel. In fact, Christians in his city are routinely interrogated and imprisoned by authorities, and beaten and persecuted by family members.
But Mohammed came to faith in Christ through the Arabic version of everystudent.com, an evangelistic website Cru developed several years ago. When his father found out Mohammed became a Christian, he began to beat him every night. Despite the oppression, Mohammed showed such respect to his father that his mother and brother also came to faith in Christ.
It’s a pretty common pattern among people in closed countries. Oppression of the gospel creates spiritual curiosity. These curious seekers go online for answers. They end up on everystudent.com and become Christians. And it’s happening on a massive scale.
In March nearly 1 million people visited everystudent.com – many from closed countries like Mohammed’s. Of those, over 13,434 said they became Christians after reading articles on the site. On the English site alone, nearly 3,000 visitors asked to receive on-going follow-up.
You’ll be surprised to hear what 3 countries were in the top ten of those who came to the English site:
Now get this – over half these visitors came to the site because of Google advertising. Believe it or not, for as little as 10 cents invested in Google ads, you can bring someone to the site. And for an average of $6.70, you can help a person become a Christian. Of course, this is just one way Cru reaches people in closed countries, but it’s an extremely affordable and effective strategy.
How many people would you like to reach this month?
* Name changed for security.
I can’t think of a more exciting place to invest than in the future leaders of the world. One of the most compelling aspects of student ministry is seeing who they become later in life. A friend of mine (Eric Fleshood), recently sent me this list of former Cru students who are major leaders in our nation. Who else do you know who should be added to this list?
Have you ever wondered exactly how wealthy you are compared to everyone else in the world? A friend recently showed me a website that will tell you just that. Simply type in your annual salary and it will calculate exactly where you rank in terms of global wealth.
I was shocked to discover just how rich I am compared to the rest of the world, even though I am “just a missionary” with Cru.
Seeing my ranking did a couple things:
1. It filled me with profound gratitude for all that God has given me. It’s easy to focus on all the things I would like to have and lose sight of all that God has already given me. The vast majority of the world would gladly swap my salary for theirs. I am most certainly among some of the wealthiest people who have ever lived.
2. It increased my vision for giving. What seems like a “small gift” to me is actually a large gift to most of the world. In their eyes, I am a “major donor.” I have the potential help thousands of people with their physical and spiritual needs.
The Apostle Paul once told his disciple Timothy to remind those who are rich in this world to be generous and willing to share (1 Tim 6:17-19). In the past, I thought that verse was written to “other people.” Now I realize it applies to me.
Guest Post by Eric Fleshood:
It’s been said that cash is king. That may be true in the commercial marketplace, but in the world of missionary support, the king can be overthrown. Here are six creative ways to support a missionary without writing a check:
- Give Collectables. Dolls, stamps, coins, guns, cars, furniture. Collections of various kinds may be given directly to a mission agency, depending on the gift acceptance policies of the receiving agency. How it works: Call The Great Commission Foundation (GCF) at 1-800-449-5454 to transfer ownership and arrange for the sale of the collection.
- Donate crops or livestock. Many farmers cannot deduct cash donations from their income taxes because they take the standard income tax deduction. But by donating grain, a farmer can reduce his income tax liability and still deduct the cost of growing that crop. This way he saves on federal and state income taxes, as well as self-employment taxes. How it works: Contact GCF to make arrangements for gifting the crop and to arrange proper payment from the grain or livestock market to your missionary.
- Give an obsolete life insurance policy. You get a tax deduction both for the policy’s fair market value and for the premiums paid after the policy is donated. You may also avoid estate taxes by reducing the size of your estate. How it works: Transfer ownership and beneficiary rights of the policy to GCF. You can have the foundation cash out the policy to help your missionary now or keep the policy in force so that your missionary receives a larger death benefit later.
- Donate a portion of appreciated property. You can redirect capital gain and income taxes away from Uncle Sam to your missionary. Stocks, bonds, mutual funds, business interests, and real estate are among the eligible assets. Often it is possible to give a fraction of the asset if you do not wish to give 100%. How it works: Contact GCF to transfer ownership. GCF receives a share of proceeds upon the sale of the asset and uses them to support your missionary.
- Donate your primary residence. But wait! Where do I live? Don’t worry. Through a life-estate agreement you maintain the right to live in the house for as long as you like—just as if you owned it. How it works: Make a life-estate agreement with GCF. You get an income tax deduction and continue to live in your home as if nothing has changed. After you and your spouse pass away, GCF sells the property for the benefit of your missionary.
- Make a bequest. Add simple language to your will to make sure your missionary will continue to be supported when you are no longer able to write the checks. How it works: Ask your attorney to contact GCF for the recommended wording. Once you pass away, your estate makes a gift in support of your missionary.
These simple ideas can help Christians be more effective in supporting those on the frontlines of ministry with their God-given wealth, 91% of which is locked up in non-cash assets. For more information about these and other ideas, contact The Great Commission Foundation.
Eric Fleshood has served as a supported staff member with Cru for 20 years and is an associate with The Great Commission Foundation.
Thanks to your generous support of Cru, thousands of young people all over the world are experiencing their first Christmas a believers. I thought you would be encouraged to hear just how different this Christmas will be for these students:
“Before I knew Christ I didn’t have hope other than in this life. But this Christmas I have hope.” – Trey
“This Christmas is very different for me now that I understand where JOY comes from and have finally grasped the reality of the Gospel. I am incredibly joyful and grateful this Christmas knowing that I have been graciously given the ultimate gift! This time of giving burdens my heart to share the Good News with others! Because I have been offered the gift of faith to grasp the truth of the Gospel, every day feel like Christmas to me.” – Grace
“This Christmas means much more to me. Actually knowing the purpose for it and being this much closer to God makes it so much more special.” – Jessica
“Looking toward Christmas this year I am a lot more content and aware of all the blessings God has given me.” – Sean
“The birth of Jesus is more significant to me now because I have a deeper appreciation for him and what he has done in my life.” – Annie
“He has given me hope in a hopeless world.” – Juan
“He has made my life so different. I can think and see clearly.” – Jacqueline
“I’m going to try to speak to my brother that doesn’t believe in any religion. I’m blessed and so thankful that Jesus was born and died for my sins.” – Elizabeth