The United States, Australia, France, and Italy. When you hear these words, your mind probably drifts to ancient ruins and beautiful cathedrals, fast food, the Eiffel tower and maybe kangaroos or the setting of Finding Nemo. What most of us don’t automatically think of, however, is that these countries are in desperate need of the gospel of Jesus Christ. These first world countries are not places that generally come to mind when we hear the word ‘missions’. The individuals that live in places like these have everything they could want. They’ve got money and status and everyone’s doing OK, right?
Well, let’s take another look. It’s true that Australia isn’t known for an AIDS epidemic and Italy isn’t famous for being poverty stricken, yet first world countries like these require just as much attention from the Church as the slums of India and Africa. Statistics show that 31% of France claims no religion whatsoever; and believe it or not there are still people in America who have never heard the name of Jesus.
A few summers ago I went on a mission trip with Global Expeditions and Metro Ministries to New York City. While there, we shared the gospel through drama, children’s ministry and various other avenues. On that trip I met a young girl of about 8 years old who had never heard of God. She didn’t know who Jesus was and had no idea what the word ‘Bible’ referred to. This reality blew me away. At the time of my trip I assumed everyone in America knew who God was; whether they chose to accept Him as their Savior or not, they all owned a Bible, had been to church at least once and knew the stories Daniel & the Lion’s den or David and Goliath.
It can be so easy to overlook first world countries, because on the surface, the majority of people look like they’re doing well. We don’t need missionaries to build clean water wells in Orlando or have the problem of massive Genocide and children being forced to work as soldiers in New Orleans, but what people do need is Hope. Only you and I can bring that to them by taking the good news of Christ. Do these countries have more ‘stuff’ than other places? Sure they do, and all the more reason to GO to them. God created us to be creatures of worship, so weather that part of our life ends up being filled by a relationship with our Father or our love of material items, everyone is worshiping something.
Our job as Christians is to spread the name of Jesus Christ to the ends of the earth; to share the truth that we know and show others what they can truly put their hope into. ‘To the ends of the earth’ as referenced in Acts 1:8 does not only mean the 10/40 window, it does not only mean the orphanages in Africa, or the islands of Panama, it means ALL of these places and MORE. Everywhere. Including first world countries. A life changed means just as much in Italy or Australia or New York City or Alaska as it does anywhere else.
Take an adventure this summer and change lives in a first world country by taking the truth to God’s people who live there.