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InterACTION - Summer 1961 Varied Ways of Reaching Village Men for Christ

By Barney Furman

We hope you enjoy this article originally published in the Summer 1961 edition of Family News, which was sent out four times a year by our organization, then known as Arctic Missions. There have been many changes since then, but what hasn’t changed is the message of the gospel, and the means by which we strive to communicate it and disciple people. InterAct believes in and practices incarnational, relational ministry. Over 57 years have passed since this article was written, and we continue to reach people in the context of their lives, loving them, and caring for them with the hope of seeing them become mature, reproducing followers of Christ. - Editor

Ever since God called to Adam, "Where art thou?" our Lord has been seeking men. We who belong to Him have been chosen to join in the search. As God spoke in Jeremiah 5:1, so He might have said to the Alaskan missionary, "Run to and fro through the (trails of Alaska), look and take note! Search her (villages) to see if you can find a man ... "

So we seek for men, but how do we go about it in an Alaskan village? There are many methods. God's method, "Preach the Word," is at the top of the list; but sermons reach directly only those in attendance, with often a notable lack of men. A special meeting just for men may attract a larger group. Often men who are missing on Sunday come to our house during the week. Some need help in their work; others help us with ours. Some have forms to be filled out; (income tax, Sears orders, etc.). Others come just to visit. As men come to us, we pray that we may be able to give them what they need-God's Word-as well as what they want.

But the command was, "Go." So we went; and now that we are here, we find that the command is still, "Go." Although some come to us, there are others to whom we must "Preach the Word" whenever and wherever we find them. So we go to their homes; but the Alaskan Native is more at home in the great outdoors. Cutting wood, hunting moose, or visiting a trapline brings us closer to the men. Fishing gives opportunity for sharing: nets, fish wheels, fish and work, but more important- sharing our knowledge of Him who said, "Follow me and I will make you fishers of men." At fish camps we may find men from villages where the Gospel is not welcome because of pressure groups. Here away from these influences, these men lose their fear and are free to talk about Christ and His Word. Hundreds of fish camps line the rivers and coasts of Alaska-a real missionary challenge. Some missionaries have moved to summer fish camps with their people.

Sometimes we reach men indirectly. Literature tracts, Christian magazines and books enter home~ and go by dogsled to trappers' tents, still speaking to the men when the missionary is far way. This method is limited, however, as many have not had the privilege of learning to read. Women's work is directed primarily to women's hearts; but it is wonderful to think of one of our women, typical of others, who, having received Christ herself , new prays for her husband and brings him to church.

Daddy also hears the Gospel when Junior comes home from Sunday School or Joy Club; but when we remember boys' habit of suddenly turning into men, we realize that child evangelism is probably the best direct method of reaching men. Prov. 22:6 is real wisdom. Some missionaries hold boys clubs or other groups especially geared to boys' needs. Boys are not only more receptive to the Gospel, but may be more easily trained in Christian living to become future Christian leaders.

Missionaries must often prove themselves to those whom they would win. We may enter men's homes without having access to their hearts. Here true friendship and love mean more than great talent and ability, although the latter may help. Our attitude is important. A missionary who is willing to learn from his men will find more willing ears when he would teach. He must attract men to himself, but only as an arrow attracts attention in order to point to something greater than itself. So men must see Christ in us. Paul said, "I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some."

But missionaries cannot do this job alone. Before we can reach men for Christ, we must reach Christ for men. We may gain access to a corner of men's minds, but only the Holy Spirit can reach the depths of their hearts. This is vital! A praying friend thousands of miles away can be as close to a man's heart as the missionary who is in the same room with him; for both praying friend and village man are near and dear to the heart of God. He loves them! Do we?-Enough to pray?

InterACTION is a monthly publication of InterAct Ministries

Credits:

Created with images by Monoar - "clock wall clock watch" • Aaron Burden - "Cross during sunset" • Pexels - "bible blur book"

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