The Surprising Demographic of Iowa
In 1976, as a new believer, and while courting Deb, we attended dinner at the home of one of her coworkers, whose family was from India. Before dinner, Deb and I asked permission to pray, thanking God for our food—our first ‘witnessing to the nations’ opportunity. Walking home later that evening, we marveled at the opportunity God provided to share the gospel with India from our college campus in Iowa.
After having lived in many places, and using those places to speak the gospel globally, God has brought us back to Iowa. My love for Boston has caused me to ask God, “Why Iowa?” Part of His answer to me has been this: Iowa is a divinely prepared place for Great Commission ministry.
Demographic studies confirm that, increasingly, immigration trends favor the area between the coasts, and specifically, Iowa. The reasons are many, but they chiefly include lower cost, economic growth, better schools, and a more friendly atmosphere.
But statistics can be boring things. Instead, those of us who live in the Heartland should pay close attention to the foreigner living next door, immigrants trying to make their way in a new and perhaps strange places. We should recognize that our sovereign God, our Great Commissioner, has brought these precious souls within arm’s reach of us, who have the gospel in our hearts.Just think. The distance from our heart to their souls is the distance the gospel needs to travel for new birth to occur.
Rather than give in to the temptation to be annoyed by the inconvenience of dealing with folks different than us, let us be amazed at how our Savior is doing what He said He would do, making it possible to obey His command to disciplize the nations.
A friend informed me that 500 foreign-born folks were recently hired to work at his factory—many of them from Afghanistan, (we can expect many Ukrainians, as well). What an opportunity! In addition to sending missionaries, why not equip our church families to minister to the nations in our own backyard? Why not mobilize to do so?
My point is this. The great strategic places of gospel ministry are no longer confined to global centers like Boston. Opportunities are all around us, in the city, as well as in rural areas. Our neighborhoods have become global, which provides the believing church unparalleled opportunities for faithful gospel proclamation.
What does faithfulness demand of those of us living in the Heartland?
Bill and Deb
Tomorrow—Our Ministry to Aakesh