Traveling the Silk Road
Session offering to sustain health ministries, education, and evangelism in 10/40 window.

By Sandra Blackmere stood transfixed watching the young girl, about 10 years old he guessed, crawl out of the large cardboard box. Two small boys, apparently her younger brothers, followed close behind. Sores covered the boys’ bodies. They were pale and listless. He saw the smallest boy lean against his sister’s chest and quietly begin to sob. He could hear the compassion in the girl’s voice as she spoke softly to him and gently patted his head. She then reached back into the box—their “home”—and pulled out three small bowls. 

ORGANIZED FOR MISSION: During the session’s first Sabbath morning offering appeal, GC vice president Michael L. Ryan called the church “a family with a mission.” [Alden J. Ho/Adventist Review]
“That picture still burns in my mind,” said GC vice president Michael L. Ryan during the offering appeal on the first Sabbath of the session. “How I wish I could have done more to change their lives than what the few dollars I gave them would do.”

The goal of the session’s offerings, Ryan said, is to help lighten a path of hope worldwide for millions of people such as this young family.

“This church was organized for mission—global mission,” Ryan said. “But the global nature of the Adventist Church was not done in our power, but the power of the Holy Spirit. . . . We’re a family with a mission.”

This session’s offerings are tagged to support outreach in a region marked by the ancient Silk Road, a route that crosses areas such as China, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Central Asia, Turkey, and the Middle East—all part of the 10/40 window.

Describing the 10/40 window as an imaginary rectangle 10 degrees north of the equator at the bottom and 40 degrees north at the top, and extending from northwest Africa through the Middle East and into Asia, Adventist Mission director Gary Krause added, “It’s a symbolic way of directing attention to that area and saying that this is where the majority of the world’s population lives—in that window. It’s also the area where the people are the poorest, where there are the fewest Christians, and where Christians historically have sent the fewest resources.”

Krause told Adventist Review that the money will be allocated to the appropriate divisions, which will then select specific projects. They’ll be encouraged, however, “to use a wholistic approach of evangelistic outreach to try to build bridges in these communities” in areas such as health ministries, education, and Global Mission pioneers, he said. “Every cent of it will be going to frontline work, and it will be contextualized to reach people where they are.

“The church chose the Silk Road because we were looking at regions of the world that had the greatest need, places where perhaps the church is the weakest,” Krause said. “We want to reach those who are waiting for the hope of the gospel.”

Sandra Blackmer is features editor of Adventist Review.

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