Douglas B. Clawson
Jesus could have remained at one place in Galilee for a long time, if the only factor was the desire of the people to keep him there (Luke 4:42). But that wasn't the only factor. He had to take the gospel to the other towns of Galilee and Judea because he came into this world to seek and to save the lost (Luke 4:43; 19:10).
Paul was forbidden by God to take the gospel to certain places at certain times (Acts 16:6–7; cf. 19:10), yet he stayed to preach in other places for various lengths of time (Thessalonica for three SabbathsActs 17:2; Corinth for one and a half yearsActs 18:11; Ephesus for two yearsActs 19:10). Finally he concluded that he no longer had any room for work in the regions where he had been (Rom. 15:23). This in turn inspired in him the desire to take the gospel to Spain with the help of the church in Rome (Rom. 15:24).
Coldness to the gospel (Luke 10:10–11) and persecution (Acts 8:1) weren't the only reasons for taking the gospel to other places. Jesus' disciples were commanded to "make disciples of all nations" (Matt. 28:19). They were told that they would be his witnesses "to the end of the earth" (Acts 1:8).
Because of that calling, the New Fields Subcommittee of the Committee on Foreign Missions reviews and evaluates the many requests that come to the Committee to take the gospel, our Reformed faith, and Presbyterianism to other nations. On a few occasions, these requests have so obviously paired our resources and gifts with the needs of those requesting our help that the Committee has rejoiced to be able to respond positively.
Recently, after considering several opportunities to open a new field in a Spanish-speaking nation, the Committee decided to open Uruguay as an exploratory field. Apparently, there has never been a Reformed or Presbyterian denomination in Uruguay. Our plan is to work with a church located on the border between Uruguay and Brazil that is passionate about evangelism. In addition to one organized congregation, there are two preaching stations nearby in Brazil and four more in Uruguay, with plans for additional preaching stations.
As this article goes to press, the presbytery of one possible candidate has not yet met to consider his call to Uruguay, and therefore we will not name him here, but we hope that the Lord will provide two men to go to this field by the end of 2008.
The author is associate general secretary of the Committee on Foreign Missions. Reprinted from New Horizons, May 2008.