Hey, I want to tell you a story about how the Stone Table is going to partner with others to raise $2.5 million for some incredible projects between now and the end of the year. Marketplace skills are missionary skills.
Hey, everybody! My name is David Wigginton. I serve as a board member here at the Stone Table. I also serve as the vice president of strategic fundraising. That means December is a busy month for me because every December, we partner with businesses and churches all across the country to take our Christmas offering. This year, our Christmas offering comprises 18 projects across eight countries in Asia Pacific—some incredible projects that are taking the gospel to the ends of the Earth. Our goal is to raise $2.5 million between now and the end of the year. And while that might seem incredible, I’m going to tell you at the end of this video how we’re going to get there with your help.
If you’d like to learn more about these projects, there’s a PDF linked in the comments you can take a look at. But I want to tell you about one of the major initiatives that we have together this year in our Christmas offering. It’s in the country of Mongolia.
Mongolia is one of the most rural places on the planet. We have a team there that’s reaching out in this inhospitable place. Most of the year, it’s cold and remote. We’re building a community center that is a thousand miles from the nearest church. No one for hundreds of miles in any direction has ever even heard the name of Jesus.
One of the ladies that’s part of our team has a remarkable story of how God called her to Mongolia when she was just a teenager. She began to pray about being a missionary, and she believed that God had laid a specific place on her heart. One day, she even felt led to draw a map—a picture of that place in her journal, just a simple outline of a map as any teenager would. She excitedly pulled out an atlas and began looking at world maps, trying to discover where this country was that God was calling her to. But nothing matched. She had a heart for Mongolia, so she looked up a map of Mongolia, but the sketch in her book didn’t look anything like Mongolia. So she kept looking. She never did find a country that matched the map that she drew in her journal.
But one day, God began to speak to her again about missions, and she learned about a province in Mongolia called Govi-Altai. She learned that this place was so far from the nearest church that no one in Govi-Altai had ever heard the good news of great joy for all people that we talk about at Christmas time. And as she was researching that province, which is one of the most remote places on Earth, she discovered that the outline of the Govi-Altai province was nearly identical to the outline she had drawn in her journal.
Earlier this year, Bogy, another member of our team in Mongolia, began a relationship with Bolga, a young lady who runs a coffee shop in a little town where our team lives. Our team hangs out there a lot because, as they described it, this coffee shop has the only real espresso machine in the entire province. Did I mention this place is remote? And they have cake with real frosting.
So our team invited Bolga, the young girl who runs the coffee shop, to come to a Bible study. And after several weeks of studying the Bible with her, our team asked if she wanted to accept Jesus into her heart. And she did. She’s the first believer in the history of her family that can be traced back hundreds of years and one of the first believers ever in the Govi-Altai province.
Speaking of hundreds of years, Bolga immediately began expressing concern for her grandmother, who was 103 years old and didn’t know about this Jesus that she just accepted. And her grandmother was very ill. Her grandmother was the oldest person living in the province. So our team left early the next morning to drive 5 hours through dangerous narrow mountain passes to get to Bolga’s ancestral home.
Her grandmother had not been conscious for several days, but when Bolga and our team walked in, she was awake and recognized Bolga and was excited to see her. Our team asked Bolga’s father if it was okay to talk to the 103-year-old grandmother about their Christian faith and about Jesus and maybe even to pray with her. He said it was okay, but he warned them they would have to speak up because she was very hard of hearing.
So, loud enough that the whole house could hear, our team began sharing the basics of the good news of great joy that’s for all people—the news about Jesus. Jared, our team leader, felt led to share. He leaned down and practically yelled in Grandma’s ear so everyone could hear. He said, “In the Bible, there’s a story about an old man named Simeon who waited his whole life every day in the temple because God had promised that before he died, he would get to meet Jesus, that he would get to see God’s salvation.”
Jared said, “Grandma, God has kept you here for 103 years so that you can know his salvation today. Grandma, do you want to receive Jesus today?” She lifted up and nodded her head, and our team prayed and sang with her. And Grandma, who waited 103 years to see God’s salvation, got saved that day. She had waited in that place since 1919, never traveling more than a few miles in any direction. She had waited all that time to hear the good news of great joy, and Grandma accepted Jesus into her heart that day. Until that morning, we confirmed she had never even heard his name.
About a week later, the grandma died, but she’s with Jesus today. She was 103 years old and never once heard the name of Jesus. In over a century, she had never once met a single Christian. And now, because we have a team on the ground in Mongolia, Grandma’s in heaven.
Spread across the harsh Mongolian province, across the countryside and ancestral homes where people never travel more than a few miles away from that place their entire lives—how many other grandmothers need to hear? In Tokyo, a city of 37 million people at the world’s busiest intersection, the Shibuya Crossing—how many young people, how many college students need to hear? In the villages of Vietnam, how many need to hear? In the massive Muslim cities of Indonesia, how many need to hear? In the orphanages of Cambodia, how many need to hear his name? How will they hear unless someone tells them? And how will they tell them unless someone sends them? That’s why we have to send them. They bring good news of great joy to all people.
So across eight countries, 18 different projects, we’re endeavoring to raise $2.5 million between now and the end of the year. We have several church partners, dozens of business partners. But you’re still probably wondering how an organization like the Stone Table can raise $2.5 million in just a few weeks. Here’s how we’re going to get there: because we’re not asking you to give to us. We are asking you to give with us. And the first $1 million that comes in between now and the end of the year, the Stone Table is going to match dollar for dollar.
So we’re believing God that between now and the end of the year, between your help and the partnership of all our pastors and churches and business people, that we’re going to reach this goal of $2.5 million. That we’re going to reach the grandmas and the college students and the orphans and the Muslims. That we’re going to go to the hard places with the good news of great joy for all people. That this Christmas is going to be the best Christmas ever for thousands of people because it’s going to be the Christmas when they hear about Jesus. When salvation comes to their home.
I’m going to invite you to go to thestonetable.org. There’s a link there where you can join us in this Christmas offering. And remember that every dollar you give up to the first million dollars is going to be matched by the Stone Table for this incredible endeavor. Thank you. God bless you. Merry Christmas!