History is often very obviously “His Story.” And Mandate is part of that greater story. Let’s take a minute together for a quick tour.
Mandate was founded over two decades ago on the back side of the wave which was the unreached peoples movement. Church and missions had realized that thousands of groups of people around the world, defined by geography, language, ethnicity, or religious identity had never had a valid opportunity to hear the gospel. Oh, yes, they might have heard the Christian message, but not in a way they could understand or respond to.
To make it worse, most of those people groups lived in areas where traditional Christian missions could not openly go.
The question was, how do we think outside the mission box to find ethical and legal ways to get the gospel to those who had been so neglected?
In response, the men and women who brought Mandate into being pictured an organization which would openly send development professionals to these areas. Those being sent would be qualified in professions such as agriculture, medicine, and education. They would have academic credentials as well as experience. They would be placed in contractual employment positions. They would also be committed followers of Jesus Christ. As such, these workers were expected to find overt opportunities to share their faith with those around them.
They expressed their vision and goals like this: “To work in partnership [and] place people in key locations in order to reach the least-reached people of the world according to the Great Commission, and to provide highly qualified personnel to serve in the areas of health, education, enterprise development, appropriate technology and economic development.”
More interested in doing good and sharing their faith than in reproducing their own organization, Mandate did not incorporate themselves inside their target areas, but established working partnerships with like-minded national NGOs already there.
Within a very short time, workers sent by Mandate were in place in Nepal, India, and Vietnam. We had farmers in Nepal, homeless ministries in India, even English teachers actually working for the central government in Vietnam.
Twenty-some years ago, these ideas were on the cutting edge of new missionary strategy.
But were these ideas new? Although the workers on-the-ground in Nepal at the time did not realize it, this was exactly what God had been doing through them in that country for decades. As noted by a Nepali pastor, “The . . . missionaries who came from foreign [countries] were located within camp doing just social works and they were not allowed to go out. But they were able to send the native missionaries who were trained by them, to go to the village and establish the Churches. . . . Until 1960, there were only four Churches in four different places with 100 believers. In 1970, the numbers of Christian increased to 2,000, and in 1980 it was 20,000. In 1990 . . . the number of the Christian was estimated at 100,000. By the end of 2001, there were over 500,000 Christians and 500 Churches in the country.” A recent report declares there are now 2.5 million Christian believers in this country. Get that? From 100 to 2,500,000 in 50 years! What God has done in one country he can do again and again.
After twenty years, we can still say, being part of God’s work, following God’s pattern for today, is what Mandate is all about.
Oh, there is definitely more to Mandate’s story. To know more about Mandate, including our most recent expansion, please browse through our website at www.GoMandate.org.