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Mission without hindrance Kanishka Raffel

I

love the vision statement of the Church Missionary

Society: A world that knows Jesus. Every word in the statement is loaded with biblical truth. The scope of Christian mission is the same world that is the arena of God’s love – “God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). Jesus says in his high priestly prayer in John 17: “this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent” (17:3). The fullness of life that Jesus says he has come to bring (John 10:10) is the fullness of life in personal knowledge of the true God through relationship with his Son, Jesus our rescuer King. Knowing Jesus is knowing life abundant and life eternal, precisely because he is the One who was in the beginning with God and was God, through whom all things came into being, and in whom is life – which is the light of all people and shines in the darkness (John 1:1-5). Here is vision that rings with soul-strengthening, heartswelling, Christ-exalting promise and purpose! I have been delighted to be a member of CMS for many years,

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and as Archbishop of Sydney it is now my privilege to also serve as the president of CMS Australia. At a recent meeting of the federal council, the 40-odd (they’re not odd at all!) members from each branch of the fellowship reflected on the experience of our 201 missionaries serving in 41 “gospel-poor” countries around the world over the past 20 months of pandemic. Of course, it has been hugely disruptive and challenging. And yet, in God’s providence, the work has continued, even amid much struggle, trial and tears. CMS Australia’s international director, the Rev Canon Peter Rodgers, reminded us: “CMS has been sending missionaries since the 1890s and continued to do so through two world wars, the Spanish influenza pandemic, the Great Depression and endless other conflicts, revolutions and natural disasters.” Of course, this was never a matter of mere stubbornness, let alone recklessness. CMS in the past, as much as today, has been prayerful, thoughtful and diligent in the deployment of its missionaries. In the past 15 months, fewer than 10 “missionary units” (families or individuals) have needed to retire directly as

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November 2021