by Larry Gajdos
TORONTO, Ontario – Reaching out with the Gospel can be a daunting task. So it was for Lay Missionary Javed Akhter of Redeemer Lutheran (Hamilton, Ontario) as he struggled to share Jesus with the South Asian community in Hamilton and the Golden Horseshoe. One attempt, however, seemed to be making an impact: broadcasting a Christian radio program via a Muslim-owned station. Through this broadcast ministry, the message of Jesus and the “mystery hidden for ages past” was being spoken to people who had previously only known Islam, Sikhism, and Hinduism.
What questions would they ask about Jesus? What would the answers received from Lutherans do to their newly found freedom and inquiring minds? Precisely what was hoped for: GTA Missionary-at-large, Rev. James Luke, and the radio host of “HAMD-O-SANAA,” Javed Akhter ended up at front doors, in coffee shops, and other locations where the Word of God was delivered and Bibles were distributed. People were confronted with the Word of Jesus which would otherwise have remained unknown to them.
Despite the success, the radio program eventually came to an end. No partners for the ministry could be identified; no funding was available. But by then there was a vision and people began to hear of the wonderful work being accomplished. Partners began coming together and the East District with its mission executive began building the relationships necessary to re-engage the South Asian community with the delivery of the Gospel over the airwaves and internet.
The LWMLC Ontario District was interested and continued to push for this ministry both with earlier funding and new grants for the future. “This ministry is important to us,” they said. Then came the Concordia Lutheran Mission Society, who added their voice and their efforts to raise funds for the ministry. These brothers and sisters from across Canada joined the partnership, as did individual congregational members desiring to touch the lives of people who would normally never hear the truth about Jesus. Another group—Philoxenia/Hospitality—joined the partnership. At the same time, Christ Our King Lutheran Church (Mississauga, Ontario) decided to adopt the broadcast ministry, putting its money where its members’ hearts were.
Congregations throughout the East District have contributed to this endeavour as well, as their mission contributions to district helped fund this ministry. More people and congregations are choosing to come on board to help support this wonderful opportunity to present the clear truth of the Gospel to inquiring minds of South Asian descent.
This is just one way East District congregations are seeking out ministry opportunities which connect people to the Gospel, and then draw them into the Church.
Rev. Larry Gajdos is Mission Executive for the East District of Lutheran Church–Canada.