A few years ago, God laid on my heart the vision of seeing BIMI ministering in 100+ nations of the world. At that time, the Mission had workers in about 80 nations. After I shared my vision with other colleagues, we worked together to make this our goal. As of our 50th Anniversary, BIMI personnel are in or on deputation to 100+ nations. We can only praise God for this victory. After all, Jesus did tell us, "Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth laborers into his harvest" (Matthew 9:38).
Where do we go from here? Do we dare ask such a question as this? While there are still BILLIONS who have never heard His Blessed Name, and time and life for each of us are racing for the finish line-do we ask, "Where do we go from here?" Multitudes languish in the prison house of despair, and we have the key! Where do we go from here?
BIMI missionaries are resident or soon will be in over half the countries of the earth. That leaves at least 95 countries to which we must send BIMI missionaries. Of course, it is understood that with BIMI personnel and mission personnel from other missions, most of these countries are only "touched" with the Gospel. The population masses are so great we must pray for the Lord of the Harvest to send others, not just one or two couples per nation but scores and hundreds.
It can happen! Who would have ever dreamed we could have missionaries in the Soviet Union? Mary Ray writes about those first days when BIMI entered Russia and Eastern Europe:
The ministry of BIMI in Eastern Europe began in 1990 when Don Sisk, James Ray, and BIMI staff photographer Don Arnold took a tour of Eastern Europe. The men joined a tour group in Budapest, Hungary, that took them to Yugoslavia, Romania, Hungary, and the USSR.
When they entered the USSR, Sisk, Ray, and Arnold had two suitcases filled with Russian New Testaments, although the men's personal bags were searched, miraculously, the suitcases with the Bibles were never checked by custom officials. In 1990 Mikhail Gorbachev was still in power, and the communists were officially still in control, so the men did not know what would happen if their contraband were discovered.
While other people on the tour bus went to concerts or sightseeing, Sisk, Ray, and Arnold stood on the streets and distributed the New Testaments. When the people realized the men were giving away Bibles, they surrounded them, pushing and shoving each other in their attempts to receive a copy of God's Word. Soon, the three missionaries had given out all the New Testaments they had brought with them. Sisk, Ray, and Arnold were heartbroken to hear the people pleading for Bibles, but they had none left to give.
The three missionaries also made contact with local Christians. Don Sisk and James Ray preached in a church in Odessa, Ukraine, where over 800 people had gathered to hear the Gospel. The church was not large enough to seat all of the people, so hundreds were forced to stand outside.
Don Sisk, James Ray, and Don Arnold were overwhelmed by what they saw in Eastern Europe. They reported what they experienced to churches in America. Arnold had filmed scenes from the trip to the communist countries, and a special video was made and shown in churches all over America. The American Christians responded with love and compassion and gave money to buy Bibles for Eastern Europe.
Ray and his assistant, Brant Holladay, took teams of volunteer workers to Eastern Europe to distribute Bibles on the streets, in hospitals, in factories, in schools, and in nursing homes. The groups were comprised of pastors, deacons, housewives, business people, college students, and retired people. The team members paid for their own plane tickets, hotels, and food. By the year 2001, the Rays, Holladays, and the volunteer teams had distributed one million Bibles to the people of Eastern Europe.
Medical teams also volunteered to go to the countries of Eastern Europe to help the people who desperately needed medical attention. Judith Skates, a nurse and a missionary with BIMI, directed the medical teams that traveled thousands of miles to give assistance to needy people. Under Skates' direction, the American doctors and nurses took medicine and medical equipment to Soviet doctors and nurses in Russia; they also gave seminars to hospital staffs. The American medical team members spoke and answered questions about their particular fields. They also took with them Bibles that they distributed to the medical personnel in Russia. Team members gave their testimonies and witnessed to Russian doctors and nurses. 1
Twenty years later, BIMI missionaries serve throughout Russia and Eastern Europe. The same God who brought down the "Iron Curtain" can open doors that are closed today. Wonderful miracles of past days thrill us, but it can be done again. Now our vision spills over the 100 nations mark. We set our eyes upon the remaining frontier that still waits for a "Word from God."
1. Pray for new churches to sponsor "The 100+ Nations Ministry." The fund also helps sponsor mission trips for college-age young people to the mission field.
2. Pray for missionaries for these countries: Bulgaria, Gabon, Guadeloupe, Lithuania, Slovenia
3. Pick a country each week to emphasize in Sunday school or special reports.
4. Host a special service such as 100+ Nation Sunday or A Night of Prayer emphasis.
James Ray, International Representative for the 100+ Nations Ministry
Dr. James Ray is available for mission conferences and mission emphasis Sundays. If you would like to plan a "100+ Nations" event in your church, you may contact Dr. Ray.
Mary Ray, Embracing The World
, (Chattanooga: Baptist International Missions, Inc. 2008), 172–176.