I don’t even recall my life before John 3:16, just like I don’t recall my life before helping with family chores or before my deep infatuation with ice cream. The fact of “For God so loved the world” was as known to me as my hard and fast 7:30 p.m. bedtime.
words + photographs BRENDA LEI CASEY
But my world was very limited. As a teenager being raised in southwest Missouri, I thought little about anything beyond Friday night football and Route 44 cherry limeades. Lucky for me, God has a knack for taking selfish, egotistical souls like mine and morphing them into vehicles for His love to the nations.
My husband and I are now cross-cultural church planters, serving in the suburbs of Madrid, Spain. But I can still remember the exact moment, nearly a decade ago, the reality of for God so loved the WORLD became imprinted upon my heart in an entirely new way.
Luxury was not our lifestyle, but following Jesus was.
I was standing in a hallway, staring at a huge poster, when the tears began to fall from my eyes. My husband and I had spent more than three years working towards our bachelors degrees, but in the previous few months, we had decided to start all over again and enroll as freshmen in a Bible institute.
By doing so, we also downsized into a 400 square feet apartment, located 12 hours away from all our family and friends.
Our cushy salaries and jobs-with-benefits whittled down to an hourly, part-time gig my husband was able to pick up. Luxury was not our lifestyle, but following Jesus was.
Standing in the hallway one day between classes, I paused to actually look at a poster I had passed many times. The title on this poster was something along the lines of “People Groups Without the Bible in Their Language.” And then, in very small font, began the list.
The Narisati, Arandui in Afghanistan.
The Kryz, Dzhek in Azerbaijan.
And on and on the list continued.
For 2,479 people groups, the list went on.
Those 2,479 people groups represent more than 200 million individuals without the Bible in his or her language.
Allow me to show you what that list of those 2,479 people groups looks like:
That number, that list, my eyes still start brimming over with tears when I realize there are people in this world whom God loves, that Jesus died for, and that I had no clue even existed. Did you know there are more than 450 different English translations of the Bible? I can’t tell if I’m elated by that privilege or heartbroken by it.
My family and I happen to be staying at a hotel this week for a conference. Upon checking in, the hostess politely informed us they are severely understaffed this week. She asked us to please be as patient as possible with them. The sign in their lobby represented far more than their personal dilemma.
It reads: The whole world is short staffed. Please be kind to those that showed up. Thank you.
This world, specifically our neighbors making up those 2,459 people groups, need more people to show up.
If you’d like to get involved in reaching the unreached, I’d encourage you to contact your local church and let them know of your desires.
COVER Brenda Lei Casey in Chinchilla de Monte-Aragón, Spain. ABOVE Brenda Lei met her husband, Joshua, in Springfield, Missouri, while working their first jobs at Sonic. Now, they are church planters in Spain, raising their four daughters. The family is pictured at Castilla Monumento Colomares in Benalmádena, Spain.
Find an individual, couple, or family busy doing kingdom work in a part of the world that needs it and partner with them both financially and prayerfully.
Pray about being part of the group of people who are showing up.
Since for God so loved the world really is true, wouldn’t it only be fair the whole world got to hear about it? BLC
Brenda Lei Casey is a huge fan of big fun, good food, the more the merrier, and authenticity in her walk with the Lord. She and her husband, Joshua, are from Springfield, Missouri, but are now church planters in Spain.
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