AZUSA, CA – What came as a shock to those who heard his announcement made perfect sense to Francis Chan. He revealed at a chapel service at Azusa Pacific University that he and his family plan to move to Asia in February 2020.
The pastor, author, and in-demand Christian leader and speaker shared how the Lord directed him following a recent trip to Myanmar. As he and his family boarded the plane for the long flight home, he told his wife that “I think it’s time to move.”
It was certainly not Chan’s first trip to Asia, but this time he was especially touched by his experiences while sharing the Gospel as he went from hut to hut with a translator. He was stunned by people’s eagerness to listen, receive the message of the Gospel, trust in Christ, and be baptized.
He likened the experience to fishing in a lake teeming with hungry fish instead of throwing another line in the usual lake along with hundreds of other fishermen. While fishermen are trying the latest new ‘miracle’ lures and getting their lines tangled at the popular fishing spot, sometimes there are other lakes that may be more difficult to access.
Many might not be interested in another lake because of that difficulty. But it is worth the effort when there is an abundance of hungry fish. The difference that Chan saw in Myanmar made him realize that fishing for souls there is worth the distance – and any other difficulties.
He reminded the Azusa students that fishing is about catching fish, not comradery with friends.
“What would keep me at that same pond? I’ll tell you what would keep me at the pond is I built a house on the pond, and all my friends have houses on the pond. And we don’t even fish that much, we just go out, and we hang out, and we talk, and we play, and I don’t want to leave my friends. But if my calling is to go fish, and there’s no one fishing over there, why wouldn’t I go?”
The fishing that Jesus taught His disciples was not for sport, but for the salvation of the souls of men. It is a serious business that requires self-denial and sacrifice.
Tired of the trend of using new-fangled methods to reach the lost, Chan has claimed 2 Corinthians 2:4 as the foundation for moving forward in faith and ministry.
“We reject all shameful deeds and underhanded methods. We don’t try to trick anyone or distort the word of God. We tell the truth before God, and all who are honest know this.” (NLT)
His call to Asia follows his commitment to leave behind seeker-friendly tactics and to proclaim the Gospel as straight-forwardly as Jesus did.
He will leave behind a country that is proving that it is no longer interested in hearing the Gospel, to fish in a place where people are desperate to receive it.
Francis Chan is a member of the board of directors of Gospel for Asia.
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