By Fred Comella
Maybe it’s because we are the freest and richest nation on earth. On the other hand, maybe it’s because America has its beginnings in the truth of God’s Word. Maybe it’s both, or something else entirely or in between… Whatever the case, God’s work needs doin’ and I believe this country sends forth missionaries on a scale unmatched around the globe to do it. So much of His love is in the hearts of so many Christians, moved to bring His message to all who would hear it in the United States, but also to the farthest reaches of humankind. Simply put, I’ve spent a lot of time interviewing and speaking with these messengers of hope and it’s hard to imagine anything more important in today’s world. Time and again, I’ve been blessed to have my eyes opened to the need for the Gospel in faraway places of hardship, strife and even persecution. Moreover, in every instance I’ve witnessed the selfless acts and efforts of Christian men and women who put themselves (and their families) out there on behalf of Jesus Christ and His message of salvation and grace. Now more than ever, these voices of love and compassion are sorely needed. From their simple and raw determination to traverse the planet if need be, to their varied skill sets which bring things like basic education, construction of suitable and safe living spaces, as well as medical care to those who suffer from illness and injury easily treated in the modern world, God’s servants are on the frontlines for humanity 24/7/365.
As many of you know, I’ve written many articles about these brave “mission specialists”. Nevertheless, it’s always a pleasure to learn of the new and/or continuing efforts of missionaries and ministries. In fact, I’m particularly interested in overseas efforts, highlighting the willingness of average folks to depart from their respective “comfort zones” in order to answer His higher calling. This type of unconditional love, courage and giving spirit, remains a bright shining light to this new Christian, struggling to shake off a haunting lack of faith in humanity.
Now I know many of you may think I’m backsliding a bit when you hear me say that, but rest assured it’s all part of my personal journey. My own struggles are well known to those close to me and by my Savior. But that’s the good part. In so many ways, and through so many souls of the missionaries, I am helped along for His good and the promotion of His holy name and word. Their efforts force me to realize and accept the balance of this life and to strive every day to be on the right side of that balance, to put aside the petty human, and frankly typical feelings we have when we gaze out there at the world and see the misery and suffering. More important than even those most basic human needs however, is the message of salvation and the Gospel itself, which must be at the forefront of every aforementioned calling. With that foundation firmly established, the missionary is absolutely part of the solution, God’s solution…
True to form and perfect for this time of year, my editor sent along some information about “Christ Saves Ministries” (CSM), a strictly mobile missions-oriented effort established for the sole purpose of reaching the unsaved around the globe and facilitating “the Word” so that God can change hearts as only he can. Founded in 2004 by Scott Grande, CSM is an “evangelical missionary ministry focused on sharing the good news of the saving grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.” They travel to the far reaches of God’s world and have supported Pastors and Evangelists in many countries since then.
A “recovering Catholic” like me, (and you know I mean no disrespect when I say that.), Scott was hearing the Word but not understanding it. God came to him in 1993 and changed all that and his eyes were opened to the Biblical message and meaning of the Gospel as the undeniable and true Word of God. To that point, one of CSM’s doctrinal messages says just that, “The Bible, in its 66 canonical books in their original languages, is a divine revelation. It is the inspired, infallible Word of God”. AMEN! That simple doctrinal statement goes deep into my soul as well, as I’ve come to understand there must be a beginning and an end, the substance of which must be the truth of this life, unabridged and not watered down or altered for the purpose of self-validation or political correctness. His word is His word. That’s a hard concept to grasp, but this understanding is a definitive and moving experience which is difficult to put into words. Finding truth in this life can be oh so powerful, and when you know it, it moves you.
Within 10 years Scott was ordained as an evangelist and began to hear God’s instructions to him in the form of his education and faith networking. He prayed mightily to understand what God wanted him to do and where he wanted him to go. That messaging was powerful, and in 2005-06 would lead him in a missionary capacity to Pakistan and the surreal experience of planting seeds in a place where his life was literally part of the equation. Embarking with local Christ followers on nightly “crusades” to spread the Word of God, Scott found himself in places he was later told were about as dangerous an endeavor as any missionary could undertake. Not many of us will ever understand a true missionary’s willingness to step into that role with only faith and an unshakable will to do His work no matter the means or result. It’s just another attribute I remain in awe of when interacting with these “volunteers”.
During that period Scott was honing the skills of an educator, in that he began to understand his work would be centered not necessarily on some of the tangible aspects of mission’s work I mentioned earlier, but more so and specifically on the life changing Word of the Gospel. Scott new God wanted him to evangelize and to train others on site to do the same. CSM would be about Christ and saving souls, period. That clarity of purpose would bring him to a place where 95% of the people there were Hindu, an insurmountable task one would think. Nevertheless, Scott understood the power of the message he brought to the battle, and the country of India would now be ground zero…
As I’m sure you’ve figured out by now, I spoke with Scott recently and the 48-year-old evangelist reported on his most recent journey to India. He stated that there are now six Bible schools run by four pastors from India preaching the doctrine of salvation in which he trains them. Scott and I also discussed how important it is to him to spend as much time as he can with his pastors and those involved in these efforts, so that they are vetted and vetted again. The mission is simply too important. He also noted that in seeking support for the efforts of CSM, folks want to feel comfortable in their support, and that strictly 100% of the financial and other support he receives goes to the mission exclusively and without exception.
We talked more about his time spent in India and other locations and I asked him the question I ask all missionaries, “How are you received”? It’s always interesting to me to know how not only the Word is received, but also how the messenger is. Scott explained it in the simplest terms I’ve heard to date. He told me that simply being an American is an icebreaker, and that most of the folks he interacts with see him (and all American’s) as some sort of heroes or movie stars. Scott chuckled a bit and said it was a means to an end, but that whatever the case the results of those interactions belong to God and God alone. Interesting…
He went on to discuss the two general methods they use to reach the largely poor and Hindu people. There is always the time-tested meet and greet kind of approach with the use of a translator, where salvation tracts and Bibles are distributed with the “Good News” being shared. CSM also schedules village “crusades” where folks gather and are exposed to a group setting with lights and speakers, also facilitated by translators and local pastors. Scott also mentioned something that made a lot of sense while we were discussing how he is received by those he meets. He told me he doesn’t evangelize to those who know the Word, but rather those who do not…
We talked about the need for support and how a mere $25.00 a month supports a local pastor and his family for a month. This is a stunning and humbling revelation, as we take stock of how we live here in America and how so little of what we have can do in a land so far away and in desperate need of Christ. We talked about how CSM has already received $7500.00 to purchase a sorely needed “Gospel van” for one of the pastors, as transportation is so important in reaching the often remote areas they visit. And they are trying to raise funding for two more.
As we talked it was clear to me that I was experiencing yet another mission style and approach which I could add to the many I’ve now been exposed. It made me think about those approaches and how God was calling folks in different ways, all according to their respective talents. Mind you, I’d already been reading the doctrinal “about us” page on Scotts Christ Saves Ministries website and found it to be profound to say the least. Now I can’t list it all in this short article, but I encourage all of you to go to christsavesministries.org/about-us/doctrines/ and feed your soul with the truth. It’s without a doubt the best I’ve read. It also seemed to fit perfectly with Scott’s real world application, concentrating all of his efforts on the liberation that comes with Christ’s message of salvation.
I did ask Scott if I could borrow one for the article and he quickly agreed noting as I did, that however we may reach someone with the Word is desirable on every level… This is the one I chose. Please note all the scripture references as they only reinforce the doctrinal statement.
The Person & Work of Christ
The Lord Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God, became man while maintaining His essential Deity. He was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary to reveal God, redeem man, and resolve the invisible struggle among the angels by the total defeat of Satan. We believe that Jesus Christ fully accomplished our redemption through His substitutionary sacrificial death on the Cross. The Father accepted totally the pouring out of His soul unto death (ISA 53:9-12) as the propitiation of sins. The Father’s acceptance of His death is dramatized and realized by His literal physical resurrection from the dead (Luk 1:35; Joh 1:1; Rom 3:24-26; Rom 4:24-25; 1Co 15:1-4; 2Co 5:21; Heb 9:22; Heb 13:20-21; 1Pe 1:3-5; 1Pe 1:18-20; 1Pe 2:24; 1Pe 3:18). We further believe that even now, the Lord Jesus Christ is in heaven having been supremely exalted by God the Father. He sits at the right hand of God where He fulfills the ministry of Great High Priest, intercessor, and advocate for believers. Jesus Christ is the irrefutably acknowledged Head of the Church, which is His body. He will return to crush all the enemies of God (Rom 8:34, Eph 1:19-23, Heb 7:25-27, 1Jo 1:1-2).
My God, so powerful!!!
My time speaking with Scott was ending all too soon, and it was off to the Christmas weekend. But I took with me a new found appreciation for the simple approach of the Word, His word. In the end you see, all of the other efforts, while also giving all glory to God and admirable in so many ways are food for the soul, but the message of Christ’s love for us, and how that love is transformed into salvation and eternal life by way of His sacrifice, is and always should be, at the forefront of every effort we make in his name.
God bless you Scott and be well and safe in His light and on your journeys…Happy New Year my friends in Christ! Keep Him in all you do in 2019 and beyond!
Scott Grande is a native of Rehoboth MA, and is an active member of North Christian Church, 2360 Chestnut Street North Dighton MA, 02764 (508 252-9494). If you are so inclined and wish to help Scott and Christ Saves Ministries spread the true Word of God, please check out the donate buttons on their “about us” page or mail donations to Christ Saves Ministries, P.O. Box 16472 Rumford RI, 02916. Remember, 100% of donations go to the cause! Scott is also available for individual church visits, so tell your respective pastors. You can learn more about the ministry at christsavesministries.org and also sign up for their newsletter at firstname.lastname@example.org.