Many people are aware of the 10/40 window, but have you heard about the missional emphasis on the 4/14 window? Luis Bush and others are stirring the church to consider a stronger focus on this "window" in the days ahead.
This report was provided to me by Luis Bush and was written by Alex Phillip, regional facilitator for the 4/14 Movement in South Asia. Luis Bush is a leader in the world of missions, who has been and continues to be instumental in keeping the completion of the Great Commission a focus in the church. May the Lord bless you as you read this and may your heart for the world enlarge.
4/14 Window South Asia Regional Summit
August 28-31, 2012
It was in 2006 that I understood in a new way, the promise children hold. The occasion was the Transform World Summit in India’s Bihar State, where 170 leaders representing 17 different tracks met to consider “Bihar.” For most who had gathered then, Bihar was termed the graveyard of missions and was referred to as the core of the core of the core of the 10/40 window. 100 million population, 66% illiteracy rate, 35USD per capita income, 45,000 villages where 90% of the population lived and where 52% of all children under-5 were malnourished. Bihar needed help!
However, it was when a group of young orphan and destitute girls no older than ten, sang for us one evening that something special occurred. As they sang, God’s spirit moved upon the congregation, as conviction fell on the audience – their love for God, their dependence on the heavenly Father, their purity and sincerity all were evident. Spontaneously the majority of the congregation found themselves on their faces before the Lord in acts of repentance, renewed commitment and dedication. For several global leaders who had gathered from several nations of the world, this was a turning point. It was a turning point for me too.
Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these." (Matt 19:14)
From August 28-31, 2012, eighty four servant catalysts representing six South Asian countries gathered to learn, plan, pray and serve together the 4/14 generation in South Asia. Six tracks including Media, Holistic Child Development, Ministry to Children, Government, Generation Y and Family served all participants including several visitors who also joined the sessions. World Without Orphans (WWO), Children in Prayer, Literature and National Facilitation Team (NFT) facilitators served the entire group.
The Call and Context
In the list of the top 10 countries in the world with children in this age group of 4 to 14, fall the three South Asian countries of India (248m children), Pakistan (38m children) and Bangladesh (36 m children). South Asia therefore assumes critical significance in this missional focus on children and her often desperate needs. The top 10 countries world-wide have a collective population of over 700m children vs. the 1.2billion of the world (58%) and together are larger by 16% of all other countries of the world put together. 1 out of every 4 of the world’s 4/14’ers are therefore from South Asia. The chart given below provides a deeper understanding of the areas of the world where the 4/14’ers reside.
The focus of the 4/14 window initiative is to make an urgent appeal to consider the strategic importance and potential of the 1.2 billion children and youth. It is a plea to the Church to open hearts and minds to the idea of reaching and raising up a new generation from within that vast group—a generation that can experience personal transformation and can be mobilized as agents for transformation throughout the world. The vision and hope is therefore to maximize their transformational impact while they are young, and to mobilize them for continuing impact for the rest of their lives.
Jesus had an intense interest in children. He brought back to life three people, two of whom were children. He encouraged children to come to Him, and He used them as an Illustration of Simple Trust In Him. His interest in children is seen in His taking them in His arms and blessing them (Mark 10:13-16). Thus to neglect children is to run counter to what the Bible says about them.
Luis Bush says, “This requires that we become acutely aware of what is taking place in their lives. We must also endeavour to understand their nature and the essential means to nurture them. Only with this kind of informed awareness will we be able to reach them, shape them, and raise them up to transform the world.
“There are more than 1000 verses in the Bible to children”, says Dan Brewster, who also comments “that children play a significant role in the unfolding of the message of the Bible that God loves and protects them; that they are extremely perceptive in understanding the things of God; and that God often deploys them as His messengers and models – often it seems when adults may have been too corrupt and deaf to His calling.
Results and Strategic Impact
- Pakistan: Was a large contingent of attendees with 22 in attendance. National Summit for the nation has been held already 2011, but in 2013 another similar event with a greater representation will be convened; 3 regional summits in different parts of the nation to be held before 2015. Through the network with Afghan Christians, ministries to reach children across the northern border will be initiated. “Story of Jesus” booklet to be printed for Pakistani children in Urdu. Christian leadership expressed commitment to continue working with the Government towards greater freedom, Child Rights and minority reservation quotas for jobs and in education sector. Key leader – Adnan Azhar Sandhu (PSSM)
- Nepal: About 30 national leaders attended the opening service and another 30 were in attendance throughout the event. A Nepali Summit for 175 leaders will be held next month in Nepali itself, Sept 21-25, 2012. A group of committed younger leaders are effectively networking to serve this movement bringing together Church and Mission leadership to reach out and focus on children. In Nepal, not all children have the luxury of attending school. From primary school age, they are often considered old enough to work and to help support their family. Girls, not considered to be of intellectual value, are often entirely denied the benefits of an education. Trafficking in women and child labour remain serious problems. Key leaders – Dhan Raj Ghimire (CaRNet – Nepal), Gajendra Tamang (AWANA), Devanand Chhetri (Teach Nepal)
- India: 15 leaders committed towards planning for a 10 Track National Conference in either Goa or Hyderabad in 21013 for about 175 attendees from various geographical areas of India. Track leader names where defined and the South Asia Report would be discussed with the National Facilitation Team (NFT)- India within a month. HCD, Gen Y, Government all have specific plans to network within India before the National event. Story of Jesus booklet publication to reach every 4/14’er in the nation is being planned. Currently a strategy for 10 languages is being worked on. At the upcoming IMA, more details about the 4/14 will be shared by Vice Chairman IMA, who also was in attendance. Key leader: Patterson Lamech (Child Focus India)
- Bangladesh: represented by a smaller group with Sukhen Biswas (Generation Bangladesh) as key facilitator. National summit in 2013 to be launched after bringing together a core committee on return. Family Track and Gen Y have able facilitators for the nation who are willing to serve and who were present at the Summit and linked to the Global Track.
- Bhutan and Sri Lanka: Represented by one leader each. Both will take back the learning from the conference and have developed specific plans to build a wider team to serve their nations in 2013 and beyond. (Ms.Zangmo – Ichtus Fellowship and Pr. Chrysanthe T – AoG ministry were the key leaders)
*“I will go back to my country (Bhutan) and call a leadership meeting to launch the 4/14 movement there.”
*“We have been able to share the vision wider as a result of this conference” (Nepali leader)
*“Our country had the largest representation here at the Summit and it is an indication of the growth and interest in the 4/14 age group in our country (Pakistani leader)
*“I am so grateful for the opportunity to be able to be here. I will go back and develop a Family Track in my nation” (Bangladesh delegate)
*“There are Christians and Afghanistan and we can reach the children from there. Thank you for this conference” (Pakistani leader working around the northern border of his country)
*“This has opened my eyes to the need and I will share this with the National church leadership” (Sri Lanka leader)
*“We had good synergy at our national group and look forward to a meeting with Indian leaders representing over 180 missions next month to share about this. In 2013, a National Summit will be held in India. (Indian Focus group leader)
The synergy developed in this South Asian region of the world is promising. The event served to be catalytic in nature, building strong inter-personal relationships towards jointly focussing on common challenges across national borders. The commitment expressed towards intentionally serving those in the 4/14 window in various states and nations through a variety of ministries was heart-warming to hear. Our gratitude is accorded to Dr & Mrs Luis and Doris Bush, Mr. Toyditz Cosico (Holistic Child Development, Philippines), Mr. Matthew Ling (Family Track, Malaysia), Mr Tri Budiarjdo (Government Track, Indonesia), Mr. Lamech Patterson (Gen Y, India), and Mr. Michael King (Media Track, USA) who served enthusiastically and with great joy.
It can be concluded that as the result of this conference, several dozen strategic ministry partnerships have been forged to serve multiple thousands of 4/14 in each South Asian country. It can also be inferred that as a result of this gathering, a key leadership group has been set in place to serve the 4/14 with greater focus, vision and commitment.