1909 was a relatively quiet year in the history of the world, though not without some notable events. In the U.S., William Howard Taft was sworn in as the 27th president and in world news Ernest Shackleton’s Nimrod expedition ventured less than 100 miles from the South Pole.
One other incredibly important milestone was also put in place in 1909. You won’t read about it on any timeline. You won’t find it commemorated by a marker on the side of a road, or celebrated through an exhibit in any museum. But God set in motion a ministry that would eventually change the lives of countless Asians.
It started when a young woman in Chicago learned about the 3 million people in South China who lived on boats and in the fringes of society. Ostracized, marginalized and stigmatized, the “boat people” had no access to the wonderful good news of Christ’s love. But God had a plan. As Florence Drew listened to the stories of these forgotten Chinese, she heard the call of God to “Go!”
Like Abraham, who went out to a people and land he did not know, Florence obeyed her Lord. Without a missionary society, without fellow workers, she started on mission with God and lived the rest of her life among the boat people of South China. A few years later, with the help of her brother, a mission board was formed, and over time the organization grew to 24 people serving on 14 mission boats in three provinces.
Why do I tell this story? Because the launching of Florence’s ministry 110 years ago marks the start of one of the mission agencies that would come to be known as Christar. In the decades that followed, her work in South China merged with ministries in India and joined forces with other groups in Asia, all committed to cultivating Christ-honoring transformation in communities where He is not yet worshiped.
Our Christar heritage, in many ways, is as humble and as bold as Florence’s obedience. Our workers don’t show up in missionary biographies, on lists of famous Christians or on plaques in churches. But God has stirred the hearts of these faithful believers and put in them a burden for the least-reached. And, like Florence, they have said yes to the call.
Just as Florence fearlessly went where believers had not been before and started a new ministry that had never been done, Christar workers are still doing courageous, innovative and groundbreaking acts of service among Buddhists, Hindus and Muslims around the world. As 2019 unfolds, I look forward to sharing more with you about situations where the ostracized, marginalized and stigmatized have been abandoned by society, but God, who sent His only son to save the lost, still sends messengers to carry the gospel of hope.
Will you start the new year with me with a commitment to pray for the least-reached and the ministries of Christar workers around the world? If you aren’t getting our monthly prayer updates, you can subscribe HERE and can find additional tools for prayer in the resources section of our website.
Enjoying the Treasure,
Dr. Steve Coffey, Director of Christar U.S., began work with Christar in 1989. He and his wife, Beth, initially served among North African immigrants in France. In 2001, they returned to the U.S. for Steve to lead the Christar Church Planting Division. In 2005 he became Director of Christar. Before serving with Christar, the Coffeys worked for a year in a humanitarian project in the Red Sea hills of Sudan among the Beja people. Dr. Coffey’s education includes an undergraduate degree in history education from Liberty University, a Master of Divinity from Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary and a Doctor of Strategic Leadership from Regent University. The Coffeys have three children and four grandchildren.