EDITORIAL: A legacy to reach the unreached
Serving on the island of Guam, he met a man who introduced him to New Testament Christianity. Judd was baptized and enlisted as a soldier of Christ. In 1957, he crossed a different ocean — the Atlantic — and lived in mud huts as missionary to the African nation of Malawi.
Four years later, Howard Norton and a team of believers traveled to South America to win souls in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
Combined, the two men baptized thousands. They also trained future generations of Christians to take the Gospel to their people.
This month we join with Christians in the U.S. and Africa as we mourn Judd’s death at age 85. We also rejoice that the legacy left by Judd — and hundreds of others like him — lives on.
We see evidence of this legacy in our report on African Christians spreading the Gospel in their continent’s newest nation — South Sudan. A new generation of indigenous believers is following in Judd’s footsteps, boldly proclaiming their faith in foreign fields.
We also celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Sao Paulo team. In this month’s Dialogue, Norton reflects on the team’s legacy in Brazil, where Churches of Christ now send local Christians to plant churches in unreached parts of their country.
Norton continues to leave a legacy for Latin America as president of the Baxter Institute in Honduras, which equips evangelists to reach Spanish speakers around the globe — including the U.S.
Indigenous believers play vital roles in reaching countries that would be difficult fields for U.S. Christians. At Baxter, for example, instructors train students from Cuba to plant churches in their island nation.
Similarly, African Christians can, and must, take the Gospel to their continent’s final frontier — the predominantly Muslim north.
In this month’s Currents section, we recount the story of Isaya Jackson, a Sudanese refugee who studied at Sunset International Bible Institute in Lubbock, Texas. After his training, Jackson returned to Africa and baptized countless numbers of his fellow refugees.
As the refugees returned to southern Sudan, students at Sunset moved the Sudanese flag from a wall of nations unreached by Churches of Christ to a wall representing nations with congregations.
When South Sudan becomes an independent nation on July 9, that flag will need to be replaced with the flag of the new nation.
And, regrettably, the flag of Sudan must be returned to the wall of unreached nations.
Taking the next step — winning souls in north Sudan and other Muslim lands — will require partnerships between African Christians and U.S. supporters. It will not be easy, but it must be done.
How many potential Jimmy Judds are in north Africa right now, waiting for someone to introduce them to the life-changing power of the cross?