The Importance of Transportation in Missions

Welcome to our new podcast series, simply and aptly titled, Asked and Answered,” where you, our listeners, ask a question about modern missions today and our Executive Director, Ron Pearce, and Vice President Charis Pearce answer to the best of their ability. My name is Joy Kita and as always, I will be your podcast host. Stay tuned to the very end of this podcast to find out how your question can be asked and answered. So in the studio with me right now we have Ron and Charis Pearce. Welcome back, guys! I hope you are as excited as I am about this new series. You know how many questions I usually have about missions and what God is doing around the world so I am trusting that our listeners do as well. Are you ready for our first question?

Ron and Charis- We are ready! Shoot!

Joy- Okay, what role does transportation play in the church planting ministries around the world?

Ron- Well, transportation takes on many forms and it’s usually a way of just getting people around or getting movement involved, and the reason why it is so necessary in missions today is because it is the most effective way to utilize a person’s time who is in the ministry. For instance, a young pastor goes out there and starts one church, therefore, he can live next door to the church or something of that nature in India or Vietnam. But usually what happens is, because there is such a great growth in the body of Christ around the world, in most of these countries that we deal with at Empower, he won’t just start one church, he’ll start two, three, four, five. Now these aren’t right next door or two blocks away. This could be in the next village, this could be five miles up the road, and this could be across the river sort of situation so that means that he’s got to get there. So we don’t want him to waste his time by walking because he’s not really productive when he’s walking. We want him to get there quickly so that he can minister and bring forth the word of God and lead people to Christ and help disciple. So we want to make him more effective in ministry and we can do that by giving him a bicycle or a motorcycle, a donkey, Charis what are some of the other things?

<p>Boy working on a motorcycle</p>
So we want to make him more effective in ministry and we can do that by giving him a bicycle or a motorcycle, a donkey.

Charis- We’ve done horses and camels and elephants and…

Joy- Wait, you’ve done elephants?

Charis- Yes, that was a different situation. {laughter}

Ron- That was a situation with Buddhist monks who needed to haul teak logs out of the jungle. These were born again Christians who got kicked out of the monastery. They were Buddhist monks in the monastery and they came and said we need an elephant. So we came home and tried to raise money for an elephant and I tell folks we got a used one, two years old and it was a good model on the lot. So they got it, they hooked up the logs, they pulled out the logs, they sold them, and then that way they were able to make enough money whereby they could be in ministry going in and talking to the other Buddhist monks. So it was valuable. It was a short distance sort of transportation but its movement that is involved and its tools for ministry. That’s really what we are talking about.

Charis- So they didn’t take the elephant from village to village.

Ron- Well, maybe they did!

Charis- They might have! {laughter}

Joy-So for me, I have actually never considered this question before. I’ve never thought about transportation in missions. But the more I learned about it it’s really quite interesting. When you have people who are turning to Christ and then becoming church planters, a lot of them are walking, I mean they don’t have a lot of money and I never thought about it at all.

Ron- Well, listen to this as well Joy, most of the growth in the world today is not with the rich, it’s not in cities, and it’s not in areas where you can use a car or afford a car. Therefore, most of the transportation that is needed is for a country road or a trail or something else like that so, therefore, a bicycle or a motorcycle will do. These are poor folks. They can’t afford to put gas in. A motorcycle takes only a little bit of gas and a bicycle, well that is just human effort. Therefore, that is where we really need to give these young men and young women some sort of transportation to be able to be effective to get around in rural situations.

Joy- And we have talked about before how it is in the poorer areas where the Gospel is exploding in most of these countries. That’s right? So when it comes to bicycles then, is this one of the number one things church planters in-country can use?

Ron- Well, yes but there are so many church planters we can’t afford to buy one for everyone. So we ask the leaders of the church planting movements, how many do you need and who do you need them for? And he will say well, we need 500 but we can only afford to maybe get ten. Well, we will get one to this leader or this guy who’s got a real ministry over here, he’s an evangelist. So they know how to place them, so we try to provide as many as possible.

Charis- Another thing that we have done over the years is, we did camels. It was in Ethiopia, and they were these mobile schools that they would take and bring to one village, set up the school, and then in a little while, pack it all up on the camel and move it to another village and we found those extremely effective also.

Ron- This was in Ethiopia in a desert situation. They would take it in the desert to these locations and win the lost. I was just over there, Charis, and I heard stunning numbers from this. For instance, I think it was like 15,000 or 20,000 people over a period of oh, I think it was about ten years ago that we got started. 15,000 or 20,000 people accepted Christ because of this! And that was again, just by camels.

Joy- And is this because the people on the camel or using the camel, they can get into places?

Ron- Yeah, so they were following these caravans and they would hook up with them and travel around the countryside and they would provide school for those people that were in the caravan. And then they would come to a certain location and they would camp there for a while and well, the school took on a little bit of a more solid form. They would talk about Jesus, they would talk about the Bible. The Bible was the textbook for reading. These people just came to the Lord and then they would keep going on the camels to the next village or to the next caravan or something like that.

Joy- And I suppose the transportation helps it to be easier to revisit people.

Ron- Oh yes! It’s quick movement because the need is so great. Here’s our problem. We have so many people around the world right now that want to hear the Gospel and they are having such great success, the young pastors, and evangelists etcetera, in winning the lost. We’ve just got to help them get there quicker to reach these people basically before they die.

Joy- Every day matters, right.

Ron- Exactly, it’s a day-by-day, minute-by-minute opportunity to provide them with wheels. Wings on their feet shall we say, to get them there as soon as possible.

Charis- It’s also the most cost-effective way too. Some people say well why don’t you just get everybody cars, well, we can get a lot of motorcycles and bicycles for the price of one car.

Ron- Exactly! And cars break down easily and parts are hard to find sometimes whereas motorcycles, if you get one that’s in that country or they’ve got parts for, very simple to fix.

Joy- Okay, so the difference between giving someone a motorcycle and a bicycle, is there different standards to that or different countries?

Ron- Different countries, different situations, everything like that. A motorcycle, Charis, $1200 to $1500?

Charis- Yeah, about that much.

Ron- Usually that much cost in most situations and a bicycle would be…

Charis- Around $100. And a lot of the leaders we work with, they know the cost and they know the amount of bicycles they could get to their workers versus one motorcycle so they are very strategic in how they plan also..

It was in Ethiopia, and they were these mobile schools that they would take and bring to one village, set up the school, and then in a little while, pack it all up on the camel and move it to another village and we found those extremely effective also.

Ron- Another matter involved in this is this allows the pastor to go out and visit his congregations in the outlying areas but he is also able to be home at night. That is important to protect his family. Because in some of these situations it’s rather dangerous because of persecution or robbers and everything like that. So when daddy, who is also the pastor evangelist, can be home with mom and the kids at dark, that is really, really good. It gives the pastor more freedom. To be walking in the darkness in an area where there are tigers, lions, thieves, cutthroats, everything like this, is not good. But if you are on a motorcycle, you can come home and be home quickly and take care of the family.

Joy- And there are probably some places where they would travel extensively in the daytime, like from village to village right?

Ron- Yes. I talked to one pastor one time in Ethiopia and I asked him, So how far do you walk in any given day?” And he says, Well usually I walk about ten miles.” I said, Ten miles? You must be walking most of the day!” He said, No, I have to get up very early in the morning at four o’clock to go to the first stop, and then when the sun comes up I teach and then I walk to the next one, do some teaching, walk to the next one, do some teaching and come home.” He says, Many times he will do Bible study while he is walking and he will have some of the villagers follow him.” He’ll say, I’ve got to go to the next village but I have to tell you more about Jesus so he says come along and walk with me.” Well, it would be so much better to put something like two wheels underneath this man to be able to get quicker to the places and that is why transportation is so valuable.

Charis- And it also comes back to, they know the urgency. It’s not a nine to five job and once five o’clock comes I’m home. This is their life and they want to reach as many as they can with the Gospel.

Ron- Exactly. In Vietnam, you can put five people at a time on a motorcycle. I’ve seen this and Charis, you have seen this many times

Joy- No, you can’t!

Charis- Many times! Whole families!

Ron- Yes, you can. You put dad basically driving, mom behind, and kids somewhere ahead of dad or behind. I’ve seen it so many times. In fact, when we go into Vietnam and we take guests with us or something like that, if there is four on a motorcycle we don’t even bother bringing it up because that is so standard, but if you get five on that is something to point out. That is sort of the rule of thumb.

Charis- And you can see stacks of boxes and, it’s amazing how they can move stuff on a motorcycle.

Ron- They can move steel on motorcycles, bricks, pigs, chickens! I’ve seen 30 chickens in cages strapped onto a motorcycle!

Charis- A motorcycle is like a multi-purpose vehicle over there.

Ron- Oh yeah, it’s like a half-ton in our words and they can haul a lot of goods and a lot of people.

Joy- So the transportation, this is something that Empower is specifically doing in different countries around the world, is helping out with transportation?

Charis-That’s right. India, Vietnam for a few of them. We do bicycles, we do motorcycles, and it all depends on the country and the need.

Ron- It’s not our primary focus, we are not a motorcycle ministry. But what we are, is we are finding the needs and the opportunities. Primarily we are Bibles, we are training, and we are pastoral support. But then somewhere around the edges, we have to help them with these tools.

Joy- Because it’s more effective for the Gospel.

Ron- Way more effective. It’s not something that will stop the Gospel, but we can speed up the spread of the Gospel through it.

Joy- And like we said, every day counts and matters in this.

Ron- Souls are important.

Joy- Okay, well, I think you answered that question very effectively, good job! It’s always a pleasure talking with you both. And for our listeners, if you would like to have your question about modern global missions asked and answered you can go to askus@​ronpearce.​org, submit your question and then keep listening and see if that question has been answered. We look forward to having you join us next time.

<p>Family on motorcycle</p>
In Vietnam, you can put five people at a time on a motorcycle.

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