For me, watching the development of young apologists to reach this generation is the path we must follow. The 40,000 students at Passion are only a fraction of the many more that are hungry for meaning and for answers. Outside of the gospel of Jesus Christ, there is no hope for them. The gospel speaks to our greatest need, which is that of a Savior. The gospel speaks to the transformation of the human heart. The gospel speaks of God’s love that needs to be shed abroad through our hearts and our obedience. The gospel speaks to strengthen our homes and provides moral reasoning from our very Creator. The gospel commands us to be to be prepared to give a reason for the hope that is within us. That is why we speak and teach and have a vision for this ministry. That is why we build for the now and the future. We need to do this together. In order to buy this property, donors from six different countries participated. I am earnestly praying that our home base—North America—will now enable us to move forward with the renovations to make this place ready to function by the end of the year. With each one of us participating, it can be done.
The new year is truly a landmark year for us. When we begin in 2017, I sincerely hope The Zacharias Institute will be opening its doors for seminars, symposiums, individualized study programs, and a library to equip those who wish to be better prepared. Visiting scholars will be on hand and different groups will have access to our teaching plans. We also hope to have a special program for the arts, both the performing arts and the fine arts. This generation has an eye and ear for that. The vision is relevant, the basis is The Truth. I earnestly pray for our best days ahead. Please especially pray for Vince and his wife, Jo, as they move to the US to anchor this vision. Vince actually hails from New Jersey, so for him its “returning home,” albeit to Atlanta.
The itinerary for the year ahead looks busy and wide-ranging, from numerous university engagements globally to State Prayer Breakfasts to academic, business, youth, church, and political gatherings. We speak on issues of the soul no matter what the audience. In India, in March, I will be speaking at two of the finest university colleges in the country, one in the north and the other in the south. Our whole team is busy in Europe, Asia, Oceania, Africa, and the Americas. The reports we receive from all of these places is heartwarming. We are placing one of our key apologists in Kenya beginning in July. John Njoroge has finished his doctoral work here and returns with his family to the land of his birth. This is truly a calling from God. He could comfortably settle here but right from the beginning when he came, his goal was to open wide the door in Africa for Christian apologetics. His ministry there is extraordinary. So now in addition to Mahlatse Winston Mashua in South Africa, we will have John Njoroge in Kenya. We also have Australia and New Zealand in mind for expansion this year. We are watching carefully the possibility of one Chinese apologist. Our Asia Pacific region is growing dramatically.
May I close with a couple of personal anecdotes? One of the most thrilling things we see is military personnel writing to us or sending messages of how they listen to our programs wherever they are based. Their letters touch us deeply. With that in mind, I will be in several military bases and venues this year and the next. In addition to that, twelve, thirteen, and fourteen-year-olds ask to come and meet us. Their parents write and say they are listening to us all the time or reading our material. One young lad of fourteen had his mother drive him several hours, just to say how deeply he has been touched by our work. One mother, whose son had attended the Passion Conference, wrote to say that she had started listening to our messages when her father was listening to them. So she said, “Ravi, your work has touched three generations.” Those are the comments that keep us going. I could tell you more stories because prominent leaders in the country tell us of their young teens listening to our programs. That is so heartwarming. We feel so honored and privileged to be in ministry. I ask for your prayers. More than ever we need to be sensitive to our Lord’s leading. We need to be in his will. We need to spend time with our families and meet their needs as well, to say nothing of our own. Our calling is clear, our responsibility is great, our need is real, our dependence is great. We count on you all to stand with us as we surrender our hearts to the Lord afresh every day. He gives your friendship and support to remind us that He will provide and we are not alone.
Have a blessed 2016, and thank you for standing with us. With gratitude,
Ravi Zacharias and the entire RZIM team