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Radical Sacrifice

October 6th, 2017 | in Generosity |    0   


Note: This article first appeared on page 28 in the Fall/Winter 2017 issue of Alliance Connection magazine.

God calls every one of us to play a role in seeing every tongue and every nation gathered around His throne.

For many of us, this calling will mean making tough or unexpected choices and radical sacrifice.

Robert Jaffray understood this calling, too, and didn’t shy away from sacrifice, despite having his own doubts, fears, and other matters vying for his attention.

“If God will, I reach Hong Kong tomorrow morning early, and have the full day there….As you know, I think, I am making now for the Conferences in North China…Many times I have felt like regretting having promised to go, for I feel as pressed for time as I ever did with the full responsibility of South China work upon me, and again I seem to dread the standing before so many missionaries and Chinese leaders as a teacher of the Word of God. But, these Conferences have been asking for me to go for some years, and I feel now it is His will for me to go…”

Those words are an excerpt from a letter Jaffray wrote to his colleagues in 1931 en route from what was then called Saigon to Hong Kong. In his words, you can hear the tension or the internal struggle even many of us feel today when we have other needs and responsibilities pulling at us to go one way when God is clearly telling us to go His way or do something else He has specifically planned for us to do. In the end, Robert decided to follow God’s will and what an incredible difference this made in the lives of so many people.

A Young Person on Fire for God…

Even as a young man, Robert Jaffray was motivated by the message of the Gospel. He lived a life centred in Christ, empowered by the Spirit, and focused on mission. When he was 16, Robert, a Canadian, gave his life to Christ and soon came under the teaching of A.B. Simpson, founder of The Christian and Missionary Alliance (C&MA).

A passion for missions began to burn within Robert, but this came with some conflict in his home life. His father, a businessman with political influence in the late 1800s, owned the forerunner to the Canadian newspaper The Globe and Mail. Robert Jaffray, Sr. intended to pass his money, influence, power, and prestige on to his son, but on the condition that he give up his plans for missions.

Faced with this ultimatum, Robert chose to follow God. He left for China when he was 23. He faced diabetes and heart troubles. But what drove him was the fact that so many people still hadn’t been told about Jesus. He relied on God for strength to persevere and keep him well enough to travel and work as a missionary.

…Becomes a Man Determined to Reach as Many as Possible for Jesus

Jaffray’s office walls were lined with maps, and he prayed over them almost daily, asking God where the Gospel should be proclaimed next. Jaffray’s prayerful work led to his reputation as a “man of the map,” a nickname that has since been extended by many to include the C&MA worldwide as “people of the map.”

The Jaffrays and their colleagues led many people in the Guangxi province to faith in Jesus Christ and planted churches in the Wuzhou area of China. Among other things, he established a printing company to publish training materials, mostly written by him.

In 1911, Jaffray launched a mission into Vietnam. Today, the C&MA in Vietnam has more than 1 million members, 550 ordained pastors, and 2,775 churches.

In 1928, Jaffray felt God pulling him to the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia). He later wrote about Bali in The Pioneer, the missionary newsletter he published, “Pray for Bali. As far as we know, there is NOT ONE soul saved through the Blood of the Lord Jesus among the native inhabitants of Bali. The Balinese also must someday sing the song of the Redeemed. When shall they learn it? Who will go and tell them?”

So again, Jaffray went.

In 1945, during World War II, Jaffray died of illness and malnutrition in an internment camp. His legacy is one of surrender and obedience to God.

Jaffray’s Legacy is Relevant Today

In 1930, Jaffray wrote in an issue of Pioneer, “A dispensation of the Gospel is committed to us. The time is short. These are not days of ordinary missionary work. In the short time that remains for us to work for Him, we must concentrate on this kind of missionary work. If we take up this task of going to the unreached parts of the world for Him, the Lord will surely work with us and He will work speedily too.”

What a sense of urgency in these words! As we go about our daily lives each day, living and maybe even struggling to follow Jesus, it’s worth stopping and taking the time to ask ourselves: “Do I carry that same urgency with me today? Like Robert Jaffray, I have my own struggles, my own important responsibilities, but as I continue to walk with Jesus do I also have heart and concern for those who don’t yet know Him?”

God is still calling workers to go, and He is still leading the C&MA to least-reached people groups. Through an initiative called the Jaffray Offering, we want to share the love of Jesus with the Balinese, urban professionals of Mexico City, Yazidis, Wolof and Fulani – specific groups whom we believe God is calling us to reach for Him.

Some of us are called to go – but there’s also a vital role to play for those of us who can pray and give.

As you read this we hope you will do three things. First – know that we remain ever-grateful to our Alliance church family for the support they’ve shown to the Jaffray Offering so far (see page 32 for an exciting update!). Second, we hope you will pray for the initiative we are taking in reaching these groups, some of whom are in places where it is difficult, if not dangerous, to share the Gospel of Jesus. Third, if you haven’t done so already, we hope you will consider what choice – what radical sacrifice – you can make today to ensure more people across the nations have the chance to hear about Jesus.

To learn more about the Jaffray Offering and download other reading materials, please visit us online at: cmacan.org/jaffray-offering

Jaffray Offering People Groups

Balinese Hindus

Almost all Balinese people adhere to the Balinese Hindu religion, a combination of the Indian model of Hinduism and elements of indigenous beliefs.

They try to maintain a balance between good and evil forces so they make offerings to both gods and demons.

Urban Professionals of Mexico City

This group of people, once they have received the Gospel, is positioned to reach the other 125 least-reached people groups of Mexico with the message and love of Jesus Christ!

In addition, Mexican and Latin professionals are often needed in the 10/40 window, where nearly 5 billion people live; 62 percent of people living there have very little access to the Gospel.

The Yazidis

The Yazidis have inhabited the mountains of northwestern Iraq for centuries; the region is home to their holy places, shrines, and ancestral villages.

Pray for these displaced people who have faced genocide more than 70 times, most recently by ISIS, which has invaded their territory and brutalized them. The Yazidis are trying to resettle in other countries or in refugee camps.

The Wolof and Fulani

Along with Islam, the Wolof often practice other traditional beliefs. Nearly all Wolof wear amulets, believed to have the power to protect them from harm.

The Fulani are among the most widely dispersed and culturally diverse peoples in Africa. They form the largest pastoral nomadic group in the world.


Robert Jaffray understood his calling and didn’t shy away from sacrifice.

When faced with the choice between a life of sacrifice and a life of great wealth and prestige – Robert chose a different calling. To take the Gospel to unreached parts of the world and to offer people the opportunity to know Jesus – even while he battled health problems and other barriers.

Robert Jaffray’s ministry spanned decades – starting first in South China and serving God and the people there for 35 years. He also travelled to other countries across Southeast Asia, taking the Gospel to least-reached people groups in those regions. His legacy continues to inspire and motivate us today.

Since launching the Jaffray Offering in 2016, individuals and churches have together raised over $617,000 (as of July 31, 2017) for global missions! That’s an astounding figure in such a short time. Thank you so much for your generous support!

Here’s a snapshot of our work on the ground so far:

• International Workers (IWs) Gary and Sharon Howell moved their lives and ministry to Senegal to assess the needs of the country and the Fulani and Wolof people. They outgrew space in their home due to the high numbers of Fulani men coming to Bible study and so a new home with a larger space was found to continue the study. This new space is aptly named: Nicodemus House.
• Other IWs have also led short-term teams in Northern Iraq to minister among the Yazidi people and those fleeing Mosul, and to encourage Alliance churches in the area.
• IWs and new workers are being called by God to serve the few evangelical Wolof Christians in Senegal: 200 known believers. IWs are currently evaluating the work of other organizations to discern how God wants to use the C&MA and what personnel are needed for this work.

This year, we need to keep going – including reaching the Balinese of Indonesia, the urban professionals in Mexico City, the Yazidis in Iraq, as well as the Wolof and Fulani across Africa.

Thank you in advance for your continued prayers for these workers and projects and for your support!


Mark your church donation to the Jaffray Offering, or use the enclosed stamped, self-addressed envelope, or donate online at cmacan.org/jaffray-offering.


• Breaking Through the Darkness – Bringing the Gospel to least-reached people groups
The Final Count – Jaffray Offering update
• The Jaffray Legacy Lives On - Nurturing new ideas, collaborative initiatives and fresh ways to bring hope and healing to a dying world
• Bringing Peace to Northern Iraq
• Jaffray Offering Resources
• Our Best-kept Secret Revealed - Shunning wealth and power, Jaffray was a missionary pioneer in some of the largest mission fields of the world
• Four Pillars of The Christian and Missionary Alliance in Canada - A.B. Simpson, John Salmon, Dr. Robert A. Jaffray and A.W. Tozer

Abigail Brown

Abigail Brown is director of Communications at the C&MA National Ministry Centre in Toronto, ON.


more stories by Abigail Brown


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