Just one week to go!
The global launch of a new arrangement of this song will be happening all over the world on February 21st 2016.
The story behind the original
And it’s a really inspiring story.
The original hymn was penned in January 1931 by Frank Houghton, a missionary with the China Inland Mission (the precursor to OMF). It was a time of civil war in China and several missionaries were martyred. Other missionaries were withdrawn from their stations in 1927.
In the face of these difficulties, in 1929 the CIM issued a call for 200 new workers within a 2 year period. Frank Houghton wrote the hymn in support of the 200 appeal.
By the end of 1931, ‘the Two Hundred’ had all sailed for China with enough provisions and finances for them all. In response to this amazing answer to prayer, one CIM missionary wrote:
In a very real heartfelt sense we take to ourselves the language of the Psalmist:—
‘ Blessed be the Lord God, the God of Israel, Who only doeth wondrous things, and blessed be His glorious name for ever.’
More about the man
Frank Houghton later became bishop of an area of China called Szechwan and then General Director of CIM 1940-1951, another very turbulent time, including the Second World War. But also, a time when all the CIM missionaries were banished from China.
In the face of that difficult situation, CIM went to the surrounding nations of East Asia and became known as the Overseas Missionary Fellowship, continuing to face the unfinished task.
The story behind the new arrangement
Last year, 2015, OMF celebrated its 150th birthday. As part of the celebrations the team at Getty Music got together to write a new arrangement of this old classic to be sung by a new generation who still face the task to go to all the world.
For a taster of the song that will be sung around the world, here’s the official lyrics video:
The global event
The new arrangement will be launched around the world in just a few days on February 21st. So far, there are 5 languages available (including Japanese – yay!), with 2,744 churches from 48 countries spanning 6 continents all getting involved! It really is a global event!
Here’s a map showing all the places (thus far registered) around the world where the song will be sung on February 21st.
The current General Director of OMF, Patrick Fung, says this about the song:
Facing a Task Unfinished- this challenge issued more than eighty-five years ago remains.
We have the same commission today – to share the good news of Jesus Christ in all its fullness with all peoples to the glory of God.
It truly is an enormous task. (Have a look here at some sobering figures, and that’s just East Asia!) But we have an enormously hope in a Lord who is powerful to save!
What about you?
Will you and your church get involved?
There are tons of creative ideas for an event on February 21st (or any other day) to help people think and pray about world mission.
- Sign up here and join the global chorus singing to go to all the world facing a task unfinished.
- Even if you don’t host or attend an event on February 21st, it is a task that ‘drives us to our knees’, so please keep praying that the Lord of the harvest would send more labourers to the fields that are ripe for harvest.