When I saw it, I was immediately struck and somewhat humored by the "Population Density" map.
Do you see the top right (northeast) corner where it's all dark? Yep, that's where we live!
It's a rural area for sure. The cows outnumber the people by the thousands. There is a lot of land but few houses and few families - hence the literal darkness on this map. It is beautiful here at night, the stars are amazing and the sounds of frogs, crickets, birds, coyotes, etc...can be heard clearly especially in the Spring which I hope is right around the corner!
But there's another map that's indicative of the area we now call home and in which we serve.
Look again at the top right (northeast) corner.
We are on the line between Lewis and Clark counties.
So somewhere between 45 and 84% of our neighbors do not know Jesus. Not only is it physically dark here; it is spiritually dark here, as well. Very dark in fact. And it's not the "Everybody loves Jesus" Southern culture I grew up in. This is an aggressive out in the open rejection of Christ.
Just this week alone I have encountered two women - one Catholic background Agnostic and one New Age who denies Jesus' exclusivity. It has been an exhausting week for me spiritually as I have spent hours just this week sharing the gospel, answering questions, and practicing scriptural apologetics with these women. I have spent a good part of this afternoon in tears and a tummy ache, physically sick, after these encounters. And that's just me. James, as the pastor, carries the brunt of the work in this community and encounters the darkness much more than I do. I really don't get out of the house that often - haha!
I would love to do an exposition of verses on Jesus being The Light of the World, but honestly I am tired. Hudson has been cranky all afternoon save a short hour of playing at the park so that hasn't helped. So instead, I point you to this sermon by John Piper as encouragement.
Please pray for us and our little family and the ministry we are seeking to do in this area.