Missions and abortion in the 10/40 Window

Scott is joined by Leslie Segraves, the Cofounder and President of 10/40 Connections and recent new speaker at Life Training Institute. They discuss the missions that they do in the 10/40 window where they use the link between abortion and the Gospel to build God’s kingdom.

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 Welcome everyone to the Case for Life podcast. I’m your host, Scott Klusendorf. You can find us at prolifetraining. com where I serve as the president of Life Training Institute. You can also find us at scottklusendorf. com and caseforlife. com. I am thrilled today to have a great guest. In fact, this is one of my star students.

She took my course, the Case for Life, which we’re going to make available to all of you very shortly. You’ll be getting details about that. But this particular guest today absolutely rocked the show. She not only did excellent academic work in the, uh, course, she did a final project that, that drew me to her speaking ability.

I’m a sneaky professor. What I do is I make all of my students take a final exam that involves making a presentation. They don’t take a written test. They have to go out and speak and record it. And they think I’m doing this to torture them. Actually, it’s not. It’s a recruitment tool. I get to then find out who’s got it together.

And I, I, you can imagine as an instructor, you’re going through 30 presentations. In this case, I think there were 55 people in the class this particular time, and I’m watching all of their presentations and I have to grade them and give feedback. And it gets a little monotonous, you know, they’re doing a great job, but.

When you’ve seen one student presentation, you’ve kind of seen them all. Well, in this case, up pops Leslie, who is our guest today, Leslie Seagraves. And I watched her presentation and I was so taken by it. I ran downstairs to my wife, Stephanie, and said, you got to watch this. Stephanie watched it and said, you got to hire this girl.

She is good. And I said, yeah, she is. And, uh, ever since then, we have had her affiliated with us here at LTI, and we are really thrilled to have her on the team. Leslie, it’s great to have you. Thank you so much, Scott. That class was a highlight at that time of my life when I was taking it. And I so enjoyed learning from you.

And I actually loved getting to do the presentation because it was practical and I’m a practical theologian. And I was like, We’ll just go see if I can make this make sense to someone else. So I actually was excited about that challenge. Well, you not only made sense of it, you, you hit it out of the park.

It was a platinum level presentation, and that’s not something we see every day from students. So great work. And we are thrilled to have you be the newest speaker for us here at LTI. And I want folks to get to know you a little bit before I ask you some questions about world missions and pro life apologetics and how that can help us here in the States.

Uh, just tell us a little bit about your family and a little bit about you so viewers can get acquainted with you. Yes, I will. So my husband and I, we have been married for 25 years and we have four children. One is a daughter, 15 years old. Our second child lives with Jesus. We miscarried her, but we believe that life begins at conception.

So we, as a family talk about her a lot. We have Joyce’s Jesus day on the day that we believe she saw Jesus as a little bitty one. And, um, so she’s our second child. Our third is a boy and he’s 13 years old. And then our last one is adopted from China and she’s nine years old. And so as a. Jesus. We want to see the great commission completed.

We travel on mission. We have lived in Asia as a family and we just returned from Asia from spending the summer there. So absolutely love being a mom, love being an executive director of a mission organization called 1040 Connections. Chad and I started that 23 years ago. And what we do is we have a passion to see.

The gospel just take root in the most unreached areas of the world. And so we work in the 1040 window where the most unreached people groups live, and we engage them with word and deed. And then with the power of the Holy Spirit, churches are planted. And then those disciples make disciples who make more disciples.

You said something that some people might find a bit strange or even perhaps controversial. You linked pro life apologetics to gospel proclamation. Talk to me a little bit about that link. Yeah. You know, I, I hear that sometimes and like, Oh, it’s political. And I say it is political. It’s between the kingdom of God and the kingdom of darkness.

I think it’s extremely political. S supernatural realm. And you know, I think what John Scott, who’s a mythologist, he said that we need to live with our ear to heaven and our ear to the cries of humanity. So what does, what does God weep about and what does humanity weep about? And so that is really what I think when I think about how do we link these together.

Where is God weeping about the hard, the stiff necked people and what we do and what we do to the littlest among us. And I think that when you see that viewpoint, but then when I’ve traveled globally and I see the pain of so many women who’ve been exploited, men who’ve been, they’ve been exploited, but not even realizing they have been and then literally millions of babies that are missing.

In Asia because of abortion. And I think that what the church needs to do is we need to find these points of contact, the weeping of humanity with the weeping of God. And from there begin to ask Jesus, give us insight how to be strategic into this realm, because I think that’s where Jesus can shine the brightest.

And I’ve seen that globally over and over and over again. Leslie, are pastors more open to addressing abortion overseas because it’s not as political as it is here in the U. S., or is it pretty similar to what we face here? You know, that’s a really good question. I think, you know, when we are working in the 1040 window, we are working in the house church movement.

And a lot of these people are, we work some with traditional church, but We work with a lot of first generation Christians that they have come from Hinduism. They’ve come from Islam. They’ve come from atheism and they are hungry to know Jesus and to walk in his ways. And so for them, some of them, they might not at the beginning think abortion is wrong because they’ve been just inundated with information from the government, whether it’s the one child policy that China used to have, or whether it’s India that was speaking about, um, you know, the, until the baby breathes oxygen, the baby’s not a baby.

Um, you know, whatever that might be, many times when we give them the information, they are stunned and they do move to repentance if they’ve been promoting it in any way. Just to give you a brief example of that, we were, um, having some church planting in, taking place in South Asia. I’m not going to name the country.

And our person was teaching and she was going over the Ten Commandments. And when she got to the commandment, do not kill, she said, and that means you cannot kill inside the womb. And there were 45 female church planters in this room. And one of them interrupted and said, what, what, what are you talking about?

And she said, you cannot kill outside the womb or inside the womb. That would be against God’s law. And all of a sudden these church planters, they began to. Scream and wail and cry and began to repent. And they asked, they said, how many of you need to repent of abortions? 44 out of 45 of them needed to repent of abortions.

So noisy that the male church planters that were being equipped somewhere else, they ran over thinking there was an attack of persecution. And so that there were people at the doors. They’re like, no, this is God’s word. There’s repentance. And so they were repenting and they said, we had no idea. They were all Hindu background.

They had absolutely no idea and they repented and they said, we will teach this. We have a curriculum called voice for the voiceless. And they said, we will teach this curriculum until we die because we did not know that life began right at conception. So as far as like the political side of it, I would say it’s much more political here.

Yeah. But I think that’s just a way that Satan has confused people in the church to make them think that they cannot enter into the conversation. And I think that it’s just that his deception, um, but overseas, we have found that even among the Christian population, some of them have had abortions because of the government, what they’ve been taught.

But once they hear so many of them respond through repentance and then wanting to live a way that, um, exalts life because Jesus does. You know that story you just showed or shared about the 44 women out of 45 repenting. I think a lot of our pastors here stateside need to hear that kind of thing because I think what happens is they think that if they try to address abortion straight away it’s gonna drive people away.

And what you’re saying is when they addressed it, it brought revival. Yes. Yes. Absolutely. And I mean, I have so many stories about this in one South Asian nation, a different one than the last story, they, our partner began to teach and he began to speak about the voiceless curriculum. What we do is we tie women’s reproduction, baby development and abortion, and we weave the gospel through it.

So we’ll be doing science and then we will talk about the most high God named Jesus takes 7 weeks to develop your set of fingerprints. So we keep trying to tie in. To the greatness of you, Jesus is, and many of them have never heard of Jesus. And so he began the story of, you know, all of the things that he was talking about and they had a break and the next day he was going to continue the seminar.

And the next day there was a couple in their seventies, a man and woman, and they came forward, interrupted everything. And this is an Asia where shame and honor. Mean a lot more than they mean in the United States. And they stood up and they said, before we can go on, we must stand in front of all of you and tell you our story.

And they talked about how 45 years prior to hearing this seminar, that they had had an abortion and they had kept it secret for 45 years. And they said, but when they heard about the value that Jesus Christ gives to women. Men and the preborn child, they said, we knew that this is why we had felt a weight on our shoulders for so many years.

And they said in front of everyone, we want to say, we repent of taking the life of our child and we want to be made right with God. And this was in a Christian group that they were doing this curriculum with. And they, they, there’s a picture that we have of the, the man is just weeping and the woman is just pulling at her hair.

And, but there was so much joy and they said, for the years we have left, we’re going to be teaching the value of life. So I would say, yes, we are so afraid sometimes to talk about the things that Jesus actually died for. And abortion is just one of the sins that Jesus died. He died for all sin. So, but when we hide from the reality of what Jesus did on the cross, I think we are losing this ideal place to enter into broken humanity when we’re silent on this issue.

Last week, my colleague John Ensor made a great point. He said the sin of shedding innocent blood requires the shedding of innocent blood, meaning that the shedding of innocent blood in abortion can only be atoned for through the shedding substitutionary work of Jesus on the cross. And yet so many people in our pulpits have talked themselves into this notion of That we don’t want to touch this thing.

It’s a political hot potato and they won’t address abortion, not realizing that in sparing the topic, they’re not sparing people guilt. They’re sparing them healing because unconfessed. Then has them out of fellowship with Christ in a way that they need to be in fellowship with him. Absolutely. And I would wholeheartedly agree with that.

You know, I, sometimes I get sad when I go into churches and, um, I would say my whole family does because we’ve been around the persecuted. We’ve been around those that are willing to take just the hard line in the sand and say, Jesus is worthy. And sometimes I just get upset when I hear sometimes this, this, the sermons and what’s going on, because I’m like outside these walls.

But also inside these walls, there are people that are hurting so badly, even if they don’t know that some of the things they’re doing are sin, it’s violating their fellowship with God. And I know that God has created us for this adventure. This he’s created us and invited us into be a part of his rescue mission of whatever it is that is causing people to be slaves to any type of sin.

And so I just, I think there’s so much more that God wants for the church, and I think so much of it is that he wants. the church to be at the forefront of fighting for life. Take a minute and pretend you’re speaking to a pastor who says, why should I talk about abortion? How does that relate to my gospel ministry?

How would you specifically say to him, here’s how the gospel intersects with the pro life ministry we’re asking you to undertake. Great question. I think for me, when I think of the gospel, I bring it down to two main things. One is that Jesus is the answer for sin, which affects every culture in the world.

And Jesus is the answer for death. He died on the cross in order to forgive us of that sin so that through his resurrection, we also could have life. And so what I would just tell a pastor is, you know, when you are having the opportunity, To either speak for life or to not speak and be silent. Whether you’re speaking or whether you’re silent, you’re affecting this issue of the death or the lives of the unborn.

You’re what you are doing is making a difference physically for someone else. But I think for the sake of the, when I think about how to tie the gospel into abortion. Abortion is a sin. It’s against the creator who created this image bearer. So it is a sin. It’s not an unforgivable sin, but it is a sin.

And that’s part of what it means. You know, the word repent, we don’t want to hear very much anymore, but it’s to turn from what we’re doing and to get lined back up to God’s ways. I would just tell a pastor, like, you know, don’t be afraid to be the voice because when you tie in sin and death, this is what all of us have to experience as humans, but Jesus is the answer to both.

And when we don’t take the most, the largest genocide that’s facing the world, all over the world, when we do not take that issue and address it, we literally have our head in the sand. And, um, God, I think is, you know, I think of John four, when Jesus is talking to the disciples and he says. Open your eyes when, after he’s talked to the Samaritan woman.

And when you look at that in the Greek, what that means, it actually has two meanings. It means one, wake up, you are asleep. The second meaning is look up, have a bigger vision. And so I would just encourage pastors to don’t be asleep on the largest genocide facing the earth, but also have a vision about how your church can join God in this rescue mission to lead people away from slaughter.

Yeah, that is so good. It is frustrating to me beyond end that we have to fight the battle stateside here to convince people that abortion relates to gospel. Look, the bad news of abortion can point people to the good and healing news found in Christ. In fact, We’re preaching a false gospel if we never talk about sin concretely.

We love to talk about it in the abstract. Here’s a concrete way to talk about sin and then point people to the only remedy that can help them. There is salvation and no other name under heaven by which we must be saved. And there are people who are post abortion who need. between what they did and what the culture tells them, okay, it’s fine to do that.

And to the only one who can save them. And by being silent, we’re sparing them the healing that comes through the gospel. And that’s sad to me. I can just think of two quick stories. There’s a woman I’ve talked to the other day from North Africa. And she said that after she became a believer, That she, um, realized after some time of discipleship that she needed to talk to Jesus about her baby that she had chosen to abort.

And she said that as she walked through this process, that she discovered that Jesus was right there with the cross waiting for her just to say, I did wrong. Please forgive me. And now when she said that when she repented, that God set her free. And she said, there was literally a weight that came off my shoulders.

And so now she walks very strongly with post abortive women to try to help them realize that there is forgiveness. But then a Chinese woman that I had met, she said that the government forced her to have one abortion and then she chose to have the second abortion because her husband, she and her husband were not getting along.

And she said that she became a believer and was felt set free, but it was several years later that a believer said, you know, you need to go back through your life and make sure that you’ve. Repented in order just to bring the acknowledgement back to God. And she said, well, what do you mean? And the lady named some different things.

And she said, are you talking about abortion also? And the lady said, well, if you’ve had an abortion, yes. And so she went to the Lord about both the forced abortion, which was not her choice. The government did that, but also her choice of abortion for the second child. And she said that, she said, Leslie, she said, literally when I.

Asked for repentance. She said, I never knew what freedom felt like. She said, my life was just overwhelmed with a sense of warmth and of joy. I know Jesus forgave me. He said, I’m going to see my kids someday in heaven. And she said, she said, then she went, she said this, she said, Leslie, the weight I feel is what I believe almost every woman in China is underneath because they do not know that abortion is a sin.

And they do not know the name of Jesus Christ who can forgive them of that sin. Wow. Yeah. Ignorant on two fronts. Yeah. You know, I had a woman come to me. I’m interested to hear what you think of my response. And she said to me, I can never forgive myself for my abortion. I said, you’re right. You can’t.

There’s only one who can forgive you. That’s Jesus. You can’t forgive yourself. In fact, all our efforts to forgive ourselves and make ourselves good and right are going to fall apart. And my big concern is that when we don’t speak about abortion, we’re either conveying to post abortion men and women that abortion is no big deal.

Or we’re conveying that it’s unforgivable and both of those are disastrous for people who need healing. What have you learned internationally that you think would be helpful to pro lifers here stateside? Wow. Um, that’s a loaded question. I gave you no time to think about. Isn’t that lovely of me? Well, you know, one of the things I think about is those that are working on this issue internationally.

And of course I’m talking about in Asia where the believers are fewer, there’s a smaller percentage. One of the people I’m thinking about right now, one of the couples working on it, they are the only group doing pro life group in their nation that they know about. Um, and another nation in South Asia, when I went in to train some people to see who could then start teaching our voice for the voiceless in that particular language, there was, um, a man sitting there and usually I was only teaching it to women at the time.

And I went outside to argue with God just a little bit because I talk about reproduction and I thought in Asia, you don’t have women talking about this in a mix. Company or a man and mixed company. And I was like, Oh goodness. And I went outside to argue with God, like, why are there four men? And they’re ready to be trained.

And I felt the Lord very strongly in my spirit. Say, go in and teach voice for them voiceless and teach it with the distinctive, the gospel within the science. And so I went back in and taught the curriculum and this man came up to me afterwards and he said, Leslie, I just started the 1st pro life group inside of our nation.

And I have absolutely no curriculum that this would work. Can I partner with you and use this in our nation? And so. I think for me, what I’m seeing is that these are people very isolated in the sense that they don’t have lots of people necessarily working with them, but they have become the warriors for life and they are willing to, to provide access and ways for others to be equipped in life.

Um, whether it’s through the voice for the voiceless or now I’m beginning to teach them the apologetics of life and just this, this urgency that they have, this, um, Desire to speak of something that they know is hurting the humanity that’s around them. And I think it’s just this urgency and they recognize that it’s a way we have, we actually use voice for the voiceless to equip church planters to use it as access points into these very unreached villages and loads of stories about how villages have heard of Jesus for the first time.

But to me, I think it’s the big issue of. Internationally, what I have seen is the sense of obedience, and I think in the United States, um, I, I love, um, my husband and I, we started our church to help the unreached, but also to love and mobilize the American church. And as a student of both the international side and of the American side, I think that what we see in church planting movements that are disciple making movements that are working quickly and very persecuted context is there’s the sense of obedience.

I learn it. I know it’s in God’s word. I go and do something about it. Whereas in the West, there’s a luxury we have to education and to debate. And so I think sometimes in the West we get stuck in just the rational thought. Is it right? Is it wrong? Is it legal? Is it, and all of these things. And so the obedience isn’t necessarily something that quickly follows.

But Jesus said that if you love me, you’ll obey my commandments. So I think we need to be people that think with our minds. Feel with our hearts and our hands and feet are very quick to follow and obedience. Yeah, that’s good. Uh, what do you think are? Some of the translation issues between teaching pro life apologetics here in the state versus in Asia.

Is there a learning curve there? Any differences to keep in mind? Yes. I that’s, I’ve just now begun to go over cause the voice for the voice has been our Focus, because it’s right on the grassroot level. But then as I started gathering these life advocates back up, I would ask them, what are the questions you’re running into?

And it was so interesting because I took the class that you taught me and I began to try to, to, to distill down, not the academic articles, but just the basic questions, what is the unborn, the syllogism that you talked about all the time, and I use that all the time with them. Um, but the translation issues are in the academic debates of the United States.

You have like the endowment view or you have the personhood theory. There’s words like that that don’t really have translations and the languages that I’m working inside of. And so when I was teaching in one South Asian nation this past summer, I would say these words and go, Oh my goodness, I have to think through what the endowment.

Theory what that what that even is in a way that the translator can grasp it and then put it into what they can understand. And so. I think the academic words, I’m having to really try to break down. What those things are, and I think that’s exciting, though, because for me, I love to learn, but I am I like to make things practical.

And so, to me, if I can think of these personhood theories, and these these hard theories, but if I can distill them down into the. Basic foundations of what they actually are saying so that my children can understand them. Then I can, then they’re more useful not only to them, but for me, as I just deal with general public anywhere, but internationally, these are brilliant people.

It’s just that the language of teaching in English is the, is the, the tricky part. So do you have time for a part two? I’d love to bring you back and, uh, for our next session and talk a little more about the course that we’re going to be offering here at LTI that the course you took and just for our viewers, help them understand the benefits of that course, what it will equip them to do and to hear it from a student who actually took the course and knows the material well and who mastered it better than anyone I know.

Uh, can we bring you back for our next session? Thank you. I would love that. I’d be happy to do that. That would be great folks. It’s been great having you again. Visit us at prolifetraining. com. You can find Leslie’s bio and information up there. If you need a speaker for your school, your church, maybe your pregnancy center fundraising banquet.

I am here to tell you this young woman will deliver pro life content for you in a winsome way That will engage your listeners equip them to be better ambassadors for christ on this issue And I hope you will use leslie in that regard. Thanks for being with us. Leslie Thank you so much for having me till next time everyone.

Look forward to seeing you then