I heard it! I saw it! I felt it! I experienced it!

The Book of 1 John begins with the apostle John stating: "That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life" (1 John 1:2).

John’s words possess a tone of certainty and authenticity. He had been there in person, on-site, as an eyewitness of Jesus’ life. On the basis of firsthand observation and experience, he verifies the truth and guarantees that what is being presented to the reader is undeniable fact. His testimony is incredible because he was there as a participant in the life of Christ.

John recognized the power of presence. When a person sees an event, a situation or a life unfold; when he hears words, background chatter, music, laughter and cries of pain, his perspective becomes personal. When his hand touches or makes contact with people, he feels their joys and sorrows. When he smells the aroma of their home, workplace and community, he enters into a very real dimension of their lives. When he tastes their food, he shares in the product of their hands and the fellowship of fellow human beings.

John summed it up well when he wrote, "I have much to write to you, but I do not want to use paper and ink. Instead, I hope to visit you and talk with you face to face, so that our joy may be complete" (2 John 12). A lot can be communicated by a letter, an e-mail or a post on Facebook, but nothing satisfies or builds a relationship like a personal visit when friends talk face to face and experience a heart-to-heart flow of genuine fellowship.

The impact and influence of a first-person, on-site report is powerful! Jesus emphasized this to His disciples, saying, "You are witnesses of these things" (Luke 24:48) and "You will be my witnesses" (Acts 1:8). Jesus taught the same principle the Old Testament instituted: "Every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses" (Matthew 18:16).

A personal visit with an unreached people group is meaningful. The impact of presence is evident to those receiving the guest, because it demonstrates that they are special and valuable and that someone wants to be their friend. The visitor connects both mentally and emotionally with these beautiful people made in God’s image. His presentation of who they are—their felt needs and spiritually lost condition—makes an incredible impact. The result it a testimony echoing the apostle John’s: "I have been there, met them, taken it all in and developed a relational bond."

Are you ready for an "in person" encounter with an unreached people group in your area?