As the TWR Global Quest online contest builds to a crescendo for its closing day, two clergymen in widely separated locations bearing curiously similar place names are atop the leaderboard.
It’s Indiana vs. India as the “adventure in the Great Commission” enters its final 24-hour period Tuesday, Sept. 30, 2014. The good-natured battle royal atop the general public’s leaderboard pits Ben Russell, an associate pastor at Westwood Church in Evansville, Indiana, against Isaiah Kakinati, a pastor and founder of Anchor of Hope Ministries in the state of Andhra Pradesh.
Russell leads all players with more than 640 points, and Kakinati is in second place with more than 450 points. The third-place contestant in the general-public pool has less than half Kakinati’s point total.
Both Russell and Kakinati have recently begun developing closer relationships with the global media ministry also known as Trans World Radio. Westwood Baptist is a sponsor of the Allen and Abby Dill family, TWR appointees who are raising support to serve as missionaries on Guam. Kakinati has connected with Craig Church Ministries (CCM), a ministry partner of online media portal TWR360, to undertake long-distance evangelism projects.
Russell said, “Through playing this game, I've had different people in our congregation comment that they have learned much about TWR and feel confident in your dedication to the importance of outreach and evangelism.”
Kakinati has built his point total by recruiting other players through his widespread networking efforts, much like the ones he is putting to use in partnership with CCM. For November, Kakinati is helping to coordinate arrangements for preacher Craig Church’s visit to India for three days of open-air evangelism meetings. The North Carolina-based CCM is enlisting prayer and financial support for the meetings, which Church hopes will reach tens of thousands.
“I have communicated to my participants via Facebook, Twitter, emails and telephone,” the Indian pastor said. “I have telephoned to some participants as they are not much aware of Internet stuff. … TWR Global Quest gives an insight into TWR’s mission. Once they come to know what TWR is doing, definitely they will be encouraged to pray for, support and participate.”
Russell already knows which of the three grand-prize destinations he will choose if he wins: Guam, allowing him to get to know the TWR mission field where his parishioners expect to serve. Kakinati said he plans to take along his brother, Samuel, if he wins, but he will leave it to TWR to select the destination that will be most beneficial for the media ministry’s mission.