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Light for the Lost Staying Committed to Original Vision

Growing from one man's divine vision into a global resource for Bibles and gospel literature, Light for the Lost has stayed focused on its God-given mission for 70 years.

Editor's Note: January 28, 2024, is Light for the Lost Sunday in the Assemblies of God.

While attending a revival service in Santa Ana, California, Sam Cochran was overcome with the Spirit of the Lord and given a vision that would impact lives around the world.

In an interview, Cochran recalls details of his vision. “I saw a Bible coming out of the sky. Thousands of people, representing many nations were crying, ‘Give me the book, give me the book,’” he says. He goes on to say that as the voices cried out for a copy of the Bible, a trap door appeared, and the entire crowd fell into the flames of hell.

Unable to ignore the constant replay of this vision in his mind, he shared what he had seen with a group of men from his church who became equally burdened for the lost. Together, they founded Light for the Lost (LFTL), a ministry that would provide Bibles and gospel literature to people across the globe.

Within just a few years, Cochran’s vision became contagious. In 1959, one of the first LFTL events was held which raised $20,000, a sum of money only God could have provided at a banquet so early in its existence.

Cochran’s vision continued to grow and would eventually work in cooperation with 66 Assemblies of God districts to raise money for the purchase of materials to be shared with missionaries and ministries both domestically and internationally.

As LFTL approaches its 70th anniversary, Light for the Lost Director Rick Allen states that tremendous growth has occurred in the past decade.

The three main areas of success over the last 10 years, according to Dan Kersten, director of development and communications for Light for the Lost, are its strategic adjustments, its focus on the original mission, and its prioritization of missionaries.

“LFTL wisely adjusted to the reality that the gospel is no longer communicated solely by mouth and print,” he states concerning the topic of strategic adjustments. “It is also communicated in the platforms of video, audio, internet technologies, and apps.”

This adjustment has allowed missionaries to apply for LFTL funding who are using digital technology, he states.

Additionally, as the original vision has not changed since Cochran’s encounter with the Lord in 1953, staying “laser-focused” on the original mandate is what Kersten believes is the second highlight of the past decade.

Finally, staying faithful to aiding missionaries above all else is the third pillar of LFTL’s years of success.

“Through our steadfast commitment to missionaries, and funding their requests for evangelism resources, we have seen God bring an increase in giving and, therefore worldwide impact over the past six years,” Kersten says. “Even in times of economic downturns, God’s people continue to see LFTL as a worthy investment of their missions dollars and prayers.”

Along its journey, LFTL has partnered with several other Assemblies of God entities, organizations, and affiliated agencies such as Global University, Project Rescue, Africa’s Hope, the FireBible, Bible Engagement Project, AG Youth Ministries, and AG U.S. Missions. Intentional collaborations have allowed LFTL to fund evangelistic tools and resources in strategic missions projects.

However, for Kersten, one of the most noteworthy highlights from LFTL’s 70th year has been in helping to launch the Youth Alive edition of the FireBible, as well as the Chi Alpha FireBible.

“These Bibles are LFTL investments in our youth and college students. LFTL provided 100% of the funding for both of these Bibles which are now in distribution nationwide,” Kersten states.

General Superintendent Doug Clay says that these two editions of the FireBible, which he calls “phenomenal tools,” were a dream that LFTL helped make a reality.

Additionally, LFTL has completely funded the translation of the FireBible into several different languages.

Looking forward, Kersten is encouraged about the next 10 years. He states that the strategic plan for another decade of success will come from staying on mission, which involves LFTL doing their part to accomplish the Great Commission, continuing to support and lift up missionaries who need resources, fulfilling all current and future commitments made to missionary families or organizations, and increasing engagement by partnering with more AG districts/networks, local churches, families, and businesses.

“We invite everyone who has a heart for reaching the lost with the gospel to partner with us,” he says. “More than 9,300 ministry partners gave generously in 2023. Imagine what 12,000 or 15,000 ministry partners could help accomplish.”

LOWER IMAGE: Sam Cochran

Ashley B. Grant

Ashley B. Grant has a master's degree in Human Services Marriage and Family Counseling from Liberty University and is a credentialed Christian counselor through the American Association of Christian Counselors. Grant also holds certifications in crisis pregnancy counseling and advanced life coaching. Ashley is a fourth generation Assemblies of God preacher’s kid and has one daughter and three sons.