Three Baptists, two Pentecostals, and one non-denominational believer moved to a tropical paradise.
No, it’s not the start of a questionable joke.
But it is the beginning of an incredible story I recently heard about how God is making inroads into one of the least-engaged people groups in Asia (and the world).
Last week, I attended a conference which gathered missionaries and pastors from around the world for four days of teaching about church multiplication.
During lunch one day, I had the fortune of meeting an ministry worker, who I’ll call Charlie Brown. Charlie leads the inter-denominational troop described above, which is based in a popular tourist destination in Southeast Asia.
For the better part of the past decade, Charlie’s group has been translating and distributing the Bible in the language of one of the least-engaged people groups in the world (the “Gerbers”, in the northwestern part of Asia). The Gerbers have been historically quite difficult to reach due to the fact that the area they live in is heavily policed and almost entirely closed to foreigners.
That’s why Charlie and his team decided to figure out a way to distribute these Bibles from 1,900 miles away.
Charlie’s team created a smartphone app for the Bible in Gerber language, and spends most of its time and energy finding ways to advertise and promote the app online, from an entirely different nation. The details of their operation are remarkably clandestine (or, as Charlie puts it, “All cloak, no dagger.”) He is incredibly proud of his team of “hackers” working to find (and then conceal again) the proper digital channels to bring the gospel to the Gerbers.
And they have been remarkably successful! Since January of this year, the app has been downloaded 20,000 times in Gerber territory, and has 2,000 active readers every month.
Charlie and his team are also working on finding other avenues to distribute God-centered materials for the Gerbers and other unreached people groups throughout Asia.
Learning about the work Charlie and his team are doing has been one of many highlights recently. The past few weeks have been full and moving.
On Mother’s Day, I had the opportunity to share at my home church about some of the lessons the Lord has taught me about my role in the Great Comission. One of those lessons that has deeply impacted me is that being used by Him is not about being in the right season, it’s about being faithful in whichever season you’re in.
It was incredibly uplifting to have that truth affirmed by one of the final speakers at the conference I recently attended. This ministry worker, who has helped plant over 800 churches along the Amazon River basin in Brazil, was asked what advice he would give a 21-year old wishing to get started in ministry.
He said, “Be fruitful where you are. If you don’t minister where you are now, you won’t on the field.”
Those words have been stirring in my heart and continue to challenge me as I serve with CT here in the U.S.