Here I am in Sanford, Florida, home office of Ethnos360, hearing from missionaries who have served all over the world— lives dedicated to seeing “unreached people” reached with the gospel. I am at a Pre-field Orientation preparing to “go” to Papua New Guinea, a place that still takes me awhile to find on the map, a place I’ve never been and, quite frankly, a place I’ve never wanted to go. But as I hear people’s backgrounds, both the ones who have been with the organization for 30 years and the ones headed to the field like me, I’m reminded that God writes each of our stories specifically and uniquely. Every now and then I catch a glimpse of the magnitude of that and how amazing our God is in orchestrating our paths and His plans and purposes for us.
Are you familiar with the Rain Forest display at the Fort Wayne Zoo? The map and the photos of indigenous people at the beginning of the exhibit? Or maybe it’s just me who found that so fascinating? Seeing that in high school, I didn’t know anything about missions or the people groups of the world, but that stirred something in me. Around the same time, the small church I attended in Huntington, Indiana, had missionaries serving in the Asia Pacific at a missionary school share, and that was really the first exposure I had to missions. Even back then, 20 years ago, God stirred something in me to want to support them.
Fast forward maybe 15 years and a couple I knew, Megan and Jared Hood, met with me about their upcoming plans to move to Tanzania to be part of reaching ‘the R people’ with the gospel. That was really the first time I had heard of several things, and I am forever grateful for the understanding they gave to me in that meeting and in the months and years following. I hope to pass this understanding on to you— what is meant by “unreached people,” what the church’s role is in reaching them, and how God has a part for every believer in world-wide missions. If you doubt that or can’t imagine how that could be possible for you, just wait, I’ll share that with you. But first, if you’re a Christian you need to understand why you should care about that person in a country you’ve never heard of who has never had the opportunity to know about Christ. Here’s a great video about what the Bible says about missions.