It's the most wonderful time of the year! As the focus turns once again to the approaching Christmas holiday, it is time for something else that happens every year: the Week of Prayer for International Missions! This week we take time to stop and pray for the mission work going on around the world as a whole, and for specific ministries that are highlighted each day of the week. Prayer is vital to the success of the work that is ongoing across the globe and we are so thankful to those who are faithful to intercede on our behalf and on behalf of those who we are trying to reach. Thank you for your support. None of us could be here without you!
Focus Scripture: Matthew 16:24-25, HCSB
Pastors brave threats and bombs in the Himalayas. In Central Asia, an IMB doctor’s greatest concern isn’t for safety but that his ministry will make a difference for the kingdom. A worker in war-torn Somalia of the ’90s knew he’d have to be willing to die for Jesus and spend years learning why believers in persecution grow unimaginably strong in the faith.
Engaging people groups in the hard places comes with risk and sacrifice for all who obediently choose to be His heart, His hands, His voice. Most of us aren’t threatened because of our faith, but we need to be in prayer for those who are — not that persecution will end but that believers in persecution will stay courageous and bold.
Giving is also a call to obedience and sacrifice. The Lottie Moon Christmas Offering® enables IMB missionaries to live and work at the forefront of lostness and extend our witness through their full-time ministry.
Each of us and our churches are called continually to take the next step in our obedience so that Christ is glorified and to ask “What am I doing and what is my church doing to be obedient — to BE His heart, hands and voice, no matter the cost?”
Grace* shakes her head. Feathered earrings dance, framing her face with motion and color. She is a member of one of the indigenous tribes of South America and is talking about the future of her people.
There are outsiders who would keep them in something of a museum — as living history, she says — stuck in a time that has not been a reality for several generations. It’s not what she wants. Yet the identity of her people in the global community is not an easy issue. “A lot of our people don’t even know our [culture],” she says. “They say they do, but they hide behind it.”
She wants her people to move ahead — to “win.” She wants them to take advantage of all that is going on about them while retaining the best of their culture. That means having to change.
Grace and her tribe are among 3,400 unengaged, unreached peoples across the world. Nearly 400 are in South America. Isolated by language, culture, history and — in some cases, geography — they live mostly in small clusters of fewer than 3,000 people. Most will never have a missionary assigned to them. Yet the church is called to take the Gospel to all peoples.
Gifts to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering allow IMB personnel to identify and understand these often forgotten people, offering Southern Baptist churches committed to embracing unengaged, unreached peoples a basis for beginning their work among them.
Pray that Grace’s people truly will “win” and have the opportunity to hear about their Savior.
Pray that your church will be one to embrace an unengaged, unreached people group that might not otherwise hear the Gospel. (Learn how at call2embrace.org.)
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