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WEEK OF PRAYER: God’s purpose to conquer lostness

Christians worship in a South Asian megacity. At the IMB, we believe that missionary presence cultivates gospel access, gospel belief and church planting and multiplication. IMB Photo

EDITOR’S NOTE: This year’s Week of Prayer for International Missions in the Southern Baptist Convention is Dec. 4-11. Each year’s Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions supplements Cooperative Program giving to support Southern Baptists international missionaries’ initiatives in sharing the Gospel. This year’s offering goal is $185 million. To find resources about the offering, go to https://www.imb.org/generosity/lottie-moon-christmas-offering/

The big outreach event was almost here. Plans had been made and prayer supporters engaged. South Asian believer Abel was leading the efforts for a widespread gospel outreach to a largely unreached district. But COVID-19 disrupted the plans. Transportation to the region shut down and the event had to be cancelled.

A Ghanaian woman leads Bible study during Sunday school at Kolinvaai Baptist Church in northern Ghana. A prayer of IMB missionaries is to disciple national believers to embrace their role in the Great Commission. IMB Photo

But Abel didn’t feel like God was canceling the efforts. He sensed the Lord saying he should focus on a community closer to home. The prayers kept coming and Abel and his wife, Sarah, went out boldly to share the gospel. That’s when God led them to a community of M-Jo people with no known believers. Living in family clusters, the M-Jo had not heard the gospel, but two families showed an interest in the visitors and hearing more of the stories they told.

God chose to move in this village, but His movement started years before with International Mission Board missionary Paul Nations. Paul, who made a home with his wife and four children in South Asia, spent years discipling Nathan. Nathan is the one who led Abel and Sarah to the Lord. They all serve together now with one purpose — to penetrate the darkness of this region with the light of Christ.

Under a mosquito net, an IMB missionary works with a local believer to prepare their oral storying assignment during a three-month training in the jungles of Peru. The training is for new team recruits, both American and Latin American, who are preparing to serve in remote locations throughout South America. IMB Photo

Abel and Sarah returned week after week to the M-Jo community, faithfully sharing the gospel. Several chose to believe and after the seventh week, a man named Stephen chose to follow in believer’s baptism — the first known baptized believer in this people group. Stephen was the answer to many prayers, and not just the prayers of the missionary team.

He was the answer to the prayers of those who faithfully ask God to move among the world’s unreached people.

Stephen was anxious to grow in his faith and his Christian friends faithfully discipled him. The more he learned, the more he taught others. The first person Stephen baptized was his own mother. Her eternity changed forever because of her son’s obedience to the Lord and the boldness of Christians to bring the message to his village.

Stephen leads efforts to reach his own people group with the gospel. There are now 11 known believers in this community and 27 families regularly meet to hear the Word of God taught.

An IMB missionary leads a Bible study discussion in a home near Rioverde, Ecuador. Southern Baptists send IMB missionaries to be steadfastly present among those who have never heard the Gospel — people in cities, people in hard-to-reach places and people who are dispersed and displaced around the world. IMB Photo

With a strong team of national believers, Paul invests his time in discipling, training and building in them the vision to reach the millions of unreached in their country with the gospel. Paul emphasizes the lost living around them. They are intentional to pray for them and ask others to do the same. In this country, the value of disciples who make disciples is on full display and changed lives is the result.

Will you join Paul and his family in praying for the unreached people of South Asia? Thank God for believers and disciple-makers Nathan, Abel, Sarah and Stephen. Praise God for other believers among the M-Jo people and ask Him to extend His reach into this people group.

Some names may have been changed for security reasons.

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  • IMB Staff