Our family was overjoyed to hear of the Arkansas Baptist State Convention’s recent decision to generously give an extra 1 million dollars to the International Mission Board! Since returning to our home in South Asia at the beginning of the year (thanks to the generosity of ABSC churches), we are having the time of our lives entering the harvest field, training local churches to make disciples, walking alongside emerging leaders, envisioning selected faithful men for Unengaged Unreached People Group engagement projects, and nurturing a new puppy.
Arkansas Baptists recently initiated a prayer adoption strategy for the unengaged unreached people groups (UUPGs) in South Asia. UUPGs are people groups which are less than 2% Evangelical Christian, and which are not engaged with a church planting strategy consistent with Evangelical faith and practice. Over 350 of these unengaged unreached groups are scattered across our portion of South Asia. Yet, within a week of an ABSC church adopting one of our UUPGs for prayer, the Lord led us to a new network of national churches who live and work in close proximity to that people group! The adopted UUPG is an upper-class group resistant to the gospel, but these national believers say God led them to pursue hard to reach people groups, and they want training in how to make disciples among them! Talk about an answer to your prayers! We consider this the activity of God and we have great expectation this UUPG will not only be engaged but have healthy churches among them that are actively sharing the gospel with the lost.
Our role as your sent ones is to catalyze training and coaching for local ownership of the Core Missionary Task here in our part of South Asia, because only 2% of the 312 million people in our area identify as Christian and every 17 seconds someone here dies and enters eternity apart from Christ. A heartbreaking reality. However, for the past 2 years we have walked alongside a national network of 1,000 pastors. Imagine if the thousands of work hours already being spent by these leaders (and their disciples) were turned towards biblical patterns and kingdom vision. Last year alone, even among some of the strictest and longest lockdowns worldwide, there were 1,100 new believers baptized among this network in our one state alone. God is doing amazing things with your praying, giving, going/sending!
*Lilly and Alexander Traverston serve with the International Mission Board in South Asia, and Lilly’s family is from Arkansas where her father is the pastor of an Arkansas Baptist State Convention church.