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Articles Tagged with: Issue 5

A Brazilian Restaurant in Africa Making a Big Impact

Twenty years ago, Bethany missionaries from Brazil began a Churrascaria in a country in West Africa. After much perseverance and hard work, the restaurant is thriving and generates revenue to bless many ministries both inside Africa and more recently in South Asia.

Today, inside that West African country, the restaurant’s profits fully contribute towards the following:

  • It funds a Christian elementary school in an impoverished area with 270 students and staff of 15 locals. This includes providing breakfast and lunch daily.
  • It supports two missionaries and a home for 16 young homeless women in a nearby city.
  • It rents buildings for churches in 4 different locations and towns, and provides a portion of support for several pastors including housing.
  • In a city located on the other end of the country, the restaurant contributes the rent of a food dispensary, which daily attend the needs of 60 underprivileged children, sharing with them in a very tangible way, the love of Christ.
  • In the interior of the country, it sponsors a sports center that that reaches out to the young people of the community.

Seeing this restaurant become a multiplier for missions has led the founders of the Brazilian restaurant to move to a country in Southwest Asia. They have begun a second restaurant. The first restaurant is blessing multiple ministries and now is pioneering a new mission enterprise in Central Asia!

“God our God shall bless us! God will bless us, and all the ends of the earth will fear Him” Psalm 67:6-7

 

This article is from the Fall 2017 Issue of CoMission Magazine.

Helping Others Do the Same

Bethany seeks to effectively partner worldwide to accelerate the spread of the gospel. We identify specific challenges and opportunities that warrant collaborative efforts and address root causes rather than just symptoms. The measure is that the Lord Jesus is made known and that His Body is empowered to take the church to where it is not.

Bethany is blessed to work with more than 100 international mission partners serving in 96 countries. This past year the fruit of these united efforts has seen the increase of thousands of new believers and new churches.

  • 37,800 new followers of Jesus
  • 1,260 churches started

Progress in preparing workers for the harvest field in 2016

  • 303 pioneer missionary training schools
  • 2,340 national workers trained
  • 282 Unreached People Groups with Workers
  • 106 Unreached People Groups adopted by Bethany and international partners

96 countries with Bethany workers and partners including

  • 21 of the 50 predominately Muslim countries
  • Both India and Nepal (95% of all Hindus in India)
  • All 9 predominately Buddhist countries
  • 28 of 30 countries with the largest numbers of Unreached people groups

“Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the Harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.” Matthew 9:37

“Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” John 12:24

This article is from the Fall 2017 Issue of coMission Magazine.

How the ENGAGE500 Initiative Works

HIDDEN PEOPLES

There are thousands of people groups worldwide with no Christian witness. These are real people, with real faces and real names. Engaging them is no easy task. It requires working together to identify, adopt, and mobilize workers.

1. Trapped in Need

Unreached people groups often have significant health, educational and community development needs where outside intervention is still necessary. As well, according to joshuaproject.net, more than 2,000 people groups have less than 0.5% Christians. And, there is intense spiritual darkness with little hope of change unless the Gospel is both demonstrated and proclaimed.

2. Limited Resources

Too often, efforts to reach these hard places are not sustainable and are under-resourced. The challenge could be a small remote tribal group of 500 people in West Africa, of which no known believers yet exist, or number into the millions with a history of being highly resistant to the Gospel. The hardest challenges require that God’s people work together in new ways. Workers with geographic and cultural proximity are desperately needed.

3. Culturally Inaccessible

How will they hear? Christian workers have not been prepared to enter these remote, needy, and often dangerous environments. The average person could not walk into a village and even expect to be heard, let alone accepted. There is much skepticism, fear, and distrust.

BRINGING HOPE

There is nothing more exciting for strategic than training and discipling first generations believers to reach their own people and establish the church for the first time, and then to see a new generation of believers commit to reaching their own people with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

1. Researching Needs

Research builds understanding of practical and spiritual needs, gives a basis for establishing relationships, and sheds light on how to serve and make a difference. Research identifies people groups with less than 0.5% Christian presence in a country. Responding to practical needs opens the door to bring the light of the Gospel to new people groups. In light of this, the Bethany Institute for Missionary Research has been developed.

2. Working Together

When we assess needs, understand the on-the-ground physical, social and spiritual dynamics, and combine resources and abilities under the leadership of the Holy Spirit, the walls of resistance begin to come down. Collaboration creates breakthrough and grows as we work together with national partners to see sustainable movements toward Christ. Bethany partners with churches, denominations, and national mission initiatives.

3. Distributed Training

Bringing training to where the workers are, rather than bringing them to a centralized training facility, multiplies the number and effectiveness of workers. Bethany partners have started more than 300 missionary schools strategically placed at the front lines to prepare missionaries as close as possible to where these workers and the people they serve live. This plays a key part to raising up leadership and multiplying believers and churches.

 

This article comes from the Fall 2017 Issue of coMission Magazine.

Good News

The concept of ethno linguistic people groups or “nations” was introduced by Ralph Winter in 1974. HIs insights brought a focus on reaching individual people groups, not just countries, with the Gospel. Despite many initiatives to “finish” the Great Commission task, about 2,000 distinct people groups and millions of villages still have little or no Christian witness!

At the same time, there is growing pressure and “competition” from Muslim “missionaries” seeking to garner new converts to Islam. Radical Islam is establishing cells of jihadists whose mission is to disrupt and create fear. Jihadist Training Camps, such as one in Sudan, train up to 2,000 young Muslim men who will be sent back to their countries to recruit and radicalize other youth. We are in a race to reach people. There are windows of opportunity to penetrate the spiritual darkness, but they require strong and coordinated collaborative action.

Research helps. Efforts to research the spiritual condition of people groups have raised awareness among mission agencies and evangelism groups.

It is difficult for us in the west to truly comprehend the global need for the Gospel. As I share basic information about unreached peoples, surprise is expressed that everyone hasn’t already been reached, let alone even had access to the Good News. Creating awareness is critical. Awaken to the World, a program developed by Bethany missionary, Jeff Korum, has stirred the church in Ghana, West Africa concerning the global mission challenge. Awareness leads to a call to respond. Effective training of workers must accompany focused sending of missionaries.

In 1995, a collaborative mission initiative, GlobeServe, brought together the collective resources and efforts of mission and church leaders from several countries. We recognized that the hidden and unreached peoples challenge cannot be solved alone.

Bethany International, along with Bethany International University (BIU), founded by a Bethany missionary in Singapore in 1989, spearheaded a global effort to train workers for cross cultural ministry by multiplying mission training schools placed in proximity to targeted people groups. IN the past 22 years, 202 of these schools have been launched. BIU has discipled and prepared leaders from many African and Asian countries that have gone back to their country of origin and launched pioneer mission training schools focused on reaching into the unreached regions and peoples. We have come along side of national mission initiatives to encourage their vision and efforts.

During the past 25 years, tremendous progress has been made in preparing and sending workers. But, we are not done, and Jesus has not yet returned! So we keep praying, planning and working.

GHANA

 

  • Population: 28.21 million
  • Official Language: English (though there are 8 other languages sponsored by the government)
  • Life Expectancy Average: 61.45 years
  • Capital City: Accra

Unreached tribes in the Northern part of Ghana have not yet been radicalized even though those in neighboring Nigeria have become militantly anti-Christian. Bethany Gateways’ missionary, Sam Dunya, began to dig wells and serve the needs in villages throughout Northern Ghana. Today, Sam has found an open door of ministry among a number of these tribes and has planted more than 200 churches in these and other Muslim villages in the past several years.

Each time Sam receives permission from village chiefs to start a church in an unreached area (an amazing God thing), he asks the chief to give him two men who are healthy and intelligent so he can train them for two years and send them back as a blessing to their village. In this way, Sam has embarked on a training program for hundreds of young Muslim men who then come to Christ and are prepared to help extend the Kingdom of God in these formerly resistant areas.

Sam has a goal to train upwards of 2,000 men in a multiplication-oriented training program that will provide leaders for many more churches in this region of Northern Ghana.

ETHIOPIA

 

  • Population: 102.4 million
  • Official Language: Amharic
  • Life Expectancy Average: 64.58 years
  • Capital City: Addis Ababa

Early Ethiopian missionaries working among Muslim tribes were often heavily persecuted and some suffered martyrdom. Much of the problem was that even though these missionaries had great zeal, they did not have the training they needed to minister across cultural and religious boundaries. It’s been more than 10 years since Bethany helped the Kale Heywet Church of Ethiopia to develop an effective missionary training program. The incredible results of this program have been a large number of Muslim people coming to Christ. However, it became obvious that even training many missionaries would never get the job done.

A program was started to train these Muslim background believers in Jesus to be able to reach their own tribes, and then to extend the Gospel to other unreached Muslim tribes a well. So far, about 200 of these missionaries have been trained and deployed, resulting in 27,000 Muslim people coming to Christ in just the last 6 years alone!

This year, a new program will train and equip 3,000 more workers in a highly multiplicative program designed to strengthen existing churches that have already been planted in majority Muslim areas as well as to plant hundreds of new churches.

NEPAL

 

  • Population: 28.98 million
  • Official Language: Nepali
  • Life Expectancy Average: 69.97 years
  • Capital City: Kathmandu

Nepal has more than 400 unreached people groups. Many of these are in remote mountainous areas requiring extensive trekking to even be able to find and identify them! Other unreached people groups are amalgamated right into majority Nepalese villages and are easier to find and engage.

The recent anti-conversion laws passed in Nepal harken back to a much darker day when Christians were placed into prison for sharing the Gospel. A number of Christians have now been charged under this new law. However, all is not lost, as many believers continue to take the risk of sharing the Gospel in this challenging environment.

Bethany partners are working with local Nepali leaders to conduct training for pioneer ministry among these many unreached people groups. This is happening, not only in the principal city of Kathmandu, but in far-flung areas, such as Western Nepal, where the unreached are much more remote and difficult to engage.

Some of these enterprising training programs have thousands of Nepali believers enrolled in them. They are learning how to live an share their faith, even in the difficult political environment that exists in Nepal today.

 

This article is from the Fall 2017 Issue of coMission Magazine.

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