In the majority of villages throughout Asia, there are no churches or known believers. While Christianity arrived in India through Thomas the Apostle around 52 AD there are many other countries that have almost no Christian presence outside of a few major cities. According to the Joshua Project*, Southeast Asia has 584 languages (13,690,000 speakers) without Scripture, the “Jesus” film, gospel recordings or “God's Story” video; and 3,046 people groups in South Asia are considered least reached with the gospel. This vast diversity demands the study of multiple languages, many of which have no written word, and the adaptation to varied cultures in order to see the spread of the church, but these are the very challenges that OM is facing in order to see lives transformed by the gospel.
In one village in South Asia, a Hindu man announced to an OM team upon their arrival in his mountainous village, “I realize that God is true and I want to believe in Him.” The elderly gentleman showed the team a gospel book, the pages marked and worn, that he had received two years’ prior from another OM team. While the team was joyful at leading the man in the sinner’s prayer and gifting his family with an audio Bible, they were pained to hear that it had taken two years for him to meet a Christian who could answer his questions about how to believe in this God he had read about.
The OM team returned to the village four days later and were greeted by the man sitting outside his home listening to his audio Bible. They stayed with him and his family for several weeks, discipling him in his new faith and teaching him to share his own story and God’s story with others. After understanding the importance of sharing the gospel with others, the man began to freely share with his own family and others in his community. Through the transformation of this one man, OM hopes to see a church planted in a village where there was none.
In order to see churches spreading across geographic areas that have none, OM needs to partner with passionate people who are willing to scatter seeds in hard-to-reach places, people who are willing to live amid challenging circumstances in order to train up and disciple new believers, people who are equipped to develop local church leaders, and people who are willing to partner with OM through faithful prayer and financial support. The entire process will take a commitment from the global church to make Jesus known to people groups whose languages are obscure, whose cultures are different, and who are desperately waiting to know the truth.