The IMB is a coalition of more than forty-seven thousand churches working together to support thousands of anonymous missionaries whose names and locations can’t be shared in public because they are spreading the gospel at significant risk to their lives. Churches and the missionaries they send are the IMB, and I want to report to you on what they are doing.
I can’t go into what every missionary is doing, but I do want to share a selection of their stories.
- Muslims are hearing the gospel for the first time in one of the largest slums in Sub-Saharan Africa.
- Thousands of refugees from Iran and Afghanistan are coming to know Christ in Europe.
- One church in a European city started four new churches in the past year. To give you a picture of the nations in those churches, six people were recently baptized—two were European, one was Chinese, and the other three were Iranian.
- A Yezidi refugee who was fleeing ISIS came to Christ and got baptized.
- Last month, after years of work, missionaries planted a church in a country that’s almost 100 percent Muslim.
- In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, we trained 160 national pastors and missionaries to reach thirty-two peoples who have no Bible in their languages.
- In one village in South Asia, our personnel trained forty pastors and church leaders to reach migrant peoples in the villages around them.
- God is raising up biblically grounded leaders for the church in East Asia through theological education that is now being conducted entirely in their local language.
- We are training leaders at seminaries in the Americas, Europe, East Asia, Southeast Asia, Africa, and the Middle East.
- After years of trying to get access to a particular unreached people, we finally have access. They will finally hear the gospel!
- We shared the gospel with a dying man who was a lifelong atheist. He trusted Christ one day, was baptized the next, and died the following day. This brother is now with Jesus!
- Refugees are coming to Christ, become disciple makers, and returning to their war-torn homelands to rebuild their communities on the gospel.
- An East Asian couple we trained is now being sent out as missionaries to a Middle Eastern country.
- Last week, alongside local partners, we shared with gospel with more than 1,100 Muslims in three days.
- Even as Venezuela implodes and people die of hunger or lack basic medicines, those remaining in the country, and those emigrating to other places, are coming to Christ as they hear the message of hope in the gospel.
- We’re sharing the gospel with the Deaf around the world digitally and through social media, and they’re coming to faith in Christ.
- Village leaders in one unreached area are begging us to come back and teach them more of the Bible.
- In one country in Sub-Saharan Africa, we trained nearly two hundred pastors in the characteristics of a healthy, biblical church.
A Man in a Dream
In addition to those highlights, let me share a story I recently received from one of our workers.
In a Muslim country in Southeast Asia, one of our missionaries was with a national partner named Ahmad. It looked like it was about to rain, and Ahmad asked our missionary if he could borrow an old shirt to wear as he rode his motorcycle because he didn’t want to get his new jacket wet. Our missionary handed him a big white T-shirt.
Later that day, Ahmad was wearing that white shirt on his way home when it started raining. As many people do, he pulled his motorcycle over under an awning. As he stood there, waiting for the rain to pass, the owners of a nearby house came out and, as is their custom, invited Ahmad in for tea. He went in, and over tea, Ahmad thought, “I might as well share the gospel.”
After he shared, he asked the couple, “Do you want to believe and be baptized?” Without any hesitation, they said, “Yes!” Ahmad was taken aback at how quickly they responded, and he asked, “Do you understand what you’re doing? That your family will probably shun you for this, or even worse?”
The man replied, “You don’t understand. I’ve had several dreams over the past three nights, and in each dream, a man wearing white has told me he had the way to salvation for my family and me. Last night, that man appeared to me again and told me a man dressed in white would come to my home the next day and share the way of salvation. When we saw you standing outside, we knew we needed to invite you in and hear whatever you had to say to us.”
This formerly Muslim couple are now followers of the Messiah.
If anyone asks you what’s happening at the IMB, you tell them disciples are being made, churches are being multiplied, and Jesus is being glorified among people who have never even heard his name.
David Platt is president of the International Mission Board. You can find him on Twitter @PlattDavid.