Editor’s note: This is the second post in a 10-part series that highlights information found in IMB’s Annual Statistical Report. The report is based on 2020 research data. A full copy of the report is available at imb.org/asr.
STORIES FROM THE FIELD — AMERICAN PEOPLES
Fleeing from devastation in their home country, an estimated 596,000 Venezuelans made their way to Lima, Peru. COVID-19 has wreaked havoc on this vulnerable population. Burdened by the plight of these refugees, IMB missionaries have partnered with Send Relief and local churches to provide food and present the good news of Jesus Christ. Since April 2020, scores of Venezuelans in Lima have come to Christ and now IMB missionaries, partnering with local churches, are starting new discipleship groups. One Peruvian pastor has started a “soon to be church” using Zoom.
Mission trips change lives. Through these volunteers, people hear the gospel messages and accept Jesus as Lord and Savior. In addition, trip participants’ hearts are often changed and many submit themselves to lives of kingdom service. This past year, volunteer translators sensed the call of God on their lives and began to seek ways to join the Lord in cross-cultural missions. Other volunteers from the U.S. have now applied for full-time missionary service with the IMB, and students have embraced God’s call by signing up for Hands On semester missions, Summer Sojourner trips and the Journeyman program.
Healthy Church Formation
Deep in the mountains of Oaxaca, Mexico, a tiny band of believers has not allowed the hardships of COVID to deter them from pursuing the vision of a new church plant in their village. With the uncertainty of U.S. ministry partners’ returning, one local believer accepted the responsibility to disciple new believers in his village and to faithfully share the message of hope found in Jesus Christ. This believer has embraced these tasks with enthusiasm and is praying for the day when he can worship, in person, with others from his community as a church.
All data, except for active field personnel and unreached people group counts, reflects information from the 2020 Data-Year Annual Statistical Report (IMB).