Editor’s note: This is the third 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 — CENTRAL ASIAN PEOPLES
A church planting team received a list of people requesting New Testaments as a result of digital outreach efforts. Before anyone of the team could follow up, a man on the list showed up at a worship time, thanks to the invitation of a local believer — evidence that God was pursuing him through a variety of ways and people. Some workers met up with him a few days later and shared the gospel with him. Within a few weeks he stopped drinking, repented of his sins and began following Christ. He said, “I used to think that I was free, but I was blind… Through you, the Lord reached me and opened my eyes.”
Central Asians understand intuitively the value of life-on-life discipleship. During a COVID-19 lockdown in his town, a pastor welcomed a family from another people group to live in the same house as his family for the purpose of ministry and starting a new house church. A single woman and her children, representing yet another unreached people, also moved in at the same time. Initially an unbeliever, she soon put her faith in Jesus and followed Him in baptism. Every evening the group gathered to read Scripture and pray together, and others from the community began to join them.
Exit to Partnership
Many Central Asian peoples spent much of 2020 under government quarantine due to COVID-19. Despite this, in an effort led by local believers to bless and evangelize their own people, one unreached group saw more than 13 people come to faith. Several believers who had been out of fellowship returned to church. Over 67 families received food, and more than 30 received copes of Scripture. According to IMB workers, the growth among this group exceeded that of any three month period in years.
All data, except for active field personnel and unreached people group counts, reflects information from the 2020 Data-Year Annual Statistical Report (IMB).