The road ends long before you even reach Sally’s village in Central Asia. Honestly, you might not even call the last part of it a “road,” more like a two-track bumpy mess. Once it ends, though, it only gets rougher with a footpath down rocky terrain.
This remote mountain valley is inaccessible for months of the year due to weather but today is a good one for the trek. Sally’s heading home for a wedding. She hitched a ride from the city with International Mission Board worker Molly Petry for the big celebration.
Petry knows Sally’s extended family well. They are the first-known believers among this unreached people group of 28,000. Going to those who have never heard the gospel — no matter how isolated or treacherous the road — is what Petry’s team is all about. She believes missionary presence is the best way to proclaim and demonstrate the gospel so for the past five years, she’s hiked every trail in the valley that leads to a village.
Reaching people in hard-to-reach places like this requires more than good hiking skills. It often means using creative platforms to open avenues for evangelism, discipleship, church planting, and leadership development. Petry’s team saw a huge problem in the valley with a plethora of lethal waterborne illnesses. They partnered with Send Relief, the joint compassion ministry of IMB and North American Mission board, to bring clean water to families like Sally’s.
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This gave them an opportunity to not only meet a humanitarian need but address the greatest need of all — lostness.
“God really got my attention when I was studying in college about how He created us as physical, emotional and spiritual beings. He desires to transform all those areas of our life,” Petry said, explaining how compassion ministries and evangelism work together to bring gospel access. Because of the need for clean water, “we are able to bring the Living Water because, without Him, they will die for eternity.”
Learning about this Living Water was new for Sally. Petry’s team shared Bible truths and stories with her as they drove and hiked. They had hours to share, laugh and answer questions. By the time they reached the wedding, there was more to celebrate when Sally made a profession of faith.
God has made our purpose clear. Together, we seek gospel access that knows no geographic or social boundary as we share the good news of Jesus with people and places who have never heard.
Some names may have been changed for security reasons.