Here’s some good news about the good news: the predominant model for global missions has shifted. No longer is global missions predominantly “from the West to the rest.” Now, it is increasingly “from everywhere to everywhere.” Or, as Argentinian pastor and missiologist Luis Bush first shared in the 1980s, “the countries once known as being ‘mission fields’ are now themselves becoming a ‘missions force!’”
Seeing God at Work in Panama
My family and I had the great privilege of serving in the beautiful country of Panama for thirteen years. While we were there, we had the honor of seeing first-hand how God is raising up an increasing number of Christ-followers there and throughout the region—Christ-followers who take seriously his command to intentionally and sacrificially “Go and make disciples of all peoples” (Matt. 28:19).
During our time there, we saw God’s hand at work as a Panamanian missions agency was birthed and now partners with churches country-wide to mobilize, equip, and send out Panamanians and other Central Americans as missionaries to serve in roles as diverse as Bible translators among the unreached in West Africa and as relief workers in war-torn Afghanistan!
Seeing God at Work in Southeast Asia
Thousands of miles away from Panama, God is also doing amazing things in places like Southeast Asia. That’s where College Park Church missionaries, Nathan and Jan, serve. They are faithfully laboring to train up local believers to take the gospel to unreached tribal groups in remote parts of their own country.
One particularly beautiful example of this took place earlier this year during the initial COVID lockdown. Some of the local missionaries were able to sequester in the village of an unreached, tribal people group. By God’s grace, they brought over twenty-five people to faith over the next month, including village policemen and the village headman!
Seeing God at Work in Ukraine
Through College Park’s nearly two-decades-long partnership with the Ukrainian Evangelical Theological Seminary, believers from all across Eastern Europe are being equipped and sent out to boldly proclaim the name of Jesus to the numerous people groups throughout that region. In addition, they are implementing an even more ambitious plan to strategically send graduates and provide training to local believers within the predominantly Muslim countries of Central Asia that were also part of the former Soviet Union.
The Impact of Local Believers
The message of Christ and the cross doesn’t change, but the messengers that God is using seem to be increasingly coming from what is often referred to as the “Majority World.” As much of the Western culture around us becomes increasingly secular and even antagonistic towards the exclusive claims of Christ, it is encouraging to see how God is raising up believers in diverse places like Panama, Southeast Asia, and Ukraine; he’s sending them out to serve as missionaries among the unreached.
I’m excited for the opportunity that we have to continue serving alongside and celebrating how God is working through the global body of Christ as we all play a role—no matter where we’re from—to proclaim to all peoples that Jesus is the “one way”!