Ray Dorsett, a friend of OneWay, shares an inspiring story about how we can all reach people from around the world right in our own backyard.
Masood and Fatima live less than a mile from the church I attend in Kansas City.
They and their four children are part of the Northern Pashtun, a people group of more than 32 million souls who live primarily in Pakistan and Afghanistan. They are considered 100 percent unreached.
That’s right: 32 million people among whom there is considered “zero progress” after 150 years of traditional missions. Furthermore, the region is an extremely hostile environment for believers due to institutionalized persecution aimed at Christians.
But, there are 51,000 Northern Pashtun who live in the United States. Enter opportunity.
Not by way of boasting, but hopefully to encourage and inspire you, let me tell you how I got to know Masood and Fatima. First, my wife, Kulsum, and I love ethnic food from the Indo/Pakistan area. One night we were having dinner at Kababs, one of our favorite local restaurants.
Our waiter was Masood. We started to engage with him. We explained Kulsum’s Indian heritage. When Masood brought the food, we told him that we normally pray before our meals and asked if we might pray for him. He told us that his wife, Fatima, had a serious eye disease/infection. We prayed together for this need and for their four children. We left a significant tip and told him we have friends who are eye doctors.
I mentioned the need to our eye doctor friends, Roy and Pam, and asked if they could take a look. Of course, they said, “yes.” I coordinated an appointment, and we all met together at Roy’s office. Masood is fairly good with English, while Fatima is not. Between us, we communicated through the appointment. Roy provided some anti-inflammatory medicine and Fatima’s eyes were healed.
Subsequently, we invited Masood and Fatima, Roy and Pam and others to our home to further the relationships being built. About that time, unfortunately, the COVID wave hit. But the point is made: as ambassadors for Christ, we have formed a beachhead for Christ within our little community – a small, but significant initiative with an unreached, and nearly unreachable, people group.
Have they come to Christ yet? No. But the “war of amazing love” is in full advance in the power of the Spirit. And should Masood and his family come to faith and grow (and eventually return to Afghanistan?), they would likely be far more effective than a foreign missionary, already having whole networks of natural and deep relationships.
I believe God has brought the people of the world to the United States for Kingdom reasons, though they may think they have come for secular purposes.
You may be in no position to be an overseas missionary. You may not even be able to get a visa into increasingly hostile nations. But if you can start a conversation, help meet a need and just be someone’s friend, you can play a significant role in God’s plan to bring unreached people from all over the world to Christ - from right where you are.