As we've shared, we are slowly, but steadily moving toward focusing our missions outreach toward the adoption of an unreached people group (UPG).
An unreached people group is a people group united by a common language and culture where there is not yet a self-sustaining multiplying church.
Following our fun map project, where we gathered lots of congregational input, we sense the Lord is focusing our selection process toward Indonesia or India. In other areas, there are a plethora of unreached peoples.
Our terrific Adopt-A-People Team recently shared the following guidelines/preferences they are using to help focus our search for the appropriate UPG for Grace:
- We want hands on involvement with the people we adopt.
- We desire a long-term missionary placement (though not necessarily from Grace).
- We want to be able to send short-term teams.
- We prefer a UPG where we already have connections.
- We favor partnerships with other churches, agencies, etc.
- Prefer a people easily accessible by air travel
- The larger the people group, the better.
- Sensitive to the security of the country we will work in - prefer a "safe" environment.
- Sensitive to the religious culture of the people - prefer those peoples least likely to find the "Christian God".
I think these are excellent guidelines.
Our APG Team Leader, Tim Arlen, is right now in India with a team from Atascadero Bible Church exploring partnering opportunities with Empart. I very much wanted to go on this trip, as well, but I just couldn't pull it off.
The need is enormous in India and Tim has been sending back some incredible and heart-wrenching reports, like this one. . .
Dear Partners in the Gospel,
Believe it or not, this is the first chance I've had to e-mail. We've had long days from early morning to late at night. I do not have a laptop with me, so I must depend on the internet room at our hotel. Not very accessible or convenient. Additionally, they have asked me to preach/teach a few times, which has consumed any free time I might otherwise have had. (I did not come prepared for that, but..."be instant in season and out of season"!) All that to say I'm sorry it has taken me this long to get a message out, but I see that Tammy has forwarded you some of Tom Ferrell's e-mails. He has given you a pretty good picture of the time we have spent here thus far.
It is now early Sunday evening and we leave for Agra soon to bring some encouragement to a snake charmer caste. I'm not sure exactly what we will be doing with them, but I'm told it will be some form of a caste reconciliation program. We are getting ready to travel overnight on the train which they say is a must experience! Can't wait to fill you all in!
In the next few days I hope to spend some one-on-one time with Jossy Chacko, the head of the Empart movement. I have many questions for him in light of what I've experienced here and thinking about our potential partnership with him. Please pray that we will be able to communicate clearly and honestly with each other so that I can have accurate and complete information to evaluate prayerfully with all of you. This trip has been a different sort of experience for me as I've tried to process everything as a representative of Grace Church rather than only as Tim Arlen. Please continue to pray for me that I may be able to have the wisdom of God in understanding the "heart" of this ministry and in forming some preliminary conclusions about having a long-term relationship with them.
I hope to have the opportunity to e-mail again, but I cannot guarantee anything. My time is not my own. I will definitely look forward to giving a complete report of my observations and experiences here after I return home. In the meantime I so appreciate your prayers. I have given your greetings to all the brothers and sisters here every chance I've had. And they are greatly encouraged by the fact that a church on the central coast of California is praying for them and considering a partnership with them in the advance of the gospel throughout North India. Let us pray that God will continue to empower these believers to reach their goal of 100,00 churches by 2020!
Your Servant in Christ,
Let's pray that the Gospel will run in India and that the Lord will direct our steps! Let's uphold Tim and his team in prayer.