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Getting a Great Start
Getting a Great Start

You’re starting over in a new culture. Your first year there can set direction for years to come. Looking back, how will you wish you’d spent it? We asked veteran missionaries what advice they’d give new missionaries about how to spend their first months on the field. Here’s what they said.


1. Leave your home culture behind.


In the long run, staying in touch with your support network back home could prove crucial for staying on the field. So it may seem ironic, but in the earliest days, such efforts can do more to hurt you than to help you. More than one veteran recommends cutting ties with social networking so you can focus on building new relationships in your host country, because it “isn’t just a time hindrance, it’s a heart hindrance to belonging in your new home.”


2. Give yourself to language and culture learning.


Begin language study immediately and stay focused until you are able to minister in the language of your host people. Then keep going. “If you’re learning a new language in your first year, make it your goal to make 1,000 mistakes each day,” advises one veteran. “Changing my focus from ‘speaking perfectly’ to talking as much as I was able and seeing my mistakes as my assignment brought much less stress, and much more joy to language learning.”


“Go all in with language and cultural study!” urge other workers. Live with a local family for a month or more. One family says, “We learned SO many things we couldn't have without our homestay.”


When overwhelmed by language and culture, it’s natural to pull back to protect yourself. Resist such urges and replace them with disciplines of curiosity. “Learn skills in observation and question asking. Believe you can learn something from any situation. Pray for a cross-cultural friend you can ask about life and things you see around you.”


3. Learn from many mentors.


“Concentrate on meeting people at every possible level to learn as much about the culture as you can,” says one veteran, adding, “Gain as many mentors as you can from the local culture and continue to study under mentors your entire career.”


“Seek as much advice and as many tools as possible from those who have come before you,” says another Pioneer. This may include written sources as well as people. Ministry training tools (see resources below) that seemed theoretical become rich when you’re putting them into practice.


4. Stay emotionally and spiritually healthy.


Pressure to advance and unrealistic expectations—yours and those of others—may be inevitable. “Be ready to not be good at anything and allow God to use it as a time to help refine you,” advises one wise veteran.


“Life and transition into your field is going to be tough enough without you adding additional pressures or concerns on yourself and your family. Make decisions that are intentional in ensuring the health of you and your family. Find friends and activities that allow you to cope with all of the different trials and struggles that you may face.”


Don’t try to do it alone—be faithful to fellowship with Christians. “No matter how busy or crazy things get, carve out time to pray with teammates, fellow believers and family.”


“Create a habit of Sabbath rest with brutal intentionality. It never gets easier and you need the worship, rest, and delight that first year to keep yourself focused on Him,” says one veteran.


“Keep your relationship with Jesus close; listen to His voice; worship lots (even when you don't feel like it),” adds another. “Ensure that you make time for devotions and time together with God, even when there is not a local fellowship for you to worship with.”


5. Take time to get away.


Most missionaries find it helpful to have regular times away from their host culture. “During our first year on the field our family made it a priority to take two days off monthly to leave the city (if possible) and stay at a hotel overnight. We’d spend one day having fun together as a family without distractions, and one day meeting in solitude with the Lord (practically that meant each parent spent half a day with our son while the other met alone with the Lord).”


“The times we did follow through were some of our best memories from our first year! Our family relationships were blessed… our understanding of the culture and people improved… the silence with the Lord often helped us reflect and redirect plans… and we often had a lot of fun.”


See also Before You Go: Five Pre-Field Practices Healthy Missionaries Cultivate and Staying Healthy in Missions.

One Pioneer specifically mentioned Ministering in Honor-Shame Cultures: Biblical Foundations and Practical Essentials and 3D Gospel: Ministering in Guilt, Shame, and Fear Cultures, both by Jayson Georges.

Photo Essay - Rohingya
Photo Essay - Rohingya

Whether in the Middle East, Africa or the former Soviet Union, modern-day persecution against Christians often generates news headlines and—rightfully—motivates fellow believers toward concern and action on behalf of those who suffer for following Jesus.


But what is the responsibility of Christians to victims of religious persecution who don’t share their faith? The recent trials of the Rohingya (a Muslim people group) have brought this question home.


Native to the Rakhine province of Myanmar, the Rohingya have fled persecution in their Buddhist-majority homeland to more than 30 countries around the world. Since September alone, over 600,000 Rohingya refugees have entered neighboring Bangladesh amid fresh violence, leading the UN to consider the Rohingya’s plight “the world’s fastest-growing refugee crisis.” The legal system in Myanmar does not recognize the ethnic minority as one of the 135 “national races” of the country, which means Rohingya are restricted in their movement and excluded from education and jobs.


In addition to legal discrimination, “hundreds of villages have been burned and destroyed recently,” a Pioneer serving in Southeast Asia writes. “Many people have been reported killed and many others have died from drowning and sickness.”


Pioneers in Southeast Asia are finding ways to show compassion for this devastated Muslim people group and share the gospel with Rohingya who are spiritually open. However, persecution can cause people to become even more fervent in their faith and cling to their religious and cultural heritage. Spiritual seekers face pressure from their families and communities when they begin questioning Islam or exploring Christianity.


Although he has begun reading the Bible, one Rohingya man says, “I believe all that is here, but I am a Muslim; my father, and grandfather were Muslim, so I must stay a Muslim.”


Scripture teaches that, “The Lord is a shelter for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble” (Psalm 9:9). Pray that the Rohingya will seek refuge in Him.


Visit to download a free guide to praying for the Rohingya.

How to Follow Jesus (and Honor your Father and Mother)
How to Follow Jesus (and Honor your Father and Mother)

A couple with four children feels called to live out the gospel overseas among a people group that has never heard of Jesus. They are thrilled to sense this tug from the Holy Spirit and begin to pray with friends for confirmation, seek approval from their church and apply to join a mission agency.

But a phone call to the wife’s parents gets a response of rejection, not validation, withdrawal, not support. They exchange angry words, the call is cut off and a wedge begins driving its way into the relationship.

What should the couple do? Walk away from the vital call they and others believe God has placed on their lives only to appease the parents? Or move forward in sorrow and family disunity?

As you might have guessed, this is my story. For us, the answer wasn’t an easy one. It never is for those who face parental disagreement with a call to missions.

Here, though, are a few steps you can take to honor your parents while not denying a true sense of calling.

1. Seek to understand their perspective.

Your parents will have a sacrifice to make, too. If you are single, parents have to give up time together and closeness. That issue is multiplied if a spouse and grandchildren are involved. In either scenario, allow them the chance to process and grieve the coming loss.

2. Affirm your love and respect for your parents.

Serving God overseas doesn’t mean ending the relationship! As you listen and acknowledge their responses respectfully, it’s possible to demonstrate care and understanding while hopefully building acceptance on their part.

3. Explain what it is you will be doing.

Whether you will be living in a jungle hut or in a city, information can ease their normal fears and possibly generate enthusiasm. Even if your parents are not believers, the work might pique their interest. If they are believers, ask them to pray with you for God’s guidance, which displays appropriate humility on your part.

This issue can be a big challenge, but you can honor your disagreeing parents—even if you still go as we did—by displaying God’s grace and confirming His call through prayer, humility and respect. We at Pioneers would love to help you navigate this obstacle or others you may face as you follow God’s call to serve Him.

We have a dedicated team of mission mentors who want to hear your story, help you discern where God is leading you and pray for you as you take your next steps.

Contact our mobilization department.

Additional Resources

See the article When Family Objects, with ways to honor your parents while following what you believe to be God’s will (The Traveling Team).

Read books like Following Jesus without Dishonoring Your Parents and Parents of Missionaries: How to Thrive and Stay Connected When Your Children and Grandchildren Serve Cross-Culturally.

Check out the Q&A website, which explores questions like What if my parents oppose me becoming a missionary?

This World Is Not My Home
This World Is Not My Home

I exist to bring glory to God through obedient love and faith. I move according to God’s will. I leave my comfort, my culture, and my language to pursue the eternal kingdom to which I belong. 

My feet are transplanted to the sandy soil of Karamoja, Uganda. I balk at this unfamiliar land, a land of thorns and warriors, of semi-nomadic herdsmen, of people steeped in tradition and animistic beliefs. I can’t do this life. My home is a tent. I cook over a fire. I feel overwhelmed one hundred percent of the time. Tears of frustration are spilt before the Lord.

Gently He gathers my tears and takes me to Deuteronomy 1. He is the God who has carried me to this very land. He has fought for me, provided for me and cared for me. Do I reject this land and His beloved people? He is trustworthy and able to fulfill His promise to build His church. He is able to do it without me, yet He has invited me to participate.

I am here Lord, but I don't know what to do.

I cannot run away, turn back or give into discouragement. But how do I enjoy the safe pasture of Psalm 37:3-4 when nothing feels safe, when my body rages with sickness, bullets fly or teammates leave? The safety is in the hand of God Who holds me.

This world is not my home. I dwell in this land, but I enjoy the safe pasture of my heavenly home.

When I came to do this work, I came with expectations of what it would look like. The criteria to measure success were in my hand—simple faith applied through loving obedience and a dependence on God to direct my steps, my thoughts, my ways. 

Faithfulness, the tenacious hope that Jesus is enough.

Years pass and survival is no longer my primary objective. My home moves from tent to thatched hut to brick house. The faces of strangers become the faces of friends. Incomprehensible sounds become a language of love. Customs and culture that once confused become familiar.

I inherited a chicken—no friends of mine—project from the veterinarian who came before me.  Weekly visits to homes to count eggs, inspect squawking birds and sit in dark huts eating foods unfamiliar produced a person of peace. One woman expressed interest in Bible stories, and through my faulty work of translation, I began to share—after a year—with one woman, in one dark hut who cared for a dozen chickens. But God was at work. One day she says, “These stories are good and true, we must share them with others.”

My language moves at an arduous pace. I pray, “God, in my weakness, be my strength.” He brings me four who want work. They begin as translators but become Bible storytellers. Discipleship and prayer grow them from weaklings to bearers of God’s Word. They grow from four to twelve, reaching into new villages. People believe. The church emerges. 

I dig my toes deeper into this sandy soil and praise God for the fruit from this barren land.

How foolish to believe that God’s work is a personal possession. God’s work is eternal, mine is temporary. And the leaving of a place is as important as the coming. His building plan for the Karamojong church included my dwelling in the land for a season (Ecclesiastes 3), but it also includes my leaving. Both are an act of loving obedience.

Fear creeps in, will the work continue after I leave? But fear has no place in faith.

I do not leave the people empty, but with the Word of Truth and the Holy Spirit. He will mature them, guide them and keep them.

When Summer moved to an isolated community in Uganda, she was overwhelmed by the cultural differences and spiritual challenges. Now she leaves Uganda and the Karamajong people she has grown to love. See the photo essay of these faithful disciples on the right.

See also To and From Uganda: Leaving the Work in Capable Hands, which includes a video featuring Summer, her team and the Karamajong people.

To and From Uganda
To and From Uganda

Editor's Note: When Summer moved to an isolated community in Uganda, she was overwhelmed by the cultural differences and spiritual challenges. We captured her journey on film several years ago. Recently we reconnected with Summer for perspective on her experience as she prepares to leave Uganda.

Q: Can you remind us how you got started? 


My parents cultivated within me a love of God and a love for the nations. When I was just eight years old I told my best friend, “When I grow up, I want to go to the field.” My friend replied, “What field?” I was incredulous, “the mission field” (duh!). My images of missions were not very realistic, but the calling of God in my life was real.


Years later, when I came to Karamoja, Uganda, my romantic ideals were quickly replaced with the harsh realities of living among thorns and warriors. I quickly realized I was ill-equipped to minister to those I came to serve. I had no idea how to do this job.


From that place of utter humility, God raised my eyes to seek His face and then He faithfully did the work that was much too difficult for me.


Q: How have you seen God at work since then? 


  • He raised up a team to serve with me.


  • He led us to people of peace who were ready to receive His words of truth.


  • He empowered us to build a local Bible storying team.


  • Each day He has carried His work forward and is establishing His Church in this land.


When I was young, I thought my purpose was missions. It is not. My purpose is to know Christ and to make Him known. I do this through simple acts of love, faith and obedience. 


Q: What’s it like to be leaving?


After six years, I am leaving Karamoja with mixed joy and sorrow: Joy in seeing that the work of God bears eternal fruit, and that God will continue His work until the day of Christ Jesus. Joy in the love that has blossomed in my heart for the Karamojong. Sorrow that I leave my spiritual children behind. I leave them, however, with the Word of God hidden in their hearts, a Loving Savior, and a Holy Spirit to keep and guard them. There is no better way to leave.

See also This World Is Not My Home, written by Summer about the challenges of moving to, adapting to and leaving Uganda. This article also includes a photo essay with testimonies of the people who will carry on the gospel work.

Testimony from the Edge
Testimony from the Edge

The short-term team was shocked. Their North African, Muslim students actually wanted to hear what they had to say about spiritual matters.


“They were initiating the conversations [with us],” said Jane, one of the three young women on an Edge team running summer English camps in North Africa where they use their English lessons to talk about character and raise spiritual questions. After class they can go deeper and talk about Christ. “It wasn’t something we had to draw out of them but something they wanted more of.”


One of these ladies, Jane, got an invitation to visit her student’s home to meet the family and learn more about their culture.


“Right off the bat she told me that she’s not a Muslim,” Jane remembers. Jane shared that she is a Christian and told the Bible story about the woman caught in adultery. The girl loved Jesus’ gracious response to the woman. Her student said, “He’s the only light I can see in the darkness. I want to follow Him.” Jane stayed up all night answering questions and telling Bible stories. Before she returned to the US at the end of summer, Jane gave the girl a Bible and introduced her to long-term missionaries who are now meeting with her regularly.


Jane’s teammate, Kate, told a story of a student complaining that Islam cannot answer her big questions. Kate described moments like that as softball pitches, allowing her to say, “Let me tell you about my God and the hope of Jesus.” They attribute these moments to the fact that the Holy Spirit is working in hearts and to the faithful service of many missionaries who have spent years praying and planting seeds in hope of a future harvest.


About Edge


Edge is pioneers’ summer mission program designed for college-age participants to get hands-on training and experience with a church-planting team. This year we have 19 teams focused on providing medical care, teaching English, serving refugees, taking adventure tours, building relationships and much more. Last summer, our staff recruited, equipped, trained, sent and debriefed 74 college-age participants and interns for the EDGE.


Interested? Or know someone who might be? Visit

Listen to this 11-minute interview in its entirety below.

His First Christmas
His First Christmas

Remember the old chat rooms from the days when the Internet was new? That method of communication is still alive and well in the Arab world, and Pioneers use it every day to talk to Muslims.


Internet ads, social media posts and websites draw Arab Muslims who are curious about Christianity. And since the beginning of 2017, our responders have had the privilege of leading 427 to Christ. Many of these will be celebrating Christmas for the first time this year.


One of them, Kasim* wrote saying,


I am 26 years old. I see light in Christianity and in Jesus, my salvation. The truth is my life is not a peaceful walk; it is full of doubts and things that do not suit me in the Muslim society. I am troubled about religion, the judgement day and many things that bother me ... I saw the movie of Jesus and I was deeply touched by Jesus’ life and sacrifice … So I decided to walk in the path of Jesus… I hope you can help me to know more about Christianity, so that I may suffer less from the impact of the terror (the slaughtering and the killing) in the name of Islam. I almost became an atheist … I want to know more about Jesus. Thank you.  


Our Pioneers responder spent time explaining salvation to Kasim. He is now following Christ and studying Matthew. The team is organizing local follow up and fellowship for Kasim, who lives in the Middle East.


Mark, who heads up this ministry team­—Arab World Media—says, “Pray that they would experience peace and joy this Christmas, (their first as a believer) despite the challenges they face.” Will you join us in praying for Kasim and the 426 other new Arab Christians as they celebrate the birth of Christ and grow in their new faith?


Want to know more about how you can help us make an impact through media? Read about our Three Strands Campaign.


* Name has been changed.


Is Pioneers Right for You?
Is Pioneers Right for You?
Choosing a sending agency is a big decision. How do you know which one to choose? Find out if Pioneers is right for you by initiating a conversation with one of our mission mentors.

"I love being a mission mentor because I get to connect with people who want to pursue their role in the Great Commission," says Rosemary, who leads the mission mentor team at Pioneers. "I get to hear their personal salvation stories. I pray with them and help them discern the next steps on their journey to an unreached people group. I want them to know if Pioneers is the best fit for them."

"Some have a clear vision of what they want to do and where they want to serve," says Emily, the administrator for the team. "They simply need someone to affirm they are on the right track and to encourage them to keep moving. Others are wrestling with what their role could be.

• We encourage college students to use their summers to proclaim His name.
• We hear from young professionals who want to use their skills to glorify God.
• We talk with young parents who plan to leave the comforts of their lives because the Lord is leading them to serve in hard places.
•We dream with older adults who are close to retirement but still have much to offer.

"Everybody needs a companion who will walk with them down a new road," Emily continues. "Someone to encourage and challenge them, rejoice and pray with them as they seek to obey the Lord and see the nations worship Him."

This team responds to emails, phone calls and inquiries that come in through our website. Their interest is to get to know you and help you get to know Pioneers. Email one of our mission mentors or share this video with a friend who may be interested.

See more articles about Pioneers:

High Impact Missionary Teams
Would You Eat These 10 Foods for the Gospel?
Pioneers Core Values
Launch Teams
 Survey Trip
A Very Beautiful Message
A Very Beautiful Message

Sameer was conflicted. He and his cousin were devoted Muslims, even engaging with militant Islamic organizations recruiting for jihad.


But Sameer and his cousin saw how hate and violence had torn apart their home country of Yemen, forcing them to flee to Turkey. Could there be another way?


One day, Sameer saw an online advertisement in Arabic. It offered a chance to talk with a Christian about Jesus. Sameer clicked and started a conversation with a Pioneers missionary. Pioneers used digital tools to advertise specifically in his area of Turkey so that one of our missionaries could meet with Arab refugees during a quick visit. That missionary, Philip, spent years serving refugees in the Middle East; now he was visiting Turkey to see how outreach could be done there.


Philip shares the rest of the story: “When we met Sameer and his cousin, they were extremely open and hungry to hear the truth. We shared the gospel with them, and Sameer replied, ‘This is a very beautiful message. Why didn’t someone come to our country and share this message with our people a long time ago?’ They both surrendered their lives to Christ, and said they felt a great joy and peace.”


Praise the Lord for Sameer’s testimony!


The Three Strands Campaign is one way you can help raise up missionaries and develop media tools for people like Sameer. Click here to find out more.


Staying Healthy in Missions
Staying Healthy in Missions

Q: How do you manage your time well, keep healthy spiritually, physically, and emotionally/mentally, and keep focus on what God wants? – A Pioneers appointee

A: “Take a weekly Sabbath”

My best advice is to have a weekly Sabbath in which you do no ministry and nothing “productive.” We have young kids, so this is family day/Saturday for us. We turn off the internet for the day and take the kids somewhere fun or stay at home for some intentional together time.

These are the memories I know they (and we) will love the most, and it is restorative to us because we do only what brings us joy and rest (reading and going to dinner, spending time at the beach and playing with the kids).

The moment when I realized that practicing Sabbath is an act of spiritual warfare, my life changed. Sabbath isn’t just about taking a breather. It is an ongoing reminder that I am not God and that the world doesn’t cease to function because I step away. Practicing Sabbath puts God back on the throne.

It’s consistently difficult to not let myself answer that one pressing email or make an exception to attend a staff meeting or a ministry opportunity with a person I am trying to connect with. But it’s been the best thing that I’ve ever done for my family, for my spiritual life, and for my mental, emotional, and physical health.

See also: Before You Go.

Before You Go
Before You Go

Your support is raised. Your bags are packed. You’re heading out for your first term as a newly minted missionary. What are you forgetting? We asked veteran missionaries what advice they’d give people preparing to serve in missions. Here’s what they said.

1. Serve in your church, first.


Get some hands-on experience. Be part of your sending church’s leadership, if you can. Join a church plant in the U.S. Start Bible studies with international students or refugees. Even if the context is quite different from what you may face on the field, you’ll get a good taste of what it takes to start and grow a new ministry. And if you’re serving with the church that’s going to send you out, you’ll also benefit from deepening those connections now.


2. Learn to plan and manage your time. 


Many missionaries don’t know what the next day may hold. That’s all the more reason to grow in personal management and strategic planning skills. Test and grow such skills at work, school, or in ministry.


“Life on the field is so much more complicated than I ever thought it could be…We find it so easy to spend all of our time putting out fires that ultimately don’t move us forward.”


3. Get ready to tackle a new language.


Many of us have had high-school Spanish or picked up some phrases to use on a short-term trip, but learning a new language from scratch and getting to the point where you can use it to build strong relational bridges requires some different skills and disciplines. As your departure for the field comes closer, consider a language acquisition course. A mission agency may recommend or even provide this kind of training.


“Even if your team doesn’t require it for you, it will absolutely pay off in your language and culture learning. It’s worth a little time and money to start the process well,” says one who came without such training. She feels as if she has been “driving in a slower gear” with her language learning because of that omission.


“Don’t rush language study to hurry into ministry. Invest the time and money up front in order to be effective later.”


4. Develop self-awareness and resilience.

Crossing cultures is tough work. The work may be difficult and slow. And, while in transition, you will likely be the worst version of yourself. So how do you face those challenges and overcome them? Part of the answer seems to dealing with the expectations you have for yourself and others and learning when to put those aside. Taking the time to reflect and learn from the experiences you have had can really make a difference. A ministry immersion internship of some kind can provide a greenhouse for your growth in this area, preparing you for life on the field long-term.

“Learn how you (1) relax and rejuvenate, and (2) process stress and anxiety in healthy way.”  

5. Grow in your relationship with God.


Finally, the key to getting through the challenges of your first term and becoming fruitful is staying connected to the vine (John 15:5), and that’s something you can focus on and benefit from right now.


“The most important preparation you can do is to practice daily time in prayer, Bible intake, and other spiritual disciplines.”


“Your personal walk with God is your anchor, the thing that will keep you steady when the unexpected trials come. Start now to figure out how to do battle in prayer and grow in intimacy with Christ. If that is a constant in your life, you have the foundation right. Everything else is secondary.”


See also: Staying Healthy in Missions.
The Soul of Surin
The Soul of Surin

Black magic? Elephant worship? Evil spirits? The histories and spiritual practices of three people groups have combined to form a palpable darkness in Surin. When a new Pioneers team moved into the area, they encountered unexpected opposition. 

Watch this video to see how they are fighting back. Learn more from this team and what they have to teach us in Armed for Battle: Veteran Missionary Interview

Armed for Battle
Armed for Battle

From their first day in Surin, Thailand, a Pioneers team experienced spiritual battle. In the following interview they provide insights on the spiritual warfare they and other workers may face, ways we can help them, and tips for facing battles that may also come our way.


Q: How would you define spiritual warfare? What is it, really?


A: We feel that spiritual warfare is an attack of the enemy.


The evil one will do something strategic to confuse us, throw us off course, hurt us, discourage or depress us, or thwart our plans to follow God’s will. This can be played out physically, emotionally, through relationships, or spiritually. We’ve found spiritual warfare to be very real in our lives. It tends to grow more intense when we are in places cut off from the gospel.


Q: How do cross-cultural workers typically experience spiritual warfare?


A: In our experience, cross-cultural workers typically experience spiritual warfare in the following ways:


• Sleep problems/nightmares

• Depression

• A feeling of heaviness, physical or spiritual

• Disruption in family life (children acting out, unexplained marital conflict, extreme irritability, etc.)

• Unexplained team issues or miscommunication


Less commonly, our team has also seen and felt evil spirits on or around us.


All of these issues tend to increase dramatically as spiritual holidays and celebrations are recognized among the people we are working with. For us, it’s also usually several of these issues happening at once.


Q: What effect does it have on new believers and seekers in your context?


A: New believers are under a lot of pressure.


We were sharing the gospel with a woman named Ning. Ning’s friend has a spirit inside of her that she said told her that Ning was needed be a spirit medium of a specific dead monk. Ning was very torn between this new “high calling” of being a spirit medium of a very prominent man, and seeking Jesus. She has yet to believe in Creator God.


In another instance, a family member threw away a new believer’s Bible and told them there was no reason to be seeking any other god than the gods they already worshipped.


Many loved ones tell seekers that if they turn their backs on their spirits and dead ancestors the spirits will come back and harm them or the family. They’d have no protection since they’d abandoned the spiritual practices that they believe are protecting them.


Some people have dreams of spirits “warning” them to not follow Jesus as well.


Q: How would you ask friends and supporters to pray for you in the midst of this battle?


A: We would ask friends and supporters to pray physical, emotional, spiritual, and relational protection.


• Pray that we would persevere through attacks.

• Pray that God would continue to train us up to be mighty warriors for Him.

• Pray that we would be humble and teachable, allowing the Holy Spirit to discipline us through the battle.

• Pray that we would continue to act in love and grace, and point others to the Father.

• Pray for our intimacy with God—that we would seek him in every way even when it’s the hardest thing to do. 


Q: What advice would you give others about recognizing and responding to spiritual warfare in their own lives?


A: Ask God to reveal what is going on in the spiritual realm and how to come against it.


Pray for the gift of discernment. Also, seek wise counsel from those who are familiar with spiritual warfare. Ask them to pray with you and for you. Be sensitive to how the Holy Spirit may be using them to help you understand more about spiritual warfare.


In our opinion, the best (and maybe only) response to spiritual warfare is prayer and worship. Sometimes it may be necessary to pray with others if the attacks are so intense it feels impossible to pray on your own. We would also encourage others to seek balance. Believers don’t want to go around thinking that anything bad or negative that happens in our lives is spiritual warfare. But on the other hand, we don’t want to think that spiritual warfare doesn’t exist. 


Q: How can we prepare ourselves for the battles that may come our way?


A: Study Scripture about spiritual warfare.


The Bible reminds us that spiritual warfare is real. It also teaches us how to respond to it. Another thing we can do is to have a deep and rich prayer life. The deeper we dig our wells in prayer, worship, and the Word, the more we can pull from those wells when battles come our way.


See more of this team’s story and the unique challenges they face in the video, The Soul of Surin.
Photo Essay — Joy Springs #4
Photo Essay — Joy Springs #4
The single largest church planted by Pioneers was started by the first Pioneers worker from Benin. And from the moment it formed, its members began planting other churches. Just a 20-minute drive away is a daughter church that started in a mud house. And it has outgrown the structure. So they began building a new structure around it—with the original still present inside. The new and the old grow together with the same heart. They see struggle and growth... lack and resource... hardship and beauty. This is the setting for the stories of what God is doing in West Africa.

This is the fourth photo essay in our Joy Springs series from West Africa. Take a look at #1, #2 and #3.
Can I Tell You a Story?
Can I Tell You a Story?

Pioneers around the world long to see disciple-making movements, with churches built on the foundation of believers embracing, obeying, and sharing Scripture. Julie*, a Pioneer in Africa, paints a picture of the how the process may begin.


It’s pretty simple, in a way. “When I’m working one on one with a woman, I try to identify stories from God’s Word that speak to where she is, and then teach her those stories and study them together to the point that she can tell them to someone else.”


But this takes a different kind of preparation than other approaches to making disciples. “When I teach a story, I memorize it,” says Julie. She makes sure she knows the story well, herself. When she meets with the woman she’s discipling, she’s ready to tell her the story and explore it with her.


“I’ll tell the story, slowly, once. I’ll tell it again. Then I’ll say, ‘Let’s go through the story again together. So Jesus was with his disciples… And what happened? Where’d they go? What happened next? Was there something that happened on that road as they were going along? Did somebody say something to Jesus? What did he say?’ I give them prompts.”


“And then I’ll say, ‘Okay, now you tell me the story.’” By that time the woman will have heard the story anywhere from four to six times. It’s sinking in—for both of them. Julie sees the scriptures come alive before her eyes and the eyes of her African friend. And she knows no greater joy than when one of her friends “gets” the story and sees something in it for herself.


But the process doesn’t stop there.


Julie asks what they learned and who else could benefit from it. She encourages her friends to tell others—her husband, if he’s open and her children, relatives or neighbors.


Sharing what they learn encourages a subtle shift of perspective. When a group of women gathered for a few days to learn about Bible storytelling, they looked at passages like Luke 10:2, where Jesus tells his followers the harvest is plentiful and the workers are few, instructing them to ask the Lord of the harvest to send laborers for the harvest. “The application that they came up with was ‘We need to pray for more missionaries and pastors,’” says Julie, a little disappointed.


As they grew more confident in their ability to learn and share scripture, they saw the story—and themselves—differently. They realized that gospel ministry wasn’t just for pastors and missionaries. They recognized that they could be the answer to that prayer. “Maybe somebody already prayed and I’m supposed to be one of the people that goes out into the harvest field.”


Please lift up men and women like in contexts like the one where Julie serves. May they be drawn to the Word of God, learning and sharing Bible stories in their communities?


» Learn more of Julie’s story in A Ministry of Presence and explore opportunities to share the gospel and make disciples in more than 100 countries where Pioneers works.


* Name has been changed. 

A Ministry of Presence
A Ministry of Presence

Who of us doesn’t agree that relationships really ought to come first in our lives? Yet all of us may struggle with this at times. We may prefer or simply feel we have no choice but to focus on other priorities.


Try adding cross-cultural dynamics to the mix by moving into a context where there’s a new language to learn and where people’s expectations or assumptions about friendship, neighborliness, and hospitality are like nothing you’ve ever experienced. Pioneers worldwide navigate these tensions, feeling both the pain of adjustment and the joy of connecting with those to whom God has sent them.


Julie* has noticed that in the context where she serves, just being present in the daily lives of her African friends, and especially at key events, speaks volumes. “There is nothing that makes a [West Africa] woman happier than people coming by to visit,” Julie says.


She spends a lot of time socializing, whether chatting around the rice bowl and drinking tea, dancing at her friends’ parties, or showing up for events where she may just feel like part of the crowd. Julie’s presence, though, is noted.


“When a woman in this culture is introducing you to another woman, they will say, ‘This is So-and-so, and when my father died she came for two days, and when my daughter was married, she was there. When I was sick she came to the hospital with fruit.’ They give a resume of how you showed up in their life as a way of introduction.”


Pursuing a ministry of presence can be a challenge for those who come to the field from a fast-paced American life. “Ministry here is not like placing your order and going through the drive-through. You’re going to put in years, sometimes,” Julie explains. Though there are seasons of acceleration when God works quickly, from the missionary’s perspective it can seem so slow, just making their rounds and showing up in someone’s life week after week. “And then one day, the door opens, and you don’t know when it will happen. Who knows if it’s going to be your next visit? What if you decided ‘this is enough!’ and the next visit would have been the one?”


In any culture where keeping peace and saving face are high values, building trust takes time. Broken trust can be almost impossible to repair. As a result, the people tend to wear masks. They don’t open themselves to others and share their thoughts and struggles very easily. These dynamics play out in relationship-building, evangelism and discipleship; they may also characterize a fragile newly planted church. How do you build a church of people who do not trust one another?


Julie had been visiting one woman for years before one day, when the family dispersed for afternoon naps, the woman started to talk about the struggles she has. “Finally, something broke, and I put in the right amount of time of just being present with her that she felt she could open up.” Julie, who was wondering if it was time to give up, now counts it her most significant friendship. This is the woman in whom she’s seen the most spiritual growth.


When Julie asked Christian women of a Muslim background what they wanted new missionaries to know, they repeated again and again, “No one is argued into the kingdom. Love us and spend time with us. We will see the love of Christ through that.”


» Learn more of Julie’s story in Can I Tell You a Story?


» Explore opportunities to share the gospel and make disciples in more than 100 countries where Pioneers works.


* Name has been changed.

Global Glimpse: West Africa
Global Glimpse: West Africa
A father and son who work as Pioneers in West Africa have learned how to present themselves to the locals in a different way in order to be recognized as spiritual people instead of humanitarian aid workers.
Photo Essay — Joy Springs #3
Photo Essay — Joy Springs #3

As with all cross-cultural work, it’s important to spend time getting to know the culture, landscape, geography, language, lifestyle and history of a place. When representatives from Pioneers-USA and CommNet Media visited teams on the field to capture photos, videos and stories of what God is doing in West Africa, they did much of the same legwork it takes for new-arrivals. They spent time observing life and asking questions of the long-term workers and local people. Here is another glimpse of what they saw and learned during their visit.

For stories, videos and job opportunities from West Africa, visit our Joy Springs page. See more photos of West Africa in our first and second photo essays. 

The Cost of Conversion
The Cost of Conversion

First they lose their housing; family members kick them out. Any money they get from their families is gone. Young men may be beaten. Women may be harassed, neglected, or abandoned. Any of them may lose their jobs, or if they’re not employed, their opportunities to find jobs. When someone comes to Christ in a West African culture committed to another religion, like the one Julie*, a Pioneer, now calls home, word spreads fast.


“They lose community. They lose relationships. They are ostracized in a culture where relationships are everything. The [local] motto or core value translates, ‘peace is everything,’ and so you maintain peace in all your relationships. That’s the most important thing. And so [following Jesus] is like the worst thing you could do in a relationship. It shatters peace and usually the people have to leave town,” Julie explains.


"Especially at the beginning, it’s like being shunned. People don’t sell them things in the market. Taxis won’t pick them up. If a public transport driver knows they’ve come to Christ, they won’t let them on the bus," says Julie. “We’re seeing this last anywhere from five to seven years.”


If, however, someone is faithfully following Jesus through that time, the story may take a more positive turn. Their family begins to see that they are sincere and that their lives are actually changed for the better. Little by little, the family may allow them back in, even if a wall of separation remains. Some new believers cannot stand the pressure and isolation long enough, but Julie has seen persecution fortify the faith of others, who cling to Jesus all the more.


Where following Christ comes at such a cost, Julie is thankful to be working alongside local believers who have walked the road. Believers like Sana* who was rejected by his family but made a point of moving back to the neighborhood, setting up a home just a few minutes’ walk from where his family lived.


“For the longest time they wouldn’t come to his house. They had to walk by it to get out of the neighborhood, but they wouldn’t stop. They let him visit, though. And little by little through the years they watched and saw that he was sincere. He became a respected member of the community again, and the family took him back. When his father passed away, of all the children Sana was chosen to be the one to divide the inheritance and make the arrangements because he was the one who was most just.”


As someone who grew up in another culture, Julie has come to recognize the limits of her ability to relate to the experience of persecuted West African believers. This helps her appreciate her partnership with local Christians like Sana. “I can show them from God’s Word what He says to be true, but I’ve never been a Muslim. I’ve never been rejected by my family. All these things we’re talking about, I have not experienced them firsthand,” she explains, “but I have experienced the life transformation of Jesus’ death on the cross and resurrection, and that’s what I can share.”


* Names changed. 

See more stories from West Africa at
Confronting African Stereotypes
Confronting African Stereotypes

The victim. The warlord. The noble savage. The witchdoctor. These and other negative stereotypes about Africans abound. Our news and entertainment sources may calcify these impressions. We hear about Apartheid, famine, AIDS, and Ebola. We think of the 276 girls kidnapped in Nigeria by Boko Haram, or Joseph Kony, the Ugandan guerilla leader. We picture scenes from Hotel Rwanda, or the Somali pirate attack in Captain Phillips and the civil war crisis in Black Hawk Down. We remember Out of Africa or The Gods Must Be Crazy.


Yet these images deny the complexity and diversity of Africa and label an entire continent and its people as violent, helpless, corrupt or backward.


The truth is far different. Much of Africa is peace-loving, progressive, empowered, educated and upright. And it’s not homogenous. Africa is made up of 54 nations, more than 800 ethnic groups and nearly 1000 languages. It’s about three times the size of the United States. That alone ought to be enough to challenge the power of these stereotypes.


The world of missions and evangelism has its own negative stereotypes, both in Africa and beyond. We may think of shallow evangelistic campaigns in which large numbers of people respond to the gospel but are never discipled or plugged into churches. We may picture missionary compounds where Westerners led the work and imported their own cultures instead of living among the people, contextualizing the message, and raising up local leadership. But missions history is more diverse than that, and today we see encouraging changes—especially in places like West Africa.


Take Yinka. He is a Nigerian Christian living in Ghana—a country of more than 27 million. A member of Pioneers-Africa, he is passionate about seeing the Good News spread in all of Africa. Like all Pioneers missionaries, he raises financial support for his ministry, but the economy makes this task difficult. So Yinka created a small business to supplement his fundraising and provide for his family. Over the last five years, Yinka has organized church-planting training events in multiple African countries, teaching Africans to lead Bible studies and plant churches. He emphasizes modeling and training new leaders long-term who can mentor other leaders. Hundreds of workers have taken these courses. Thousands have come to faith as a result.


Some Pioneers teams in Africa are all African, with members from one country or several. They may work directly with lay-ministry partners in their context. Other teams include members from all over the world working alongside African Pioneers. Julie*, who is American, is on one such team. Speaking of her African leaders, she says, “I want to work with them and under them. They know better than I do what the church should look like. We’re not there to plant an American church.”


Pioneers operates according to an agreed-upon list of Core Values. One of these is the local church. We strive to partner not only with churches that send their people to serve cross-culturally, but also with indigenous and emerging churches on the field.


From our perspective, stereotypes about Africa and Africans hinder partnership with the African church and its leaders. They don’t help us understand the people or encourage cultural awareness and respect.


Pray for our teams working in Africa. Ask God to help these diverse teams work in unity as they seek plant thriving, gospel-centered churches.

See videos, photo essays, stories and job opportunities at

*Name has been changed.

Photo Essay — Joy Springs #2
Photo Essay — Joy Springs #2
"What God is doing in Africa defies anybody being able to characterize it in words, in pictures or in video," says Eugene Yakohene, director of Pioneers-Africa. That may be right. But what we can do is show you a bit of the lifestyle and geography of this place where God is working in exciting ways, using His people to plant churches among the unreached people groups living in this remarkable area. Get a glimpse of life in West Africa. See the elements of the work of fishermen, body modification, Christian worship, market scenes and rural cooking. Click the arrows in the picture box for a full view.

See more photos from our first Joy Springs photo essay or watch the video.
Joy Springs
Joy Springs
West Africa is brimming with opportunities for cross-cultural church planting in a myriad of unreached people groups. And Pioneers-Africa is recruiting and sending a new generation of workers into the harvest. 

Witness the exuberance and creativity of our brothers and sisters in the Pioneers-Africa movement—their unique challenges, context, and perseverance. You'll be inspired by how they introduce people to fellowship with Jesus in this land where Joy Springs
Photo Essay — Joy Springs #1
Photo Essay — Joy Springs #1

Music, folklore, poetry and proverbs characterize life in West Africa. It's vibrant and has rhythm. But living is difficult. Resources like education, health care and water are scarce.

"In the midst of the lack, the African has found joy and exuberance," says Eugene Yakohene, director of Pioneers-Africa. "This joy springs from inside. If you imagine adding Jesus to the natural joy that the African already exhibits, there is no limit to what can happen." 

That's why we're calling our series of videos, articles and photos from West Africa "Joy Springs." The photos on the right will give you a glimpse of the people and landscape where our African partners are sowing seeds and reaping harvest.

See the second photo essay from Joy Springs.

Of Whales and Wildfires
Of Whales and Wildfires

“We are desperate. We are dying!”  A Nigerian church leader sent this heartfelt plea in a letter to Ted and Peggy Fletcher in late 1978, an impetus that led to the launch of Pioneers. Joshua Ekpikhe wasn’t looking for money. He needed administrative and leadership assistance in training and mobilizing the African church to fulfill the Great Commission.


Shortly after receiving the letter, Ted traveled to Nigeria to see how he could help Joshua and his ministry, Christian Witness Team. He returned inspired to start an organization that would send people to serve alongside Joshua and others around the world who were working on the front lines among the unreached. 


Nearly 40 years later, Pioneers’ work in Africa is composed of a growing community of 70-plus families working in 13 countries in West Africa. These African missionaries are served by a team based in Accra, Ghana, led by Pioneers-Africa director, Eugene Yakohene. “Africa is a melting pot of natural topography and oceans,” Eugene says, “and some of the most exuberant, lively people you could ever meet.”


The church in Africa has likewise become a center of growth and spiritual vitality while the influence of the Western church is receding. A 2013 study by the Center for the Study of Global Christianity estimates that Africa will be home to 630 million Christians by 2020. 


The diversity within Africa means that opportunities for cross-cultural missions within the continent are myriad, and Pioneers-Africa is working to recruit and send a new generation of church planters to take the gospel to unreached Muslim and animist people groups. 


Their strategy is one in which gospel proclamation and meeting physical needs naturally integrate. “Pioneers-Africa teams work among some of the most underprivileged people in the world,” Eugene explains. “Therefore, you cannot talk about the spiritual without addressing the physical.” One team in Benin packages and distributes clean water from a well they dug in partnership with churches in the US. In Guinea, teams have launched Bible clubs and after-school programs for children from Muslim homes.


“These holistic programs are not the end in themselves,” Eugene says. “We want people to give their lives to Jesus Christ and commit to a Christ-centered life that leads them to heaven.”


A key challenge for African church planters is that their passion for evangelism and discipleship often outpaces the resources they need to do the job. Many are bi-vocational, funding their ministry with a combination of business ventures and support from sending churches and partners around the world.


Church planters often travel between villages on motorcycles, bicycles and on foot, building relationships, looking for receptive people and leading Bible studies. Eugene and his team in Accra work hard to support their field workers with financial assistance, counseling and training.


“My heart cry is to raise the standard of living among these workers,” Eugene explains. “In spite of the little they are receiving, they are discipling people, and new disciples are joining the ranks of church planters.”


Eugene points to the largest church in Benin, planted by a Pioneers missionary nearly 20 years ago. It now has second- and third-generation congregations that were started soon after its inception.


“It’s hard to capture what God is doing,” he explains. “The best ministry work is being carried out by some of the most unlikely people. Sometimes highly skilled people tend to depend more on their skills, knowledge and abilities than on the word of God.”


The spiritual breakthroughs being experienced by the teams in West Africa are a sign that God is at work, and Eugene attributes it to the fervent prayers of the body of Christ.


“One of my mentors, Solomon Aryeetey [founder of Pioneers-Africa] said, ‘When a whale is giving birth, you can’t stop it—you just get out of the way,’” Eugene says, laughing.  “That’s the way it is with Pioneers-Africa. It’s spreading like wildfire, and yet we want to also bring quality to it.”

See a short story from Kobe, one of Pioneers-Africa's missionaries who walks up to 25 miles a day to share the gospel in surrounding villages. See our video and other stories from West Africa here.

25 Miles
25 Miles

Kobe is a Pioneer from Ghana, West Africa. For years he has walked up to 25 miles a day to tell people in the surrounding villages about Jesus. Vehicles are often unreliable, but he doesn’t allow that to hinder him—instead, he uses his legs. Seeing people know Jesus is his great motivation: “I will walk for the Lord all the days of my life.”


Kobe knows that people have physical and social challenges in their lives. That’s why he is not just interested in the spiritual health of people. He wants to see social change and projects like the drilling of wells that will benefit whole villages. Eventually, he hopes the ministry can grow and that he may train up younger missionaries to tell more people about Jesus.


Kobe is married to Felicia, and they have two children, Gabriel and Divine. Though he trained as a welder and a mechanical engineer, he has chosen full-time ministry. He says that his days leave him tired, but there is always a bed waiting to give him rest.

Click here to read more, see photos or watch videos about what God is doing in West Africa.

A Child's Education
A Child's Education
"When we don't have resources, we go anyway," says Pioneers-Africa director, Eugene Yakohene. "But when we have them, we do the best we can."

This passion is what drives our brothers and sisters in Africa, Pioneers' second-largest missionary workforce. Like those sent out from the US, African missionary families raise their own funding. Due to economic challenges, most are living on just a few dollars a day—not enough to cover their children's school fees.

For the next six weeks we are raising awareness and funds to make sure that Pioneers-Africa missionaries overcoming great challenges to take the gospel to the unreached don't have to sacrifice their children's education.

Watch the video on the left and read more here.
Encountering the World of Islam
Encountering the World of Islam

Recently we touched base with a woman who volunteers in the global outreach efforts at one of our partner churches. Rachel’s involvement grew out of an experience she had in Ethiopia on a medical mission team sponsored by the church. “A Muslim came through a clinic we were doing. [He] was the first Muslim I had ever met,” she explains. Rachel and her team asked if they could pray for him, as they usually did with patients. He agreed. But as she started to pray, Rachel realized she had no idea how her words might sound to him, what his life might be like, or what, as a Muslim, he might believe. “I came home with a lot of questions.”


A few weeks later Rachel found herself enrolled in a class at her church called Encountering the World of Islam (EWI). This 12-week class is hosted by local churches to help believers in their community grow in their understanding of Muslims and learn to reach out to them. Rachel’s church has now sponsored EWI classes many times. She helps coordinate the classes.


“God uses the course to touch hearts and stir passion for Muslims in the heart of believers. It’s a good chance to learn what Muslims believe (and what they believe we believe) and what the barriers to the gospel are,” says Rachel.


“It changes the way people watch the nightly news and helps make them open to what God would have them do. It’s also a refresher on grace… Your heart is humbled again by what God has done for us in Jesus Christ.”


Any member of the church who is considering or open to serving in the Muslim world is encouraged to take the class. Others minister to Muslims closer to home. Class alumni are now building relationships with Muslim refugees and partnering with ministries that teach English and citizenship classes.


Rachel’s church also works with a nearby university to provide host families for international students. Organizers often struggle to find enough families to connect with Muslim men who want to visit American homes. This year, Rachel and her church are happy to say they were able to help meet the demand. After taking EWI, their people were no longer afraid to befriend Muslims.


Learn more about Encountering the World of Islam
A Different Kind of Ministry Team
A Different Kind of Ministry Team

“When we started working with Iraqi refugees we had the same paradigm we had when we were overseas,” says John, a Pioneer serving among refugees in the United States. “It’s just you and maybe a small team doing the work. But there are 1200 people we go to church with every week, and we realize God wants to use them, too! When you’re working with diaspora people in a place where the church is already established [like in the US] that provides a completely different dynamic.”


So John and Sylvia started mobilizing their church and other churches in their area to care for the refugees around them. They started ESL classes and recruited volunteers to provide childcare and transportation as well as help teach classes and help with furniture, groceries, and other practical needs. “The vision was that they would establish relationships with Iraqi women and get into their homes. We wanted to get Christians involved in Muslim’s lives,” Sylvia explains.


It was slow at first, but now they’re seeing a thriving network emerge. “So we’re starting to see a much bigger imprint in the community by having volunteers than we could have ourselves. With 50 families that all want to see you, you can’t go deep with them. I challenge people to get involved with ONE family. We have enough people in our church that all of our refugees could have five Christian friends.”


Sometimes the language barriers are high and the volunteers don’t know if they are making a difference. “I had a woman who volunteered to drive people to a beginning English class. They all spoke Arabic in her car. What did she expect? But she was so frustrated that she couldn’t talk to them that she quit.”


Sylvia wants to help volunteers taking a step back and understand the difference they can make even if results seem slow. “We need to share the gospel with words,” she says, “But that doesn’t negate the amazing power of what we communicate with our actions. We can communicate love and acceptance and welcome to people who have lost everything. When we do, God is glorified by that.”

John points out that the whole community is watching. They see the love and service the Christian community provides. “One guy whose wife takes classes at our church went to pick her up and was impressed at all these Christians helping Muslim women out to their cars. I was able to share the gospel with him because of it. These Christian women didn’t know that they were being watched and someone was asking questions about why they do what they do,” says John.

Word of a kind act can travel far, and that’s just as true for the actions of short-term volunteers and of long-term workers like John and Sylvia. “I’ve walked into apartments to visit friends and they say, ‘I’m on Skype with my brother in Baghdad; say hello!’ I’ve had people in Baghdad thank me for what we’re doing. News is traveling back to places like Iraq.”


Faithfulness in friendship and sharing the gospel as you share your lives may lead to greater spiritual openness over time, says John. “Share in such a way you’ll get another opportunity to share again! Because they need to hear it again and again.”

See more about John and Sylvia's ministry here.

Befriending the Bewildered
Befriending the Bewildered

We asked Sylvia, a Pioneer who works with refugees in the US, what life is like for the women. “Back in the Middle East, they have a social network,” she responds. “Their sisters, mothers, and friends all live close. Here they are isolated in apartments where they don’t know anyone, just sitting indoors just being depressed! Relationships are huge in addressing that.”

Pretty much everyone struggles with depression, Sylvia explains. “Homesickness is some of it. We know what that’s like from living overseas ourselves. But it’s multiplied way out, when you think about it, for refugees. I mean, when we were overseas we had people praying for us and excited about what we were doing, and felt God wanted us to go, and in the back of our minds, we knew we could always quit and come home. But it was still really hard!”

Her refugee friends have none of those advantages. “They don’t want to come here! They lose family, and a lot of them are mid-career and lose that. They are dealing with a lot of trauma. They are worried about people back there but have no home to go back to. Here it is raining all the time and they are in a little apartment and don’t even know their neighbors.”

As a result, “If I just go and spend a couple of hours with a woman, even with a language barrier… a couple hours drinking tea, that’s the social moment she really needed. Small thing, you think. But it can be really big to someone.”

She also finds that many of her friends are bewildered by a lot of things in America. Just having someone they can ask “What does this mean?” can be a huge comfort. She recommends trying to walk alongside people and asking questions about what’s going on in their life and what they are facing right now. “As they get to know and trust you, make yourself available,” she adds. Even after years in the country, when many may be well settled in and thriving, they still have questions and may need a helping hand or listening ear.

Sylvia’s husband John comes alongside men and others them friendship and help. “Relationships with men may mean helping them buy a car and get established,” he says. “Their lives have been upended; you’re helping them land on their feet.”

John has noticed that the men he works with also tend to be more social than American men. “They like to do things in groups, in groups of guys. Some of them like to go fishing. I don’t fish, but I’m trying to connect guys in my church who fish with refugee men who want to fish. I started taking guys bowling. They really like that. In the spring we do a lot of outings with families to show them how beautiful their new home is!”

Some service opportunities are seasonal. “Starting in January I do taxes,” says John. “I probably did 13 people’s taxes this year. Mostly their taxes are pretty simple and they qualify for the free version of the tax software. You just sit next to them and help them understand the questions and file.”

Read more about John and Sylvia's story here.

Opportunities Never Seen Before
Opportunities Never Seen Before
Over 1.8 million Muslim-background people now call Europe home.

Many of them are not citizens.  They may not fluently speak the language of their host countries and many are disillusioned with the only faith they have ever known — Islam.  They are immigrants and refugees fleeing war and poverty in Middle-Eastern countries.

However, their presence in Europe — while stemming from tragedy — poses an opportunity that the Body of Christ has never seen before.  That is an opportunity to freely share the life-giving news of Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.

This opportunity has already seen great fruit.  According to several reliable European and American news sources, the refugee crisis in Europe has created a new surge of interest in Christianity.  A church in Berlin has recently grown from 150 to 700 (mostly Muslim-background converts).  In May of 2016, 80 Muslim refugees were baptized in a church in Hamburg.  We are seeing this kind of fruit in other areas of Europe such as the United Kingdom, Austria, Greece, Bosnia, France, and elsewhere.  

These numbers are real and they reveal the Holy Spirit’s work among Muslim-background people across Europe.  The 10/40 Window, which refers to parts of the developing/majority world that have little Christian presence, is now showing itself in Europe.  

Do you want to be a part of one of this century’s greatest Christian turning points? 

The time is now and the place is Europe — the new great mission field.

See more about what Pioneers is doing in Europe and North America among refugees, immigrants and international students at

You may read this article in it's original format here on Pioneers in Europe's website.
While It Is Day Report
While It Is Day Report

It’s everywhere. News of violence and terrorism.  Talk of how to insulate ourselves from the refugee crisis. But we hear little of how God is working in the Arab world.


Pioneers’ Arab World Media is making a difference in the lives of Muslims. Through media—video, social media, chat rooms, articles—they share Jesus and His offer of hope and love. And God is using it to bring a fundamental shift in the lives of Arab people.


See what some of these Arab world Muslims and new Christians have written in the last few months…


How can I make a fresh start in my life and begin again?


Thank you so very much for your care and encouragement. Now I don’t feel lonely. I have a very special family after my conversion to follow Christ. I’m not alone when I go through difficult times as a new believer in Christ. Jesus gives me peace, joy and security that I have never experienced before. Thank you again.


I think I am totally blessed. It is the first time I have found answers to my prayers. I am isolated and living in a corrupt place. Now I have found on [your website] rich articles, answers to my questions and someone to care for me and guide me. Now I can say I can be a really good Christian because of [your website].


I saw the Lord Jesus Christ in a dream three months ago. He said to me: “Trust that I am He.” I asked him: “Are you Jesus?” He answered, “Yes.”


I used to be a Muslim, but I have become a Christian. Life is very difficult for me with my family who are still Muslims. They don’t know about my faith. I can’t read the Bible in front of them or go to church.


I’m attracted by the Christian religion. Back home I wouldn’t have the freedom to talk about this. Our society doesn’t allow it. I had a dream about Jesus. I need your help.


I feel as if I’m a new person. Yesterday, and then again today, I remembered you in my prayers. I told my husband about you and said that you had opened my heart to see the love of Jesus for me. I feel a great sense of peace.


I would like to become a Christian, but I would be killed if I changed my Islamic religion—although I never chose it in the first place. What should I do? Please help me or guide me to someone who can.


The word “love” that I read in the Gospel made me think about becoming a Christian. I want to know more about God’s love, as I’m a new believer. Could you please tell me what you know about that? I am hungry to know more.


I feel like a young child who is full of joy, jumping up and down all the time, after my salvation, I don’t know what to do! 

Read the full campaign report here. You may read the original proposal here. And if you would like to give a gift to help the work of Pioneers Arab World Media, click here to learn more. 

Love Moves Report
Love Moves Report

We see it on the news and read it on the internet. Victims of war. Victims of disease. It’s hard to fight compassion fatigue when you don’t know how to help. It’s information that’s hard to translate into action.


But God can make a way for us to help and build his kingdom.


Rani is an Indian woman who reminds me of the Samaritan woman who met Jesus at the well. The fact that Jesus knew them before they even met Him had a powerful impact on them both.


Rani’s family and community rejected her after her husband died of complications from HIV. She learned that she had HIV, too, and tried to commit suicide in a field outside her village, but God intervened.


Later she remembered hearing about a ministry for women like her. She sought them out only to find love and respect from Pioneers missionaries and other Christian women who have similar stories.


“I didn’t know who God was,” Rani says smiling. “But God knew who I was.”

Now Rani has employment as a seamstress in a Pioneers business working with people who treat her like family. She says that sometimes she forgets that she has HIV. (Watch Rani's Story)


We hear similar stories coming from Pioneers who are working with refugees in difficult places around the world. For example, 17 Syrian and Iraqi refugee families have come to faith in the last year. Like Rani, these people are marginalized and have great need. However, showing love and care by meeting their practical needs, listening to their stories and sharing the gospel message with them starts movements of faith.


“We see a complete difference in your way—the way of the believers in Jesus,” one Syrian woman proclaimed. “We want to be like that. We want to live in love.”


The Love Moves campaign supports movements of faith in places where God is already working among those who are broken by war and disease. We want to send more missionaries to catalyze new movements while training them to minister more effectively. 


See some of the ways that God moved in 2016 through the Love Moves campaign by reading a full report here. Read the full proposal as it originally appeared. If you are interested in similar projects of Pioneers, take a moment to look at our India HIV Ministries or see more about the current World Next Door campaign that is a means to reach refugees, immigrants and international students.

Meeting the Strangers Next Door
Meeting the Strangers Next Door

When we consider cross-cultural missions, we typically think of going to a faraway place where people are dramatically different in their traditions and lifestyle. But a small group of Pioneers, like Caleb and Sarah, are doing something slighty different.

“Originally we felt God was calling us to go overseas as any traditional missionary does, and we planned on working in a Muslim context. So we took a vision trip to the area we were considering. When we came home, we were ready to pack our bags and head overseas.”


As Caleb and his wife were preparing, though, their journey took a surprising turn. A leader in their church introduced them to J.D. Payne’s book Strangers Next Door:  Immigrant, Migration, and Mission. Caleb and Sarah learned that a few hundred thousand individuals from the unreached people group they wanted to serve among had come to the US. “We had our minds blown,” Caleb admits. They started to wonder if God might have a place for them in reaching Muslims in “diaspora,” those who had been scattered across the world as refugees and immigrants.


Caleb and Sarah began doing research on who might be doing ministry with their focus population, where they were working, and what kind of work they might be doing. They discovered that the city with the largest unreached population also had many evangelical organizations and Christians in local churches who were engaging their new neighbors.


Another city had a smaller population of this unreached group, but also fewer evangelical resources that could reach them. Caleb realized it might be more strategic to serve in the second city. After all, the chances of a member of this group hearing the Gospel or being befriended by someone who could share it with them was quite small. After further research and prayer, says Caleb, he and Sarah saw the need for committed, intentional laborers in the second city and they felt a huge burden to be part of that.

See the second part of Caleb and Sarah's story. Their ministry grew with cups of tea, language learning and starting a business.

Also, get a free copy of J. D. Payne's recent book, Unreached Peoples, Least Reached Placeshere.

Language Learning Opens Doors
Language Learning Opens Doors

If your cross-cultural ministry means working with the unreached who have come to your own country, you don’t need to learn their language—or do you? Caleb and Sarah, Pioneers who work with Muslim refugees and immigrants in the US, look at it differently. “We think it is better to share the gospel in the language of the people,” Caleb explains. Caleb is thinking globally. Just a handful of individuals in this group have come to know Christ, and church-planting efforts have yet to succeed in any part of the world where they live. Caleb hopes that by working in the language of the people, evangelism and discipleship efforts have the potential to go further. “We don’t want it to stop in America,” he explains.


Working to learn the language of the people has other advantages for Caleb and Sarah. A relationship-based language-learning strategy gives him and Sarah the opportunity to develop close relationships with a language helper who spends hours in their home every week, much as might be the case overseas. It also motivates Caleb to visit the restaurants and cafes where men from the culture spend much of their time. They work long hours in their jobs, then come after work for tea or a meal, to watch sports and talk about politics and news from home. There Caleb can practice his conversational skills and get help with his language homework, building relationships at the same time.


Spending time in the restaurants and cafes was difficult at first; these are environments no American ever enters, he explains. “I knew I’d be a fish out of water.” Initial efforts were met with coolness or indifference. By not giving up, he eventually found men who welcomed him into their circle, and he became a regular there.


Though many connections began by asking the immigrants and refugees to help him (with learning their language), in time Caleb was able to help meet their needs as well. He began a business that helps provide them with products they miss from their home country but are unable to easily find in America. Many are surprised that he understands and cares about their efforts to maintain ties to their home culture, and it has opened many doors for relationship.

See how Caleb and Sarah caught the vision for cross-cultural ministry here in the U.S. by reading the first part of their story here.


*Names have been changed.

From the Edge
From the Edge
Consider a life-changing summer trip working among unreached peoples alongside Pioneers missionaries. The Edge is a 6 to 10 week summer mission trip that immerses young adults in a new culture and language and invites growth and understanding of God and what he is doing in the nations.
From Albania to Greece
From Albania to Greece

After living in Albania for several years, Andrew and Alecia moved to Greece to make disciples among Albanians who have immigrated there. They recently partnered with local believers to plant an Albanian-speaking fellowship at the foot of Mars Hill in Athens, just steps from where Paul preached the gospel 2,000 years ago.

For more information about what God is doing through the movement of people around the world, visit

Would-be Rambo Missionary
Would-be Rambo Missionary

“We looked at opportunities to serve in South Asia or the Middle East, but God directed us here, specifically to our home town,” says Ben* and adds with a smile, “It’s the one place I told the Lord I would never go. I never had the vision or creativity to imagine what God would do with the unreached here… to strategically open doors that wouldn’t be open if we were overseas.”

“My story is similar to a lot of folks who are working with diaspora peoples… I had to swallow my pride,” he says. “We’d told everybody God has called us to the Muslim world. I thought I’d be a Rambo missionary and go to the hardest places. It has taken number of years to see the long view. Now I’m grateful that God has kept us here, and for the fruit we are able to see.”

The journey began when Ben, his wife, and their small group from church decided to host a game night at the house for international students. “A Saudi student was among those who showed up. The very next day, he called and asked if he could move in with us to improve his English. The next thing we knew he was living with us! He became like part of our family. And, a few weeks later, he said, ‘My cousin is coming from Medina [Saudi Arabia]. Can he sleep on the couch for a few nights until he finds an apartment?’”

Through their relationships with these two young men, a network of friendships opened to Ben and his family. In the several years since then they have been able to form meaningful connections with hundreds of Muslim international students. They participate in the students' lives, host them for meals and take them on outings. Along the way they live out the gospel in their midst and share scripture with those who respond and want to know more.


Please pray for Pioneers like Ben as they walk through these open doors.

Though Ben serves with Pioneers and has the training and vision for a long-term gospel ministry among students like these, he’s glad to equip and work hand-in-hand with volunteers who may have little such experience. We asked Ben what advice he might give American Christians who want to build relationships with Muslims students and other internationals. Read what Ben had to say here

Name has been changed.

What Can We Do for International Students?
What Can We Do for International Students?

When God opened Ben’s* heart to the nations and called him into ministry, he naturally assumed he’d be serving as a missionary overseas, preferably in one of the harder places. Instead, he finds himself part of a team that works with international students and refugees in the very city where he grew up.

We asked Ben what advice he might give American Christians who want to build relationships with international students, and particularly Muslim students like those with whom he works.

“My biggest encouragement is to show up,” he simply said. “God has done the heavy lifting in bringing them here from places like Saudi Arabia and Libya and Iran, some of the least-reached places in the world, and these are future leaders in their country. Just show up in their lives.”

Practically, what can we do? “One of the biggest needs or opportunities is to open their homes. I find that this is doable for a lot of Americans—to actually host an international student.”


Most universities around the country have programs that match international students with host families who may take the student in to live with them, host them on holidays, or simply connect with them regularly during their time in the U.S. In addition to university-based programs, ask others in your area about international student ministries which may be based in churches or connected with Christian organizations.


While cross-cultural training is helpful, openness to learn and faithfulness in friendship are the keys. One family serving alongside Ben hosted four Iranians in their home for a Thanksgiving meal. Four years later they are still connecting with these students on a monthly basis. “It’s opened a whole world of Iranians to them. They aren’t ‘in ministry,’ they are just laypeople with a heart for Iran. And now they have a real dynamic ministry with Iranians.”


Many Muslim students see the fear reflected in the media and sometimes in the eyes of Americans, and are scared about what may happen to them. “My phone was blowing up on election night with calls and texts from Saudis wondering, ‘What does this mean? Are we going to have to go home?’” As Ben points out, we in the American church have a unique opportunity, especially now, to open our homes and lives to internationals who live among us. Ben urges us, “Pray that the church would see this as an opportunity to be ambassadors for Christ.”


» Read more about Ben’s story.

Name has been changed.

Around the Campfire
Around the Campfire

“One of my passions is backpacking, rafting, anything outdoors really,” explains Jon*, a Pioneer who serves among unreached people in the US. But do those passions have anything to do with missions? Jon has found they do. Many of the internationals he works with are young men from North Africa and the Middle East. Some of their families are just a few generations removed from desert-dwelling Bedouin nomads. Before oil was discovered in their countries, they lived a very simple lifestyle. Backpacking may not be part of their culture, but they know what it is to go out to the desert, set up tents, and spend a couple of days in the wilderness, away from it all.


“And for the guys, they like adventure. They all come wanting to explore this country and end up sitting in class most of the time. Most don’t have cars, and they are bored!” The hiking and camping trips Jon organizes for international students give them something exciting to do.


These trips also provide handles for volunteers who want to get their feet wet in international student ministry. They have the chance to make new friends. Some end up bonding with the students on the long road trips, forming relationships that develop further from there.


Getting away from homework, routine, and the business of daily life also encourage greater reflection and foster deeper connections than one can find in the city. “Something amazing happens around the campfire,” says Jon. “Almost always the conversations turn to faith.”

Name has been changed.

Free Book: Unreached Peoples, Least Reached Places
Free Book: Unreached Peoples, Least Reached Places
Picture live near train tracks or an airport or a fire station. Every day the commotion stirs, yet you are able to block it out. Sometimes you merely notice that you didn't notice the train go by, or the wail of the sirens or the whoosh of the jets flying overhead.

According to J. D. Payne, author of Unreached Peoples, Least Reached Places, the same phenomenon is happening in cities and churches throughout America. But instead of the loud disruptive noises, we are tuning out the lostness of the foreigners who live among us.

J. D. says, "What happens when we look around our land and realize that the nations are no longer over there but also over here—in our backyard? ...foreign and domestic merge...boundaries blur...and the distant exotic is now a stranger next door."

With insights into the makeup of the lostness that exists in our cities and states, J. D. gives practical advice about how to build a relationship with that stranger that lives next door, or works in the cubicle next to yours or whose child goes to school with your child. He urges us to guard against overlooking the familiar and obvious lostness around us. 

We'd love to offer you J. D. Payne's book, Unreached People, Least Reached Places—a free gift to you—as a companion piece to our current campaign, The World Next Door

To claim your free copy of Unreached Peoples, Least Reached Places: An Untold Lostness in America by J. D. Payne, please contact Martha at or call her at 407-581-7379. Please indicate whether you would like a hardcopy or a digital copy (in PDF, Kindle, or eReader) loaded onto a 16 GB USB flash drive. Please include your mailing address so that we can send it your way.

Rob Ends Up in an Orchard
Rob Ends Up in an Orchard
In this video—the fourth and final in our Middle Ground series—Rob accompanies Pioneers workers in Central Asia as they go through the routines of daily life. They walk through the city streets, interacting with a downtrodden man and a woman who is happy in her cultural traditions. They end up at an orchard in the "Celestial" Mountains, which reminds Rob that there is gospel work to be done until the day Jesus returns. 

Part I   — Rob Goes to Central Asia
Part II  — Rob Experiences Death and Life
Part III — Rob Climbs the Holy Mountian

Photo Essay – Middle Ground #3
Photo Essay – Middle Ground #3
Vast expanses, sparse populations, multiple languages and great hospitality characterize much of Central Asia. This Middle Ground is a place where the ideals of the Soviet past and traditional culture meet the modern age and an increasingly global marketplace.

Take a moment to check out a photo essay from a Pioneers field worker and photographer as he learns about Turkic peoples and their unique cultures.
Rob Climbs the Holy Mountain
Rob Climbs the Holy Mountain
In this video, Rob Climbs the Holy Mountain, our tour guide experiences more of Central Asia—worker ants, a cave of wisdom, the promise of a fertility slide, the blessing of a local woman, the heart music of the people and prayer with believers. Watch Rob on this leg of his journey.

See the first two videos (Part I, Part II), photo essays and other articles about the Middle Ground here

How Did The Church Survive?
How Did The Church Survive?

In the best-selling book The Insanity of God (and now a documentary film of the same name), Nik Ripkin describes a personal journey to understand and support Christians in places where being a Christian may seem to be a death sentence. He, his wife Ruth, and those who partnered with them aimed to discover what Christians who have survived great struggles and persecution in other parts of the world have to teach those experiencing persecution today—as well as people like us who hear their stories and cry out to God for those in desperate need.

It’s not surprising that they began their journey in the countries of the former Soviet Union. Nik interviewed believers who had held onto their faith during the 70 years of the Communist rule and systematic religious oppression. Across Russia, Central Asia, and Eastern Europe, Christians were ridiculed and pressured and churches were closed. Leaders and other believers were arrested, tortured, and sometimes put to death. Through legislation and social pressure, every effort made to keep parents from passing on their faith to their children in hopes that the church might die out within a single generation.

Yet, as Ripkin reports, “under communism, the church had found a way to survive and often thrive.” Scripture and song kept them going when scattered or imprisoned. “Looking back now, I understand that one of the most accurate ways to detect and measure the activity of God is to note the amount of opposition that is present,” says Ripkin. “The stronger the persecution, the more significant the spiritual vitality of the believers.”

For these believers, persecution became as expected as “the sun coming up in the East.”

The years since that time have brought continued challenges but also some new ones. Some churches have made compromising their faith a part of their strategy for survival, urging members to lay low, avoid rocking the boat, and hold back on evangelism. In some places, believers still struggle to trust anyone, hiding their stories rather than sharing them with the next generation. In some areas, persecution is much less these days, but believers may be less zealous for their faith. Younger Christians may not cling to and memorize the Scriptures like believers during Soviet days. Ripkin puts in this way: “The Russian Church had lost in its first decade of ‘freedom’ what Soviet believers had managed to hold onto under communism for most the century.’

Pray for Russian believers and others who live in Central Asia and across the former Soviet Union. May they grow, thrive, multiply, and reach out cross-culturally despite bouts or fears of persecution and the temptation to compromise or drift away from their faith.

She Came for Dance
She Came for Dance

The music, drums and dancing captivated her. It was Aygul’s first time to visit a church in her hometown, and it wasn’t anything like what she expected. Her only knowledge of Christian culture came from the Russian Orthodox Church.


Aygul is a 23-year-old Uighur* (pronounced we-gur) woman. Though her mother is Russian, she identifies with her father’s Uighur heritage, meaning she was raised Muslim.  


Because church was free to attend, Aygul began to visit weekly. She didn’t care about the gospel—she went for the dancing. She soon realized that the people of the church cared for her, and she found herself interested in everything—even the Bible.


 “I had disappointments in each sphere of my life,” she recalls sadly.


Her parents had divorced. Parties, alcohol and cigarettes no longer numbed the emotional pain. She had conflicts with friends and family.


“It was cruel for me,” she sighs. “I was just crushed.”


One night she fell to her knees in the privacy of her bedroom and cried out to God, “If you are alive, just help me…because nobody can understand me.” And the Holy Spirit moved.


“I gave all my life to Jesus, with all my mind, all my soul, with everything I am,” Aygul recalls with a smile. “I started to share the gospel with everyone. I told them that Jesus is God. If you give your heart to Him, He can help you.”


But they didn’t have the ears to hear. Her sister disowned her, and her friends were lost to their party lifestyle, but she knew that life in Christ was so much better than her “lost life.”


Since then, her sister and extended family have come around, accepting but disliking her faith.


“Though my family is Muslim, they see real faith in action. They respect it. We still have arguments sometimes,” she concedes. “They think that my family should be the most important thing in my life. I assure them that I love them.”


Aygul says that her people believe that to be Uyghur is to be Muslim. However, she is thankful for the part of her culture that is generous and hospitable. But in the end, there is one thing she wants most for her people.


“My greatest hope for the Uighurs,” she utters almost as a prayer, “is that they will come to Jesus. Jesus is for everyone. He is the meaning of life for all people.”



*The Uighurs are a Turkic people group found primarily in Central and East Asia. Pray for the harvest among them through expressions of Christian faith and worship (like dance) and the love of His people.

Download a free eBook with testimonies of many other Central Asian believers by clicking here

Free eBook
Free eBook

God is transforming lives in Central Asia. One Pioneer felt called to collect the testimonies of believers from a Muslim background. Take this opportunity to read these stories of how real men and women from an area of the world we call the Middle Ground had personal encounters with Jesus in our exclusive free ebook, They Loved Not Their Lives. To download the ebook, click one of the links below.

MOBI (Kindle & Kindle apps)
EPUB (Nook, iBooks, & tablets)

*Mobile users may need to download these files to their desktop first before sending them to their ebook readers. 


Through the ages, Central Asia has been a crossroads. People have moved through it from one place to another and it’s often been overlooked, a place of dry hard ground. In this informational video about Central Asia, a Pioneer explains why Central Asia needs people who are willing to go live in the Middle Ground—learning the language and culture. There is good soil in the hearts of people who are ready to hear the Good News. 

Watch the video on the right and then check out photo essays, stories, opportunities and other videos from this crossroads on our #MiddleGround landing page.
Rob Experiences Death and Life
Rob Experiences Death and Life
Central Asia is breathtaking in its scenic vistas and the hospitality of its people. Its history and spiritual need after centuries of being a crossroads also takes your breath away. 

In this second video of our Middle Ground series, Rob Experiences Death and Life, our tour guide (Rob) heads out of the city with Pioneers workers to visit a mountain village and a traditional jail, or summer pasture where a shepherd tends his flock. Rob experiences both the rich hospitality of a meal with his hosts and the unsettling reality of what it took to make that meal possible. 

See the first video in this series, Rob Goes to Central Asia and a photo essay of the people and places in this Middle Ground.
Photo Essay – Middle Ground #2
Photo Essay – Middle Ground #2

After 70 years in the Soviet educational system—in which people were taught there is no God—there is a spiritual void in Central Asia. As a result, people are asking, “Who is God? And if He exists, how is He worshipped?”


After the Soviet era, many Central Asian countries saw a quick rise in the growth of the Church. But since then the growth has slowed and sometimes reversed due to emigration. Besides that, there are obstacles to overcome. People often associate Christianity with the West, fearing imposed foreign religions. They also have the prevalent example of Russian Orthodoxy—a religion for Russians—in their midst, rather than a robust gospel that crosses borders into their own language and culture. And in the meantime, the resurgence of Islam and widespread ancestor worship and occultism continue to pervade the culture.


“The ground is very hard in Central Asia—it’s often overlooked,” explains a Pioneer. “We want to see people continue to pray and give and come to Central Asia."


Take a look at this photo essay (or our first photo essay in this project) shot in the Middle Ground of Central Asia. Consider whether you are willing to go to one of the many teams that are recruiting new members or give to a project that is directly affecting the lives of Central Asians.

What a Stove Can Do
What a Stove Can Do

It was her time. The baby was coming. She entered the 3-room medical clinic, sheltered only by the mud walls and the thatched roof. Through a small window provided light, the missing panes of glass left her exposed in the frigid breeze.


In a nearby schoolhouse, students were learning to read while the same icy wind blew in through their small window. Each of them wore jackets, boots, hats, gloves and scarves to stave off the shivers that attack at an elevation of 9000 feet.


In this area of Central Asia, we experience winter temperatures eight months of the year. But the people and their communities are poor, leaving women to deliver their babies, children to learn and doctors and teachers to work in the extreme cold.


That’s why God moved us to start a ministry of compassion—manufacturing and installing heating stoves—in mountain villages. People struggle in the cold. A small heating stove can help doctors and nurses do their jobs in a mountain clinic. It can give their patients comfort. A classroom with heat helps rural teachers capture the attention of their students. Providing heat for their bodies is an avenue for providing gospel warmth for their souls. That’s what a stove can do.


After we installed one of our stoves, a man invited us to his home to share a meal. During that time together, we talked to him and his family about Jesus and the amazing gift He offers all mankind. Before leaving, we asked if we could pray for them. This man opened up about the addiction and pain in his life. And so we prayed. A month later he invited us back to his home to share that he had been sober for several weeks. He invited us back to share more words of life.


In another village we met a Soviet era doctor facing a health crisis. He had a cyst on his brain and was scheduled for a surgery to remove it. He told us there was little chance he would survive the procedure. He allowed us to pray for him. Only a few weeks later we got word that he had survived and was listening to the audio Bible we gave him as he recovered in a hospital bed.


Would you pray for us as God provides these opportunities while we work? And would you pray about contributing to the cost of making and installing these stoves throughout this part of Central Asia? Learn more here.