A PIONEERS-USA PUBLICATION
Ministry updates from North Africa, Central Asia and Eastern Europe ORLANDO TEAM
Meet the team that serves Pioneers 3,700 partner churches RESOURCES
Giving a chance to work and a living wage to HIV victims in India GO
Serve among refugees— from North America to the Middle East
REDEMPTION FOR REFUGEES How God is using the global refugee crisis to bring the gospel to the unreached—and the unreached to the gospel
D E A R CO M M I T T E D FR I E N DS,
It is with great joy that I speak of God’s goodness to Pioneers once again. Since our founding in 1979, we have seen continual growth in the number of missionaries recruited, trained and sent to work among the 2.9 billion unreached people living in the world. In fact, by year’s end, we will have mobilized at least 137 new missionaries in 2013, an unprecedented number of new workers! This year, the Lord has provided us with a wonderful opportunity to spread the gospel even further. In the spirit of I Thessalonians 2:2, in which Paul testifies, “…with the help of our God we dared to tell you his gospel in the face of strong opposition,” we have launched our 2014 Dare to Go Initiative. Pioneers has been presented with a generous $675,000 matching gift toward our 2014 Dare to Go Initiative. For every dollar that we raise, this friend of Pioneers will match that dollar with a second dollar, effectively providing us with $1,350,000 to help us send more workers to the unreached, to provide security training to our missionaries living in hostile regions and to serve Syrian refugee families. We need your help if we are to meet the match, which supports our missionaries who dare to go to the dark corners of the earth to tell the gospel message. To learn more about our 2014 Dare to Go Initiative and how you can help, please turn to page 10 or visit Pioneers.org/Dare. Thank you for partnering with us in the Great Commission work.
Steve Richardson President Pioneers-USA
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EAST AFRICA One Sunday I met four “As we sat together beneath people I hadn't seen in our village. I the community tree, I told awkwardly introduced myself and found that they come from a nearby village I them we came because we had never heard of before. I could not follow Jesus Christ.” get them off of my mind, and our team prayed for them often. We decided to travel to their village to find them, and let God lead us in what to do next. As we sat together beneath the community tree, I told them we came because we follow Jesus Christ. I explained that we did not come with programs, gifts, school tuition, medicines or clothing, but we came with the most valuable thing we have—the story of God. We made arrangements to meet them under the tree the following week. When we arrived, fifty people had gathered. They welcomed us, and I shared the story of Creation. They listened attentively. So much of their culture and worldview corresponds to the ancient world of the Bible—shepherds, warriors and tribes. Each week we return to engage them with chronological Bible stories. Pray for us as we get ready to tell the story of Jesus’ death on the cross.
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THAILAND We are thankful that our loving Father helps those who are facing challenges here. A local couple who follow the Lord face tremendous opposition in the village where God has put them. The husband’s father has hardened his heart against the gospel, daily belittling their faith and making their lives difficult. Because of their faith, other villagers will not purchase their goods, which threatens their livelihood.
Though a fairly new believer, the husband is determined to stay the course and be a loving and consistent witness in the community, as well as giving oversight to the new fledgling church they have planted. These are some of God’s frontline heroes. Please pray for courage, wisdom and supernatural love for their persecutors and God’s provision for their needs. Their fear of God is making an eternal difference.
NORTH AFRICA Several weeks ago I delivered my neighbor’s baby girl, but a few days later the mother began to hemorrhage. I massaged her belly to help her uterus contract again, though it was torture for her. Through that painful process, God saved her life. And the family decided to name her Kenza, after me—that’s what they call me here. Cultural etiquette requires me to show my gratitude for this honor. My friends helped me buy the necessary gifts— clothes and soap for the baby, shoes and fabric for the mother. We presented the gifts at a party, and they displayed them for everyone to see. I held my little namesake and felt like I belonged. It was a big day. We have made an inroad here, but there are still no known believers in this people group. Please pray for our ministry and little Kenza’s family.
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SOUTHEAST ASIA We see fruit in the life of the first follower of Jesus from the people group we work among. He shares his faith and is currently training to baptize and disciple new believers with the help of national church planters. Praise the Lord with us for this great news. Please pray for him to be faithful in His walk with God and in ser service to Him. MIDDLE EAST Our Pioneers team had the joy of hosting four university students this summer from Indiana, Mississippi, Florida and Georgia. They came alongside us and helped with teaching English, working with underprivileged Arab women in income generation projects and running a kids camp for young girls. They got a good taste of Middle Eastern life and lived boldly for Jesus while they were here. Pray with us that God would use this summer to lead them to the service He has prepared for them, wherever it is.
INDIA In October, my Indian friend began going through a chronological Bible study with me. We started with the story of how God created the world and animals and moved on to the creation of man. This is an answer to my prayers, and I feel humbled to have this opportunity with her. She is spiritually aware but tends to mix her beliefs into a sort of homemade religion. The Holy Spirit will have to move in her heart to reveal truth. Without that, she’ll remain blind and in bondage. Please pray that she would stay excited about reading the Word and that she will understand why Jesus had to die for our sins. I also hope that she will share it with her husband and family. I need patience and wisdom as I guide her in this study and build a relationship with her. JAPAN My sister encouraged me to start attending English classes at the church last year. In October, the pastor (a Pioneer) invited me to study the Bible after class each week. As a result, I began to frequent the church more often. Though I was
EASTERN EUROPE We held a three-day outreach for Roma (Gypsy) children at the beginning of autumn. It was part of an ongoing ministry in the Roma community. Until now we have been reaching out to children by teaching the gospel and promoting literacy and education. But this year, in addition to the 200 children who attended the festival, we also held a special evening event for their parents and other adults in the community. About 40 adults listened as we presented the gospel, and some of them expressed interest in meeting to study the Bible. We are considering whether to move forward with an adult-focused ministry, now that we have built trust in the community. Please pray for our team as we consider whether and how to move forward.
attending English classes and Bible study, I still didn't have the desire to visit a church service. But the pastor and several others invited me to the Christmas service, and I decided to go. At that service I realized I wanted to be saved. Earlier this year, during Bible studies, we discussed how Christ died for my sins and arose from the grave. I confessed my sin and became a Christian. Now, as I look
back over the past year, I can see the many ways God was using to bring me to faith in Him. CENTRAL ASIA My friend who recently accepted Christ continues to meet with me sporadically. Last week I accepted an invitation to her parents’ home to learn how to cook a traditional horsemeat dish with pasta. Later I met with her and another local believer who is
the pastor’s wife. It was a great opportunity for her to fellowship with another Christian from the same culture. She shared some of her fears about being the only Christian in her family and being in
a dating relationship with a non-Christian man. The pastor’s wife shared her own testimony, encouraging this new believer in her newfound faith. Please pray for her to find wisdom and courage to live it out.
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REDEM FOR REFUGEES
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MPTION From the war-torn borders of Syria and Sub-Saharan Africa to villages in Eastern Europe and cities in the US, God is bringing new life from tragedy.
thnic violence. Natural disasters. Religious persecution. Political unrest. All are factors that have influenced the historic ebb and flow of refugees in different corners of the world. The redemptive thread of Jesus’ lineage is woven through several key refugee stories in Scripture. The patriarch Jacob and his family traveled to Egypt to escape famine in Canaan, and their descendants fled slavery in Egypt to return to the Promised Land. Ruth was grafted into the messianic bloodline through the kindness of an Israelite man who had compassion on her, a widowed Moabite refugee. Ruth’s grandson, King David, ran for his life, living in caves and depending on the hospitality of foreigners when threatened by Saul.
The most memorable refugees in the New Testament are Jesus’ earthly parents, Mary and Joseph, who fled with Him to Egypt when they learned of the genocidal intentions of King Herod. One could even argue that the expansion of the first century church was instigated by a refugee crisis, as Luke describes “a great persecution against the church in Jerusalem” that led to them being “scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria” (Acts 8:4). This backdrop frames both the biblical commands to care for the alien and refugee (Exodus 12:21) and the harsh judgments against those who exploit them (Malachi 3:5). Fast-forward 2,000 years, and there are currently 45.2 million displaced people—15.4 million refugees, 937,000 asylum seekers
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The top ten nations from which refugees are coming are also some of the most spiritually needy places in the world: Afghanistan, Somalia, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Congo, Myanmar, Colombia, Vietnam and Eritrea.
and 28.8 million internally displaced people. (Those forced to leave their homes and migrate elsewhere within the boundaries of their own country.) Remarkably, the top ten nations from which refugees are coming are also some of the most spiritually needy places in the world: Afghanistan, Somalia, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Congo, Myanmar, Colombia, Vietnam and Eritrea. This reality affords the church an amazing opportunity both to embrace the responsibility to care for the physical needs of the displaced and to share with them the good news of Jesus. Often, the persecution and political turmoil that leads to displacement causes refugees to question their traditions and seek spiritual answers to their suffering. Most refugees arrive at their destination with only the clothes on their backs. Dealing with trauma, lack of shelter, educational needs for their children, sanitation and medical care— and the constant threat of exploitation—can be overwhelming. In June, Pioneers began working—alongside several Christian aid ministries—in a camp in South Sudan with 70,000 refugees. Among the Christians, animists and Muslims registered in the camp, 69 unreached tribes have been identified. “Many of the people from animistic and Islamic tribes are quite disillusioned with the 8 BOTTOMLINE CONNECTION
government from the north and are open to the gospel,” reports a Pioneer serving in East Africa. “Christian refugees were asking for training in starting churches in the camp.” Mostly laypeople from five different denominations joined in the first series of trainings in June. Already, there are 70 Bible studies composed of between 2 and 58 participants, and a second round of training began in November. In Eastern Europe, retroactive immigration laws, land disputes or prejudices against the Roma (Gypsy) people have caused them to be a displaced people group. Some would consider them to be permanently displaced. The Roma in one particular village were forced to leave their homes to make way for a new land development. Their homes were demolished, causing them to lose everything they own. Makeshift shacks and tents without electricity, clean water or sewage became their homes. Pioneers in Eastern Europe work with the Roma. The Pioneers team in Albania is making it a priority to advocate for the Roma with the national government, and some decisions are now in the works to help them. With the winter upon them, help is even more urgent. This team is also rallying local Christians and other ministries to rise up and take action— showing the love of Christ to the Roma by PIONEERS.ORG
“We prayed for an open door of opportunity among Syrians. I never would have imagined that a few years later we would have the unprecedented opportunity to minister openly to Syrian refugees in Jesus name.”
sharing the gospel and providing relief with long-term development programs. In a different village, the Roma gather with Pioneers and local Christians to read the Bible and receive prayer. They hear messages of hope and salvation. Some have even begun to follow Christ as their Savior. Pioneers in Hungary are also working with the Roma. Despite high rates of unemployment and poverty, a church planting movement is happening within families. The team is watching new leadership grow and seeing God answer the prayers of these new believers. Refugees from all over the world also resettle right here in North America. Pioneers in Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Indiana, Washington, Georgia and New York partner with local churches and other non-profit organizations to meet the needs of refugees who have landed in their cities. The services they provide are varied— teaching English, doing home visits, giving driving lessons, taking them to appointments, helping them open bank accounts and find work or housing. Some host special events like craft nights for women or fall festivals for families. Pioneers are meeting immediate and
practical needs and building trust with them to find pathways for the gospel. “More people are refugees or internally displaced than at any time since 1994,” reports the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, “with the crisis in Syria having emerged as a major new factor in global displacement.” It is heartbreaking. Millions of innocent people suffer as the civil war destroys their homes and lives. Since the conflict began, more than two million Syrians have fled their homes for refuge in other countries, and an estimated 120,000 have died. Despite the horrific news, God is drawing numbers of Muslims to Himself. Syrians search for answers amid the chaos. In many instances, these refugees once lived in impossible-toreach places inside Syria, but now they have access to the Good News in neighboring countries because Christians are reaching out. One Pioneer writes, “We prayed for an open door of opportunity among Syrians. I never would have imagined that a few years later we would have the unprecedented opportunity to minister openly to Syrian refugees in Jesus name.” Pioneers missionaries, living among hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees, are providing holistic relief through distribution of material aid, post-traumatic counseling for women and children and a sports program for kids. They also offer discipleship and churchplanting training to local believers who want to reach out. Whether among the refugees of Syria or the displaced living in US cities, God is using tangible acts of compassion and a clear proclamation of the gospel to draw many to Himself. P
Go to page 10 to find out how you can join us in these efforts to reach Syrian Refugees through the 2014 Dare to Go Initiative. Also, check out opportunities to serve among refugees on page 13.
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DARING TO GO “ I WA S S TA N D I N G N E X T TO T H E S T R E E T with my family, watching a funeral procession for a child who was killed only days earlier from violence between rebels and the government. About halfway through the procession, a car bomb exploded in the crowd. That’s when I knew we could no longer stay in Syria. We had to leave.” This gripping story was told to our workers by a Syrian refugee woman who made the difficult decision to pack up a few of her belongings and move her family into a neighboring country. Pioneers has missionaries on the ground in places where Syrian refugees are landing, bringing material and spiritual aid to hundreds of desperate families. In addition to Syrian refugee relief, our 2014 Dare to Go Initiative Pioneers has missionaries on seeks to send more missionaries to the unreached and provide security the ground in places where training to our workers living in hostile Syrian refugees are landing. regions. As we continue to send missionaries to the unreached, they often face threats and persecution. It has become important for us to better secure our workers and their families through training and risk assessments. We have been generously given a $675,000 matching grant toward this initiative, meaning that every dollar raised will be matched, providing a total of $1,350,000 for the 2014 Dare to Go Initiative. How can you help? First, please pray boldly. And prayerfully consider partnering with us financially. We need your help if we are to meet the limitedtime matching gift opportunity! Every dollar you give will be doubled. Take a moment to scan the QR code or visit Pioneers.org/Dare to view a special video message from our president. Together we can spread the hope of Christ to Syria and the world. P
To give online, go to Pioneers.org/Dare. If you receive paper receipts, you can also return a gift using the tear-off slip at the bottom. You can also call us at 407-382-6000 and give over the phone.
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PIONEERS AT A GLANCE Vital stats about the global work of Pioneers
RELIGIOUS BLOCS AMONG WHICH PIONEERS ARE WORKING
1 Muslim .................................. 52% 2 Other .....................................11% 3 Buddhist ................................. 8%
4 Catholic .................................. 8% 5 Tribal/Animist ......................... 7% 6 Hindu ...................................... 6% 7 Nonreligious/Secular .............. 5% 8 Chinese Traditional ................. 3%
PIONEERS MEMBERS WORLDWIDE
2660 OFFICES & BASES
187 PEOPLE GROUPS WITH PIONEERS TEAMS
101 137 COUNTRIES
AREA OF FOCUS: MEDIA
3.6million 135,363 visits to our all-Arabic outreach websites (Jan–Sept 2013)
Bibles, films and Christian books downloaded (Jan–Sept 2013)
AREA OF FOCUS: TRAINING
new missionaries appointed by the end of 2013
missionaries and nationals to be trained in church-planting movements (CPM) during 2013
additional nationals equipped by those trained in churchplanting movement events in 2013
Bible studies with groups of Muslim seekers started by churchplanting movement trained workers BOTTOMLINE CONNECTION 11
Serving the Senders Meet Pioneers’ Church Partnerships Team
PI O N E E R S B E L I E V E S I N the local church and partners with congregations—both here in the US and globally—to see the goal of “no more unreached people groups” become a reality. “Pioneers can’t do what we do without the North American church,” notes Denny Spitters, vice president of church partnerships. “We are both interdependent.” The Church Partnerships Team is composed of eight people who are committed to strengthening relationships between Pioneers, our 3,700 partner churches and field missionaries. Based in locations throughout the US, each member has experience
serving in the local church and in cross-cultural ministry. In addition to team members networking with local churches in their regions, twice a year Pioneers hosts Church Partner Forums. These twoday events allow pastors and church leaders to “look under the hood” of Pioneers and explore opportunities to partner in sending church-planting teams to the unreached. “Our goal is to come alongside churches,” Denny explains. “We want to learn how we can help them in the process, to energize them and suggest next steps.” P
To find out more about how your church can get involved or attend a Church Partner Forum visit Pioneers.org/Send.
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Hands & Feet
Serve on teams with a focus on ministry to refugees LO C AT I O N : Middle East P E O P L E G R O U P : Arab Muslims, including Jordanians, Palestinians, Bedouins, Iraqis, Syrian refugees and other minority groups, such as the deaf N E E D S: administrative, web development, craft shopkeeper, skilled craftsmen F O C U S: Actively reach people in a strategic city in the Middle East through evangelism and church planting. The team is also open to long-term tent-making workers and short-term (3 months or more) language students who desire to assist in ministry and learn from the culture. LO C AT I O N : Middle East (Launch Team) P E O P L E G R O U P : Arab Muslims (especially Syrian refugees) N E E D S: students (Arabic learning and other cultural research projects), teachers (especially for native speakers who would like to teach English, French or German), entrepreneurs and business people (many opportunities for creative business projects to serve the local community) F O C U S: Our goal is that after a short season together (approximately one year) new teams will be strategically equipped with a sufficient foundation in language, culture and local ministry to “hit the ground running” and take full advantage of the years the Lord allows the team to spend in Syria. LO C AT I O N : Indianapolis, Indiana P E O P L E G R O U P : international students, refugees and immigrants including: Saudi Arabians, Palestinians from Iraq, Iranians, Iraqis and Somalis of Muslim background N E E D S: A female to work with another female team member with local refugee families (mainly women and children), building relationships through services such as teaching English, helping with assimilation to the US, and initiating Bible studies. Arabic language a plus but not necessary. F O C U S: Serve students, refugees and immigrants in the Indianapolis area, by befriending them and helping them integrate into the community, understand the culture and experience life in America’s heartland. LO C AT I O N : North Africa P E O P L E G R O U P : Fur, Zaghawa (Muslim) N E E D S: Finance, medical, community health, and administration. Most positions are paid a small salary and require a little fundraising, but all of your living expenses (housing, travel, visa, food) are covered by an NGO. F O C U S: Live in a city and make regular week-long trips to reach Muslim North Africans in rural areas through community development, education and healthcare.
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FIRST THINGS FIRST MEET PIONEERS’ CHURCH PARTNER CLEARWATER COMMUNITY CHURCH
“Some argue that the spiritual need at home is too great to be sending people overseas,” notes Jack Piquette, pastor of Clearwater Community Church of Dunedin, Florida. “We remind them that God’s heart is for the whole world.” This church’s commitment to the unreached begins the moment people come through the door. When they mature and believe God is leading them into ministry, Clearwater Community wants to be part of sending them out. “We start with the Greatest Commandment [to love God],” Jack explains. “And from there we go to Acts 1:8, which starts here in our area and extends to the ends of the Earth.” From launching teams on shortterm trips to inviting missionaries to address the congregation from the pulpit when they are home on furlough and hosting a church-wide missions emphasis four times a year, Clearwater Community Church is a congregation with an outward focus. Five years ago, Jack and one of their Pioneers missionaries attended 14 BOTTOMLINE CONNECTION
a Church Partner Forum in Orlando to enhance the church’s relationship with Pioneers. Currently, they have 11 couples and two single long-term missionaries serving on four different continents. Fifty percent of their missionaries are “home-grown” from their own congregation that averages 500 on Sunday mornings. “Pioneers is coming alongside the church,” Jack remarks, describing the relationship between the local church and the sending agency. “They are not taking over for the church.” “We are a church that begins discipleship the moment people come through the door,” he says.“Pioneers is a good option for people coming up through our church.” P
Finding Acceptance A Pioneers project to share the love of God with and provide work for HIV-positive Indian women.
YA SM I N E I S A quiet, soft-spoken, Indian woman. But behind her quiet demeanor lie heartache and pain. Years ago, her husband contracted HIV and passed it to her and her two sons. After he died, her village rejected her. She found it difficult to care for herself and her boys. They all became weak and sick, and her sons died soon after that. Yasmine survived by working in construction, carrying buckets of wet cement on her head and earning only ten dollars a week, though the work took a physical toll on her body. A few months ago, Tabby’s (Tabbys.org), an income generation project based in Hyderabad, India, for women with HIV, offered Yasmine a job. They give dignity, hope and community to the women who work with them. A Pioneers couple, in partnership with an Indian Christian ministry, launched Tabby’s in March 2013. They train women living with HIV to do handwork that is sold locally and internationally. This environment provides the opportunity for the women to hear about Jesus. These Pioneers even hope to start an oral Bible study with the women soon. Like Yasmine, most of the women are functionally illiterate—hardly able to write their own names—so they need to hear stories about God. “I am very happy working here,” Yasmine responded when asked about her experience at Tabby’s. “I am in good health because of this environment.” Tabby’s and other Pioneers projects around the world sell their products through Latitudes, a fair-trade business. The workers are paid a living wage, and the profits go back into the ministry to the workers and the community they serve.
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