[Editor’s Note: The second article of this series was written by the Area Director of Pioneer Bible Translators who oversees the countries of Asia and the Pacific.  As you will read below, some of the countries which are included within this region are some of the most difficult countries for missionaries to enter and be engaged in activities that are overtly Christian in nature.  Despite this, God not only calls us to reach out to the people groups of these countries, but He is also helping us to find legitimate and creative ways to enter into the countries and work among the people.  Read on and you will understand more.]

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Access Strategies

“I am not sure what I expected to see when I drove through the city on my first trip to East Asia, but it wasn’t a Lexus or Louis Vuitton. Yet I saw those trappings of economic prosperity throughout the city, along with modern malls, department stores, and new high-rises. Amazing changes are taking place here as a result of increasing openness to economic development.

One thing that hasn’t changed after centuries of spiritual oppression is the people’s need for the Gospel. We know of over 300 languages spoken here; the actual number is probably much higher. Most of the people groups speaking these minority languages are both unreached and unengaged– they do not have a church presence, and no outside agencies are bringing them the Gospel. They are among the most spiritually impoverished peoples on earth.”

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“Pioneer Bible Translators is committed to serving people groups like these. This is a challenging task in East Asia, where the government controls many aspects of domestic life, including the ability to travel freely. Expatriates cannot simply move to a remote area and set up housekeeping. They need a reason to be there. Unfortunately, the most believable reason–that we are there to share the Gospel of Jesus–is the very one we cannot use.

Therefore Pioneer Bible Translators is working diligently to develop creative access strategies to engage the unreached peoples of East Asia. These strategies require an entrepreneurial spirit coupled with the ability to analyze needs and opportunities in the community and facilitate business ventures that give us legitimate reasons to establish our presence there. Ethno-tourism, eco-tourism, coffee brokerages, and small-scale manufacturing are among the promising possibilities.”

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“However, for reaching some language communities, creative access strategies such as these will not be enough. Some areas are simply off limits to expatriates. Period. To reach the Bible-less, church-less peoples who lived there, we must find ways to engage them from a distance.

One possibility is to train other East Asians as cross-cultural evangelists and church planters, then send them into those areas. Another involves identifying members of those language groups who live outside their home areas and engaging them in the work of Bible translation.

Yet another possibility is to equip mother-tongue translators to work on-site, bringing them out of their home areas periodically for workshops and training.”

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“Our most important strategy, however, does not require creative access. It involves availing ourselves of the access we already have–access to the very throne of God. If the peoples of East Asia are to be reached, it will be through the prayers of God’s people.

We need to pray fervently and regularly that God will raise up workers to serve here, that He will lead them to find creative strategies that work, that He will grant them favor with government officials, and that He will work through them to bring His Gospel to the unreached.”

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[Editor’s Note: We truly live in exciting times today.  We are literally seeing the Gospel message of Jesus Christ go to the very ends of the earth.  But as the article written above points out, there are still some nooks, crannies and corners where important people groups are situated that have tremendous barriers still to getting traditional missionaries into those areas.  Please be praying along with us that God will show us the way to get the Light of Jesus to shine in these spiritually dark corners.]

Population in this region: 1.3 billion people

Languages in this region: 334

Languages without Bibles: 287

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Used by permission from Pioneer Bible Translator’s monthly publications.  If you would like to receive this quarterly magazine, click on the link here for “The Latest Word ” and subscribe to it.

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