Reaching the Unreached

Written by | January, 2014
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FROM THE FIELD                                                      July 22, 2013
Reaching the Unreached
Infectious Christianity

Michael Green wrote in “Evangelism in the Early Church”, “The enthusiasm to evangelize which marked the early Christians is one of the most remarkable things in the history of religions. Here were men and women of every rank and station in life, of every country in the known world, so convinced that they had discovered the riddle of the universe, so sure of the one true God whom they had come to know, that nothing must stand in the way of their passing on this good news to others. As we have seen, they did it by preaching and personal conversation, by formal discourse and informal testimony, by arguing in the synagogue and by chattering in the laundry. They might be slighted, laughed at, disenfranchised, robbed of their possessions, their homes, even their families, but this would not stop them. They might be reported to the authorities as dangerous atheists, and required to sacrifice to the imperial gods; but they refused to comply. In Christianity they had found something utterly new, authentic and satisfying. They were not prepared to deny Christ even in order to preserve their own lives; and in the manner of their dying they made converts to their faith.” Oh for such a faith!

Expanding Christianity

Within Christendom there is a thrust by many to reach those ‘who have never been told’ nor even have had the opportunity to hear the Gospel within a reasonable radius of their domicile. It is highly commendable to take this into account in reaching out. A definition of the ‘unreached’ is “people have no Christian neighbors, no local Christian churches, no missionary making the rounds.” Pastor Bohde when he was missionary in Thailand wrote in May ’93, “There are three things we can do now. First, we can make ‘reaching the unreached’ our first priority and goal. As we examine what we are doing, and how we are using our God-given resources, let us focus on this objective. We can be sure of God’s blessings when we make every other goal subordinate to reaching the unreached.”
When I was in Nigeria, I realized that India was the more fertile field and with skads of unreached. I did not want to jeopardize work there by drawing funding to Nigeria while it might otherwise go to India. Repeatedly, I told the mission board that if we only stayed in the Christian south of Nigeria and did not go to the north, then the missionary should be pulled out. Eventually the move was made to India as our efforts in going to northern Nigeria did not yield fruit. Hard decisions have to be made. We need to keep in mind reaching the unreached.
The Berea Ev. Luth. Church’s  Annual Report of 2002-2003 listed 66 pastors in four districts with a baptized membership of 2246.

  • Before long there were 84 pastors, 10 of whom were in training.
  • Now the BELC is at 517 men in 16 districts (30,404 souls) with a new batch of 18 who  started their training in Martin Luther Bible School(two year program) in March.
  • In January 2013 214 new men were admitted into studies in our Theological Education by Extension program in twelve different localities.
  • In February we began discussions with a Lutheran church in Odisha State toward fellowship.

All of this has happened in our attempt to reach out to the Hindus who dominate India.