What Are They Thinking? Letters from the Last Issue of Mission Frontiers
We've gotten a huge response to the last issue of Mission Frontiers.
There were three unique elements that may have caused this that are not regularly part of this magazine.
First, we put a special "cover over the cover." Our hope was to hear from you and it worked! We have gotten more than 700 responses, and it's only been as far as the east coast for about three weeks! So far we have also received at least $4,000 to help defray the cost of printing and mailing this tool to some 105,000 people.
Second, the theme of the issue was the ministries of the USCWM. We don't normally talk about ourselves. What you will normally find is information about other ministries and resources that God is using in the world. Once in a while (four-five times in almost 20 years) we highlight what we are doing. In addition to the usual changes of address and deletions, we seem to have more people interested in joining with us in various ways than ever.
Third, we talked about Charting a New Course. Perhaps we put more into that title than we meant; we are not really going a new direction so much as highlighting specific areas of calling more than others. This is partly due to the growth of the frontier missions movement and partly due to what others are highlighting. We often want to hold high what others are ignoring.
So, while it's the same "ship"--the basic purpose and mission is unchanged--the direction can be adjusted to help us all get to the goal sooner.
Here are some of the letters and e-mails we received in response to part of one article focused on reaching unreached peoples when they are not in their homeland (like here in the U.S. or other countries):
Along with my other colleagues, SIM certainly applauds the decision by the US Center to "Chart a New Course"...to research also those people groups living in the USA. David L. Ripley
SIM Ethnic Focus Ministry
...your thoughts reflected almost exactly the thrust we have been seeking to develop for the past 3 years through a new ministry through OC International called Intercultural Ministries/USA. Our purpose statement is "Unreached peoples reached worldwide through the development of cross-cultural ministries in the USA." James Nickel OC International
Our Indochinese Churches have devoted a lot of time and resources to send Indochinese Christians to their home countries as short term missionaries...we are interested in learning more about your experience. Duc Nguyen Indochinese Church Leadership Consortium World Vision International
"I agree with you completely that more needs to be done to reach as you say the "People Among Us.: I think it would be very strategic for us to know where these people groups are in the US and who is making an effort to reach them with the Gospel. As you say especially the groups from the smaller list and including the groups from the larger list." James R. Smith USA Director Middle East Christian Outreach
I was trilled to read in the article...it echoed what I was saying to our Board yesterday regarding gathering information on people groups all over the USA, even in those areas where we are unlikely to work ourselves. David Housholder Director ETHNOServe
We'll be eager for the information you turn up on peoples who have left their homelands and now live in other lands. Harvey T. Hoekstra Audio Scriptures International Continued...
...[The] concept is incredible!...my sister was stunned. "We missed it," she said. "When our churches helped settle Laotions and Vietnamese, we made them good Canadians and settled them into our churches here. Why didn't we think of this before?" Your article [was]exciting because it put on paper ideas and vision for answering questions I have been asking regarding another speicifc people group and how they might be reached. Nelson E.H. Reid Pioneers Missionary
We also learned from many of you out there of various ministries seeking to network in different ways. There are conferences, ministries and departments within various existing agencies that are trying to raise this vision into full view.
In addition to mission responses, readers told us about people reaching out to various Chinese and Hindu groups; with ministries to Vietnamese, Laotian, Miao (Hmong), Gujaratis, Ashanti and Twi (from Ghana), as well as Arabic groups and Pakistanis. I know of one international mission that probably has 20-25 workers among unreached peoples here in the U.S.
Others who wrote were involved in ministries of particular groups or churches reaching out in their area. We even had a couple people interested in joining us to help network these ministries and others. Others want to go on research teams to various locations/people groups.
We don't have the staffing or desire to duplicate what others are doing but we do hope to network and help foster those activities in any way possible. We hope to network all these ministries to find the best way to keep this information flowing and effectively networking.
SO...PLEASE...Keep sending your those letters, e-mails and faxes. We'll try and help link you up with others with similar interests.