It was dark as the call to prayer rang out across the city in Arabic. Close your eyes and listen and you might think you are in the Middle East or North Africa. But open your eyes and look around. There are rivers and jungles and houses on stilts. You are definitely in Southeast Asia. Yes, there are Muslims here too. It’s dark here, as these groups are largely forgotten by churches and missions organizations.
One people group of about 300,000 were converted to Islam several hundred years ago, and are still completely unengaged in our Base Country. This means no one is currently working to reach them. In fact, they are regularly contacted and supported by Muslims from the Middle East who come to bring Quranic education and build mosques, to ensure that the people remain Muslim and follow Islamic law. It’s dark here, and there is no one to shine a light.
We spent four days in one of their main villages, making friends, visiting mosques, prayer walking, and exploring villages not yet on the map. We were invited into many homes for meals or drinks or just to smile and hold a baby. Our team may have been some of the first Christians to ever visit and pray through these streets! We were able to take note of the locations of mosques and neighborhoods and talk to local leaders about the number of Muslims living in the region, the education systems, and daily life. It was a very successful trip that brought us many new relationships and laid a strong foundation for future visits. It’s dark here, but don’t they say the darkest hour is just before the dawn?
We regularly schedule “Family Visits” with workers from Pioneers, Act Beyond, the IMB, and other organizations. We’ve connected several times recently with a missionary to this people group in a neighboring country. He’s one of only about 10 people in the world who is targeting them, and he has expressed interest in visiting our Base Country! These are the first steps towards reaching the unreached. The story of Jesus will be told here. The light is shining in the darkness, and the darkness cannot overcome it.
“DO NOT DESPISE THESE SMALL BEGINNINGS, FOR THE LORD REJOICES TO SEE THE WORK BEGIN…” – ZECHARIAH 4:10