I am very thankful that the ministry of Word of Life Fellowship heavily influenced my calling to reach the least-reached. The Lord’s call to build a new foundation in ministry centers on Romans 15:20-21. (This summaries of what I shared at the Word of Life Chapel on Nov. 1, 2023.)
Paul speaks by inspiration that “thus I make it my ambition to preach the gospel, not where Christ has already been named, lest I build on someone else’s foundation, 21 but as it is written,
“Those who have never been told of him will see,
and those who have never heard will understand.” Romans 15:20-21 ESV
God called Paul to go where the ground was unplanted – where no churches existed. Maybe this is your call. He quotes a verse of future expectations that those who will hear the gospel will see and understand. We never cease to be amazed by God’s movement among these people who do not have a traditional witness but are now coming to know the Lord.
This ambition is God-given and directed by His promptings, yet by human reasoning, it is an uphill task. During University, I debated with Dan Bubar about our callings. He was for many years a missionary in Hungry with Word of Life. He died way too young but was extensively used by God. We met at the WOL Inn (Lodge in Schroon Lake, NY) but then roomed together during University at Tennessee Temple University.
Daniel Ray Bubar – 1966 to 1996. A faithful servant to WOL Hungary. He loved the Hungarians, Word of Life, and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Difference in Calling?
The word unreached gives the sense that at one point, either a group, city, or country is reached or not. But with the term least-reached, the degree of the saturation of the gospel comes into view. Those without access to a church in a meaningful language are categorized as least-reached. My dear friend and I felt led to share the gospel in the heart language of those we ministered to. Language leads to, by the Holy Spirit’s help, form communities that honor Christ.
In countries throughout Asia, Central Asia, the Middle East, and North Africa, the response is obvious. Despite these countries’ hostility to the church, Christ is drawing them to Himself. Whether a church of a dozen or 60 plus people – in many places, all identify as believers from a non-Christian background. Imagine that! Now, these churches have national-based servants guiding their churches. Ministers in these areas have the task of mentoring by encouraging, equipping, and empowering them to serve in their context. Wow – what a great opportunity!
The migration of multiple peoples of various religions ends up in unexpected corners of the world. Recently, I contacted John Reimer, the director of Word of Life Brazil, about an Afghan believer who arrived in Brazil. No matter where you go, you will meet Muslims and possibly Persians. Often, we do not have the chance to go to many of these places, but now they are coming to our corner of the world.
Sharing the gospel in these areas often means one concentrates on mentoring servants to guide the existing house churches and ministries. Seeking to encourage sound doctrine and teachings for any communities that start and especially for couples who come from a non-Christian background.
Requirements for a least-reached foundation:
First, a devotion to Christ – God is not calling those not connected to him. Our calling is not a job but a following which leads to an embracing. In our love for our Lord, he leads. A daily time with God and His Word anchors the believer’s life. A call to build a new foundation without abiding with Christ is impossible.
Secondly, a calling to the least-reached requires prioritizing the needs of those without a church in their language. Seeking the accessible places where multiple ministries exist all too often is the believers’ calling. However, prioritizing going where there is no church often comes with many hard decisions, even before one arrives there. In Central Asia, we lived two hours from the nearest church building. After planting a house church, we mentor numerous church planters in that country.
Thirdly, God seeks those who continually pursue the least-reached in one’s lifestyle and decisions. Whom you date and marry often inhibits one’s ability to go or stay. Likewise, how much debt one incurs can shut the door of ministry if heading overseas.
Distraction and Challenges
Distractions are real, and fruitfulness will remain challenging, especially when missionaries do not prioritize language or attempt to understand the Muslim context. Dan Bubar, when studying Hungarian, told me that he went “hog wild” on his studies. Eventually, in learning a language, we all hit a wall, but to go full steam ahead gives many the motivation to learn. Language saturation and living among them initiated the church-planting process.
Language learning evidences our love for the people. My German teacher at University stated the beginning of learning a language is learning to love the people. This lesson continues with me as I attempt to balance loving people with learning something new from their context. Language expresses who they are.
In my call to build a new foundation, my studies concern issues related to those touched by an Islamic context and how they can apply the Scriptures to their lives. How can believers live a Spirit-led life among others, and especially how does marriage differ from their background?
The name Nakhati Jon means “sweet aroma” in Tajik – I desire to encourage each of us to learn how to be a sweet aroma apologetically to those in an Islamic setting. All too often, today’s rhetoric is negative, judgmental, and threatening. How can our lives present the fragrance of the gospel to others?
I look forward to connecting with you more. Thanks, and may the Lord lead and guide each of you. Blessings