Launching presence in the last to be reached areas where we serve is best done by building. When people accept Christ, they need a place to meet. Often, other members of the family will not accept a Bible, prayer, or gatherings in the courtyard. Others don’t want the Christian’s God to upset the local ancestor gods that the village worships.
When a village is targeted, several from a nearby church will go and present the Gospel in the marketplace. If there is a response, they will begin to ask for property where the church can have meetings. These small groups usually begin under a mango tree on property that is set away from the village. If there is no suitable tree, a makeshift gathering place is made with branches to provide shelter from the heat.
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The group can then put in a request to our team to put up a hanger. After the hanger is in place, they can begin to fill in the walls with mud bricks. The ultimate goal, once the church has grown, is to see cement walls put up and then we try to help with the roof.
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Launching presence in unreached areas in this context is best done with a building. It says to the community that the Gospel is being firmly planted in the village. Asking for property and working away from the center of the village, shows respect for local authorities, and causes fewer problems in families where some are believers and some are not.
Recently, a young woman accepted Christ, becoming the first in her family to do so. “How did your family react?” “They did not beat me or kick me out. They just began to ignore me, acting like I was no longer there. But when I go to church, I am surrounded by people who love me and make me feel a part of their family. I am so thankful to have a place to go where I can pray and sing and learn more about Jesus.”
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“So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.” Colossians 2.6-7