About three years ago, my wife and I moved our family to an area of the United States often referred to as “Little Arabia.” There is a noticeable number of Arab immigrants living in the area, a majority of them from Muslim families. They have come from parts of the world where few followers of Jesus exist, and where they do, there is often significant persecution, imprisonment and, on occasion, even death for following Jesus. Our particular apartment complex is rather diverse, and we, as White Americans, are definitely the minority. Our neighbors have come from all over the world…Jordan, Egypt, Morocco, India, Korea, the Philippines, Mexico, Guatemala, Iraq, Sri Lanka, Syria, Norway, Afghanistan, and more. Most don’t know Jesus and the blessings of his Kingdom.
Many people, including friends and family, question our reasoning for wanting to live in such an environment (where crime is higher, cost of living is among the highest in the nation, people are different than us, and traffic is horrible). But we are quite pleased…and rather EXCITED…for the amazing opportunities that lie all around us! Think about it: Jesus said to “GO and MAKE DISCIPLES of all NATIONS….” The “going” is quite necessary if we want to see the Kingdom expand beyond our own little Christian bubbles into ALL NATIONS. However, going doesn’t just mean traveling overseas to share the Good News with those who have yet to hear. The nations are here! God is doing an incredible work as he brings people from all different nationalities here to the United States and throughout the Western “Christian” world. We are in a unique time in history. These “unreached people groups” are coming to places where we can freely share the Good News and where they can freely hear and see the Good News in us! We don’t have to travel across oceans to “go beyond.” We can “go beyond”…right here!
We pray earnestly that God would raise up many more laborers who will lift up their eyes, see the ripe fields, and jump out into the harvest! We pray that many more would “go beyond…here!”
(Of course, somebody still HAS TO go beyond here and travel overseas, or over land, to share the Good News with those who have yet to hear in those areas of the world unreached with the Gospel. But it is too often overlooked that many of those nations are in our midst. So we not only pray for cross-cultural apostles to work here, but we also fervently pray that many would also “go beyond here” to those parts of the world where few, if any, Jesus-followers exist.)