Missions to an unreached people group

Two Idaho Falls churches are currently involved in efforts to bring the gospel and plant reproducing churches to unreached people groups in an Asian country.  The following is a brief account of one of them. Because of sensitivity of this work, names have been omitted.

(the following was taken from a letter written in 2013, and will later be updated and expanded)

In 1998, one of the larger churches in Idaho Falls felt burdened to adopt an unreached people group somewhere in the world, with the goal of working for them and with them until, by God’s blessing, a healthy, functioning group of believers was established.  In 2000 the congregation selected a particular indigenous minority group in an Asian country.

This project has been ongoing since that time.  As of 2013, there was not a full Bible in the language of this people nor a self-sustaining group of believers, but there has been progress.  When the church decided to adopt this people, there were few known believers, save for a tiny remnant from missions activity 50-some years earlier.  Now there is at least one functional church in one of the two province where this people group reside, and perhaps as many as several thousand believers scattered around a 200,000 square mile area.  A translation of the New Testament in the native language was published in 2008 and translation of the Old Testament is underway.

The initial primary connection of the Idaho Falls church to this unreached people group was a family from the church who lived among the people in Asia for six years, getting a feel for the challenges to reach them, making friends among the people, studying languages, and assessing what resources were already in the area for spreading the gospel.  During that period, the church also formed and sent also sent five groups of short-term missionaries who taught English camps during the day and built relationships as best they could.  As of early 2013, 30 different people from the church have gone to Asia as part of these mission efforts.  During the 2011 trip, the team was able to attend a festival that culminates with sacrificing a lamb.  This set up the opportunity for one of the team members to present to a small group the redemptive analogy of the Lamb of God. Additional trips were made most later years.

The church is committed to reaching this people group.  The majority of the people in this group are animists and do not know the God of grace.  When the church took on the challenge, no one knew how long it would take to see God establish a reproducing native church, which is their ultimate goal.

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