In this series, we explore the stages we’ve often seen as God works among a people group. From an initial prayer movement for a people group, to a time of learning about them, seeking ways to engage with them, sharing the good news, seeing a church emerge through to that church becoming a mission sending church – we long to partner with these movements and see the gospel grow.
The mission of sharing the good news of Jesus with the world is God’s, not ours, and in prayer we express our dependence on him. We ask to join in the work he is already doing. That’s why prayer is the first stage in beginning a gospel movement.
For OMF workers in the Mekong region, this has meant many years of faithful prayer. For the last 15 years the OMF office has held daily prayers, including a section for unreached people groups (UPGs) who are yet to hear the gospel.
A list of UPGs in the region was drawn up and prayed through on a monthly cycle. So, month after month, the office prayed for these people groups and particularly for God to send workers into his harvest field.
Neel, the OMF field leader writes: ‘Some people find praying over a list to be a fairly dry business, and it may feel that way at times, but if you keep seeing answers to prayer as you pray over that list you realise that God does not need dramatic prayer before he works. He is faithful and calls on us to pray faithfully.’ This was not dramatic or instantly answered prayer.
In time, though, the prayers of the OMF team for one of these groups were answered. In summer 2014 two new workers, Laura* and Joy* were seeking where God would have them serve. They joined a prayer team trip and visited many of the workers in the Mekong region. Laura felt drawn to a small village they had passed through, but the call came through prayer as God spoke the same words he had used to lead her before. He later confirmed the calling, answering her many questions surrounding the decision. She concludes: ‘He knows how to guide each of us.’
But for Joy, no one place stood out. In January she joined another prayer team. They visited a couple of other teams and an area home to one of the unreached people groups the OMF office had been praying for. She recalls: ‘I would never have thought about starting a work with this people group…but during that trip, on the last day, God used his Word: ‘I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.’ (Genesis 28:15, NIV) to call me there.’
Since summer 2015, Laura and Joy have been working in these new areas. Their arrival came in answer to faithful prayer to the Lord of the Harvest to send out workers into his harvest field. They continue to pray for more to join them, writing: ‘We are both praying for more workers, since we are limited in what we can do on our own.’
This story was originally published in June 2017. God is still at work. Here is an update from June 2018:
Joy is currently developing her ministry and is looking forward to a family hopefully joining her team in two years time when they have finished their language study. Laura is getting married back home this summer and is planning to return around the end of next year.
They ask for prayer now particularly for connections with local believers who could join them in ministry.
Will you pray with them?