What is a “Closed Country”?

closed country

As missionaries pray about their calling, God often leads them to move to a different country. You may have supported individuals or couples who have decided to follow the Great Commission by serving overseas. Maybe you’ve met a couple who’s moved to Russia to share the gospel or perhaps you’ve supported a short-term missions team as they traveled to Haiti.  In some of these countries, Christianity and Jesus might be met with a lot of hostility and rejection. Other countries might be less hostile. But what about someone who is called to reach people in a country like Saudi Arabia or Iran? In these countries, sharing about Jesus can result in imprisonment, torture or death. We call these “closed countries”–nations where it is nearly impossible for missionaries, especially Americans, to move to and where following Christ is not just frowned upon or unpopular – it is illegal.

Yet there are still thousands of people in these countries that need to hear about Jesus! There are several things we can still do as the Body of Christ to “reach” people in these countries, but one of the most important things we can do is to pray. When missionaries were kicked out of China during the communist reign, they continued to pray for the people there. When China’s doors opened back up in the last few decades, it was discovered that the number of Christians had grown exponentially!

We here at NYCIP have wondered “Is there another way to reach people in closed countries?” This led us to our current ministry: sharing the gospel in diaspora communities. Diaspora communities are groups that have dispersed outside their traditional homelands. All over the world, global cities such as London, Tokyo, and (yes) New York City contain large populations of people who originate from closed countries. Often, these people from diaspora groups are still closely connected to family in their home countries and travel back and forth frequently. Might it be possible to reach closed countries through these people? Might it be possible to reach an entire nation without ever stepping foot in it?

 

Please join us in praying for “closed countries.” Interested in starting or joining a ministry to reach closed countries? Contact us at nycipasst@outlook.com

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