You probably agree that the need for long-term missionaries in the US is crazy. You probably agree that most Americans have heard about Jesus during their lifetime. I have been in the United States for only four years and I agree with that statement too.
I think it is logical to say that America is a “reached” country. However, two months was more than enough time for me to observe and experience that this 21st century-globalized world has many cities filled with “unreached people groups.” What is an unreached people group?
“An unreached people group refers to an ethnic group without an indigenous, self-propagating Christian church movement. Any ethnic or ethnolinguistic nation without enough Christians to evangelize the rest of the nation is an “unreached people group.”
In other words, the United States, as a whole, remains reached. Most know the name of Jesus Christ and his “story”. But, many cities in this country have groups that are “unreached.”
For example, I am working among the people of Bangladesh in New York City and have made many Bangladeshi friends. There are approximately 100,000 to 200,000 Bangladeshis, who live just in my area. As a long-term missionaries’ kid who grew up in another culture, I know how intimidating the local culture can seem to a foreigner.
This intimidation and discomfort causes these foreigners to get together in small areas and build a community that feels more like “home”. We see this with Bangladeshis in the neighborhood I work in. These “homes,” even though they are in America, do not have much American influence. Even though they live in a “reached” country, these people remain “unreached.”
Who’s to Blame?
Really, there is not anyone to “blame”. But there is a need to raise the awareness level of this situation and the need for long-term missionaries. It is important for our churches and brothers and sisters in Christ to recognize the vast numbers of “unreached people groups” in the United States. Their Christian responsibility is to share the gospel with them.
It is uncomfortable for both Americans and Bangladeshis in New York City to learn each other’s culture. It is even more uncomfortable to be spending time in each other’s communities. Whenever I am at a Bangladeshi restaurant with my teammates, it surprises me, every time, that we are the only non-Bangladeshis in a restaurant in New York City – not in Dhaka, Bangladesh.
What is even more uncomfortable is learning each other’s language. As minorities in a foreign country, we must learn English to survive and thrive. However, you might be surprised how much it means to us when someone cares enough to want to learn our language.
These things are “uncomfortable” but are necessary and needed to reach these people who are living in darkness without Jesus.
The need for long-term missionaries in the US
As I interact with Bangladeshis, I am seeing more and more need of workers – long-term missionaries, bi-vocational missionaries, and short-term missionaries.
Many parts of New York City remain unreached. People down the street and next door have never had anyone sit down with them. They have never heard of the freedom of grace through Jesus Christ in their lives.
People of the unreached world are coming to us, the United States. New York City and other gateway cities in the U.S. need commitments from our brothers and sisters in Christ to become long-term missionaries here. First, we are in need of people committing to step into these communities of the unreached. Second, we are in need of people committing to learn the cultures and share the Good News with the many unreached people groups that are living among us.
Yes, it is crazy!
Yeah, it is crazy how people here, around us, are in urgent need to hear about Jesus Christ.
It is crazy how the need here is unknown or ignored.
It is crazy how many unreached people groups there are in the United States.
It is crazy how long-term missionaries need to work in New York City and other cities in the United States to reach unreached people groups.
Long-term missions in New York City – will you commit?