India (MNN) — Think about any long-term goals you may have. In the next twenty-five years, do you plan on significantly impacting over 1200 people?
Often for such large goals, you need help from many people. Far Corners Missions knows well how effective the body of Christ can be to reach an unreached people. This truth is embodied in their long-term goal, “Vision 25.”
Gary Bishop of Far Corners explains how the project was started: “It came as a result of myself and our board specifically seeking God’s direction for ‘What do you want us to really be focusing on in India?’ We’ve been there 46 years now, and we’ve planted 1060 churches in India. The direction from God was very clear to me, and that was: ‘Finish the job.’”
What does it mean to finish the job? It means to reach everyone in India with the Gospel.
Bishop defines their area of focus on the Central East Coast of India, an area 450 km long. “We have found 1250 more villages that are unreached villages. That is, there’s no identifiable believers, there’s no church, and there’s no one planting a church there now. So we’ve accepted the responsibility as an organization to finish the job of planting a church in each of those villages.
“So that’s what Vision 25 is about. We’ve given ourselves the next 25 years to train and equip enough village pastors to go out and plant churches in each of those villages.”
The training is done in a two-year education program at Word of Life Bible Training Center. Right now, Far Corners is able to produce about 22 graduates out of a program designed for 25 each year. However, in order to reach their goal, they need to double that number.
To do this, Far Corners must add another floor to their dormitory. The project is projected to cost about $88,000. The construction has not yet begun, but you can begin support of it now. Construction is expected to begin this year.
For more personal support of the project, you can support a young pastor for $65 a month. “That covers his entire expense. That covers all of his tuition, books, actually even his clothing, his food, and his lodging,” Bishop clarifies. “Then we support them [pastors] for the next five years while they go to an unreached village and plant their church.” $65 continues to be their monthly support during this time.
People who feel led to support a pastor will have essentially planted a church in an unreached village without going there.
With excitement Bishop asks, “Can you imagine just maybe your family, your Bible class at church, or even your church could have the role of planting a church in a village where there are no believers today? What a tremendous response to the Great Commission call.” Look for a newsletter update on the project with details on how you can support.
A potential area for concern is the constantly shifting anti-conversion laws in India. Andhra Pradesh, the focus of this project, is a state surrounded by anti-conversion sympathies. The possibility for the state to adopt any sort of similar law is always there.
Bishop is not concerned, however. Of their 46 years of work in India he says, “God has allowed the door to shut in certain places in the world, and we’ve witnessed that and seen it happen before. But our job is, until that happens, is to be faithful, to continue to do everything He’s called us to do until He closes the door.”
They have had no indication that their work will need to stop in India anytime soon. One advantage that Far Corners has is their missionary strategy: “We only use indigenous missionaries. We have no sent missionaries, we have no expatriate people from the United States on our staff there.” This commitment to indigenous missionary work is key because often indigenous missionary work can survive where other types cannot.
If you are unable to support the ministry monetarily or are committed elsewhere, you can always pray for Far Corners efforts and the people they reach.
In this situation, pray for the families sending their young men to be pastors, and for the pastors themselves. Pray for people to come alongside to provide the monthly support for the pastors.
Finally, pray that God would prepare the hearts of the lost people in those 1250 villages. “The darkness is so profound because you’re talking about a society that has been for thousands of years living in the darkness of a false religion. And so, it’s not easy to go in and plant a church and introduce Jesus Christ to them. [We] need their hearts to be open and for God to provide that door of openness to their hearts.”