International (MNN) — An International
Mission Board display wall was previously covered with over 6,400 tan
stickers. Each sticker bore the name of
an unreached people group, where fewer than two percent of the people are
evangelical Christians. Many of these people
groups have no Bibles, no missionaries, and no churches.
The wall represents IMB's "Getting
There" initiative, which is part of the "Are we there yet?" theme for this year's
Lottie Moon Christmas Offering. Now the
wall is empty, because thousands of believers have stepped up and committed to
pray for one of these people groups. (You can, as well, by going online and choosing a people group to pray for regularly. Go to our Web site to learn more.)
One of those people was Heather Isbell,
a junior at Charleston (S.C.) Southern University. She picked up the name of the Black Tai
people of Vietnam, who have immigrated to France and other parts of
Europe. Few, if any, of the Black Tai
are true followers of Jesus Christ. Isbell
endeavors to pray for them faithfully.
"I can't pray every day for every single people group, but I can pray
for [the Black Tai]," she explained. "It
breaks my heart that no one is there physically telling them [about Jesus]."
Isbell is a member of Summit Church in Charleston, and she is majoring in
religion and biology. "I know God is
calling me to do missions…I just don't know at what capacity," she said. "I'd love to do medical missions, but I don't
know if that's what I'm called to do yet."
Isbell got her Black Tai sticker from Clark Carter, campus minister at
Charleston Southern. When the new
display debuted at the Southern Baptist Convention's annual meeting in Orlando,
he grabbed 700 stickers to give out to his students.
"We're giving [students] real, practical ways to put their faith into action,"
Carter said. "Every week I have students stopping by saying they want to go
(visit their people group)."
According to Suzanne Lillard, associate director of collegiate
ministries for the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma, today's youth tend
to be optimistic and enthusiastic about what they can accomplish — an excellent
quality. They need to be guided toward
goals that are both significant and achievable. Something concrete and tangible, like praying for a specific people group,
helps them wrap their minds around God's call to go to the nations.
"This generation needs to feel like ‘I'm doing something that's going to
impact the world,'" Lillard explained. "The more individually connected a
student can get, the better it is for them… Whenever we challenge students to do
some things that are possible but have worldwide potential, that grabs their
heart," she said.
The Warnang people of Sudan grabbed the heart of Kaci Dills, a junior
at Southeastern Oklahoma State University and member of Western Meadows Baptist
Church in Durant, OK. She picked up
their sticker at LifeWay's Glorieta Conference Center in New Mexico. Now, "God has burdened my heart," she
"Now I see them more as brothers and sisters rather than strangers across the
world," Dills said. "I hope to visit
than one person can register to pray for each people group. Go to www.imb.org/gettingthere to choose
an unreached people group to lift up in prayer, and to learn more about how you
could help bring the Gospel to those who are forgotten and overlooked.