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We have our fingers on the pulse of modern missions. Mission work is changing rapidly as the world's cultures and global conditions are changing. Ease of travel and communication impact how the Gospel is spread. But at the heart of missions, there is the work of the Holy Spirit, the Word of God, and the obedience of the Church to carry out Jesus' command to go into all the earth.

We want to present challenging biblical truths, insights into today's missions environment, and progress reports on reaching the entire world with the Gospel. Please keep checking our blog regularly for updates, stories and challenging thoughts from Scripture!

Ed Stetzer, a renowned church-planting expert and executive director of the Billy Graham Center at Wheaton College, recently interviewed Reach A Village Founder and President Bob Craft about keys to the staggering number of new believers and house churches being started by Thai Christians. This movement in Thailand was featured in the Christianity Today April cover story.

Craft said that, ultimately, it is the work of Jesus Christ through the Holy Spirit, but he also shared some insights from the Thai Christians’ methods. For example, they keep the initial Gospel presentation simple and relatable to normal Thai life and experience. The Western Christian worldview and “Christianese” are avoided as they can inhibit the spread of the Gospel in Asia. Craft explains that terms like “testimony” and even “sin” can be confusing or misunderstood by those coming from a Buddhist background.The focus is kept solely on biblical truth.

“Keep in mind that in countries like Thailand, we do not leave the 99 to find the one lost sheep. We leave the one found sheep in the fold to rush back and try to rescue the 99,” Craft notes. “Thailand and other countries have vast populations in geographic areas or ethnic enclaves that have less than 1 percent believers among them.”

Click here to view the interview.

Sometimes, you don’t know what you’re missing until you find it. As a busy working parent, some days seem so long, but there is something that has recently added a bit of unexpected joy to my day.

Every day, I leave at the same time to pick up my daughter. At the same intersection, I see a crossing guard wearing a yellow vest, gray slacks and bright smile each day. She makes it a point to smile and wave at every single car that passes her. No matter how tired I may feel, the crossing guard never fails to put a smile on my face and lift my spirits.

Last week, I was running a little bit late, and she had already left her post for the day. I felt a little disappointed to miss her. I thought about the other people who pass by the same intersection and how they would never know of the joy they had just missed.

I spend a lot of time thinking about the unreached people of the world through my service at Reach A Village. In a way, they are like the people who never get to see the warm, genial smile of a friendly woman. You simply don’t know what you are missing.

Sometimes it’s a matter of timing. Sometimes it’s a matter of location. You only know of the Gospel when it is shared with you, by chance, or by coincidence. The majority of the unreached don’t even know a Christian, and will never meet one. It is our job as Christ-followers to help ensure that everyone can have a meaningful encounter with Jesus.

I am so thankful for our tremendously dedicated ministry partners who are also called in this mission to reach the world for Christ. Through their tireless work, more people are being reached and learning of salvation found only in Jesus Christ. As the International Day for the Unreached is remembered on June 9, I hope you will pray with me that all of the unreached would soon hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ!

 

By Erin Menke-Assam

 

erincircle2As Director of Partner Development for Reach A Village, Erin Menke-Assam enjoys engaging people in the ministry and helping them to become part of fulfilling the Great Commission. Erin earned her Master’s degree in International Public Service from DePaul University. Her experience in international non-profit Christian organizations includes research, development, serving as a literacy trainer and helping to implement literacy programs internationally.

We are excited to share that the Christianity Today April cover story "Making Missions Count" features interviews with Dwight Martin of CrossTies Asia, a ministry of Reach A Village, and with Bob Craft. We are so pleased for this opportunity to talk about the role new technology and national Christians, like our Thai ministry partners the Free in Jesus Christ Church Association (FJCCA), will play in the future of global missions.

New technology can show in real time where ministry needs are greatest and help bring organizations together to work toward Great Commission goals. The Harvest database, which is described in the article as “the most comprehensive national church database in the world,” was developed by Dwight’s team to aid the Thai Church’s national plan for strategic evangelism by mapping the locations of all churches in Thailand and identifying unreached villages.

Dwight’s research spurred a partnership with the FJCCA that has turned into a fast-growing church planting movement in unreached villages in Thailand. In just a year and a half, nearly 12,000 people have started their journey with Jesus and engagement in God’s Word through Bible study! Out of 13 mother churches, more than 400 house churches have been started since 2016.

Reach A Village plays a supporting role in the partnership, collaborating with the movement’s leaders to provide new Thai believers with the tools and resources they need to grow in their faith. Our ministry model is to come alongside local, indigenous Christians to help supply access to training, culturally appropriate study materials, and local language Scriptures so that they can reach their own people for Christ, nurture new believers, and start churches in unreached villages.

We believe that you will be inspired as you read this article and see how the Lord is working in new and different ways around the world! Please click here to view the article.

The ministry of Reach A Village was featured in the March issue of AFA Journal, a publication of the American Family Association. In an interview, President Robert Craft told about our focus on training local believers in order to reach the remaining 1 million unreached villages around the world. “They are unreached, but not unreachable,” he commented.

He explained that, from his own experience as a missionary, he had observed that indigenous Christians were more effective when it came to communicating and connecting with the people on a spiritual level because of their shared language and culture. He outlined our ministry model and process for mobilizing these local believers to fulfill the Great Commission.

Reach A Village is grateful for this wonderful opportunity to share about what God is doing around the world!

To read the AFA Journal article, please click here!

A few years ago, I began considering how to find someone to travel to Southeast Asia in my place and continue the partnerships I’ve had with ministries for almost 20 years. As Reach A Village has grown, so have my responsibilities as president. Additionally, I will turn 67 in March, and some health issues prompted me to get more intentional about the search.
 
It wouldn't be easy to find the right person. The individual would have to live in North America, yet be passionate about reaching the lost in Asia, be able to work across cultures with international pastors, teachers and church leaders, and travel tirelessly to areas where the Gospel has not spread. Some formal ministry training would be required.
 
Yet, God was already preparing someone. Ellis was a missionary kid in Thailand and the Philippines. His studies included Bible and community development. He spent 10 years working with a non-profit helping adults with disabilities. Ellis felt God calling him to a ministry spreading the Gospel and focusing on discipleship. He left his job to attend Moody Theological Seminary. After graduating in 2018, he joined Reach A Village and is now International Ministry Director for Southeast Asia.
 
During the past year, Ellis and I traveled to ministry sites together. As I watched him interact with our ministry partners, it was obvious that his studies in sociology, community development and ministry leadership, along with his work in management, staff development, and training, prepared him well for this new role. Please join me in welcoming, Ellis Craft, my son and new co-worker, to Reach A Village. Pray that God will bless him and his family as he serves in this unique ministry.
 
Serving Christ Together,
Robert Craft

“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be upon his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6

While a student at Olivet Nazarene University, I would sing in the annual performance of George Frideric Handel's “Messiah” every December. My choir would practice for months in advance as the yearly event was a proud tradition.

One of the most popular choruses featured this verse from Isaiah. For a good portion of it, Handel focuses on the first phrase of the verse, "for to us a child is born" and places special emphasis on the word "us." With all the power of this prophetic verse, why focus on such a tiny, simple word?

Though the word is just two letters long, the implications are tremendous. God promised He would send a Savior to the world, and the word "us" has implications beyond Jesus' physical birth and His ministry on Earth. He was born into the world for all people, in every place and for all time. Jesus' birth is an eternal gift to all people who will ever live on Earth. His promises are for all time. How truly inspiring it is to think of how a mere two letter word has implications for the salvation of all people!

As you celebrate His birth with your loved ones, let us remember with joy that Jesus came and sacrificed Himself because of His incredible love for everyone who lived at the time of His birth, those alive today, and every single person around the world who has lived or will ever live.

By Erin Menke-Assam

 

erincircle2As Director of Partner Development for Reach A Village, Erin Menke-Assam enjoys engaging people in the ministry and helping them to become part of fulfilling the Great Commission. Erin earned her Master’s degree in International Public Service from DePaul University. Her experience in international non-profit Christian organizations includes research, development, serving as a literacy trainer and helping to implement literacy programs internationally.

“I thank God, whom I serve … as night and day I constantly remember you in my prayers. Recalling your tears, I long to see you, so that I may be filled with joy. I have been reminded of your sincere faith …"
2 Timothy 1:3-5a
 

There are many things for which to be thankful, like our faith, family, life, health, peace, food and shelter. This Thanksgiving season, I want to encourage you to also take time and thank the Lord for people He has brought into your life.

When Paul wrote these words, he obviously felt that his life and ministry were nearing an end (2 Timothy 4:6). Perhaps that is one reason why he was so thankful for people like Timothy. While traveling with Paul on some of his missionary journeys, Timothy became a trusted friend and co-worker, and Paul entrusted the care of the new churches to him.

Paul thanked God for Timothy and constantly remembered him in prayer. He appreciated Timothy’s tender heart for Jesus and his sincere expression of the faith. Paul was joyful whenever he saw Timothy. What a moving picture Paul paints of this special relationship!

We should all take time to thank God for the people of faith He has brought into our lives, to remember the relatives, friends, and even strangers, who brought us the story of Jesus, became part of our faith journey, or helped in the ministry God called us to do. Paul’s letters are full of the names of people he met in places where he shared the Gospel.

I just learned of another village in Thailand, Nong Dayang, which received the Gospel of Jesus Christ for the very first time yesterday! A former resident and a team of Christian friends came from 45 miles away to bring the Gospel to them. The people of Nong Dayang will remember the names of these new friends who are committed to helping them grow in their newfound faith in Jesus!

We thank God as we remember you! Some of you helped start the ministry of Reach A Village, others encouraged us along the way, and many have stood beside us to prayerfully and financially help see villages reached with the Gospel. Thank you!   

By Bob Craft

 

bob circleBob Craft is founder and president of Reach A Village. His ministry background of over four decades includes service as a pastor, missionary, and evangelical missions leader. Bob believes that the most efficient and cost-effective way to finally fulfill the Great Commission is to train local Christians, equip them with Scripture materials, and mobilize them to reach unreached villages in their country with the Gospel.

“Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” James 1:22

I love baking. I recently discovered “The Great British Baking Show” and have watched every episode multiple times. The judges are extremely knowledgeable, fair and good-humored, while the contestants show great creativity and skill. I have learned so much through watching the show.

Yet, if you set me before a mixer with a few ingredients, I would be lost. I do not know the proportions of what ingredients should be used, nor do I understand rising agents. I have never kneaded bread to know the right consistency. For all of my interest, I just don’t have the practice of actually baking in the kitchen.

The experience of learning and mastering something must be hands-on. Isn’t that true of our Christian walk? We may read the Bible, enjoy a powerfully delivered message, and engage in fellowship with others. But what if we do not actually do what the Bible says and implement its teachings in our lives? There are many things you can only learn by doing.

Famously, Matthew 28:19-20a says, “‘Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.’” It is wonderful to reach more people with the Gospel and make disciples, but we often seem to forget the importance of the last phrase. In our Christian walk, we must obey the Word and put His teachings into practice. We must be doers of the Word, and then we can really be strong, growing disciples.

It doesn’t matter if I can tell you the importance of baking powder or the temperature of butter when adding it into a mixture if I cannot actually bake the cake. Likewise, we must be obedient and put the Bible’s teachings into practice so others can see the light of the Lord living in us. Then, we can truly be better disciples and live lives that glorify God.

By Erin Menke-Assam

 

erincircle2

As Director of Partner Development, Erin Menke-Assam enjoys engaging people in the ministry and helping them to become part of fulfilling the Great Commission. Erin earned a Master’s degree in International Public Service from DePaul University. Her experience in international non-profit organizations includes development, serving as a literacy trainer and helping to implement literacy programs internationally.

The July rescue of the soccer team trapped in a flooded cave in Thailand is still capturing the world’s attention all these weeks later. Currently, Reach A Village is involved in an even greater rescue mission that is also worthy of global attention and will require an international response. People in unreached villages are trapped in the darkness of sin and death. How long will they have to wait to be rescued?   

There are many parallels between the mission to rescue the Thai soccer team and our rescue mission. No one nation or organization can accomplish the goal on its own; it takes a collaborative effort.

While over 30 countries assisted in some way with the rescue in Thailand, they all came alongside and served under the direction of the local Thai experts and leadership. In the same way, Reach A Village believes in coming alongside local Christian leaders and volunteers and supporting them in their efforts by providing resources that they need. Reach A Village has seen the effectiveness of having trained local believers take the lead in the mission to rescue souls.

The rescue situation in Thailand was monitored, and developments in the mission and needs for the effort were reported back. Reach A Village also believes in reporting back to supporters about the great work that our ministry partners are doing and communicating any pressing needs that would further or strengthen the rescue efforts.

At the outset, the obstacles in the path to rescuing the soccer team seemed insurmountable, but as everyone worked together, the miraculous was achieved. Likewise, our mission in Thailand seems daunting, as just 4 percent of villages there have a church. Over 77,000 villages still do not have a church! But we know that, as Luke 1:37 says, “For nothing will be impossible with God.” We have a Savior who is victorious over the darkness!

By Ellis Craft

Want to learn more about this topic? Check out our video blog by clicking here!

We are pleased to announce that we have started a YouTube channel! We are delighted to have this new forum to fill you in on all of the latest ministry developments.
 
Hosted by our International Ministry Director for Southeast Asia, Ellis Craft, the videos will feature topics relating to missions, interviews with missions leaders, testimonies of inspiring transformations, exciting developments from our global partners, and updates on church planting efforts. God is doing so many tremendous things worldwide, and we want you to have a front row seat!
 
We hope you’ll join us as new episodes will be aired weekly on Tuesdays at 11 a.m. Most will be 5-7 minutes in length. A link will be posted on our Facebook page as well. To subscribe and view our current videos, click here.