One quarter of the world’s people are outside the normal reach of the Church. If you want to engage these unreached people groups, how do you do it?
Innov-Asia is a short-term mission trip designed to help aspiring missionaries see that life and service at the ends of the earth is doable. It requires creativity, innovation and a willingness to live outside your comfort zone.
Serving Unreached People Groups through Innovation
Jackson and Diane chose to open a guest house. They offered outdoor adventures, language tutoring and a gift shop stocked with ethnic crafts. When they arrived, they were the only guest house on their side of the river. But over 10 years, a whole street of guest houses, restaurants and other businesses rose up to join them.
The couple learned the majority language, as well as the language of an ethnic minority in the mountains. Over time, they got to mentor many locals, weaving prayers, Gospel conversations and teaching into their daily lives. Their city of 3 million people has perhaps 3,000 known believers. Yet, believers — both local and international — press on in God’s work.
There are opportunities to engage with music, coffee, bicycles, art, business consulting, manufacturing, architecture and medicine. And as more workers go, the possibilities of service continue to grow.
Innov-Asia helps future missionaries explore life and service among unreached communities in Asia. (These groups are also known as unreached people groups or hidden communities). They remain unreached for realistic reasons: Some are hidden away in mountains and forests. Governments restrict people from entering other communities.
The Church needs creativity and courage to bring the hope of Christ to these communities.
An Entry Point for Missions
Innov-Asia opens a pathway “to the ends of the earth.”
Some participants are already preparing to live and serve in Asia. They go to find clarification on where and how their vision will take shape. Other participants have no idea if God is calling them to Asia. It sounds interesting, even exciting, but it also sounds so far away!
Innov-Asia is a safe entry point to test the waters.
Over the course of the summer, you’ll be exposed to ministry roles in translation, evangelism, church planting, discipleship, business, medicine and community engagement. You’ll also have opportunity to engage with individuals who have special focuses, such as human trafficking, sustainable farming or serving refugees.
Innov-Asia operates as a learning laboratory model. Participants bring their own questions about missions and Asia and seek God’s help in finding the answers.
The program starts with three weeks of orientation and training in northern Thailand. Then, you’ll head out for a month of field work in a second location. A final week of debriefing and integration takes place back in northern Thailand.
That’s two cultures in one summer, while learning and doing.
Take Your Next Steps Toward Innov-Asia
The Innov-Asia team is putting their commitment to innovation to the test. We’re making plans for summer 2021, even while COVID-19 dampens travel options. This means mapping out plans A, B, C and D.
COVID-19 has not closed the doors to working cross-culturally; rather God has worked through COVID-19 to point us in new directions.
One of those new directions is the start of the monthly forum hosted by Innov-Asia. The Innov-Asia Forum is an online group open to anyone interested in Asia. Together with prayer partners, you can help shape the program and speak into the planning process. If you want to learn more about life and service in Asia, talk with a missions coach about Innov-Asia. Make sure to ask them specifically about the forum.
The application deadline in February 10, 2021. However, we already have folks preparing to go, and we’ll close applications when we fill the team. I hope you’ll join us!