In many ways, for the Korat, religion is about relationships. And that’s why Mek, a Thai pastor, is ready to try a new kind of outreach. Next year, his church is partnering with TEAM missionaries Amy and Ryan Green to start a community center.
“Our plan is to … serve the community, build relationships and look for opportunities to share the Gospel and train disciples to … make disciples,” Ryan explains.
Ryan and Amy will manage the center, offer various classes and eventually point people to Mek’s church. But amid discussions of the opportunities, the Ryan and Amy are already facing challenges. The center’s launch was originally planned for summer 2021. However, an intense wave of COVID-19 cases, followed by a previously scheduled home assignment, has pushed the opening date to mid-2022.
Starting a new ministry can be stressful and full of unknowns. Every ministry you know was started by those brave enough to press forward anyway. Will you pray with us for Ryan, Amy and all kingdom workers starting new ministries?
1. Pray for credibility and welcoming attitudes in the community.
A great ministry idea means nothing if you can’t earn the trust of locals. Ethan and Sarah Huff saw this when they started a stand up paddleboarding ministry in Puerto Vallerta, Mexico.
“Building credibility was a hard challenge at first since we’re younger and locals didn’t expect us to stay,” Ethan says.
The only way to prove themselves was by staying faithful, investing in locals’ lives day after day. Several years in, the couple has a thriving ministry that “creates amazing opportunities for us to build friendships with locals in order to share the Gospel with them.”
Other ministries, such as community centers or churches may need government approval and favor from landlords and neighbors. Missionaries at a student center in Japan share, “Our biggest challenge at this time is the government regulations.”
Please pray for favor and trust from locals — both ordinary citizens and government officials. Pray that people will clearly see missionaries’ hearts to serve.
2. Pray for wisdom to shape ministries to local needs.
In December of 2019, Kelly and Jeff Pagaragan started a student and ministry center in Tokyo. Three months later, Japan went into a state of emergency, and the country was shut down. All of the center’s classes and events had to be canceled.
Despite this, Kelly and Jeff saw God open doors to fill the new needs of Tokyo.
“Many individuals that were isolated began reaching out to us and asked if they could be part of our smaller community,” Kelly says. “During the month of December, we had over 100 meals with individuals and single moms.”
Pray that kingdom workers will have eyes to see the real needs of their host communities. Ask God to show them how they can shape ministries to meet those needs in the best ways.
3. Pray for deep relationships and spiritual fruit.
When Gillian and Ari started a coffee roastery in the Middle East, some people had their doubts.
“People will often say that the business must take away from God working because you’re so busy with paperwork and business,” Gillian says. “We have seen the exact opposite.”
The couple’s Christ-centered way of living and working is mysterious — and it opens doors. They’ve gotten to have Gospel conversations while serving customers, working with employees and meeting with suppliers.
“God works when we aren’t manipulating how He will work,” Gillian says.
Pray that missionaries will see opportunities to deepen relationships and point people to Christ. Ask God to work powerfully in the lives of those who don’t know Him yet!
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