From the Field . . . 2016 08

2016-07-pic1From the President . . .

AIM International works with native missionaries in poverty-stricken and restricted regions as opposed to sending Western missionaries into foreign lands. I often get questions from supporters as to why we do this. Here are some of the common questions I receive:

1. Who is an indigenous missionary?
This is a Christian worker who is native to the land, speaks the language and understands the culture of the people among whom they work. Most were themselves reached by earlier native missionaries, discipled by local ministries, and further trained as evangelists and church planters. They represent the largest, most effective missionary force in the Majority World today. Indigenous missionaries are the “foot soldiers” in God’s kingdom, bringing Light to a world of darkness.

2. Why do we need indigenous missionaries?

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Considered to be one of the lowest tribes in the caste system of India, the primitive Korwa people are despised by other tribes and higher caste Hindus. One of these Korwa people, a man named Prem from the eastern state of Jharkhand, heard the gospel at a prayer meeting led by a native missionary working with an indigenous ministry supported by AIM. There, he asked for prayer for a chronic stomach ailment. “After their prayers, the unbearable stomach problem was healed,” Prem wrote. “I also started going to the worship service and received the Lord Jesus Christ as my personal Savior. Also the Lord has delivered me from the lowliness of this world and restored my self-respect, as now I have become a child of the Living God who is the King of kings and Lord of lords.” Prem’s desire to serve the Lord brought him to Nagpur Training Center where he completed two years of discipleship training. Now he is taking the message of deliverance to his own people who live in bondage. By God’s grace, together with his coworker Pankaj, he has planted two church fellowships among the Korwa and Oravan people groups, and has trained two volunteers as ministry coworkers.

For centuries, Western nations colonized South Asia. Because of this, many people see Christianity as the religion of the white people who conquered them. They see Christianity as a foreign religion. But when native people share the Gospel with their own countrymen, it is no longer foreign. Most indigenous ministries send missionaries to plant churches in their own regions, where they speak the language or dialect, know the culture, and understand the most effective way to present the Gospel. Besides that, many countries prohibit Western missionaries altogether. Only people from that country can legally live among and work with the native population.

3. What do they do?
Indigenous or native missionaries serve as God’s hands and feet, particularly in places where foreign missionaries aren’t allowed. They evangelize, plant churches, disciple believers, distribute Bibles and other Christian literature, provide vocational training, heal the sick through medical outreaches, provide food and shelter for the needy (especially in times of natural disaster), operate schools for local children, drill wells to provide clean water for villages . . . in other words, they bring God’s love to a lost and dying generation.

4. How much does it cost?
The actual cost of supporting a native missionary can vary greatly depending on which country they are serving in, which particular region of that country, the type of Christian work they are doing, whether the missionary has a family or not, and so on. But on average, a gift of $100 can support a missionary for one month. While on our website we ask for a monthly gift of $50 support, this is because that amount is more affordable for most people. Once we determine the exact amount needed for a particular missionary, we pool gifts to reach that amount.

5. Are they qualified?
Just as the Apostle Paul raised up young men like Timothy to carry on his work, indigenous missionaries are today’s “Timothy.” They’ve experienced hearing the Gospel for the first time, accepting Christ as Savior and Lord, being discipled, then being trained for Christian work. Their “on the job training” makes them among the most qualified anywhere for bringing the Gospel to the unreached in lands of persecution and poverty. And when the Lord calls them, they do not sit back and wait for financial support. They begin with whatever resources they have. They depend on God to provide for the work He has given them.

6. What is the process for supporting a native missionary?
If the Lord has laid it upon your heart to support a native missionary through AIM International, simply go to our website (www.AIM.international) and click on the “GIVE TODAY” tab. The information there will walk you through the process.

7. What is the accountability process?
At AIM International, we are committed to being faithful stewards of our resources and strive to be transparent in our financial practices. We believe our responsibility is to be strong advocates for indigenous ministries, present their needs before God’s people, and then trust the Holy Spirit to touch the hearts of those He chooses to respond and give. We travel overseas to evaluate and assess the needs of the ministries before providing support, and then we communicate regularly with the overseas ministries and the donors supporting them. We receive written reports from the ministries, and we make periodic trips to the field to see how that the funds are being used properly. All funds received for any appeal will be applied to that purpose. If receipts exceed a stated goal, those funds will be applied to a similar need.

In Christ’s love,

Sarla
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