BY SCOTT GRISWOLD
So many refugees come each year to Houston, Texas, that if it were its own country it would be the fourth largest resettlement nation in the world. There are thousands of Buddhists from Southeast Asia, Muslims from Pakistan, and Hindus from India just to name three. In fact almost every other house in the Houston metro area speaks another language besides English.
ASAP Ministries has heard God’s call to do something more for the immigrants, refugees, and international students that God has sent next door from completely unreached countries. In partnership with the Texas Conference, ASAP is starting a cross-cultural missionary training center called Reach the World Next Door.
The center will bring together 12–16 young people for training. Experienced missionaries will take the students out to learn by doing. The initial course will last nine months starting in August 2017. This will be followed by a full year of internship, building on the cross-cultural relationships already started. Pastor Scott Griswold has moved to Texas and is the Director of the center, which is situated on 26 acres of country property an hour north of Houston.
Jesus modeled His plan for training missionaries. ASAP wants to come as close as possible to His model in this new training center. Jesus trained the disciples, not in the classroom, but primarily while serving. They learned how to heal the sick, cast out spirits, and preach to the poor while watching Jesus do those very things. After a while, Jesus sent them out by twos to do their best and return to learn more.
At Reach the World Next Door, the trainers will take the students out to help refugees, who have just arrived, settle into their new homes and environment. Together they will do medical ministry among immigrants and start campus ministries among international students. Through various methods they will connect with the unreached.
As those in this training encounter different cultures and religions, questions will continuously arise. Jesus often gave His instruction to the disciples in response to their questions. In the quiet of the evening or in the countryside they talked, prayed, and applied God’s word. The students and trainers of Reach the World Next Door will live on a 26-acre country property outside of Houston. There will be classes, small groups, and individual study on cross-cultural methods and discipleship.
They will learn to care wholistically for people through agriculture and vocational training. Jesus taught His followers to depend on God and their own hard work for their needs. Paul later provided for himself by making tents.
For several years Jesus earnestly prayed and worked with each disciple to move him towards a deep relationship with Himself, a thorough conversion and a Spirit-filled life. By God’s grace, the Reach the World Next Door training program will help the trainees grow in the same way.
This new program builds in adequate time for reaching immigrants, refugees, and international students. Most of them have never had any serious exposure to the Bible and God. It takes significant time to build relationships of trust that give room for the Holy Spirit and conversion. Because students of Reach the World Next Door will stay nine months plus another year of internship, they will be able to focus their time and energy long enough to see real results. After evangelism and baptism, they will be able to help disciple the new international Christians. Beyond that, they will seek to empower them to reach out to family and friends of their own nationality, even back in their home countries.
This is a huge step of faith for ASAP Ministries, the Texas Conference and the Griswold family. We praise God who provided the perfect property outside of Houston, but money still needs to be raised for operational expenses. ASAP is asking its readers to commit to praying for the Reach the World Next Door Training Center.
ASAP Ministries has heard God’s call to do something more for the immigrants, refugees, and international students that God has sent next door from completely unreached countries.
Students who would like to apply can find more information and an application at reachtheworldnextdoor.com. For those who are called to serve in their current neighborhoods they can find a short version of this training in the 16-part Reach the World Next Door curriculum, available through ASAP or Advent Source. Currently various churches are using this successfully to help them reach out cross-culturally.
This strategy for reaching the world can be seen in what happened at Pentecost when people of “every nation under heaven” heard the good news in his or her own language. It can also be clearly seen in Ellen White’s words, “We should be able to see in the multiplying opportunities to reach many foreigners in America a divinely appointed means of rapidly extending the third angel’s message into all the nations of earth. God in His providence has brought men to our very doors and thrust them, as it were, into our arms, that they might learn the truth, and be qualified to do a work we could not do in getting the light before men of other tongues” (Evangelism 570).
ASAP invites its readers to consider this important question and answer: “Why has the Lord so long delayed His coming?...It is because the few who profess to have the oil of grace in their vessels with their lamps, have not becoming burning and shining lights in the world. It is because missionaries are few” (Advent Review and Sabbath Herald, March 27, 1894).
Goals of the Reach the World Next Door Missionary Field Training
HELP DISCIPLE TRAINEES TO:
- Grow a deeply-connected relationship between Jesus and His follower
- Be skilled at wholistic ministry that shows God really cares
- Speak Spirit-filled words and stories that leads people to Christ
- Be sensitive and effective in sharing the Gospel cross-culturally
- Create relationships that are kind, humble, forgiving, and sacrificial
- Crave core conversion and daily growth leading to entire transformation of life
- Determine a strategic movement so that every tribe and person can hear