In any country, local believers are the best people to reach out to their neighbours – in faith and in action. Whatever the church looks like, experience tells us that coming alongside these local believers is the most effective way to create wholistic change in their communities.
In Central Asia, the church is young – in many places, it is made up of first generation believers. Kim and Patrick* have come alongside the church with a vision to mobilise believers in wholistic mission. One of their main focus areas is TEE: a grassroots program of discipleship courses and group leader training. They also run social projects that seek to address local needs (such as a support ministry for women coming out of prison). “We seek to model a wholistic approach to mission through our lives,” says Kim.
None of this happened overnight. Patrick says, “It took seven or so years before we were competent in two local languages, had a good grasp of the culture, and built relationships with local believers and leaders. Now with 15 years of service, many opportunities have opened up.”
It’s been worth it. In those years, God has been at work. Since 2007, national TEE teams have been established in six Central Asian countries, with over 1300 students taking part in the program.