I must say I was totally blown away by the vast spiritual needs and ministry opportunities in this significant region of the world that comprises the countries of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bhutan and Maldives. In my time with the South Asia regional leaders, I learned that, among the various ministries in which they could invest their efforts, our IMB workers have chosen to focus their energies on reaching the most unreached of the unreached. They are strategically working to train national believers in discipleship and church planting methods that have proven to yield the greatest fruit in terms of spiritual multiplication. Inasmuch as IMB work in much of the region is comparatively new, I was especially pleased to learn of plans to give priority consideration toward building stronger relationships with the various Baptist unions and other Great Commission Christian groups scattered across the region, helping to mobilize them towards greater effectiveness in reaching the unreached in their midst.
The South Asia region has a very informative and extensive web-site, which I strongly recommend you to check out for yourself. A good place to begin would be the Fast Facts page, and the Frequently Asked Questions page. But for those of you who don’t go there for yourselves, here are a few of the more noteworthy statistics:
- More people live in India than in all of North America, Central America and South America – combined!
- The seven countries of South Asia are home to about one out of five people in the world. Most have never heard the Gospel even once!
- South Asia has 51% of the world’s Unreached People Groups (UPGs), nearly 3/4ths of the world’s Unengaged Unreached People Groups (UUPGs) and one out of every four lost persons on the planet!
- South Asia is home to more unreached people groups and more unengaged unreached people groups than all the rest of the world combined!
- As an IMB region, South Asia still has one of the lowest numbers of personnel compared to other regions!
I am extremely grateful that God allowed me to have a first-hand glimpse at what He is doing in this part of the world. I also have a deep admiration for those who have made the decision to actually move to South Asia, and pour their lives into helping to reach the unreached and minister to the needy in this very challenging place to live and work. And, while not neglecting other areas, including Western Europe, I have been inspired to be more faithful in praying for the needs of South Asia, as well as becoming an advocate, whenever I have the opportunity, for the work of the IMB in this high-priority arena of God’s redemptive work around the world today.