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Global Snapshots of Reach Beyond's Ministries - July 2019

July 1, 2019

Rohingya Refugee Camp - Children Smiling on Path Between Homes
Rohingya children play in the path between the temporary homes in the Bangladeshi refugee camp.

ASIA PACIFIC

The Rohingya refugee situation in southeast Bangladesh, which reached crisis proportions in August 2017, remains unresolved for the near million Rohingya who call the refugee camps their home. They are stateless people, denied citizenship in Myanmar and forced to flee their land and villages under extreme duress. Hundreds of thousands crossed the border into Bangladesh. Now, nearly two years since the crisis began, the Rohingya are getting on with life in the camps but still hope to return home someday.

While the immediate physical needs of the refugees are being met very well through the coordinated work of the NGOs and Bangladeshi government, the long-term effects of the peoples' trauma is more difficult to address. At Reach Beyond’s partner medical clinic, our visiting doctor and Bangladeshi doctor have noted many cases of headaches, dizziness, gastric issues, insomnia, and overall weakness. Physically, the people seem generally well (there was only one baby who measured on the malnourished scale during the March medical team), yet they have these ongoing symptoms. Our physicians feel that the unaddressed trauma, coupled with the uncertainty of the future, is contributing to their physical ailments. The trauma and fear produce a belief that there is something physically wrong. Our doctors see the reassurance which comes when they are able to tell patients that they are physically well.

We have been given a unique chance for physical and emotional contact with a people who were previously very isolated from the outside world, but the window of opportunity through the clinic is coming to a close. As the emergency has stabilized, it has become increasingly difficult to secure visas for our medical teams, permissions and funding for the clinic. Many other NGOs face similar issues. We praise God for what He had done to this point, and for new opportunities which are emerging for Reach Beyond to engage with Rohingya in other diaspora situations. Pray for continued emotional and physical healing of the Rohingya people. Pray for opportunities to creatively and carefully share the hope that we have in Jesus.

AUSTRALIA

Australia continues to change lives through shortwave radio broadcasts to Bangladesh, Myanmar, India and beyond. Recently, a listener from India shared, “I am a regular listener of the programs, and I have learned about Jesus in the past year. I want to become a Christian. My family knows that I listen to the radio about Jesus, and now I share with my family whatever I learn. There is no church near our place. Help me to learn more and tell my family and village about Jesus.” Entire communities are learning about Jesus thanks to the programs that have aired.

Kununurra, located in the Kimberley region in outback Australia, is the perfect place to broadcast the message of hope to millions of people throughout the Asia Pacific region, but Reach Beyond Australia is also very aware of the needs of the local Kimberley community. That is why they have recently partnered with a college, enabling them to open a campus at Reach Beyond’s shortwave broadcast facility, to offer education, support and life skills for marginalized youth. Not only are they able to share the Gospel message overseas, but they are also able to model their heart closer to home.

Mision A Bordo - A mother and child explain symptoms to the doctor
The team included medical and dental professionals, who served the Shipibo communities at each stop.

LATIN AMERICA

Misión a Bordo (Mission On Board) is an annual discipleship and training opportunity mainly for Latin American nationals interested in missions. In late April, 70 medical and dental personnel, facilitators, mission participants and boat crew boarded El Evangelista riverboat for a five-day journey to first learn about missions, and then practice what they learned among the Shipibo communities living in the Amazon basin. The team included nationals from Peru, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Germany, Venezuela, Australia and the U.S.

One of the facilitators shared, “We traveled on a four-story riverboat for five days on the Ucayali River, visiting four Shipibo indigenous villages, while receiving missions instruction each morning. Three of us taught on culture, worldview and the Biblical basis of missions, to participants who mostly had never seen the Amazon or a tribal person before. The interest and impact were astounding, with virtually all free time absorbed in answering questions and offering counsel to very thirsty people. A multi-national medical & dental team was an enormous blessing in the villages as well.”

Dr. Steve Nelson and his wife, Dorothy, participated on the medical and dental team. He says there is a fervor on Latin Americans to get involved in missions and credits this program with making an impact in the lives of those who attended. “It was a wonderful blessing to hear one of our residents say that she had accepted Christ. She later elaborated that this trip was critical to saving a marriage she was feeling was going to die,” he shared. “We met an amazing dentist with a long history in missions who now makes inroads into darkness on a Muslim island off the coast where he lives and works. Another doctor was a young Cuban-trained female with a strong heart for missions. As soon as we returned, she was begging for help to get to someplace where she could serve the Lord.”

One facilitator said, “This was one of the most intense, passionate and committed groups I’ve seen on the boat to date. The annual program offers clarity and purpose for life to dozens of young people and older couples, as God’s heart and vision are poured out within their souls. Please pray that the Spirit of God will protect this investment and will lead participants into His will for each of their lives!”

SuperBible logo and graphic
“The SuperBible App has the potential to reach millions with the Word of God.”

NEW ZEALAND

Reach Beyond New Zealand continues to find creative ways to leverage technology in bringing the Gospel of Hope to the unreached. Their latest project, the SuperBible App, is no exception. Country Office leader, Russell Grainger, says, “The SuperBible App has the potential to reach millions with the Word of God. We see it as one of the most significant contributions we can give to those engaged in evangelism and disciple making.”

The SuperBible App uses high quality graphics to tell Bible stories and answer life’s big questions in comic-book format. Bob Arend, the Director of the SuperBible project, has partnered with Kingstone Comics to produce the comics in digital format in any language through Reach Beyond’s Wandering Sheep Productions. Currently, there is a catalogue of 80 comics, 72 of which are Bible stories, translated into 22 languages, including Arabic, Azeri, Bengali, Burmese, Chinese dialects, Farsi, Hindi, Indonesian, Nepali, Russian, Swahili, Tajik, Turkish, Turkmen and Urdu. They have launched the App on Android, as it is the most popular format worldwide, but as funds allow, it will be made available for IOS.

“Please pray with us for finances and translators,” says Russell. “There is a huge need, as mission agencies all over the world are wanting to use this as an, evangelism and discipleship tool.”

17 Mozambique pastors committed to help support our partner's radio staion.
Pastors representing 17 area churches committed to supporting a radio station in Mozambique.  Reach Beyond UK funded repairs to the tower after Cyclone Idai damaged the station.

SUB SAHARAN AFRICA

Radio continues to be an important tool in sharing the Gospel with the least reached. After Tropical Cyclone Idai destroyed large portions of Mozambique, there was a need to make repairs to a partner station in the area. Reach Beyond UK was able to fund the cost of the poles for a new antenna, and missionary Alex Walker was able to help get the station back on air so they wouldn’t lose their license. Pastors representing 17 different churches in the area met together and resolved to continue supporting the station. They are really motivated behind the vision of the station and what radio can do to reach people for Jesus.

In Togo, there is an opportunity to work with a local pastor to plant a radio station in his community. The reach of the broadcast will include some of Southern Burkina Faso and Northeast Ghana, but it will mostly be focused on the unreached villages in northwestern Togo. The partner’s heart is to use this radio station to reach into communities where he is already working as an evangelist. They already have a radio license and building, but we are raising funds for all of the studio equipment, plus a 300-watt transmitter and broadcast antenna. The goal is to go back in August to get the station installed and on air.

In July, the region will host seven interns for the month-long HANDS Ghana Internship: Erin Adkins, Morgan Aucoin, Ashley Brown, Alyssa Cheung, Daniel Jones, Sarah Shannon and Sophie Silver. The team will help with medical work and children’s ministries in remote villages and towns. The internship is important, not only for providing resources for felt-needs among the unreached in Ghana, but also for equipping and encouraging young people as they determine God’s plan for their futures. Pray for energy and wisdom over our leaders, as they prepare logistically for the program and guide students in the field. Pray that the team would bond and would be a blessing in the communities they visit. Pray for safety on the road, as they will travel heavily over the four-week program.

CREATIVE ACCESS/UNDISCLOSED AREAS

We have some stories and updates we want to share with you, but because of security for our teams and strategies, we can’t tell you where these are happening. We celebrate that God is at work throughout the world in hard-to-reach places!

GOD MAKES A CONNECTION TO HELP A NEW BELIEVER

A Reach Beyond worker in an undisclosed country recently traveled with a team to meet and learn about refugees from another creative-access country. While there, she met an American worker, who happened to be a martial arts expert. “He was such a nice young man, and I was privileged to hear his testimony and learn a bit about the world of martial arts,” she said.

Upon returning home, she met online with a partner from the same country as the refugees. The partner shared the story of a young man who had recently accepted Christ, but was still struggling. He felt misunderstood because he is involved in martial arts. The partner said he wished he knew someone who was familiar with his sport. She laughed, sharing, “Is God not one of the best networkers in the world? The young man I’d met was happy to reach out to this new brother in Christ. As you can imagine, they hit it off and this new believer is being discipled. When it all happened, I started chuckling at how delightful and detailed God is!”

BUILDING TRUST THROUGH MEDICAL CARAVANS

In another creative access country, God has been opening doors through medical work. In May, one of our partners was able to use a medical caravan, led by a Reach Beyond doctor, to gain access to a very difficult village. The village was among the poorest they have visited and had a lot of people with very high blood pressure that were undiagnosed. The team was able to get these patients on medication, and the doctor spoke to the community leaders about the need for education.

The dominant people group of this country has a high distrust of outsiders, even among its own people, but the village elders and local medical provider for this village were very grateful and welcoming to the team.

“We witnessed the relationship between our team and the people in the village grow over the course of the four days,” our doctor shared. “We believe the relationship with the community and our team is off to a great start, and we pray that this relationship will continue to grow so that team members will be able to share their faith one day.”




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