With thousands upon thousands daily passing from our world, awakening to the reality of a Christ-less eternity without hope or salvation, new strategies toward the evangelization and discipling of the nations are desperately needed. Today, we are witnessing more than ever, a move of the Spirit across former mission fields, as the 2nd/3rd World takes aim toward the daunting challenge of completing The Great Commission mandate. Such a reality gives cause for great joy as mission ministry is no longer only a Western movement. Countries like South Korea, China and Brazil are changing the way we’ve always thought of mission work. History is being rewritten before our very eyes. There’s no doubt the Latin American mission movement is making, and will continue to make, a significant impact in reaching many of the still unreached “creative access” nations, particularly within the Islamic family. With tremendous linguistic advantage, worldview commonality and a simple physiological similarity, some of the best missionaries to the Islamic peoples are proving to be Latin American in heritage.
First, Latin Americans have a linguistic advantage. More than 2,000 words in the Spanish language are also found in Arabic. This large overlap provides Latinos with a potentially quicker entrance into learning the language necessary for ministry in the 10/40 window.
Second, Latin Americans share a worldview commonality with the Arabic-speaking world. Although movement into the 10/40 window is cross-cultural for them as well, having commonalities in worldview makes such a transition easier. There is less need to “think like” another culture because the commonalities are many.
Third, Latin Americans have a simple physiological similarity. This gives them the ability to blend into the people without standing out. Hearing the gospel from someone of similar appearance breaks down many barriers and eliminates some of the lack of trust. They blend in and have an easier access to entering the culture.
The fact that the gospel needs to go to the nations is unchanging: “go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations.” The central need of every one on the planet is Christ. That is why the gospel is good news. The method by which the gospel goes is unchanging: “how shall they hear without a preacher?” The Lord has entrusted to the church the responsibility of being ambassadors of his great name. We are to take the message. The strategic plan is always open for discussion.
Might it not be wise of us to think strategically to work in conjunction with what God apparently is doing through such movements today? Could there not be tremendous blessing and joy for us as we partner with such movements, showing appreciation for God’s new envoys? We believe the answer to be an exuberant “yes”! We must think in terms of partnership. We must see ourselves on the same team with each player having a different contribution to make while maintaining a common goal. May the Lord help us as we learn to live as a global church, and may he lead us in wisdom as to how to partner together in reaching the world.