Context: South Asia is home to well over one-fifth of the world’s population, making it both the most populous and most densely populated geographical region in the world. Although South Asia includes Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka, India lies at the heart of the region. India is home to 1.2 billion people, making it the second most populated country in the world; 1 out of every 6 people on the planet live in India.
The towering Himalayan mountains, rich curry dishes, Taj Mahal, and crowded, noisy, colorful cities and streets – all these and more create the sensory overload noted by so many travelers to India.
While most associate India with Hinduism (80 percent of Indians call themselves Hindus), India also has more Muslims than any other place in the world, with the exception of Indonesia. More unengaged, unreached people groups live in northern India than anywhere else in the world.
EMM work: EMM workers in the region are currently involved in various ministries in India including a missional prayer house, engagement in pioneer disciple-making movements among Muslim communities, and continued partnership with the Fellowship of Christian Assemblies, a group involved in church planting primarily in India. While our workers maintain relationship with one another, they enjoy being a “sprinkling” of Anabaptist flavor within their various team situations and communities.
One of the key threads shared by these workers, regardless of location and specific ministry focus, is a deep desire and commitment to incarnational living wherever the Lord has placed them. For some this means engaging deeply in daily life among Muslim communities that have never had Jesus come close to them in that way before. For others, this means building deep relationships with those who already profess faith in Christ, seeking to discover how God is working in their lives and becoming a part of their ongoing discipleship. A specific emphasis is on equipping and mobilizing them to share their faith with and disciple others.
EMM also partners with a church planting group in the Himalayan region, sending short-term teams and holding mission training events.
Vision: EMM’s vision for South Asia is to continue to expand our incarnational witness in the region. We want to focus our efforts on reaching more deeply into the unreached communities in this region, and believe EMM workers have a special role to play in reaching the Muslim communities of India and beyond. We desire to engage in Muslim-focused ministry by sending new workers to pioneer with others in discipleship-making movements and through missional prayer. We continue to engage deeply and intentionally with the national church (primarily Hindu-background believers) to cast vision and equip them in new ways with models for praying for and engaging with their Muslim neighbors.
We also have a special interest in maintaining historical EMM church partnerships in the region. We want to continue to learn from their experiences of incredible growth and their commitment to an incredible God-sized vision for church planting within India and beyond over the next several years, while also faithfully sharing with them some of the experience and vision God has given our workers for authentic and incarnational Muslim engagement. One exciting thing that is part of the DNA of both EMM and our church partners in the region is an emphasis on discipleship training/missional internship opportunities, especially as formational experiences for young people. This is a vision shared by many of our workers in the region, and we are excited to see how God will use this vision over the next several years to continue to equip and disciple both North American and South Asian young people, catalyzing further work among the unreached peoples of the world.
In this region of incredible opportunity, including that of being a blessing and engaging incarnationally in these communities through business for transformation, we pray for workers who will share Jesus and walk with disciples who are learning to make disciples. We believe that one day we will see expansive growth of vibrant communities of worship and mission that have a life-giving impact on the whole region.
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