How do you reach a people group with the Gospel if they live in 20,000 villages without a church? Share the Gospel in a place where people from all these villages can be found!
That is the big vision behind the start of a major new ministry of OMF Isaan: student ministry in Mahasarakham. Mahasarakham is a relatively small town in the middle of the paddy fields of Isaan. But is has two large universities, so that the number of students is significantly higher than non-students.
The whole town is full of dorms and appartment buildings housing the 70,000 students.
A large majority of the students in Mahasarakham are from the Isaan region. So 70,000 students from 20,000 villages means that from every Isaan village an average of 3 young people are studing in Mahasarakham.
How unreached Isaan is, is clear from the church situation in Mahasarakham. There are a few churches in town. Yet all churches combined have just twenty student members. That means twenty known Christians among 70,000 students!
We are very happy that we are now reaching out to these students. We pray that the Holy Spirit will move in Mahasarakham; that many students will come to know the Lord Jesus; and that they will take the Gospel back to their home villages, so that what starts in Mahasarakham will go as wave over all of Isaan.
James and Monet Sinor, from the USA, have finished their first year of language study, and have settled close to the largest campus. Eric and Jodie Obado are from the Philippines, as is Arnie Suyu. They are learning the language as well as getting familiar with the town and university of Mahasarakham. We are grateful that we can start with a team of five missionaries right away. Yet we hope the student ministry team will become as least twice as big! For there is much to do: evangelism on two campuses; planting a church; training new believers and going with them to be evangelists to their relatives; running one or two student centers.
The task is great, but God is greater! Therefore we are looking with anticipation to what He is going to do in Mahasarakham. The frontline of where the Lord is advancing his Kingdom is an exciting place to be!