Persons of Peace

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Outside of learning the local language and obtaining a foundational understanding of the local culture, which are both key to effective cross-cultural church planting movements, every missionary prays for God to raise up at least one person of peace.

Ideally, a person of peace is a viable member of the people group with a good reputation, influence and connections. Most importantly, it is a person who is interested in not only learning and living out spiritual truths but sharing them with others. It would be easy to assume that the person of peace will be college-educated, a business owner or a local leader. This is not outside of the realm of possibility. But it could also be the person you buy vegetables from or a small engine repairman.
You never know where you may meet a person of peace, and it isn’t uncommon for them to search out and find the missionary. Once a relationship is established, it usually doesn’t take very long for the initial connection to transition into discipleship.

The Alemans met Khun Sun, an Adventist who had prayed for three years that missionaries would hold a health expo in her village, to which the Alemans agreed. She wanted the villagers to know God loved them. Since the success of the health expo, Khun Sun has invited villagers to hear other messages and attend soap-making classes. The villagers are thrilled with the hope that they could all be in heaven together. Several go to Khun Sun’s house for prayer, including an auntie who is ready to study the Bible and wants to become a child of God (Adventist Frontiers, December 2023 and March 2024).

The Cokers, while looking for land on which to build a training center, were led to a village chief by their friend and person of peace, Famanda. When Fred got discouraged in the process, Famanda encouraged him to pray. Ultimately, the chief gave them even more land than requested because God blessed the chief with a dream in response to Fred’s prayers (Adventist Frontiers, December 2023).

I would love to tell you that every missionary quickly meets and begins to disciple a person of peace. But it isn’t always that easy. Simply put, there are at least two other types of people we typically encounter who may initially appear to be a person of peace These are persons of goodwill and Jesus+ people. A person of goodwill is usually friendly, connected, helpful, and can become a good friend. However, they probably won’t be too interested in studying the Bible or becoming a Christian. Whereas, Jesus+ people typically show immediate interest in reading the Bible and learning about Jesus but usually don’t have many connections or much influence with others. Unfortunately, you also quickly learn that they have other motives, such as wanting a job, finding a spouse, obtaining a visa to the U.S., etc.

As you can imagine, missionaries meet a lot of people, and it takes time to figure out who is a person of peace, person of goodwill or Jesus+ person. Please pray for our missionaries to cast a wide relational net and for wisdom to discern the true motives of the people they encounter.

Use your favorite podcast app or our website to listen to Frontier Missions Journal stories about persons of peace.

Episode 217, “Finding a Person of Peace,” by Fred Coker

Episode 129, “Person of Peace,” by Kyle Tumberg

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