“We have nothing to fear for the future, except as we shall forget the way the Lord has led us, and His teaching in our past history” (CET 204.1). So with heartfelt gratitude, let us recount God’s blessings and faithfulness throughout the past year.
Beginning with Asia, the Philippines saw COVID-19 lockdowns result in 40 new house fellowships starting among the Palawanos, with regular training for the new house fellowship leaders. In Cambodia, missionaries established new congregations among animist and Muslim communities. In Thailand, new congregations flourished and grew among native Thai people. Meanwhile in Tai-Kadai, new disciples joined the church body and, after training, began leading their own study groups in Tai-Kadai communities. Strict Sinim lockdowns provided opportunities within apartment blocks for Bible and baptismal studies that otherwise may never have happened. Meanwhile, ongoing evangelism among the Gogodala of Papua New Guinea (PNG) led to baptisms, and missionaries have nearly completed a new training center for local evangelists to carry the gospel further.
In Africa, new church plants in Benin were established and rooted in the Scriptures, while Muslim-background believers were born again, and their congregations expanded.
And in Eurasia, local disciples in Albania took up the reins of leadership and began leading Discover Bible Study groups with their neighbors. In Greece, tens of thousands visited our websites, leading missionaries to mail thousands of pieces of literature, resulting in Bible studies and new house fellowships.
2021 was also a year of new beginnings. In a vibrant partnership with the Native American Ministries team at the Northern Pacific Union and the Montana Conference, full-time career missionaries (Whites) launched to the Fort Peck Indian Reservation in Poplar, Montana. The Sliger family launched to the Gogodala Project (PNG), the Ivisans to the Yasna Project (Middle East), Ali Brooks to the Fulani of Central Africa Project, the Jaras and Mariëtte Diedericks to the Pnong Project, and the Dias family arrived in Guinea Bissau.
The impact was immediate. Within two months, vibrant worshipping and study groups, language classes and wellness events opened up among animists and Muslims in Guinea Bissau; trust was built through nurturing premature babies to life, and the gospel was spread among the resistant Fulani; evangelism reached new heights among the Gogodala. Meanwhile, thousands of Muslims connected with AFM’s Dream Project each month to share how Jesus had appeared to them. They eagerly asked for help in knowing the “Man in white” for themselves.
To further enable new front-line missionaries to launch, AFM entered into agreements for two new recruiting offices, one in Europe and the other in SE Asia. Both of these offices will start launching missionaries in 2022.
And throughout 2021, faithful donors provided financial means, volunteered for short-term trips, and lifted our missionaries and their new congregations before God in prayer. Thank you, one and all, for being part of the gospel’s forward progress among the unreached!
Truly, “We have nothing to fear” in 2022, “except as we shall forget the way the Lord has led us” in 2021. May the Holy Spirit write this and future chapters of our ministry.