When Pastor Matt first announced the Roots & Reach Initiative back in April, he asked us to consider what we might be able to accomplish if we connected our ministry investment in our campus development project with mission investment in special projects around the world. This is part of what he said:
What if we put together a team comprised of people that are all in for the global mission of God’s kingdom, and they’re conversant with what God is doing and what unique opportunities there are in the world? What if we got that team, and we just said, “dream a little for a while? Put some things on the white board and the costs next to them, things that we have not been able to do, things that we would love to be able to do, that would make a massive difference for the impact of the gospel around the world?” And then, as we invest in the Roots & Reach Initiative, we get to come back to the church and say, “look at this thing we get to do, and then this thing, and then this.”
And that’s what we’ve done. Our Mission Project Team formed and began meeting in May. We read and prayed through the book of Acts with our Unhindered guide in support of this team, asking God to reveal to us what work He would have us to engage in as part of this initiative.
We’re happy to report this team has currently identified six special mission projects that will be provided for through the first two tiers of giving to Roots & Reach where 80% will go toward our campus development project while the other 20% will fund these projects. We’ll be sharing more about each of them in the days ahead, but today, we want to tell about our very first one.
As a church, we want to help fund a Bible translation project to provide the Scriptures to the Baloch people of Central Asia in their heart language.
The Baloch people group is primarily located on the border area of Iran and Pakistan. This area is commonly referred to as Balochistan, and their total population is between 12 and 14 million people. The language spoken there is Rakhshani Balochi, an Iranian language. The Baloch mainly inhabit mountainous terrains, which have allowed them to maintain a distinct cultural identity and resist domination by neighboring rulers. They are predominantly Muslim, with only a handful of believers among them, most of whom live as refugees in neighboring countries because of persecution. They have an incredible love for one another, for their families, and for their tribes. Balochistan, as an area, is almost entirely off limits to foreigners. The best way workers have found to engage the Baloch is outside of Balochistan in major cities in the Middle East. The Baloch need a sustained presence of gospel witness for a stable group of believers to form and a church to be planted so they can begin to multiply among themselves. There are small teams of missionaries engaging the Baloch. The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few.
We have been praying for and sending members of our faith family to serve among the Baloch for seven years. One of the greatest needs for reaching the Baloch is the Bible translated and appropriately distributed in their own language. Portions of the New Testament and Old Testament have been completed in a multi-phased project. Members of our Central Asia Church Planting Team are directly involved in this project and are so excited that we, their church, will now get to be an even more integral part.
Through the Roots & Reach Initiative we will help fund the third phase of this project, which means we will provide for the translation of Genesis, Exodus, Ecclesiastes, Daniel, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, Hebrews, Revelation, and Psalms 76-150. That’s 5,705 verses of Scripture to which the Baloch have not had any access. Additionally, we’ll help create a Balochi-Biblical proverbs book and launch a small-scale engagement program our church planting team will also be a part of.
Here at Brook Hills, the first pursuit that is foundational to everything else we do is “We pursue transformation; so we abide biblically.” How exciting it is that we now have the chance to be a part of helping others pursue transformation, too, by providing them with God's Word in which to abide.
The total cost to launch the initial phase of this project is $70,000. To ensure its funding, we need to hit a goal of raising $350,000 through Roots & Reach. That’s a lot, but think about it this way: for every $61.35 given to Roots & Reach, we’ll help fund the translation of one verse of Scripture for the Baloch. And as soon as we hit this goal, we'll release these funds and translation can begin. Then, we'll move on to the next one our Mission Project Team has lined up for us.
So, what can you do? First of all, pray. Pray for the Baloch people. Pray for our Central Asia Church Planting Team and for this Bible translation project. Then, give. Give to the Roots & Reach Initiative and gift the foundation of God’s Word to the Baloch people.
Learn more about the Baloch at brookhills.org/baloch. For more information on the Roots & Reach Initiative, along with ways to give, visit brookhills.org/rootsandreach. We will be having a special Roots & Reach Launch Day giving emphasis this Wednesday. Follow us on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook for updates.