Project #1: Bible for the Baloch - FULLY FUNDED

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 check this project off our list and 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.  Follow us on social media for updates.

Project #2: Building Healthy Churches in East Asia

With the completion of our first special mission project, Bible for the Baloch, we now have the exciting opportunity to begin a new one we are calling “Building Healthy Churches in East Asia.”

This project is going to allow us to strengthen the local church in East Asia by legally printing in Mandarin 3,000 copies of the Building Healthy Churches series from 9Marks (12 books each) to freely distribute to local pastors, which will help them equip, disciple, and mobilize their church members for evangelism and mission.

While Christianity is rapidly growing on the mainland in East Asia among the majority Han people, there are few good examples of healthy biblical churches. Often leaders excel in evangelism but don’t have much experience in discipleship, and as a result, their churches are not always the most healthy. Many pastors and leaders recognize there needs to be a fundamental shift in how they approach the church and shepherd their people, especially as the cultural climate continues to become more hostile toward Christianity and restrictive toward the church’s work. Imminent government intervention against churches in East Asia has heightened the urgency to make sure quality resources are available to pastors there as they continue to grow and lead their churches while the legal window for printing these resources is still open.

The Building Healthy Churches series from our friends at 9Marks is designed to do just that, to equip pastors and leaders to develop a healthy community of Christ followers mobilized to care for one another well and reach their neighbors with the gospel. Titles in this twelve-book series include: The Gospel, Evangelism, Conversion, Discipling, Missions, Expositional Preaching, Church Membership, Church Elders, Church Discipline, Biblical Theology, Sound Doctrine, and Prayer. Based upon feedback from pastors in East Asia, this series is a top priority for them to have as it addresses so many principles they and their churches need. And currently, there is a window of time in which these books can be legally printed and freely distributed to these pastors through partners in the field before government regulations become even more restrictive.

Many of our own pastors have also found this particular set of books to be extremely beneficial for shepherding our faith family here at Brook Hills. So, we are thrilled to be able to provide them to these pastors in East Asia. However, what excites us most is the potential fruit we could see from this effort. 

We have been engaged in this area of the world for nearly a decade, though it hasn’t been among the Han people but rather the Hui, a Muslim minority people group of over 15 million. As we’ve shared in previous months, due to the recent government restrictions on foreign workers, our efforts have shifted elsewhere. This means we no longer have an in-country presence among the Hui but have passed the task of Hui work completely to the churches among the majority Han people. Our prayer is for God to use resources like these we are providing to strengthen the church there in East Asia, and that as they grow in their faith and knowledge of Christ and capture a vision of the mission to which He has called them along with us, that He will also give them a heart for the Hui and a burning desire to reach their countrymen with the gospel. The reality is this: the Han church there is uniquely positioned to reach the Hui, and we are praying that this project will help equip pastors and their churches to do just that.

The total cost of this project is $90,000. To ensure it’s funding, we’ll need to give an additional $450,000 to the Roots & Reach Initiative, but because of how generous you’ve been already, we are currently a little over 25% toward this goal. If you add this amount to our initial goal of $350,000 for our Bible for the Baloch project, we as a faith family will fully fund this second special mission project once we hit a total of $800,000 given to Roots & Reach.

So, what can you do? First of all, pray. Pray for churches in East Asia, especially as they experience increased persecution from the government. Pray for the pastors of these churches to shepherd their people well. Pray for our friends at 9Marks as they prepare to freely distribute these resources through local partners. And pray for the Hui, and ask God to raise up from among the Han church brothers and sisters to carry the gospel to their unreached countrymen. Then, give. Give to the Roots & Reach Initiative, and together, let’s help build healthy churches in East Asia by equipping their pastors.