We’re all aching for some travel right now. Even just a road trip to another state sounds like a big adventure. Seeing as international travel, especially short-term mission trips may not pick up any time soon, here’s an idea: Canada. That’s right. That giant piece of land just north of the United States can offer many of us international travel that doesn’t require a plane ticket. If you go to Vancouver, you’ll find beautiful nature, polite people, and of course, unreached people groups. So, maybe you’re sad about your short-term mission trip to India being cancelled? Vancouver could be a great substitute. Vancouver is home to six significantly unreached people groups.
Opportunities in Vancouver
Especially if you were looking for a trip to the Indian subcontinent, Vancouver would be a great replacement. There are over 300,000 South Asian people in Vancouver. Among the significantly unreached, there are Punjabi Sikhs, Hindi-speaking Hindu Indians, Pakistanis, and Gujaratis. Among those groups are three major world religions: Sikhism, Hinduism, and Islam.
By far, the largest unreached people group in Vancouver is Punjabi Sikhs. There are over 150,000 Punjabi Sikhs spread throughout the Vancouver metro area, with one of the largest concentrations in Surrey. Playgrounds and parks in Vancouver are set to reopen soon. Chances are you could probably meet a nice Sikh family at the park, even in this age of social distancing.
The Hindi Indian UPG is the second largest one in Vancouver, with close to 70,000. They have a concentration in South Vancouver. Supporting local Indian restaurants in that area could give you a chance to spend time with significantly unreached people! There are even some churches among this group, so partnering with them could be a great way to engage felt needs of the community.
Apart from South Asian groups, there are about 7,500 Afghans and 45,000 Persians in Vancouver. The Afghans are mostly concentrated in West Minster and the Persians in West Vancouver. Engaging people from either of these groups could mean introducing someone to Jesus for the first time.
Cancelled Trip? No Problem!
We all may feel a little stuck in light of the pandemic. Week after week of the same walls in our house has led some of us to baking and some to home makeover projects. Nevertheless, the pandemic has hit UPG populations hardest. By getting involved in grocery delivery or other community services, we can access the unreached within reach around us. God’s own work continues during the pandemic. Prayer continues to be the best (and most germ free!) way to lay a foundation for a miraculous movement of God. Maybe in light of cancelled plans, take a road trip. Vancouver is home to significantly unreached people groups. So eat meals in your car or in a park and spend hours praying over these neighborhoods where many have never heard the message of Jesus.