Just outside the nation’s capital beyond the monuments and museums lies another world – Montgomery County, Maryland.
Engaging the Nations Through Eating and Shopping
Visitors to the Washington D.C. area don’t normally include suburban strip malls in their tourist bucket list, but a visit to one in Montgomery County displays the D.C. metro’s attraction to global people on the move. I checked it out with some friends. Posters of models showcasing different hairstyles lined the windows of a Hispanic Latino beauty salon. Nearby, a Halal Meat Butchery was closed, but thankfully a neighboring Indian restaurant was open.
A bombardment of pleasing aromas immediately flooded my nostrils as I walked in. My eyes instinctively darted to the buffet on the left, then to the table where the rest of my party sat. I could almost taste the delectable Chicken tikka masala from the smells. Our server, who was a Nepali woman, diligently took care of us, scurrying to and fro to make sure our glasses were always full of water. Sadly, the language barrier was too significant to strike up much of a conversation.
After the meal we stepped a couple doors down into an Indian sari shop filled with a vast array of high-end attire and fabrics that resembled a bright and exotic kaleidoscope of patterns and colors. One of the ladies in our group began to try on outfits and conversed with one of the store’s female clothiers. I found a Hindu tailor bustling about and sorting through different materials and talked with him. We gave them Jesus Films in their heart language before we left. The Holy Spirit used those moments to impress upon me the easy access we have to some of the world’s least reached people groups.
Understanding the Opportunity
Global Gates sees Montgomery County as a strategic place for the people of God in that community to live on mission among all the unreached people groups that plant roots in its soil. We know that when the gospel transforms people from the least reached religious groups of the world (Buddhists, Hindus, Jews, Muslims, and Sikhs) it disseminates to the least-reached areas from which they come.
During the summer, Global Gates missionaries hosted a three-day intensive sprint to teach local Christians what Buddhists, Hindus, and Muslims believe, and how to contextually engage them with the gospel. They also canvased strategic areas of Montgomery County to engage unevangelized people groups with spiritual conversations, prayer, and gospel literature. It was called “Unreached Within Reach.”
Dozens of local Christians were equipped and sent out into their community. They covered their assigned areas in prayer, sowed the gospel broadly, searched for people of peace, and built goodwill. Connections were made with Buddhists, Hindus, and Muslims from countries like Bangladesh, Burma (Myanmar), Afghanistan, Turkey, and India.
Global Gates’ UPG Priority Matrix estimates there are around 19,000 Afghans, 24,000 Bangladeshis, 34,000 Gujarati Indians, 61,000 Indian Hindis, 43,000 Pakistanis, and 40,000 Persians in the greater Washington D.C. metro area. See more via our infographic included in the article, and find additional information and specific ways to pray for these people here. (Click on infographic to the right to see larger version).
An Invitation to Join the Mission
Global Gates missionaries among Persians, Afghans, Arabs, and Pakistanis in the D.C. area want to partner with local believers who see the opportunity around them and are willing to commit for the long haul.
For example, Global Gates is looking for folks who can form Unreached People Group Outreach (UpGo) teams who work together through prayer, forming ministry plans, and implementing these plans to effectively share the gospel in unreached communities. Global Gates staff provide training for people to serve in this way. Some UpGo teams have already been started in Maryland to reach Pakistanis and Persians.
Along with other needs in the Washington D.C. area, we are praying for someone to serve as a Strategy Coordinator among Indian Hindus.
Some other ways to join Global Gates in its ministry to reach the world’s most unevangelized people groups in the greater Washington D.C. metro area are through ethnographic surveying, doing research by visiting restaurants and shops, evangelizing, and coordinating prayer support. For more information, please contact DC@globalgates.info.