The Unreached Among Us

16 04 2012

I had the great pleasure of speaking with Chris Read on the phone late last week. He and his wife, Cheryl, are working with a large group of refugees from the country of Bhutan. Since 1989, the heavily Buddhist government has cracked down on anything that is not Buddhist, including Nepali Hindus and Bhutanese Christians. According to the book, Operation World by Jason Mandryk, “…Proselytism and incitement to convert are illegal. Church buildings are not allowed, and Christians are not privy to many of the state benefits available to Buddhists, such as free education.” Because of this persecution by the government, led by King Wangchuk, many people have been displaced out of the country with a large population of them finding themselves in the Dallas/Fort Worth area.

In many cases, the first friend that a Bhutanese refugee will meet once they enter the United States is Chris or Cheryl Read. Chris and Cheryl are both very normal people who have an exceptional, Godly love for the refugees from Bhutan. Both of them are volunteers and are striving their best to put food on the table and support their own children through college. Cheryl is a school teacher, and Chris works for a telephone company. Yet in their “spare” time they reach out to a people that are hurting and helpless. In my book, they are heroes, and I am excited about the possibility of our church working with them and the newly planted First Bhutanese Baptist Church.

It is hard to imagine that just 5 hours away from us, God has provided us with an unreached people group. We certainly live in a day of blessing – a day when God has said that if His people will not go, He will bring the nations to them. God could have just decided to forget about us, because of our disobedience. We would have deserved just that, but instead, right here in Fort Smith, Arkansas, we have people from Vietnam, Laos, Mexico, Peru, Guatemala, India, Saudi Arabia, Japan, Korea, etc. As believers, we must open our eyes! The unreached people groups of the world are living among us, and we cannot afford to waste this opportunity! God is giving us another chance. The question is whether or not we will take that chance.

In Tanzania, one day, I received a call from a local pastor/friend who told me that a village elder called to ask us to come, because his village was ready to receive the Lord. That is fruit that is ripe and ready to be picked! I believe that God has planted an amazing diversity of fruit trees in America with a lot of fruit that is ripe for the harvest. The job for us now is to, first, recognize those trees, and, second, to pick the fruit. That seems to be the simplest job in the world, yet how many will rise up to it?

Here is one simple thing that you can do this week to get started… Instead of going to eat another meal at a fast food chain restaurant, find a hole-in-the-wall mom-and-pop ethnic restaurant, and commit to go there at least once per week. Get to know the wait staff and the cooks. Complement their food. Ask them to teach you how to greet someone in their language and use it the next time. This can be a fun way to meet a person from another culture and open your eyes to all those that are ripe for the harvest.

Please be in prayer for Chris and Cheryl Read as they continue this important work among the Bhutanese refugees in Texas.


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