God opened doors to share the Gospel with people who had never heard and to see them come to Christ.”
In 2017, Maysville Baptist Church in Buckingham, VA was heavily involved in local missions. God began opening their eyes to see the need to be involved in His global mission too. With a new vision to reach the lost around the world, the people of Maysville lifted heartfelt prayers that the Lord would open doors.
God answered by opening a door to India, and Pastor Westly Yoder soon discovered that other SBCV churches in his area had the same desire. Yoder, along with a few other pastors, traveled to India to begin making partnerships and training pastors. The goal was to cast a vision for Indian pastors to reach across cultural and social boundaries to proclaim the Gospel to new peoples and places. During a period of two and a half years and several trips, God allowed this new partnership to train over 200 local pastors and leaders in basic church planting strategies. Out of this training, God began to raise up indigenous leaders and other believers who began to share the Gospel.
But 2020 changed everything. Maysville and the other church partners were devastated that their trips had to stop. Questions began to rise: Isn’t this part of God’s mission? Aren’t these the plans we have from God’s Word—to raise up and plant leaders who can continue the work far beyond our personal influence?
They thought of what the Apostle Paul said in 2 Corinthians 10:15-16:
“… we have the hope that as your faith increases, our area of ministry will be greatly enlarged, so that we may preach the gospel to the regions beyond you.” Through these times of uncertainty and questioning, Maysville and their partners came to the understanding that COVID-19 didn’t affect God’s sovereign plan to reach these people, and it also didn’t hinder God using them in His plan.
From 2020 to 2022, SBCV pastors continued to mentor several of the pastors who had been trained. Yoder continues to meet monthly with Pastor V, one of the leading pastors. Pastor V and several other faithful indigenous pastors in India, with the help of Maysville Baptist Church, were able to facilitate training in new villages and new outreach programs in remote areas. During brief reprieves in the numerous COVID lockdowns and local restrictions, these pastors would often drive and hike into the areas around their cities. Maysville Baptist sent financing to Pastor V and his team for Christmas and Easter programs in remote villages. These events provided opportunities to share the Gospel and establish a presence among the unreached. Discipleship groups have formed and new believers are being baptized. These pastors used the biblical training they had been given and faithfully stayed on God’s mission during some of the most difficult times of their lives. God opened doors to share the Gospel with people who had never heard and to see them come to Christ.
The opportunity for Maysville Baptist Church to travel back to South Asia finally arrived in January 2023. Pastor Yoder traveled to India and spent time with many of the pastors who had been trained before COVID. “It was wonderful,” said Yoder, “to be in person and to speak God’s encouraging Word, evaluate the work that had been done, and celebrate the victories God had brought over the last few years.
God used this time to filter through those trained in order to find men who were passionate about the Kingdom, and to identify pastors who had a true heart for reaching people for Christ and leading others to do the same.”
The South Asia Partnership is planning more trips for 2023 and beyond, where SBCV churches will continue training and mentoring these faithful pastors and leaders. The hope is to see churches planted among these unreached peoples. This hope is not blind hope. God’s Word promises in Revelation 7:9 that there will be a multitude from all peoples worshiping Him.
Maysville Baptist Church and its partners can move forward in confidence, knowing that nothing can thwart the plans of God to reach the nations. As churches align themselves with God’s mission, God will continue to open doors for them to spread the Gospel among the nations. ■