We think a more accurate term is “Creative Access Nations.” Jesus’s command to go into all the world with the gospel did not exclude these places. The heart of God longs for these nations to know His salvation.
From our earliest years, BMM missionaries have broken through man-made barriers to the gospel. By the 1980s, Creative Access ministries became strategic targets. The late missionary Alexander de Chalandeau risked his life to take Bibles, literature, and humanitarian aid behind the Iron Curtain. This spirit continues in a growing force of missionaries serving in the world’s restricted areas. We cannot share their names or locations, but we can share their stories.
In Creative Access Nations, religious worker’s visas are impossible to obtain. Missionaries passionate to reach these people for Christ must create other means to live among them. That’s what a missionary couple is doing to reach a nation that is 99.9 percent Muslim. The business venture they developed provides a desired service for their city and gives open opportunities to develop relationships. Their business contacts and neighbors know they are Christians, and because the couple works hard at demonstrating love to those around them, people have welcomed them into their lives. Early on, the husband was invited to a funeral, a sign that he is trusted and accepted. After the imam of their local mosque became one of the missionary’s clients, the imam asked the husband for a Bible study together. The couples’ children also share about Jesus with classmates, and the whole family invites people to their home for holidays. One of their visitors comfortably said, “Oh, yes, you’re inviting us over to tell us about Jesus.” Through a home Bible study that has turned into a home church, this couple is sharing the Word of God and seeing people take hold of the hope found in Jesus the Redemptor.
In a country where local religions create hostile barriers, another missionary family conducts a church in their home. Because they cannot purchase property specifically for a church building, they are raising funds to develop a senior daycare facility, a service their community greatly needs. Elders are highly respected in this culture, and the senior center will create openings to reach elderly people with the gospel, which will open doors to their families. Their facility will also have adequate space for a church to meet.
A hard-working missionary team has labored for years in a country whose populations is 99 percent Muslim and Hindu. Missionaries established a medical ministry that provides physical and spiritual hope among the needy in their community. Patients can browse a Christian bookstore near the hospital and ask questions of the staff. A Christian boarding school introduces children to the God who made them and died to give them new life. In past years, people swore that no church could ever be established in this area, but today a church planted by the missionaries sometimes holds more than 1,000 people eager to hear the messages. The church has planted 16 daughter churches through national missionaries trained by their Bible institute and sent out from the original church.
Ministry in Creative Access Nations requires discretion, wisdom, and discernment. Missionaries must be careful to not place themselves or those they minister to in jeopardy. They must also be patient and committed to the long haul. Missionaries may need to first gain specific business skills to enter some countries.
That was the case for a missionary couple who initiated ministry in the world’s most populous Muslim nation. The Lord burdened them for this country during a short-term visit several years ago. As they heard Muslim prayer calls five times a day, their hearts grieved that these worshipers had no assurance their deity would save them. But they thought, “Is it safe to take our family there?” After much prayer, they desired more and more to offer up the life God had given them. Even though they had no guarantees of safety and ease, they had God’s promises of grace and His eternal gain on earth and in heaven.
These are the choices missionaries in Creative Access Nations sometimes make. Is it worth it? Considering the high price Christ paid for us and the realities of eternity, we have to admit that even the most difficult task is worth the sacrifice to see just one person saved. Think of Isaiah. When he saw who God really is (Isaiah 6:1-8), it caused him to look inward and then to look outward at the world; it made him want to be sent.
The Bible tells us that in heaven, every tribe, tongue, people, and nation will be represented. How else will that glorious outcome happen other than through missionaries willing to reach into the hard places? Will you pray God sends workers into these fields? And who will knit their hearts with the heart of God, who longs for these nations to know His salvation?
Our second-century frontiers await a new generation of bold ambassadors for Christ!