Many moons ago, the Silk Road began in China, where modern day Xi’An (西安) is located, the ancient capital of China, home of world famous Terra-Cotta Warriors.
The first Silk Road was an ancient trading route linking China with Central Asia, Middle East and Europe. It ignited international trade and business, where goods where sold, cultures mingled and religious & philosophical ideas were carried from one country to another.
As time progressed, additional major trading routes rose and fell. These newer routes linked China with all of Asia, Middle East, and parts of Africa and Europe. When you combine all these routes together, they encompass the entirety of what is known as the 10/40 Window, what we refer to as the Silk Road region.
In 2013, China launched the New Silk Road initiative. It is the modern day version of the ancient Silk Road connecting China with the rest of the world. Just like its ancient counterparts, this New Silk Road is being leveraged to advance economics, business, education, ideas and more. This is exciting on many levels, but the Silk Road is not all glory and splendor. There is also a dark side to the Silk Road.
With so much beauty spanning the length of the Silk Road region, it is unfortunately home to the highest concentration of orphans, people in poverty, human trafficking, slavery and persecution. It is home to 95% of all peoples who have zero or limited access to the Gospel. We call them the Gospel-Deprived.
The Gospel Deprived live in the most challenging countries and communities on earth, which requires missionaries to take on a Presence of Legitimacy to engage them long-term. It is truly the final frontier in missions and while these challenges are very real, there is a far greater reality that trumps these problems.
The fastest growing churches in the world are located within the Silk Road region. Jesus followers in China, Iran, Ethiopia, and other Silk Road countries are beginning to send their own people as missionaries to the Gospel-Deprived. This is exciting news and we are, in part, involved with partnering with churches in these countries to see their people become more involved in fulfilling the Great Commission.
Will you be part of the solution? Will you be involved in helping make the term Gospel-Deprived a term in our history books rather than a current reality for 2.1 billion people?