Unreached Orphans: How Adopt-A-People Helps To Spread The Word

The name is catchy and conveys instantly what the program is all about. It refers, also, to one of the fastest-growing and most popular methods of expanding the understanding of unreached peoples around the world, and how to bring more and more of them into the circle of the "reached."

The program is called Adopt-A-People. It has already become a classic means of directing prayer effort, skills and material resources from well-established Christian fellowships toward unreached peoples -- peoples which don't yet have a church movement of their own. Conceived in 1980 at the U.S. Center for World Mission in Pasadena, California, the concept is simple: to link a local Christian fellowship or church congregation with a mission agency to target a group for penetration with the Christian Gospel.

Says Jorge Lopez Perez, President of the Reformed Churches of Latin America, "We believe that the work being done will bring great fruit and will result in a very strong church and maturity among the [unreached] people."

From its small beginnings 15 years ago, Adopt-A-People has mushroomed in popularity. There are currently more than 100 mission agencies and parachurch organizations in the U.S. that have committed themselves to the program. One of the target mission areas where the program has been most successful is Latin America. In October 1992 in Costa Rica, an Adopt-A-People consultation was organized by COMIBAM, a cooperative Latin-American mission network. Delegates from every country in Latin America agreed to take responsibility for specific numbers of unreached peoples in various countries throughout the world. The number of peoples to be adopted was proportional to the number of evangelicals in the adopting countries. Says Patrico Paredes of Costa Rico, "Adopt-A-People is the simplest, most effective way churches of Mexico can participate in the goals of the AD 2000 & Beyond Movement."

Two Presbyterian churches in Yakima, Washington, U.S.A., have been working in partnership with the Mexican Presbyterian Church in adopting the Zoque Indians of Chiapas, Mexico -- an area of recent serious political unrest, where Christian evangelicals have experienced persecution. Says Dr. Mike Buehler, Chairman of the Missions Committee of the Presbyterian Church of Yakima, "We are committed to the Zoque people. Adoption has crystallized a vision for missions in our church that was never there before. It has brought the congregation alive."

The first concrete step taken by the two Yakima churches was to finance a translation of the JESUS film into the Zoque language. The film is currently being taken from village to village and shown on video. The Yakima churches also worked with the Mexican Presbyterian Church to send evangelistic and medical teams into the Zoque areas. The first established Zoque church now has about 35 believers. A further 60 Zoques are worshiping in smaller fellowship groups.

While the medical, financial and linguistic assistance is greatly needed and deeply appreciated by those targeting "adopted" peoples, prayer on the part of adopting groups remains a priority in the minds of those promoting the program. John Robb, Coordinator of the AD 2000 Unreached Peoples Network, has said boldly: "The greatest requirement for effectively reaching unreached peoples is prayer. Jesus said, 'Pray the Lord of the Harvest and He will send forth laborers...' (Matt.9:36-38)." Organizers of the program aim at enlisting dozens of prayer groups to pray regularly for a single unreached group.

Two major promoters of Adopt-A- People activities in the U.S. are Adopt-A- People Clearing House in Colorado Springs, U.S.A., and Adopt- A-People Campaign at the U.S. Center for World Mission in Pasadena, California. The Colorado group produced a series of booklets called the "Passport Series" that provides information about unreached peoples in several countries. They also produce beautiful four-color prayer cards. The Pasadena center produces the Adopt-A-People Global Prayer Digest focusing on various unreached people groups on a one- per-day basis. The magazine is published in Korean, English and Spanish. They also produce a news and prayer video called Global Countdown 2000. Churches and fellowship groups involved in the program are spurred to greater efforts as they learn about the response of their prayers.

The growth of mobilizing activity in countries that have been eager to promote adoption of peoples has generated interest in other parts of the world, as well. In Africa, Bayo Famonure, General Secretary of the Missions Commission of the Association of Evangelicals, is sponsoring an Adopt-A-People seminar in September 1995 for leaders of national evangelical fellowship organizations in six West African countries. In India, Ebenezer Sundaraj, Director of the Indian Missions Association, indicates that 70 mission agencies in this association are involved in an Adopt-A- People program.

The success of the entire program has made it one of the leading means of implementing the slogan of "A Church for Every People," a fact made apparent by the 407 delegates of the Unreached Peoples Track who gathered last week in Nazareth Hall of the Choong Hyun Presbyterian Church. Several delegates expressed a desire to establish an Adopt-A-People clearinghouse in every country of the world, if possible. An Australian said that they have contacted 600 churches currently interested in adopting an unreached people.

They have set themselves the goal to reach 2,000 adoptions by the year 2000.

The zeal of supporters of the Adopt-A-People program is well expressed by John Robb, who challenges Christians to ask themselves this question: "Is there one unreached people group for which I can especially take responsibility through prayer and mission involvement over the next five years?"

Adopt-A-People National Coordinating Offices are already available in many countries and regions. For help developing a new office and Adopt-A-People movement for your country or region, contact the closest Adopt-A-People office in the following list.

Interested churches should also contact any listed office help in connecting with co-operating mission agencies through they may participate in a successful adoption.

Adopt-A-People National Coordinating Offices


Association of Evangelicals of Africa--Commission on Evangelism and Missions
Sola Adebayo
PO Box 1933
Jos Plateau State NIGERIA
Phone & Fax: (234) 73-53110
Email--send care of: postmaster@simjos.sim.org



Serve A People
India Missions Associations
Dr. Ebenezer Sunder Raj
PO Box 2529
Madras 600 030 INDIA
Phone: (91-44) 617-596
Fax: (91-44) 611-859


Hong Kong Association of Christian Missions
Rev. Raymond P.C. Lo
PO Box 71728
Kowloon C.P.O.
Phone: (852) 2392-8223
Fax: (852) 2787-4299


Korean Center for Adopt-A-People Program
Munjung-dong 77-3 Somngpa-ku
Seoul 138-200 KOREA
Phone: (82-2) 402-4967
Fax: (82-2) 402-4968


Philippines Missions Association
Rev. Rey Corpuz
PO Box 1416
Phone & Fax: (63-2) 5310713


Centre for Mission Direction
Bruce Heyworth
PO Box 31-146 Ilam
Christchurch 8004
Phone and Fax: (64-3) 388-4845


Singapore Centre for Evangelism and Missions
Andre de Winne
Raffles City PO Box 1052
Phone: 65-299-4377
Fax: 65-291-8919



Randolph H. Sperger
Apartado 1307
San Jose 1000 COSTA RICA
Phone: (506) 21-5522
Fax: (506) 21-5622
Email: rsperger@ucrvm2.bitnet


Moises V. Lopez
APDO 6-55
Toluca 50091 MEXICO
Phone: 52-72-16-20-11
Fax: 52-72-71-09-56
Email: moiseslo@vmtectol.tol.itesm.mx


COMIBAM Dept. of Adopt-A-People
Patricio Paredes
Apartado 289-1000
Phone: 506-2215-522
Fax: 506-2550-257



Centre for World Mission British Columbia
John & Pat Burman
Box 2436
Clearbrook BC V2T 4X3
Phone: (604) 854-3818


Korean American CWM
Chong Kim
1605 Elizabeth St
Pasadena CA 91104 USA
Phone: (818) 398-2405
Fax: (818) 398-2410
Email: kacwm@aol.com


U.S. Center for World Mission
Adopt-A-People Campaign
Dave Imboden
1605 Elizabeth St
Pasadena CA 91104 USA
Phone: (818) 398-2200
Fax: (818) 398-2206
Email: aap.campaign@wciu.edu

Adopt-A-People Clearing House
PO Box 1795
Colorado Springs, CO 80901
Phone: (719) 574-7001
Fax: (719) 574-7005

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