From the Director of GFM Houston
Over the past eight years, GFM Houston has seen hundreds of people come through our Missionary Training Schools, Summer Internships and Short Term Mission trips. There has been much impact in Houston and around the world as these participants have learned about the unreached people groups and the necessity of bringing the gospel of Jesus Christ to them. The primary goals for everything Global Frontier Missions does is to mobilize Christians to reach out to unreached people groups, train them in appropriate ways to do this and then to multiply themselves by making disciples.
One of our most successful fulfillments of these goals has been the establishment and staffing of our ESL program that provides an effective outreach to the Muslim refugee community in Houston. The program and its impact has grown beyond our wildest dreams and is now reached the point where it is fully involved in recruiting Christians to get involved with unreached peoples and then providing training opportunities to part time workers and full time interns.
So, while we all know that the work of making disciples among all nations will not be complete until Christ returns, the GFM Houston team has determined through much prayer and discussion that the mission of mobilizing, training and multiplying disciples in Houston will be passed on to the team at our ESL program after the completion of our upcoming summer internship on July 31, 2018. On this date, Global Frontier Missions in Houston will disband operations. There will be no change to the work of GFM in Atlanta, Richmond and South Asia.
The most obvious question is what does this mean for each GFM staff member in Houston? In reality, not much. Almost every member of the team was already serving full time with the ESL program and after July 2018 they will continue to work full time under the covering of the program. A new leadership structure is already in place as well as mentorship and pastoral care to ensure personal and spiritual growth is continuing to occur.
We know that you may have many questions about this transition and its impact on the person you have been supporting through prayers and finances. So please do not hesitate to talk to them about the change and what it means to their work. They can use your support and prayers as change is never easy. Alternatively, if you want to speak to a member of the leadership team, you can contact our current director with your questions.
Millions of people all over the world are leaving their home countries and settling in new cities to find work, escape famine, war or persecution or to better their education. We call these people the “diaspora“.
Houston is a prime example of the peoples of the world coming together in one city. It is among the fastest-growing and most diverse metropolitan areas in the USA. In fact, with at least 350 people groups living here Houston is now considered the most ethnically diverse city in the USA. Between the years of 2000-2009 some 300,000 internationals immigrated to Houston and in 2009 the U.S. Census Bureau estimated that Houston has over 1.28 million residents that were born outside of the United States. More than 1 in 5 foreign-born residents in Houston were born in Asia.
Our city is the refugee settlement capital of the USA. At least 70,000 refugees have been settled in Houston with approximately 3,000 to 5,000 coming every year! Many of these refugees are more connected globally than locally. Refugees come from all over the world, including Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Burma, Congo, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Liberia, Mauritania, Nepal, Pakistan, Rwanda, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Vietnam. Over 60,000 Urdu speaking Pakistani’s live in Houston.
Houston, Texas has become a snapshot of the unreached people groups in the 10-40 Window and an image of what many cities in the US will look like in the future! If you are being called into overseas or local missions, there is no better place than Houston to practice language learning, church planting and the other necessary skills you will need inside the people group you are going to. Come learn to make disciples of the diaspora!
Is God calling you to China or Vietnam? Houston features one of the largest China-towns in the USA! You can take the opportunity to learn and practice the language with native speakers, eat the foods and shop in thousands of stores.
Perhaps God is calling you to India or South East Asia? Houston and its suburbs of Katy, Pearland and Sugar Land are becoming more well known in India and Pakistan than inside the United States. Doctors, engineers, IT workers and all kinds of other professionals are moving into the Houston metro area because of the strong economy and diversity. Are you wanting or needing to learn Hindi, Bengali, Punjabi, Gujarati, Urdu, Tamil or any of the other major languages in the South Asia region? Then we cannot think of a better location than Houston, TX to do that! Practice your new language while shopping, eating and speaking of Jesus with your neighbors!
To learn more about our other GFM locations, please visit our Atlanta, Richmond, Sydney, Australia, and South Asia pages. As God provides more laborers in the future, we hope to add new GFM locations in other multi-cultural cities as well.