It was nearly midnight, and Omar was too injured to ride his bike. The team's temporary lodging was still miles away—but every door they knocked on was closed in rejection. The village's strictly religious inhabitants didn't want the consequences of harboring adherents of another faith, even for one night. With 15 miles ahead and a load of equipment to carry, the men accepted reality: They would have to walk.
The Road of Suffering
It's remembering such nights that make Gospel for Asia mobile team leader Jabbar thankful for the tool he and his teammates have today: their heavy duty vehicle.
Mobile teams spend their days traveling to villages, visiting families, holding open-air meetings and showing films on the life of Christ. In the early days, Jabbar and his film team did all of this on bicycles or by foot. After Omar hit a rock and fell from his bike, Jabbar remembers how the men spent the next five hours carrying their supplies and injured team member back to the home where they were staying.
"If at that time we'd had our own vehicle, . . . we wouldn't have suffered so much," Jabbar says. "We didn't have these resources, so we struggled a lot."
Still, even with the new vehicle available, a mobile team's day is anything but predictable.
Mobile teams often play a key role in helping pastors reach new villages in this way—especially when those villages are remote. For some pastors, visiting all the people they want to see is virtually impossible without a mobile team.
A New Way to Reach Them
Pastor Chaaruchandra often encouraged believers in his church to go out and share the Good News with other villages, but a lack of reliable transportation created a schedule that was hard for people to balance with their full workdays.
"We had to go early in the morning, and we didn't know what time we would come back," Chaaruchandra says. "Most of the time, we came back at eight or nine at night."
Then leaders sent Chaaruchandra a mobile team to help, allowing the believers to travel more quickly and at times that wouldn't conflict with their labor work. Chaaruchandra arranged for groups to go out to the neighboring villages with the team each week and begin to build relationships that would continue after the mobile team left.
"Our believers listened to them," he says, "and they poured out their hearts, saying, ‘There is no peace in our family,' ‘We don't have money,' and ‘We don't have anything. . . . We already have lots of gods, but no one is helping us. Is Jesus going to help us?' "
The Team that Changed Everything
Partnering with local churches, mobile teams take every opportunity to share God's love: speaking at local festivals, sharing Gospel literature and even cutting hair for those who can't afford a barber. And as people see that local pastors are part of a larger organization, rather than just working on their own, they trust them more.
"When the mobile team came, things changed," Pastor Chaaruchandra says. "Where we used to meet a hundred people, now we are able to meet around a thousand people."
And as new teams are trained and sent out, more lives are being changed forever.
"From the depths of our hearts," says a believer, "we are grateful to all the leaders who helped the mobile team reach our village with the love of God."
Today, you can help equip a mobile team and send the Gospel to thousands who have never heard before.
A mobile team's goal is to visit every house in a village, bringing families the Good News, usually for the first time.
*Names of people and places may have been changed for privacy and security reasons. Images are GFA stock photos used for representation purposes and are not the actual person/location, unless otherwise noted.