Emilie* had always wondered if God was calling her to India. She recently discovered it was the right people but not yet the right place.

Since I was a child, it was always my dream to go to India and share the Gospel,” said Emilie. “I think God put this in my heart as I had no connection to India.”

The vibrant colours and national dress fascinated her, whereas the knowledge that many had never heard about Jesus stirred a longing to go and tell them. “Four years ago, I read a book about unreached people and I started to cry,” Emilie described. “God broke my heart and I prayed, ‘send me!’”

Willing but not ready

“But to this day, God closed the door,” Emilie (now in her twenties) stated. Her hopes of going on an outreach trip to India didn’t work out. It wasn’t until she attended OM’s REACH (formerly Missions Discipleship Training) in 2019, that she understood why. “I realised I wasn’t ready!” she declared.

It dawned on Emilie that the jump from her quiet European village to densely populated India would have been too great. Moving to metropolitan Birmingham for the UK-based REACH programme, in a Western culture like her own, proved a good steppingstone.

While living in community with international participants, Emilie gained experience in a cross-cultural setting. “It showed me it is not so easy,” she acknowledged. “I learned how other people think and how to work in a team. It was a time of preparing.”

REACH in the UK

Unreached but not far

During a two-month REACH placement, Emilie volunteered with a multicultural church in another city that reaches out to the South Asian community. To her surprise, many of the congregation and those living in the area belonged to the Guajarati people, one of India’s least-reached groups. “I thought going to the unreached meant you needed to go far away,” Emilie expressed. “But in the UK, they are near you!”

Emilie found joy teaching in Sunday school, working in the church’s charity shop, speaking to individuals in the street and getting to know the Guajarati culture. She decided to join OM in September 2020, returning to serve with the same church (as coronavirus restrictions allow) and has begun learning the Guajarati language. Emilie doesn’t know if she will ever travel to India, however, she knows she is in the right place for the next two years.

“God wants to use the things He laid in our hearts for His Kingdom,” said Emilie. “I have started to use what God laid in my heart and I can see it is needed here!”

*Names changed

How far do I need to go?

Do you have a passion for cross-cultural ministry? People groups unreached with the Gospel are on our doorstep. Emilie discovered that she didn’t need to go far to share God’s love with people who had never heard. Discover opportunities to serve unreached people groups in the UK.

Opportunities in the UK