In Central Asia, God is on the move — partly because Matthew* refuses to move. Matthew and his family are really struggling, and they have been as long as we’ve known them. Matthew, who is SEND’s main ministry partner in the region, started pastoring a church that had lost more than 100 members after immorality issues with the previous leaders came to light. His oldest son has psoriasis so severe that the family spends an hour a day tending to his wounds and treating his skin. One of his other sons was born with cerebral palsy, in a culture where disabled children are seen a curse from God. The family’s unsaved relatives rail against them, saying that this is Allah’s curse for leaving Islam. Some church members even believe that a disabled child is God’s judgement for unconfessed sin. No wonder, then, that Matthew and his wife often come to the brink of moving to a larger city where medical and educational services would be available for their son. But every time, they choose to stay. “My place is here. My ministry is here,” Matthew says. “My family belongs here, and we have so much work to do here. There are so many lost people here.” Matthew has a burden to see Disciple Making Movements happen in this place. He’s the primary trainer in a number of groups, teaching them to look outward so that God’s Kingdom can expand in different communities, villages and cities. The focus of his church has completely changed. Before they were inwardly focused; now they’re going out and finding people of peace. They’re starting Discovery Bible Studies in homes in surrounding communities. They’re making a concerted effort to pray and fast for the lost in their city. They ask each other, “Who’s had the opportunity to share a gospel story? Who’s had the opportunity to enter a new home? Who’s been able to meet a need in the community?” Every close member of Matthew’s wife’s family has come to know the Lord, including her sister just a few weeks ago. Another pastor once asked Matthew if he sees fruit from the Disciple Making Movement model. He responded: “Our people are praying more, our people are studying the Word more, our people are being more obedient, our people are sharing the gospel more. Our people are becoming more Christlike. So, yes, we’re seeing fruit!” *Name changed to protect identity FREEDOM BEHIND BARS MOVE | SEND International 2017 Annual Report | MOVE | SEND International 2017 Annual Report | 5 4 ALASK A Any reasonable man would be afraid of him. His presence feels aggressive; he seems like the kind of guy who gets what he wants. Years of gang life show on his hardened face and through his tattoos. What he has seen and what he has done could define him forever. This is how it usually goes in jail. But Chad* is different. Though he is imprisoned, God is on the move. Chad is a new believer in the Anchorage Jail, living in the new Faith Mod called Alpha 2. A Faith Mod is a designated area for inmates who are serious about Christianity and who seek to turn their lives around after they serve their time. In Alpha 2, Chad has found a place where he’s not seen as the gangster he once was, but as the man he now is. In Alpha 2, he’s not alone in his faith. Rather, SEND North team members lead Bible studies and facilitate a mentoring program for inmates like Chad. The mentor inmates help keep newer believers focused on the Lord and answer their questions. This mentorship program reflects two core objectives for SEND North. Foremost, it represents the team’s vision statement to make northern disciple-makers. The SEND team’s presence in the jail strengthens those who are seeking truth and encourages them to share it with other inmates. Second, making disciples includes investing in rich relationships and seeking to understand the lost. One of our members serving in the Anchorage Jail has spent years building trust. The mentors within Alpha 2 come from the same background as the other inmates, so they know what battles the young believers may be facing. SEND North takes this same approach — discipleship through deep relationship — in all the challenging places that our missionaries serve. Whether in prison cells or in remote villages, where the majority of our SEND North missionaries serve, people throughout the Far North are passionately digging into the Word, dying to the old self and donning the new self, created by Christ. *Name changed to protect identity REFUSING TO MOVE CENTRAL ASIA “Chad has found a place where he’s not seen as the gangster he once was, but as the man he now is.” “My place is here. My ministry is here. There are so many lost people here.”