Recently, ANM writer Eric Vess sat down with ANM’s International President, P.R. Misra, to discuss the International Department’s current metrics and some exciting present and future initiatives. P.R. Misra leads the largest department team at ANM, with 19 US-based staff and six field representatives serving native partners in 112 countries within 10 world geographic regions. The interview has been edited for length and clarity.
[Eric] P.R., our subject today is what’s next at ANM in the International Department. As you look forward, what new and exciting initiatives, opportunities, and relationships are on the horizon for ANM this year?
[P.R.] Thank you, Eric. I would like to begin by looking at our current metrics, where we are now, with our stated goals and objectives. Four of our most important metrics are our total native partners, number of countries, unreached people groups (UPGs) engaged, and churches planted by our partners. Briefly, ANM works with 292 native partners, fielding 13,5100 workers in 112 countries, engaging 1,002 UPGs, resulting in 41,607 churches planted. This is from ANM’s inception through 2021.
The most important fact is that ANM has already exceeded our original 2022 and some of our 2023 goals. By God’s grace, this was accomplished by the end of 2021. I will give you just one example. Our goal was to engage 1,070 UPGs with the Gospel of Jesus Christ by the end of this year. But as of the end of 2021, our native partners had engaged 1,466 UPGs with the Good News of Jesus.
[Eric] As I remember, the first time we counted, the number of UPGs engaged was around 400, correct? And that was out of approximately 7,000 UPGs worldwide. Now that number has grown by more than one thousand! That’s pretty amazing for our native partners.
[P.R.] Yes! And remember, we are only a small part of the great work of God around the world. There has been exciting growth in all our metrics. Even with COVID, even with all the government restrictions, all of the problems, all of the cultural issues, all of the setbacks, these metrics have been exceeded!
[Eric] That’s just a fantastic foundation. The question now is, where are we going from here?
Missions Goal #1: Evaluate Effectiveness
[P.R.] First, International Vice President Krista Darcus and I have been working to identify which native partners are most effective and fruitful in their ministries.
[Eric] So, we’re looking at effectiveness and growth in planting churches and engaging unreached people groups, correct?
[P.R.] Exactly. As we evaluate our relationships with our native partners, Krista and I ask two questions. Number one: Which people groups are they trying to reach? Number two: What is the training and discipleship plan to achieve their goals? ANM wants to see more native missionaries on the field. That’s for sure. But more than that, we want to identify which native partners are most fruitful and then encourage them with additional resources.
Missions Goal #2: Add Native Partnerships
[P.R.] Our second goal is to add native partnerships in four new countries this year. At last summer’s Central Asia conference, we met a leader from Germany who is focusing on reaching Turkish-speaking people in his country. We want to develop that relationship as an extension of partnerships in Central Asia and Europe.
Second, our East Asia regional director is working on a potential new partnership in Japan.
[Eric] According to the Joshua Project, the Japanese are one of the largest unreached people groups in the world.
[P.R.] Yes, that’s correct. Then third, our Central Asia regional director is developing a new native partnership in Turkmenistan.
[Eric] I understand that Turkmenistan is the most Gospel-resistant nation in Central Asia.
[P.R.] Yes, it is! And finally, there is the African nation of Senegal. Our regional directors for Africa and the Middle East are working together to launch that new partnership. We are open to other new countries, but we will focus on Germany, Japan, Turkmenistan, and Senegal right now.
A Growing Joint Venture
[Eric] P.R., you told me earlier that ANM enjoys growing or renewed relationships with several like-minded, US-based missions organizations like Voice of the Martyrs and LeaderSource. One of the most exciting initiatives is our growing relationship with the Jesus Film Project (JFP). Tell me about that.
[P.R.] Our partnership with JFP began three years ago. A major ANM donor introduced us to JFP, which he also supports. Senior ANM leadership met with our counterparts initially, and then our regional directors were introduced to their respective counterparts at JFP. Their relationships have grown closer and more productive over the past three years. JFP is an older and larger organization than ANM and is much broader in ministry scope than the Jesus Film itself.
[Eric] It seems that part of the creative dynamic of ANM is that our donors sometimes bring us into relationships or help us to grow in our relationships with other ministries.
[P.R.] That’s certainly true. JFP came forward to give a helping hand with our COVID relief response. They provided significant funds, bicycles, and hundreds of computer tablets to our native partners to aid in our partners’ COVID relief efforts and related evangelistic outreaches during the epidemic. JFP is now considering a large package of requests for much-needed vehicles for our native partners.
Missions Goals Help with Finishing the Task
[P.R.] Finishing the task of reaching the remaining unreached, the last tribe, the last village, the last family, doesn’t belong to ANM only. So that is why we are grateful to God for bringing other like-minded ministries to partner with us.
In the business world, this is called a joint venture. I like to use that term when I speak in churches. Partnerships with ministries like the Jesus Film Project are Kingdom joint ventures, not for a mission impossible but for a mission possible. Mission Impossible is a Hollywood movie. But “Mission Possible” is a mandate given by God, and it will be done. And we thank God that we have a share in that. Because if we don’t participate, the job will be done by someone else. So that’s why we should join hands in Kingdom joint ventures.
[Eric] You’re so right, P.R. We are one among many, but we are working with many to accomplish God’s purposes. And this joint venture with JFP is one example of how ANM is working with other ministries to utilize the strengths of both organizations.
So, in summary, we have talked about our metrics and how God has allowed us to exceed them. We have discussed our focus on encouraging fruitful and effective native partners. You told us about our growing, exciting relationship with JFP and, most importantly, how we understand that God’s global mission doesn’t depend upon any single ministry. Thus, we are very much aware that we need to partner with other organizations. Does that sum it up?
[P.R.] Yes, I believe it does.
An earlier version of this post incorrectly stated that ANM works among 1,466 unreached people groups. The correct number is 1,002.