Looking back at decades of God’s faithfulness
George and Debra C. began their ministry with ABWE in 1981. Until 1993, they served in Bangladesh focusing on evangelism, leadership training, and church development in the restricted hill tracts area which borders India and Burma.
As they worked among the various tribal groups, it became apparent that the best way—and sometimes the only way—to develop a sustained work in restricted access areas was through training and sending quality national leaders into the otherwise unreachable towns and villages. Through the efforts of North American missionaries training Tripura, Marma, and Mru evangelists, more than 100 village churches were established. A national evangelist started every one of those churches.
While visiting the restricted nation of Burma in 1990, George became aware of incredible ministry needs and opportunities in this land where foreign missionaries were expelled in the 1960’s. Someone was needed to “stand in the gap” on behalf of Burmese believers and other Christians who live in difficult places. This could be accomplished by presenting their needs to North American churches and individuals, and by providing partnership opportunities.
In early 1993 ABWE’s president, Dr. Wendell Kempton, and mission administrators were approached about the possibility of providing support for national ministries and workers around the world. The primary focus would be on developing partnerships in an area known as the 10/40 Window, where most of the restricted access nations of the world are located.
After researching and assessing both the need for partnerships and the desire of North Americans to support such an endeavor, the program was presented to the ABWE Board in April 1994. At that meeting the ABWE Board approved the concept, accepted the proposal, and assigned George to serve as the international director.
From its inception, Global Access Partnerships has been known as the GAP Ministries, or GAP. The name is strategic in that this ministry stands in the GAP– both in an historical sense and in a practical way. Historically, GAP comes at a transition period in missions in the 21st century. In light of the number of restricted access areas, coupled with the rise of the missionary work force from the non-Western world, North American mission agencies are wise to adjust their methods.
Practically, it is clear to those who desire to have an impact for Christ in the decades ahead that strategic partnerships with godly and like-minded friends are not an option but an increasing necessity.
In the years since its inception, GAP has seen tremendous growth. New personnel join the GAP team regularly, and new partnerships with national ministries continue to develop each year. GAP also works with Regional Administrators, Field Councils, and Field Teams to establish outreaches in new areas and to assist in the support of national-led organizations in countries open to traditional missions.
Missions-minded churches in North America have always been interested in spreading the Gospel into unreached areas. They were limited, however, to supporting traditional missionaries in open countries or to supporting national outreach through organizations which did not have the same beliefs as their own church. With the introduction of GAP, interested churches and individuals can now have an impact in unreached areas throughout the world in partnership with an organization with which they are familiar.
In 2019, GAP became Live Global and entered the next generation of partnership ministry, leveraging technology and a connected world to catalyze ministry alongside our national partners.