Themen: Diaspora, Unerreichte Menschengruppen
We’ve all seen the impressive maps contrasting the breakdown of the “nations” of the world as politically defined versus the multiplied number of “nations” as understood biblically and missiologically. If we were to add the dimension of the diaspora of each of those “nations” or people groups the resulting image would be incredibly more complex as well as constantly changing.
However, I seriously doubt that much of the data for people group-specific maps that take into consideration diaspora has yet to be gathered, particularly with regards to those with a population of under 100,000. And, of course, for practical ministry purposes one needs more detailed info than the larger research efforts will normally collect. For example, the presence of just 5-10 families in a particular location may be too small to take note of in a larger research effort, but could be of much interest to someone highly focused on this one people group. So if God is calling you to focus on facilitating ministry to the overall diaspora of a particular people group I suggest you be prepared to do much of your own research.
God has called me to serve a people group of about 40,000 with a diaspora that includes people in some 40 states in 2 (or 3) countries, in over 100 specific cities and towns. Here are some tips on how I have gleaned information about the whereabouts of the people I so much want to hear the Good News in their mother tongue:
~ I often ask people with whom I have personal contact where they have migrated and if there were others from their ethnic group there.
~ Google Alerts for news, blogs and the web in general have been very helpful. Up to 50 searches can be registered with the results automatically emailed to you as web pages meeting your search criteria are discovered. Use the group’s name and language name (including alternate spellings), key communities in their native area, and the names of organizations within the people group. Articles about the arrest or the death of someone from the group, about a school system struggling to deal with an influx of children speaking that particular language, and human interest stories all serve to tip one off as to the location of a segment of the diaspora.
~ The results of secular research efforts may give many tips. For example, studies about California farm workers give many tips about where members of the group I focus on may be living.
~ I developed a web site for and about the people group and Google Analytics allows me to see where hits are coming from down to the city level. This is particularly helpful to become aware of some of the smaller segments of the diaspora that I hadn’t heard about through other means.
Once you find out where people are, then you might want more specific information like:
~ Specifically where in that town do they live?
~ What kind of jobs do they usually have there?
~ Where might they socialize after work or on their days off?
~ Do they hold any special events that would draw a large number of their people to attend?
~ Are they organized socially, with their own group leaders?
~ Is there anyone ministering to them locally?
~ Are there some Christians among them?
~ Is there a church among them?
~ Are some attending previously existing local churches?
~ Do the people have ready access to Scripture and other Christian resources in their mother tongue?
Information like this will often need to be gathered in person locally, or can be obtained through some key contacts currently living there, or from one of the ethnic group members you have contact with who at some point lived in that location.
In our specific case, though we have made a lot of headway the diaspora is so extensive that there is yet so much to do. There are many areas for which we don’t yet have a specific contact and some contacts get lost as people move around or change cell phone numbers. Nevertheless, little by little God seems to be opening up new contacts to continue broadening our impact.