It is Sunday morning and today is a day for fellowshipping with the saints. During this time of year, Sunday’s are also often a time when churches around the world discuss supporting mission trips for the year, but 2021 is different.
Missions trips of all kinds have been canceled across the board. Mission groups sit grounded, missionaries can’t leave home, and mission trips are postponed until… who knows when.
The Good News of Jesus Christ is still needed. The call to complete the Great Commission has not stopped and will not be delayed because of the coronavirus. The Lord is opening new doors for the church and compelling us Christians to think differently in 2021. “Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.”
Perhaps God is pushing us into new deserts for His glory. Nations that were not on our radar before can be now.
Think it is not possible? Think again. There are nations that are easier to travel to today than ever before – even with the new Covid-19 restrictions.
Here is a list of 16 NATIONS that desperately need the Gospel and are open right now for ministry.
Since September 4th 2020, most travelers have been permitted to receive a visa upon arrival. You will need to bring a negative PCR COVID-19 test when entering Bahrain and will be tested again at your own expense upon arrival. If you plan to stay and minister in the country longer than 10 days, you will need to take another test, but these tests are super easy and a small inconvenience when compared to saving lives from the pits of hell.
According to the Joshua Project, Bahrain has 8 unreached people groups that have never heard the Gospel message, but they currently have an unbelievable Christian growth rate of 3.3% – which is outpacing the global rate.
Bahrain is not always the safest place to travel. The U.S. State Department’s travel advisory for Bahrain is Level 3: Reconsider Travel.
Admittedly, not the easiest country to travel to during Covid-19, but possible.
You will need to first be tested 72 hours prior to departure and then upon arrival, complete a 14 day “home quarantine” in a government approved hotel at your expense. After seven days in quarantine you will be tested again and if you test negative, you will be permitted to complete your quarantine.
If you are able to endure the quarantine rules, then your travel to Bangladesh is worth it, because they are in desperate need of the Gospel message. According to the Joshua Project, less than 0.3% of the people in Bangladesh are believers and 9/10 people groups in the nation have never heard the Gospel message even once.
OK, admittedly, to minister in Cambodia right now you are going to need some focus, but it is possible and very much needed.
Here is the bad news – in order to travel to Cambodia, you will need to pay a $2,000 deposit and have a negative Covid-19 test result taken within 72 hours of arrival. You will need to have a 14 day quarantine in a government approved hotel and be ready to take the Covid-19 test again at the end of your quarantine. You will also be required to buy a $90 local health insurance package from the government.
Here is the good news! Cambodia is pretty free and open once you are in the country. You do not have to worry too much about wearing a mask, social distancing, or being on lockdown. Cambodia is open for ministry and most missionaries have left the country. There is a lot of work to do in Cambodia, but few there to do it.
The door to Cambodia is open.
Democratic Republic of Congo
Are you ready for an adventure with God? The Democratic Republic of Congo can give you more uncertain twists and turns than you could ever imagine. You will need a Covid-19 test before traveling to this nation, along with typical mandatory vaccinations associated with traveling to parts of Africa, but it is worth it. The D.R.C has been ravaged by war, is considered to be the rape capital of the world and desperately needs mission workers. There is a level three travel warning issued by the U.S. State Department, so you need to be aware of what you are doing in this country at all times.
But let’s be honest – few nations that need the Gospel are safe to travel to. Completing the Great Commission was never meant to rescue people from safe situations.
This is the Golden Egg. Dubai and Abu Dhabi are wide open for travel. There is simply no easier nation to travel to right now than the UAE.
You will need to have a PCR test 72 hours prior to departure, but do not plan to have many more problems than that because the Emirates are open for business!
UAE is one of the most popular destinations in the world for international travelers from strict Muslim nations. You might not be able to travel to Iran right now, but you will meet plenty of them in UAE. You might not be able to travel to Yemen at the moment, but you will find them on the streets of Abu Dhabi. The UAE is the wild west of the Middle East right now and almost anything goes.
The airports are packed, all of the restaurants are open, shopping is the best it has ever been, and the opportunity to preach to Muslims on the streets has never been better. Of course, it is still illegal to do that, but that is a different article entirely.
Egypt didn’t stay closed for long. Locking down a nation for months at a time is a luxury that only wealthy countries can afford. Nations like Egypt depend on tourists and need them back now, more than ever.
As is normal these days, you will need to present a negative Covid-19 test upon arrival, but after that small inconvenience, be ready to work your butt off. A tourist visa is available upon arrival at the airport for most western travelers.
Egypt is still a Muslim country, with over 86% of the population labeled as Muslims, but fewer and fewer are practicing Muslims. Many Egyptians are actively seeking the truth. Chinese missionaries have been working in Egypt for many years and have seen many locals come to the Lord over the years. A few years ago, Brother Yun was able to meet with some of the new Muslim converts and baptized them in the Nile River.
Jordan is not the easiest nation to travel to, but well worth it if you have a focus for the nations in the 10/40 Window.
In order to travel to Jordan you will need to have a copy of your PCR test within 72 hours of departure in your hand, show proof of health insurance, pay for another test on arrival, download the Aman.jo app on your phone, agree to health tracking, and undergo a mandatory 14 day quarantine.
After that process though, you are ready for ministry in Jordan.
According to the Joshua Project, Jordan currently has 13 people groups that are unreached. It is one of the most key nations in relation to Israel and end-time prophecy.
Kyrgyzstan has officially opened up for tourism! This landlocked Central Asian nation is dying to get more tourists from around the world. They have a growing adventure travel sector and eco-tourism sector that they are ready to get rolling.
They are reporting very few cases of Covid-19. Is it true that they have so few cases? Who cares – which nation doesn’t have the coronavirus right now?
There are so many opportunities to minister in Kyrgyzstan with the new tourist sector. You do not need to have a ministry partner in the country. Just take a trip and do some horse riding on the plains, camp in a yurt, kayak down the river, enjoy the hot springs, or go for a hike in to the mountains. There are a number of tour guides that you can hire to help you do these activities and you will be amazed at the number of local people that you will be able to interact with.
You might feel guilty arranging vacation activities, but the number of unreached people groups in Kyrgyzstan is more than most places in the world, so trust me when I say you will be doing more to spread the Gospel message to unreached people groups than you would be by painting another wall in Mexico City.
OK, Nepal is not technically as open as most nations, but there is a small window of opportunity in Nepal for trekkers. If you like action and ministry, then Nepal might be the best place for you.
Nepal is technically closed to foreigners at the moment, but trekking and mountaineering groups are allowed to take foreign travelers. You need to make sure you get the right trekking guide and this might be tricky; a trekking guide that allows you freedom to move around is the most preferred.
The truth is, you never arrive in Nepal and go straight into the mountains. That doesn’t happen. You need time to acclimate and let your body adjust. This acclimation process can take days, but those are days in which you can spend socializing in Katmandu.
There are a lot of local foreign restaurants and cafes that welcome trekkers. Many of the people speak pretty good English and they are always ready to engage in conversation with foreigners.
There are so few travelers to Nepal right now, that you will be an instant attraction for many locals who have never heard the Gospel message before.
Imagine! You could be the first to share the Good News with someone in Nepal.
Lebanon is on a 24-hour countrywide lockdown until tomorrow February 8th, but it is open for travel to those with an American passport. You must have a Covid-19 test taken 72 hours before departure. You must also self-quarantine for at least three days. You will need those days to get over jet-lag anyway.
Lebanon has experienced some major tragedies in the nation in the last couple of years and could use some Good News right now.
Nigeria has opened their doors wide. All tourists are welcome, including Americans.
Practically, you will need a PCR test taken within 96 hours of departure. A Quarantine Protocol issued in September requires all international visitors to register via the Nigeria International Travel Portal and pay for another test seven days after arrival in Nigeria.
In 2020, more Christians were killed in Nigeria than in any other nation on earth. The slaughter of Christians, especially in North-Eastern Nigeria, has been horrifying to witness.
There are parts of Nigeria that are definitely not safe for the solo traveler who does not understand the situation, but there is a desperate need for the Gospel in the Muslim stronghold areas.
Who will go? Who will preach the Gospel?
If no one else will do it, then why not you?
International flights to Oman have resumed and missionaries can visit!
Yes, it may not be the safest place on earth to visit, but statistically it is far safer than Portland or Seattle at the moment.
Proof of a mandatory PCR COVID-19 test is required to be taken within 72 hours of flying to Muscat. In addition, travelers must undergo a second COVID-19 test upon arrival and wear a Tarrasud+ bracelet while quarantining for seven days. A third PCR test is required on day eight before quarantine can end. Each test will cost you about $65 USD. You are also going to need to provide proof of a health insurance policy valid in Oman.
3/4ths of Omani people are considered unreached, but the percentage of new believers per year is currently almost three times the number globally.
Turkey might be one of the easiest nations to travel to right now. Yes, they require visitors to have a negative Covid-19 test, but other than that it is pretty smooth sailing. I was just in Turkey last week and the procedures were so relaxed that it was easy to forget that Covid-19 was a problem at airports.
There was a small declaration form to fill out at immigration, but most immigration officers are not concerned with it. It is clearly a matter of procedure to make the international community feel better.
The great thing about Turkey is that missionaries have access to so many Muslims, Kurds, Syrians, Iraqis, and Iranians. If you have ever dreamed about doing ministry among the most unreached nations on earth – Turkey is like hitting the lottery!
It doesn’t get easier than Uganda. You need to take a test 120 hours before departure, which is way more liberal than the 72 hour requirement by most nations and there is no need to quarantine in a government hotel.
This lush nation of Central Africa gives ready access to nations like Sudan and the Congo and can be the ideal spot for missionaries to preach the Gospel to refugees who have made their way to Uganda.
Things are regrettably a little more tough with Turkmenistan, but it is still possible for missionaries to travel there on a tourist visa. Their international flights should be opening up this month and if you have a calling to go there, now might be the time.
Travelers need to have a Covid test 24 hours before departure and must quarantine for three weeks in a government controlled hotel, but after that it is pretty open.
Uzbekistan might take the whole enchilada. If you are an American missionary, they are almost begging you to go there. In fact, they are promising to compensate American tourists (*cough* – missionary) up to $3,000 if they catch COVID-19 while on their trip! When has a nation that has never heard the Gospel before offered money to missionaries if they get sick?
The answer? NEVER!
Uzbekistan lifted their ban on international flights from October 1st. U.S. citizens need a visa for entry and tourists face health screenings on arrival, but it is clear that the nation is desperate.
Please note that this list is not definitive and if you do plan to travel to any of these countries you will have to do your own research. The situation for international travel is changing every day.
However, what is clear is that the door is open for missionaries and mission groups.
So, pack a bag and let’s go.