David Boyd, a pastor from the suburbs of Sydney, sat on the floor of a smoke-filled room in rural Nepal, and spoke to the village elders through his interpreter and friend Gam. Peppered with questions about the "Jesus way," he marveled at the opportunity to share the gospel with this unreached people group, a privilege denied to previous missionaries. How was this unlikely door opened? It wasn't through a short-term missions trip or a Western missionary, but through Gam, a Nepalese migrant who became a Christian at Boyd's church in Sydney.
J. D. Payne, professor of evangelism at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, wants to show the West that God is orchestrating the movements of migrants like Gam to help fulfill the Great Commission. Whereas other recent books about immigration have focused on political or ethical debates, Strangers Next Door: Immigration, Migration, and Mission (InterVarsity Press) instead seeks to educate Westerners about the tidal wave of migrants coming to the West, and so challenge them to reach one of the world's most important (and overlooked) mission fields.
The statistics of migration alone are enough to give pause for reflection. In 2010, the United States was home to 43 million international migrants, 20 percent of the world total and 30 million more than the next largest migrant host. Nearly 41 percent of the world's migrants live in the West, among them more than one million international students and another million refugees. Moreover, the Southern Baptist Convention–affiliated International Mission Board estimates there are 361 unreached people groups (defined by most as less than 2 percent evangelical) living in the United States, ranking the United ...1