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AN NRT EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW
Advancing Native Missions: An Interview with Oliver Asher
The missionary talks about the organization and how Christians can help poorer countries cope with the effects caused by the COVID-19 pandemic
 


AN NRT EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW, Advancing Native Missions: An Interview with Oliver Asher
Posted: November 12, 2021 | By: KevinMcNeese_NRT
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Oliver Asher, president of Advancing Native Missions (ANM), has always had a heart for evangelism. Since their honeymoon, he and his wife, Andrea, have worked tirelessly to spread the word of God. Oliver has a heart for sharing the good news with others. And on his quest to make that happen several years ago, he came across ANM.
 
According to the Nelson County government website, ANM is “a U.S.-based agency called to seek out, evaluate, and send support to indigenous mission groups throughout the world.”
 
Oliver was astonished at the brilliance of such a simple idea: to support native Christians spreading their faith within their home countries. Immediately, he began working with them and over time, became an integral part of their community. In his words, “I love helping other Christians see how they can get involved in what God is doing.” 
 
Oliver’s passion is inspiring. I connected with Oliver to talk about what drives him, the impacts of COVID-19, and how more Christians can alleviate those painful effects on the less privileged parts of the world by working with ANM.

 
Can you share how you started with Advancing Native Missions (ANM) and talk about your role within the organization?
 
My wife and I felt so blessed coming out of college that we wanted to get into missions right after we got married. In fact, we served for a year in the Dominican Republic as an extension to our honeymoon. When we tried to get overseas after that, something always came up that prevented us.
 
Then we encountered Advancing Native Missions and learned that there were these amazing native Christians sharing the gospel in their own countries all around the world. They already know the languages and cultures where they work, and they are in it for the long haul. That made so much sense to us, and we realized that we could support that work and continue to live out our callings here in the U.S. Now, I’m president at ANM, and I love helping other Christians see how they can get involved in what God is doing.

 

 What are some of the primary goals of Advancing Native Missions?
 
We exist to take the gospel to all nations in the world—every tribe, ethnic group, people group. ANM is somewhat unique among missions’ organizations in that we focus on partnering with native Christians who are already doing effective ministry in their countries. We encourage and equip them and advocate for them in the U.S. so they can accomplish more. 
 
Revelation 7 shows us this amazing scene of worshippers from every nation, tribe, and tongue gathering around the throne of God. That’s the goal—that every people group will be represented.
 
How can people support the organization in those missions?
 
Our Christmas Gift Catalog is a simple way for Christians to share the gospel and help people in need around the world. Every gift spreads the Good News of Jesus, and every gift strengthens local churches in places where the gospel is just starting to be shared. 
 
You can help marginalized families by providing farm animals or sewing machines to earn income. You can equip pastors to share the gospel by giving them a bicycle or a motorcycle. You can even give a child in China their very first Bible for only four dollars. That’s a wonderful and simple way to get involved and know that you are making a difference in Jesus’ name.
 
Where is the greatest need right now in the world?
 
Access to the gospel. It’s hard for many Christians to believe, but there are so many places in the world where people still can’t get to a local church, read a Bible, or hear the gospel message from a Christian. And only about one percent of all missions giving today goes to places where there aren’t already growing churches. That’s why ANM donors are making such a strategic impact—they are helping the gospel get to new places and to people who have never had a chance to hear it before.
 
Are there really people in 2021 that have not yet heard the gospel? How many do we believe are out there?
 
Yes, as many as three billion people either haven’t heard the gospel or don’t live in a community where there is a strong gospel witness. That means about a third of the world’s population can’t easily get to a church or ask a pastor their questions about Jesus.
 
The Lord has given us—all His people—this mission in Jesus’ Great Commission in Matthew 28. He wants us to reach all nations with the gospel. I’m excited to say that the progress toward that goal is accelerating today. So many seeds of faith were planted by European and American missionaries in centuries past, and now native Christians are taking up the cause in their own countries. And they are reaching their neighbors with the gospel.
 
Do you have any stories or testimonies that you’d like to share?
 
Last year, two Mongolian Christians drove out to a family farm in the wilderness to share the gospel with a family. When they spoke to the father, his response was, “We don’t have time to listen to you. There are too many chores to do around here.” So, the Christians went back to the church and then returned to the farm with several other believers. They went to work on the family’s house repairs and farm chores and told them about Jesus as they worked alongside them. Now that whole family is following Jesus.
 
I was able to visit Mongolia in 2015 and meet some of the Christians there. In the early 1990s, when the Communist regime fell, there were fewer than 10 Christians in Mongolia. A local movement of Mongolian believers started sharing the gospel, and it has spread like wildfire. Today, there are more than 40,000 Christians in the country.
 
COVID-19 is a worldwide pandemic. How urgent is the need for poorer communities?
 
It’s incredibly urgent. It’s not just the illness itself, but also all the effects of the pandemic on poorer communities. In one village in the Philippines, I heard a pastor say that the people were on the verge of starvation because of pandemic lockdowns and the economic hardships caused by COVID-19. They said, “Hunger will kill us before COVID.”
 
Poor communities have been hit the hardest. People don’t have savings or safety nets. In many places, such as Pakistan, day laborers have lost their ability to earn income and care for their families. In those places, the church has really stepped up. I’m so thankful to the many ANM donors who have given to help care for families and get people through these difficult times.

Kevin McNeese started NRT in 2002 and has worked in the industry since 1999 in one form or another. He has been a fan of Christian music since 1991.

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