Chuck Register announced the release of a new, interactive, online map to help churches pray for international people groups in North Carolina. The April 8 announcement came as part of Register’s Peoples Next Door NC report to the Executive Committee of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina (BSC).
The new digital tool allows Christians to locate and learn more about foreign-born people living in the state. Seven population centers across N.C. are designated with markers. Plans are underway to include the Wilmington area as an eighth region.
Clicking on a population center marker enlarges the map, allowing viewers to see the 10 “most strategic” people groups in the region.
The interactive tool features people such as Pashtuns of Pakistan in the Fayetteville area, Mexicans in the Blue Ridge region, Romanians in the Unifour region, Eritreans in the Charlotte region and Berbers of Morocco in the Triangle area.
Each people group is represented on the map by a marker. A click on the marker opens ethnographic information and prayer needs for the group. Data for the prayer map came from BSC field research across the state, including information from an ethnographic initiative called The Joshua Project. Peoples Next Door NC plans to keep data current in the future to reflect population increases and changes in receptivity to the gospel.
One example of prayer map information comes from the Wolof people living in North Raleigh. The website reads, “God brings the Wolof people to us from the countries of Senegal, The Gambia and Mauritania.
“The Wolof people practice a unique version of animistic (superstitious) Islam. In their home context, they work as farmers, shepherds, fishermen and merchants.
“When they migrate to cities in North America, they tend to work in a variety of entry level jobs in the service industry. Their demanding work schedules leave them with little time for inviting others into their community. The Wolof people live in tight-knit communities and tend to self-sustain and self-exist within their own socio-economic-religious networks.
“In N.C., they struggle to integrate, even though many have lived here for more than 15 years. The Wolof people have few relationships with evangelical believers, but their reputation for kind hospitality leaves them open to cross-cultural friendships. Consider reorienting a portion of your life to fit the life rhythms of our Wolof neighbors. You may find that a gospel-centered friendship with one leads to a gospel-centered friendship with many.”
Register said he believes the interactive tool will help educate congregations about the people groups nearby. The ultimate goal is “prayer mobilization,” he said. “We believe the more [churches] pray, the more the Holy Spirit will lead them to engage that people group.”
Register also hopes the prayer map can serve as “a model tool for other missions organizations to use in their regions of the county to mobilize people to pray and engage the nations with the gospel.”