Edward and Terri Janklow* minister among an unreached people group in Southeast Asia. Before the Janklows moved to the region, the people group was known for their resistance to the gospel and no believers had been identified.
Ministry was slow-going, but the Janklows were persistent.
The Janklows’ home church has also been persistent.
Edward and Terri are members of North Richland Hills Baptist Church (NRHBC) in North Richland Hills, Texas. Edward and Terri say the church has been instrumental in their ministry.
After a devastating natural disaster, Roger and Darlene Coden,* who are the Janklows’ former Sunday School teachers and close friends, came to visit them and encourage them in the aftermath of the disaster.
Prior to their trip, Terri sent the Codens an email saying, “I am praying God will break your heart for the work here.”
After the trip, Darlene wrote Terri and said, jokingly, “way to break a heart.”
“God really answered that prayer,” Terri said. “[The Codens] have been absolutely burdened and care deeply about the work here.”
In the eight years since their first trip, the Codens have returned, bringing other church members who’ve partnered in the task of reaching the people group with the gospel.
After the Coden’s first trip, Roger, who is a church business administrator, looked at the budget and determined NRHBC could be giving more to financially support IMB missionaries.
Their generous support of the IMB has continued to the present. Last week, NRHBC donated $14,000 to the IMB.
Scott Maze, the pastor at NRHBC and the Cross Church in Fort Worth, said he and his administrative staff wanted to ensure COVID-19 didn’t negatively affect financial support for the IMB.
The church’s support extends far beyond giving. NRHBC persistently prayed for the people group.
“We’ve just been asking the church to pray for years. ‘Pray for the first believer.’ After we saw the first believer, we said, ‘church, pray for the first church,’” Terri said. “We’ve been doing this over 14 years, and just this year, in our fourteenth year, we saw the first church.”
Not only did NRHBC pray for the work in Southeast Asia, they went. On one of these volunteer trips, the Lord used Maze’s prayer at a food stall to bring a woman and her husband to Christ.
The Janklows partner with Ma,* a Christian from the unreached people group. Ma felt called to be a missionary to her own people. However, she hadn’t received any positive responses to the gospel and was hesitant to minister in her own village, so she decided to share the gospel in other villages.
Maze came on a volunteer trip, and on the trip, he and the Janklows visited Ma’s village.
During their visit, the Janklows and Maze stopped at a food stall for a meal. The owner of the stall, a woman names Daw,* shared she was depressed because her son had failed his college entrance examination. The Janklows asked Maze to pray for Daw.
On the Janklows’ next visit, Daw’s expression had completely changed. Instead of a frown, she was grinning. Daw shared that when Maze prayed for her, she knew that he was praying to the one, true God.
Daw said God answered Maze’s prayers for her son and her business in miraculous ways. She also had a dream about Jesus. She told the Janklows she was ready to accept Christ.
Daw’s husband has since come to faith. The couple now worship with Ma, and the three Christians are boldly sharing their faith in their community. Daw and her husband told the Janklows, “We want our home to be a church.”
“They had a church dedication service, they were baptized, and even though it’s just the three of them and another couple who’s coming to help lead them from a nearby town, they started the first-ever church in one of the villages of the people group that we work with,” Terri said.
Terri said their NRHBC church partnership has played an instrumental role in their ministry and in seeing the first church planted.
“It just seems so not coincidental that God decided to answer that prayer of moving in that woman’s life when our pastor came to visit in such a direct, powerful way to connect North Richland Hills with the work He’s doing here.”
*Names changed for security
Caroline Anderson is a writer for IMB.
To learn how your church can partner with the IMB, visit https://www.imb.org/for-churches/.