There are many amazing ministry organizations making a difference for Christ around the world. One of them is Interserve USA, which helps followers of Jesus use their professional skills to serve the people of Asia and the Arab world.
Interserve gives those with a heart for the wounded, poor and marginalized the opportunity to share the love of Jesus with them in many different ways. If you haven’t heard of Interserve USA, you need to hear about their story and the work they’re doing because it’s very encouraging!
History of Interserve USA
Interserve’s story is quite interesting. It’s one of the oldest international, interdenominational, overseas-focused agencies in existence. Its roots go back to the early 19th century as a movement of Christian women from around the world.
Inspired by the love of Jesus, some women set up educational and healthcare initiatives to serve the women and children they met who lacked access to education or healthcare. In 1852, the Calcutta Normal School was inaugurated, and that was followed by several hospitals across India. Later on, other forms of service were started, including community development programs, care for people with leprosy, plague relief, and care for orphans.
For the first hundred years of its life, Interserve was an organization run solely by women. These women came not just from India and Britain, but also New Zealand, Australia, Germany, Switzerland, Canada and Ireland. Interserve later merged with a like-minded organization based in the USA that was founded by women in 1860.
In 1952, Interserve decided to allow men to join. Interserve’s ministry has since expanded to include people from Asia and the Arab World.
What is the Mission of Interserve USA?
The mission of Interserve is shaped by the incarnation, cross and resurrection of Jesus. From the incarnation of Jesus, Interserve seeks to live in communities for extended periods of time. They seek to learn their languages and adapt to their cultures, while letting them experience the difference that the presence of the Lord makes.
The cross of Jesus shapes the way Interserve works, so they tend to work in areas where they might not have the power to control events or make things happen. Jesus uses their lives, work and relationships to be living expressions of His love and truth, directing people to Himself.
Jesus’ resurrection shapes the confidence of Interserve. By following Jesus, they change the way tomorrow looks for the people they serve and for their communities.
What Makes Interserve USA Different?
Focus on Unreached People: Interserve works and lives among the people of Asia and the Arab world. These are areas where about 90% of the world’s unreached people live and 3% of Christian workers serve. They emphasize long-term, career service as the best way to effectively serve these people.
Diverse and Empowered Workers: Interserve has over 800 cross-cultural workers from 30 countries. They are intercultural and interdenominational and celebrate the diversity that each denomination brings to their fellowship. Interserve affirms that women and men share in the full range of ministry and leadership roles. They have 14 national councils and the people in the field make the decisions about how to best represent Jesus in their context.
Wholistic Ministry: Interserve’s ministry is wholistic, embracing the whole context of the individuals and communities they serve. The combination of their workers’ professional skills and commitment to excellence enables them to make valued contributions to the people they serve. It also enhances their witness for Christ. Interserve has service opportunities for people with professional skills in a variety of fields, including teaching, medicine, psychology/social work, engineering, technology and business.
Emphasis on Discipleship: Interserve focuses on both being and making disciples. They are committed to seeing people transform through their relationship with Jesus. Since this begins at the relational level, their work takes place in the context of their interpersonal relationships.
Extension of the Church: Interserve views themselves as an extension of the church. For churches in the USA, they act as a facilitator and extension of their involvement in worldwide service. For churches overseas, they support the development of local churches in their areas of service.
How can I Pray for Interserve USA?
In addition to praying that God will lead more workers to them, you can also pray specifically for each region served by Interserve:
The Arab world: please pray for the Christian minority, that they would be strong in their walk with the Lord and increase in numbers. Pray for creativity in developing meaningful media projects and good distribution of these materials.
Central Asia: please pray for the Christians to develop a strong sense of integrity so that they may be salt and light. Pray that the young people would continue searching to find true spirituality.
East Asia: please pray that countries that persecute Christians would relax their concerns and that the church would have freedom to worship openly. Pray that existing churches would develop a vision to reach out to serve other people groups near them.
South Asia: please pray for the young people that they would continue searching to find true spirituality. Pray for the Christians to develop a strong sense of integrity so that they may be salt and light, and for unity among the believers.
Southeast Asia: please pray for the growth of religious tolerance and the end of ethnic cleansing. Pray for freedom and new opportunities for those who are trafficked or who are refugees. Pray for those suffering from the effects of natural disasters.
West Asia: please pray for hope and practical assistance for refugees, and that those working with refugees will have resilience and creativity. Pray for government stability and for peace in the region. Pray for God to protect and nurture his church.
Good Neighbor Insurance loves the work Interserve USA is doing. We provide health insurance to protect their foreign workers so they can perform their important work. If you are interested in learning more about the organization or how you can get involved, visit their website (https://www.interserveusa.org).