The History of People International
People International was established in 1979. The early years of this gospel ministry were devoted to spreading information about the needs of Central Asia to the Church in the West. Muslim Awareness Seminars were held, prayer fellowships started, literature published, and inquiries about Central Asian Muslims were answered. Pioneer researchers were sent to the region. Wherever our researchers went they found millions who desperately needed to meet Jesus and experience life in His Kingdom. They also found that churches in the West had little or no information about these people.
With this informational vacuum in mind, the organization began to publish more and more literature. People Group Profiles and research reports began to be published on a regular basis. Regular newsletters started to be distributed. The more that was published, the more that was taught, and the more traveling that was done, the more the work grew. Soon others wanted to know how they could also get involved.
Specific people groups were adopted for research and ministry. They were generally those of either Turkic or Persian origin who were living geographically between Albania in the West and China in the East. Today these Central Asian peoples have a population of over 450 million, and live in one of the most untouched areas of the world.
In 1987 a new focus was added to the work. Not only was the organisation committed to educating the western church about Islam and Central Asian Muslims, but also more efforts in sharing the Good News and establishing faith communities began to take place. With this new thrust, short-term teams were sent into “closed” areas of Central Asia, and where possible we started to place long-term teams.
Additionally, outreach work began among Central Asian Muslims residing in Western Europe and North America – particularly among those people coming from countries basically closed to Western workers. The ministry grew and the number of those sent out grew as well.
In 1991, with the collapse of the “Iron Curtain” P.I. again went through a period of sharpening its vision and focusing its outreach work. With all the political changes taking place in Central Asia, and with opportunities opening up for “tentmakers” to go and live and work in these countries, it was decided to prayerfully concentrate most of the organisation’s efforts on placing long-term people throughout “Greater Central Asia”.
In 2010, PI completed a restructuring to allow for greater growth. As of 2017, there are PI offices in nine countries sending people to work among Central Asian Muslims in Greater Central Asia, with growing outreach in the West as well. P.I. is committed to sending out well-trained people, developing existing teams and starting pioneer works in new locations.