2021 Annual Report

“Living the gospel ‘out loud’ in front of believers and unbelievers and sharing the gospel message with those who otherwise have little access is an incredible privilege.”
– A Pioneer in Asia

A Word From Steve Richardson

Steve Richardson, President of Pioneers-USA

Steve Richardson
President, Pioneers-USA

God’s Global Mission

Have you ever tried to put together a puzzle and found a piece of the puzzle is missing? The pieces may be small, but each one is unique and each one is significant. In the same way, God has designed each one of us to be a piece of a divine puzzle, a picture of His glory. We each have a part to play as we join the mission He has given, the mission of spreading His glory and sharing the gospel throughout the whole world. Looking back on 2021, I couldn’t be more grateful for all the ways we have seen men and women offer themselves to God for His glory and purpose.

God’s Surprising Plans

At the same time, many things did not go according to plan. Have you noticed how much we as a culture, especially in the West, try to predict almost everything? We try to predict the weather. We want to predict what each hour of the day is going to hold. We plan for retirement. These are not bad things. These are good things. But the challenges of the last few years continue to show us how many things cannot be predicted.

This Isn’t New!

Consider what we see in Scripture. Virtually every page of the Bible is packed with surprise! Think about the Garden of Eden, Abram’s calling, Joseph being sold by his brothers into slavery and rising to become the Prime Minister of Egypt. And it’s all through the New Testament, too.

Part of God’s nature is that He’s the God of surprise. He’s always doing things we don’t expect. And God delights in surprising us with good things. More and more I’ve been praying, “Lord, surprise me with your superior plan.” Viewing life as a grand adventure with God frees us from feeling we have to control and predict everything.

As you look through our annual report, I hope you’ll rejoice in the amazing things we saw God do in 2021, working through His faithful servants but also surprising us with good things we never expected.

Thank you for your heart for the unreached.

Click or tap through the tabs below to view the different report sections.

Responding to Human Need

Afghan woman in blue burka standing by a door

The last year has been a difficult one for the country and people of Afghanistan. Extremism rose, shortages became severe and the pandemic raged. Then the world watched in horror as the Taliban took city after city, the president fled and many scrambled to get out. Thousands were caught in the crossfire. As refugees left Afghanistan, Pioneers had missionaries waiting to serve them.

Pioneers missionaries in Southern Europe have been ministering to displaced Afghans for years. A growing church is led by Iranian and Afghan believers. In 2021, American churches, individual donors and Pioneers missionaries came together to show God’s love to those fleeing so He would one day be known throughout all of Afghanistan. Ministry to the heartbroken and traumatized continues wherever Afghan refugees are found.

Impact Story

In several urban areas of the U.S. and Europe, a growing number of teams are helping resettle refugees, provide English classes and trauma care and offer gospel hope.

One team partners with local churches and other ministries to stock basic supplies to help refugees get settled. A team of volunteers, including several young Afghan women who were refugees themselves, visits 5-6 new families a week. They distribute welcome baskets with the items an Afghan family needs most, including familiar items from local Middle Eastern markets and international grocery stores.

In addition, many Pioneers continue to minister to the poor and grieving in places most hurt by COVID-19 and pandemic shutdowns. Pioneers teams have set up relief programs, provided healthcare, and delivered packets of food and essential supplies to thousands of people in need.

See also our guide to praying biblically for Afghanistan and the Afghan people, Weep With Those Who Weep: How to Pray for Afghanistan.

Mobilizing Missionaries Internationally

Spotlight on Africa

Women in traditional West African clothing singing and dancing

Founded 25 years ago, Pioneers Africa is now the second-largest missionary-sending base in the Pioneers family. Our African members have planted numerous churches. among the unreached in West Africa and beyond and provided insight and leadership for mobilization and ministry efforts around the world.

In 2021, West African Pioneers started at least 18 new churches and saw some 750 people come to faith.

Impact Story

One Pioneers Africa missionary team launched at least seven new Bible studies and brought 19 new believers to Christ, including a village chief!

This village chief suddenly fell ill and was hospitalized. Several people prayed to their tribal gods, asking for him to be healed. But his condition worsened—to the point he was close to death. One of our African missionaries asked if they could pray for him. At first, he said no. But he became desperate. So, he allowed our missionary to pray over him. Our missionary prayed and shared the gospel with him. The head chief was healed, and he is now a believer.

When he came to faith, he said, “Let it be known that on this day, I serve the God of Abraham, and Jesus Christ is my savior, and all should follow Him.”

We praise God for our new brother in Christ! Because of his authority, his village is allowed to have Bible studies, and many people have come to faith.

Pioneers recently established a new office to mobilize workers from Egypt and neighboring countries. We praise God for their wonderful leadership and vision. A recent class of missionary candidates from Pioneers Egypt had already planted a church before they completed training.

Ministry Partners in Asia

Pioneers all over are developing more agile strategies for training, collaboration, evangelism and discipleship. In 2021, one of our Asian offices expanded its virtual training platform to provide pre-field training to a group of 30 new church planters over several months. This small office has already sent more than 20 Asian families and individual missionaries to locations from Asia to Africa and several nations in between.

Impact Story

Thirty years ago the country of Mongolia was almost entirely unreached with the gospel. Pioneers missionaries were instrumental in sharing the gospel and seeing churches planted there. Today, God is raising up whole teams of Mongolian church planters willing to serve God in other challenging places.

Pioneers leaders mobilizing Asian believers say it’s starting to look like 2022 could be their biggest year yet. “Please pray that roadblocks and travel restrictions would not get in the way of our new missionaries getting to the field,” says one. “We need the light of the gospel message to spread around the world through these servants of His.”

What God has done over many decades gives us hope and courage to mobilize more missionaries. Read stories of former pioneers in our free ebook, Fire & Ice.

Media Outreach

Through your support of Pioneers Media Outreach, the Word of God is being shared in some of the most difficult places in the world. Our most mature media ministry serves least-reached people in the Middle East and North Africa. There, reports show that 268 Arab world Muslims came to know Christ in 2021 while another 23 took the big step of baptism. We praise God for every person who began to follow Jesus. Lives are being transformed, and families and communities are gaining opportunities to hear the gospel.  We can also report that more than 1,000 digital Bibles were downloaded. Every day, more people are asking for Bibles in their language.

Searching for the Way to God

A country in Africa is one of the fastest-growing social media markets in the world. Five years ago one in 25 people had a smartphone. Today at least one in five do. That’s a big jump in a short time. Many even have Facebook accounts, Instagram or Tiktok. While they may be too shy or afraid to approach a Christian in person, they are more curious and courageous when it comes to using their phones to search for answers about the way to God.

“Our family has been here more than 10 years now, and we are noticing more and more people coming to faith through their online connections. Facebook asks, ‘What’s on your mind?’ In online searches, young people here are asking, ‘Can you tell me more about the way of Jesus?’” – A Pioneer in Africa

Impact Story

For 15 years Izzabideen had been searching for the way to God. The traditions of his family didn’t leave him satisfied. During an internet search, he found a website that told him about the way to Jesus. He wanted to know more. Our network was able to connect him to a believer in his city who could tell him about the way to Jesus. This is what Izzabideen had been searching for. Soon he gave his life to Jesus and has shared the gospel with his family and others who also believed.

Retooling for Effective Mobilization

While 2020 brought a burst of fresh creativity to every area of our ministry, 2021 was a year to assess what worked and harness the most helpful strategies.

In 2021, more than 500 people let us know they wanted to talk about going to the unreached by completing our initial application online. A growing number communicated with us by text, followed QR codes to connect with a mobilizer or brought us their questions using a chat feature on our website.

To lower the barriers to mission engagement, we launched the first season of a mobilization podcast we called Relentless Pursuit. The podcast connects listeners with stories of missionaries who happen to be people just like them—with many of the same fears, doubts and difficulties.

This podcast is SO helpful, honest, and humble. The episodes are filled with incredible stories of God’s faithfulness and simple (not necessarily easy) obedience. The host and guests discuss the highs and lows of mission work with grace and honesty [and] apply principles to everyday life with clarity and conviction.” – Relentless Pursuit podcast listener

Podcast episodes, articles and videos were incorporated in the beta version of a new mobilization strategy, Pursuit Groups. Facilitators of these five-week, discussion-based, community-oriented groups help participants explore God’s heart for the nations and their roles in His story. We’ve already seen God use groups to prompt participants to take their next steps in missions. We hope to put this tool in the hands of many others to multiply our mobilization efforts.

Over the summer, we sent 23 young adults on Edge trips and a steady stream went out throughout the year as part of our Venture program. “All of this encouraged our team and helped us gain momentum for this coming year,” says Courtney, our Vice President of Mobilization. “We have great plans in store for 2022 and we are praying that God would use us to raise up laborers for His kingdom.”

“The most emotional part of the trip was saying goodbye to the local friends we made, and the local pastor who hugged us with tears in his eyes and asked us to come back. More than any of us here, he understands that the harvest is plentiful and the laborers are few." – 2021 Edge Team member

Listen to the Relentless Pursuit Podcast on our podcast website or learn about Venture or Edge.

Annual Financials & Statistics

Here’s a snapshot of Pioneers-USA as of December 31, 2021.

1,823 total U.S. members
1,592 are long-term field missionaries
389 of these are appointees preparing for the field
36% of field members are first-term missionaries
178 members serve with the U.S. mobilization base
The U.S. base is one of 17 mobilization bases and offices

In 2021...

562 people filled out an initial inquiry about joining Pioneers-USA
108 new missionaries were appointed
100 missionaries left for the mission field

Global Pioneers Family

These new Pioneers join a global family with more than 3,000 international members engaging more than 500 unreached people groups and serving on some 300 teams in about 100 countries, sent and supported by thousands of local churches.
U.S. Expenses: Program - 83.5%; Admin - 11%; Fundraising - 5.5%
U.S. Expenses
  • 1. Program – 83.5%
  • 2. Administration – 11%
  • 3. Fundraising – 5.5%
3,500 partner churches
46,832 total donors

New Leadership

In 2021, Pioneers appointed a new International Director, Dr. Mark Syn, who begins his new role in 2022. Mark and his wife Ruth have served with Pioneers for many years, most recently leading our mobilization base in Singapore.

Pioneers-USA is also accountable to an independent board of directors who provide oversight and spiritual guidance to the leadership and staff.

Thank you for partnering with us in 2021!

Thank you for your support!

For more than 40 years, Pioneers missionaries have been using innovative and creative means to bring the gospel to every corner of the globe. Your partnership with Pioneers will make 2022 another fruitful year in the harvest.

In 2022, we are seeking to recruit 225 new U.S. missionaries and send those currently in training to join teams serving among 40 different unreached people groups. We are also working to equip these teams to leverage digital media strategies through Pioneers Media Outreach. The goal is to see at least 25% of our teams using digital strategies by 2025.

Help Us Reach These Goals