January 1, 1982 John and Kathie boarded a plane to the Andes Mountains of Venezuela. While their main ministry as teachers focused on the education of missionary kids for 12 yrs., they also engaged in backyard Bible club ministry, women’s aerobic and Bible study outreach, teaching English to professionals, and discipleship ministry in mountain churches (even in a small village church on a remote river accessible only by dugout boat). John also did research on Third Culture Kids (TCKs).
The next season of ministry found the Pedersons mobilizing churches into greater mission involvement through short term missions. They recruited, trained, and led mission outreaches to Belize, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Belize, Mexico, Gayana, Venezuela, and to Native Americans in N. Minnesota. They grew by leading prayer teams to restricted-access nations where many have never heard the name of Jesus. The strategy was to push back the darkness by leading 2-week prayer teams on the Silk Road in Islamic China, Tibet, and Turkey to prepare the hearts of these least reached peoples for the gospel message from the long-term workers.
The Great Commission compels them to respond to this unprecedented opportunity where God is moving people from unreached people groups (UPGs) to the Twin Cities where over 100 different people groups live. Current ministry among refugees and immigrants has prepared them well to join the Diaspora Initiative Team in Minneapolis/St. Paul to engage immigrants/refugees with the gospel. The Diaspora Initiative seeks to train, equip, and mobilize Converge churches to engage these unreached people groups.
The Pedersons have 3 adult married children and 5 grandchildren.
“And He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation, that they would seek God, if perhaps they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us.” (Acts 17:26-27)