Bobby Cox is a good friend. He is the President and Founder of GoTEN (Go To Every Nation.) GOTEN’s mission is to create disciple-making movements among unreached people. They begin by working with unreached refugees that have resettled here in the United States. They then partner with refugees to return to their home countries to introduce Jesus to their own people. Bobby’s team is based here in Phoenix and creates opportunities for volunteers to engage unreached people without having to leave the United States. Bobby has been in full-time ministry for 30 years and has traveled to 60+ countries. He and his family served as missionaries among an unreached and 100% Muslim people group.
Today we will hear about how GOTEN reaches the refugees by moving into their neighborhood.
Linked in: https://www.linkedin.com/in/bobbycox72/
The Joshua Project: https://www.joshuaproject.mobi/
People Groups: https://www.peoplegroups.org/
Christ’s Church of the Valley: https://ccv.church/
CCV Missions: www.ccv.church/missions
Pastor Larrie Fraley: linkedin.com/in/larrie-fraley-53445032
Bobby Cox: [00:00:00] When refugees come here. They need our services, they need English, they need jobs, they need transportation, they need to figure out housing, they need all those things. But what they want is an American friend.
Larrie Fraley: [00:00:34] Well, welcome to the first episode of the Let's Go 360 podcast, hopefully, you've had a chance to listen to our trailer. They gave you an idea of what these podcasts are all about. Let's Go 360 is a podcast for listeners who want to know more about what God is doing around the world here, near and far. God is on the move like no other time in history. Let's Go 360 is sponsored by Christ Church of the Valley, also known as CCD. One church, but many locations across the Greater Phoenix area, with hopes to expand wherever God wants CCD to go. My name is Larrie Fraley. I'm your host and lead pastor of the local and global mission here at CCD. Our guest today is Bobby Cox from Goten, Bobby Cox is the president and founder of Goten, which is an acronym for Go to Every Nation. Go 10's mission is to create disciple-making movements among the unreached and unengaged people. They begin by working with unreached refugees that have resettled here in the United States. They then partner with refugees to return to their home countries to introduce Jesus to their own people. Bobby's team is based here in Phoenix and creates opportunities for volunteers to engage unreached people without having to leave the United States. Bobby has been in full-time ministry for 30 years and has traveled to 60 plus countries. He and his family has served as missionaries among an unreached and 100 percent Muslim people group. Bobby, welcome to the show.
Bobby Cox: [00:02:15] Hey, thank you, Larry. It's good to be here.
Larrie Fraley: [00:02:17] Hey, before we dive in. Tell us a little bit about you and your family.
Bobby Cox: [00:02:22] Yeah, I'm married. Been married for 29 years. My wife, Angie, and I have two adult children. Yeah, Angie and I've been in ministry together since we got married.
Larrie Fraley: [00:02:32] so, here's the big question. What problem are you trying to solve?
Bobby Cox: [00:02:36] Well, ultimately, I think the problem we're trying to solve is the great commission. You know, Jesus says, go make disciples of all nations baptizing them in the name of the father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey everything I've commanded you. And surely, I'll be with you always. so, ultimately, the big problem is the great commission. And so, when Jesus says, go make disciples of all nations, he was talking about all groups of people. And so, even the name of our organization goes to every nation that comes directly from that great commission. But if you try to measure that today on, how are we actually doing it, this great commission that Jesus gave us, we're not making it, we're not there yet. We've made some progress. But if you just count the number of people groups in our world today, there are different numbers out there. But if there are 11000 total groups of people out there, about 6000 of them are considered unreached or less than two percent Christian. That means that more than half of our world's population still has little to no access to the gospel. so, that's a big, big problem to think that with the technology that we have today, with the opportunities, the mission organizations that are out there, and all the effort over half of our world's population still live among unreached people.
Bobby Cox: [00:03:46] And so, we see that as this is our main objective is to how do we take the gospel to where there is no gospel and to kind of break that apart a little bit for you? When my family served overseas, we were in a 100 percent Muslim country. I can count on one hand how many believers there were in that country one hand. And when we went there, the only book of the Bible available to them was the gospel of Luke, and there were no churches, no Christian radio. And so, how do you get the gospel to people where there are governments or cultures or other faiths that keep you from getting it to them? so, what our problem that we're trying to solve is that we recognize that the majority of the world lives in that state, that they don't have a church on every corner. They don't know a believer. And so, getting the gospel to the people who have no access. That's the big, big problem.
Larrie Fraley: [00:04:50] Now we've used the word people group here today. so, what exactly is a people group?
Bobby Cox: [00:04:56] Yeah, a People Group is a group of people who share a language, share a culture, share a history, maybe even geography. so, if the gospel is shared among those people, it's easily transmitted between them because they have an understanding together. Like here in America, you know, CCV does a fabulous job of speaking to a culture or a people because they understand that culture. And so, the message is translated so, well. But then when you try to speak to a different culture or a different language, you have a group of people that create barriers that keep the gospel, either inside that people group or outside that people group.
Larrie Fraley: [00:05:36] Well, we know the great commission talks about going to all the nations. What does that mean? Nation?
Bobby Cox: [00:05:42] Yeah. so, literally the word nation there from the Greek as ethnic, which means this body of people. so, it's not a geopolitical nation like Australia or the United States, but it's all going to all peoples. And so, when Jesus says, go to all peoples, he's talking about these different groups of people that are united by language and culture
Larrie Fraley: [00:06:06] And how many people groups are there in the world?
Bobby Cox: [00:06:09] There are about eleven thousand eight hundred total people groups in our world, and you and I are part of that
Larrie Fraley: [00:06:14] Who keeps track of those groups. I mean, how do they know there's 11000?
Bobby Cox: [00:06:19] Yeah, there's there are different organizations that track that, and they get that information from missionaries that are on the ground. And so, they gather that information. Different groups track it and are a little bit different because of what they would define as a barrier to the gospel. so, those numbers can be a little bit different. But it's other outside groups kind of a collaborative effort of all mission agencies and churches and denominations to come up with those numbers.
Larrie Fraley: [00:06:45] Now a couple of those groups, I think the Joshua Project is one, right? That's correct. And then there is another one of people groups dot org. We'll include the links of both of those organizations so, that our listeners can go and actually even have an interactive session with both of those websites. It's fascinating to see how many different people groups there are in the world. And then there are these people called unreached, but there's also a group called unengaged. What's the difference?
Bobby Cox: [00:07:18] Yeah. Unreached is when that people group is less than two percent, Christian. There's not enough Christian representation within their own people to share the gospel with their own people. Group and the unengaged group is a group of people where there is no strategist, there's no missionary. There's no true engagement among those people to even be to make the first believer.
Larrie Fraley: [00:07:42] so, these are people that you would literally walk into their community or their village mentioned the word Jesus and they would look at you like, who is that right?
Bobby Cox: [00:07:52] Never heard of the name of Jesus.
Larrie Fraley: [00:07:54] Now Goten is blessed because those people are in the United States. They're here in Phoenix and your ministry, your staff and workers are working directly with them in their context. so, give us an idea of how do you go about that? What are some of the tactics? In other words, how are you solving the problem?
Bobby Cox: [00:08:15] Yeah, that's one of the things that we feel like God is revealed to us since we came here. Arizona has resettled about 90000 refugees over the last 40 years. Of those ninety thousand, about seventy-five thousand are coming from countries where they have little to no access to the gospel. So, what we've done is we've looked at where these people live, where they are working and what some of their greatest needs are. So, the unique thing about some of the people that are coming here is because they come through a legal program through the national government, the federal government. They come as legally resettled refugees, but because there are limited resources for them, they place them in the same apartment complexes, so, they live in low-income apartment complexes. And so, one of our tactics is number one, we move in. We live in the neighborhood. So, one of our values of Go 10 is a community, and we live in a community with the people that we serve. So, we move into the same communities that they live in. And then our normal go-to is that we rent a two-bedroom apartment in their community and then we turn that apartment into a language center. One of the very first things they need to become self-sustaining good citizens of the United States is the English language. And so, we don't have to beg people to come to our classes. They just came to our classes. And that's the way that we meet unreached refugees. So, we're in their community. Their problems become our problems. And then we also are providing a service that they genuinely need.
Larrie Fraley: [00:09:46] so, let me get this straight to you. You teach English as a second language to them, but you have a unique way of doing that.
Bobby Cox: [00:09:54] Correct? Yeah, that's correct. so, we don't have normal classes like we have a teacher, but we use computers. And the reason that we do it that way is that we also see, OK, there's unreached. They're coming here, but the church is here. And so, the church, we've got all of this, this missionary force that is just sitting in our churches that want to be engaged and be missional and want to be activated into the mission. But maybe they're not English teachers. And so, we don't necessarily need an English teacher. We need someone who knows how to smile and who can be a friend. And so, we use computers to teach English. And at each one of our computer stations, we have a volunteer as well as a refugee. And our number one goal is actually to facilitate a relationship between the refugee and the church member.
Larrie Fraley: [00:10:49] Well, and that's why Skeevy has an opportunity to actually go and volunteer and work with Go 10. Do you have an example of someone who perhaps maybe even a family who has been changed by this model that you're using?
Bobby Cox: [00:11:06] Yeah, I could. I could give you several different examples, but the example that I don't want to share with you is one that's directly connected to CCP, and I'll try to keep the story short. But. Ultimately, what happened was there was this recent Afghan crisis where all these people coming from Afghanistan, it was in a bit of an emergency situation and there was a family that worked in the U.S. Embassy in Kabul and they knew somebody in D.C. Well, this person that was in D.C., his aunt, lived in Phoenix and she happened to go to CCD, so, he called he contacted her and said, Hey, I've got these refugee family that's coming to Phoenix. Is there? Is there any way that your church can be engaged and help them and welcome them? Well, because CCP knows about us and we're a partner with CCP. They knew, hey, well, you know, Go Tin is the refugee arm of what we're doing, so, they contacted us and put us in contact. Long story short, we got connected with this family. Started building a relationship or relationship from simple English classes, turns into relationships where we're visiting their house and we help do some apartments set up, where we gave them beds and towels and dishes and all the stuff that they would need to set up from nothing. And then while we were over there, I shared a Bible story, just actually shared the calling of Abraham.
Bobby Cox: [00:12:34] Because when Abraham was sent out by God, God told him that, you know, I'm blessing you, but I'm also all the people of the Earth will be blessed through you. So, Abraham was actually blessed to be a blessing. And so, I said that story of why I do what I do is that I felt like God had blessed me and I wanted to bless them, too. so, this was way God was blessing them through me. After that day, I invited him over to my house for Thanksgiving. We had a Thanksgiving meal. I'll share some other Bible stories with them. And then ultimately, I don't know, three or four weeks later, they were dealing with some traumatic experiences that this whole process had taken them through. so, they called me late at night and said, Hey, can you come to my house? I went to their house and things were just really, really bad, emotionally draining. It was it was difficult, physically difficult. They had just this major struggle and they had nobody else to reach out to. so, who do they call? They call the only person they know, which was me. And so, my wife and I went over there and we spent three or four hours with them, just kind of coaching them through talking them through. And I shared another story. I shared the Joseph story of how he was betrayed by his family, and he was sold into a different, a different country and then taken advantage of.
Bobby Cox: [00:13:50] They're put in prison, and I just kind of shared that whole Joseph's story and I said, you remind me a lot of Joseph because you're going through this. But the way that that story ends is, is that Joseph doesn't just take on all those that blessing himself, but he recognizes that everything that he had been through, that God had put him through that not just for his own salvation, but for the salvation of many. so, I challenged my friend like, why do you think God's help allows you to go through this? Who is he going to bless through you anyway? That night we got everything kind of resolved and restored, and then the next day he texted me and said, hey, can you come to tell me some more Bible stories? Because these Bible stories brought me the most peace. And I said, yeah, absolutely, I can do that, but this was on a Saturday, and I said, what do you think about going to church with me? You know, this is a Muslim guy from Afghanistan, which I wouldn't normally just invite to church because they normally tell you, no, because that's not what they do. But he was already reaching out, going through these bible stories was bringing peace to me.
Bobby Cox: [00:14:57] so, I said, why don't you go to church with me? And he said, Yeah, OK, I'll do that. so, he went the next Sunday morning, I took him. I go to attend the North Phoenix campus. I took him with me and on my way there, I explained, Hey, we're going to take communion, and this is what communion is like and had the opportunity to share the gospel with him again. As I was explaining communion when he saw the video come across the screen of the baptisms. He's like, what is that gave me another opportunity to explain what baptism was and why we do that? And all said and done, you know, this guy's life is now completely transformed because he is now embracing Jesus. Now, reaching a Muslim is not just a one-time event, it's not like it's over. It's like layer after layer after layer that we're pulling back, that he's investigating and discovering how Jesus can transform his life. And so, the very next Sunday, he came back to church with me along with his, his wife and family, and we sat outside the baptistery, and I explained the gospel again to them. And so, they're on the journey. This is a family that's being transformed that never heard the gospel, but because God brought them to the United States and into our space has that chance to hear,
Larrie Fraley: [00:16:15] Well, that's amazing. You know, I know there are many stories like that, but I also know that because you're connected at CCD, there's a network of thousands of people and through relationships, you've been able to develop some friendships and relationships with people of influence at our church who provide job opportunities for some of the refugees, haven't you? Is there's a story behind you connecting some of these refugees with people in our church who now employ them, and they've got a family and they're now part of society.
Bobby Cox: [00:16:54] Yeah, to me, that's one of the most strategic things that we can do right is that we have this large church with business owners, with talented and skilled people who can not only just give their time, but they have companies that need employees. And so, if you've got someone who doesn't really have a great command of the English language but can do a skill set, then we can put them together. And so, it's been great to meet different people within the church that have that same heart and are able to use their abilities, whether that is a company that they have or a skill set, that they have to be able to share and help. so, that's been it's been a huge thing. I mean, CVS has been such a great partner for us financially to help move us forward and we have three different centers here in the Phoenix area to help keep those centers open. That's a huge piece of it. But probably one of the greatest assets CVS has been on a regular basis. People volunteering and engaging within our organization create opportunities for more friendships.
Larrie Fraley: [00:18:00] What's a good way if someone, if one of our listeners would like to get involved with Goten, how would they go about it?
Bobby Cox: [00:18:06] Yeah, absolutely. The best way to do that is to attend one of our discovery days. Our discovery days happen once a month. CCV advertise them on their mission's page. And these are basically like a one-day mission trip. If you've always wanted to go on a mission trip, but you didn't have the money or the time to do that, you can go on a Saturday and be part of our ministry all day long. We will help you better understand the mission will need will help you engage emotionally on a heart level with the people who've experienced some loss. And it will also let you use your hands to volunteer and connect. And so, we'll help you walk through that and so, people are just wanting to investigate it. That's definitely the best way to do that is to join us for one of our discovery days.
Larrie Fraley: [00:18:53] Well, we'll include your website, go to NPR.org. In the show notes, so, the listeners can go to the show notes and click on that link and find out all about Goten and how they can get connected. Mommy, what are some of your biggest challenges?
Bobby Cox: [00:19:07] I think the greatest challenge that we have is number one people just believing that there's a large number of people that have no access to the gospel. I think it's hard for people to believe that today with the technology that we have, it's just true. so, I think that's a huge challenge. I think secondly, just refugees, in general, can tend to be a political conversation. And so, to help the church see that we welcome strangers because not because we're red or blue has nothing to do with that, but just because this is what God commands of us, he expects us to welcome strangers. He expects us to be hospitable. And so, I think these are actually the biggest challenges that we have is just educating people on the opportunity to serve right here. And I think a podcast like this is exactly the right way to do that.
Larrie Fraley: [00:19:58] Well, at the end of the day, people fall into two groups. They either saved or they're not saved. So, if you allow this political angst to kind of get in the way of looking at people the way God looks at people, we're in trouble. And so, if you can look at people as either they're saved or not saved and. And look at it that at from that perspective, then we can overcome a lot of our feelings about politics or whatever. Ok. What advice would you give to our listeners with what we've talked about today
Bobby Cox: [00:20:34] When do refugees come here? They need our services, they need English, they need jobs, they need transportation, they need to figure out housing, they need all those things. But what they want is an American friend. so, my advice is, let's not just make it an American friend, let's make it a believer. Let's make it a follower of Jesus because that's what they really want is this friendship. so, if you could stand in that gap with me, I can introduce you to people who've never met Jesus and all you have to do. You don't have to be special forces missionary person. You just have to be able to smile and introduce them to the same Jesus that you know and then watch Jesus transform their lives. That would be my advice is make a friend.
Larrie Fraley: [00:21:23] And last. How can we pray for you?
Bobby Cox: [00:21:25] Our job, we have about 10 staff here in Phoenix. And our job is, you can imagine, is emotionally draining. We go to people's houses at night, we hear their stories, traumatic stories. And it's it takes a toll on us. I think if you want to continue to pray for, go to and pray for our workers and our staff who live in community and struggle with the same problems that a lot of the refugees do so, physically as well as emotionally. And then also that they would just be ready to share the kind of Bible stories that that land right in the heart space. Of the unbeliever, so, those three things that we would just be strengthened by the Holy Spirit to continue to do that work.
Larrie Fraley: [00:22:17] Well, Bobby, thank you for joining us today. You're a good friend and CCV looks forward to partnering with you in the future. Again, they're our show notes on this podcast. You can go to our website at Let's Go 360 Dawg. Find the show notes and links to what we've talked about today. Bobby, God bless you, and we'll look forward to talking with you again in a future episode. so, as we conclude today, thank you for listening. Wherever you are, I promise to keep the content relevant to the changing world we live in. so, if you like what you've heard today and want more, follow us. Give us a five-star review in your favorite podcast apps such as Apple Podcast, Eye Heart, Stitcher, Spotify, Google Podcasts, and more. You can follow us at. Let's Go 360 dot org and check out other episodes and show notes. Also, check out KVCR Church and find out more about what Christ Church of the Valley is doing around the world. Thanks for joining us! As we live out the great commission inspired by the Great Commandments, God bless.