Connecting Global Missions With Virtual Reality

(This story is from the International Mission Board). “Virtual reality is just one of many tools missionaries use to reach out to the lost around them,” Justin says.  A typical foray into this world of ministry for the couple might mean chatting with a woman in the Netherlands, a Muslim man in the Middle East or an atheist from Japan. In virtual reality, there are no borders. You can log in at any time, and because it’s a global game, someone is waiting to chat and interact. 

“In the virtual world, you can be anyone or do anything you want. No one in real life could ever recognize you. Players are known by gamer names and choose an avatar — often a cartoon or manga-like character — to represent themselves as they move through different virtual spaces known as maps. 

This particular game, VRChat, is all about socializing. No one “wins.” The whole point is to connect and talk to people. Michaela explains most in the game are lonely and looking for a solution to their problems, just like she was years ago in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Virtual reality seemed like the perfect fit for her as an introvert. You can be anything you want online without ever leaving the house. This severe social withdrawal, anxiety and reclusiveness is so common in Japan that there’s even a Japanese word for it — hikikomori.  

“Around 171 million people use VR technology globally. There are no reliable statistics yet on spiritual lostness among this people group encompassing mostly adolescents to age 34 living in some of the least reached areas of the world. Michaela knows from experience, though, that it just takes one person shining Jesus’ light to make a difference.”

If you haven’t seen the Japanese Waiting World prayer video, you can check it out here:

You can read the full story from IMB here: