“Why Afghanistan became an invisible war” (New York Times) looks at factors that caused the war to be “out of sight and out of mind”: (1) fewer soldiers = fewer veterans (living veterans are a potent lobbying force); (2) minimizing deaths has been great for soldiers and their families—but ironically means there are fewer traumatic stories weighing on people’s minds; (3) less money being spent on the war. All of this contributes to fewer headlines in the national press.
This article helped me think about why the unreached are likewise “out of sight and mind.”
1. First, instead of "veterans" or "soldiers" think of "missionaries." Because there are few missionaries among the unreached, there are few people to tell the stories of the unreached (when they retire, or when they are in their home countries on deputation, or through prayer letters, etc.)
2. There are few missionary deaths. Obviously, we don't want our soldiers to die. We don't want missionaries to die, either. But we need to remember that deaths, martyrs, and stories of hardship and risk-taking resonate with people. Just finish this sentence: "He is no fool..."
3. Little money is being spent on the unreached, and its difficult to make it into a “career.”
What can be done about this? I'm not suggesting that we need more deaths or more money aimlessly spent. But we do need more intentionality about telling the stories of the unreached, in order to counter these "gaps."