Reports of mass conversion and church growth are being underplayed in the Western press. The exciting truth about God’s working in Asia has yet to be told, partly because the press has limited access. Except in a few countries, like Korea and the Philippines, the real story is not getting out.
(Previous paragraph) In some areas—like India, Malaysia, Myanmar and Thailand – it is not uncommon now for the Christian community to grow as much in only one month as it formerly did in a whole year.
The above are excerpts from the first chapter of an inspirational Christian book I am reading, called “Revolution in World Missions”. It is written by the founder of Gospel of Asia, K. P. Yohannan, and you can order it for free from the organization’s website – http://www.gfa.org/. I am in awe of God’s power working through missionaries in Asian countries – and elsewhere across the globe.
Here are a few things I’ve learned so far in the pages of this book:
-Dr. K.P. Yohannan was the youngest of six brothers in his Christian family in a village in India. His mother prayed that one of her boys would preach. She secretly fasted every Friday for three-and-a-half years. When K.P. was 16 years old, Mom’s prayers were answered. He felt the presence and encouragement of God, and decided to spend his life serving Him.
-A Christian former military officer from South India gave up his army career to do the Lord’s work and now leads more than 400 full-time missionaries. One of his team’s successes was in a remote tribal district of the Indian state of Orissa, where people were worshipping spirits and idols and suffering from disease and demon-possession. He and his gospel team performed physical healings, cast out demons, and hundreds turned their lives over to the Lord. 15 new churches were formed in just one month. They were assigned missionaries to encourage growth in their faith.
-In Thailand, 200 national missionaries are doing pioneer village evangelism. Of 10,463 villagers, 171 submitted their lives to Christ, six new churches were formed, and more than 1,000 more people came to Christ in the same two-month period. Thailand is a Buddhist nation, so this is pretty incredible.
These examples from the book, and updates I receive from two other mission organizations (more on those later), fill my heart with such joy that sometimes it spills out as tears. People that have never heard the Gospel, people in rather remote locations, who know only a religion they are forced to follow, are turning to God in increasing numbers. As mission workers bring them the ability to have clean water, or to have food, or to heal physical afflictions, they bring the hope, the Gospel, the truth that they can have a relationship with God by accepting Jesus as their Saviour. The people hear that Jesus loves them – God loves them – and if they put their trust in Him, when they die they will live with Him for eternity in heaven. Yes, they hear about hope. You can have food, water, possessions, health, but what do you really have if you don’t have hope?
As I read in “Revolution in World Missions”, I’m reminded of the book of Acts, when the apostles first began traveling to various places to share the Gospel, after Jesus had ascended. Just last month, at church we talked about the international reach, and the main relevant verse in Acts:
Acts 1:8 – But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
I see in our own country that having needs met makes no difference to many people. In fact, if we have what we need, then we think we don’t need God. People are still without hope or joy. We want more and more. Really, we need to give more and more: money, possessions, service, love, kindness, to name a few.
The news that people far from God are becoming part of His family in regions consumed with atheism, paganism and/or the worship of other (non-existent) gods, this is filling me with hope and joy and with the knowledge that God really can do anything. You see, for those of us who have Christ as our Lord and Saviour, knowing of the people who will not experience heaven on earth (loving and obeying Christ) and heaven for eternity, this is difficult for us. It makes my heart hurt, and hearing how people’s lives are changing anywhere in the world gives me cause for joy and for praising God.
I View the World with New Eyes
I arrived home from work last Friday and stopped in the kitchen to fulfill the Milk Bone expectation of my two black labs. My husband glanced over at the mail on the kitchen island and asked, “Are you trying to save the world or something?”
I glanced at the mail. “Revolution in World Missions” was sitting on top. Included in the stack of mail was a booklet from the same mission, and a thin magazine from Compassion International. Compassion is the world outreach mission through which my Bible study group is sponsoring a girl from El Salvador.
“No, I’m not trying to save the world”, I answered, “I clicked on an ad, and it showed me that I could have this free book that looked interesting and inspiring. I donated what I think is the cost of the book. ” I then elaborated about the Compassion magazine.
Across the island sits a water bottle designated for quarters or dimes, which, filled to the top, provides enough money for a clean water filter for a family to use. My church sends the coin-filled bottles to Samaritan’s Purse, which does work in third-world countries sharing the Gospel as they provide the filters and wells to people that otherwise have no access to clean water. This organization also helps fulfill other needs in communities in the U.S.
I suppose it does look as if I’m trying to save the world. The truth is, I am only trying to do what I can, my tiny part, to help the missions bring not only water, food, and other needs to the poor and the sick, but also hope, as I mentioned earlier.
I must mention that the world does include my community and my country.
If every one of us did our part, then perhaps we could be God’s instruments in saving the world. In so doing, focusing on God, on Christ, trusting Him with everything and with the finances that he provided to us, we can live amazing lives for His glory.
Remember the Untouchables of the Hindu Caste System? Gospel of Asia (GFA) reports in their recent update that “in India today, there is a movement of God so powerful that it has been described as one of the greatest opportunities for the Church since the Reformation”. The untouchables are actually called the Dalits. “The Dalits are responding. One Indian political party estimates that 22 million Dalits have chosen to follow Christ”.
I have more to share, and will continue my thoughts in another post . Note: As of 11/8, I do not have a final version of the next post. It’s about being able to set money aside for missions and other causes. I may post a filler while I’m finalizing the writing.
I have not been writing for the blog as much as I used to. Praying and reading the Bible are a higher priority, as they should be for any of us. I’ve become more committed to praying on my knees in the evening, and to getting into God’s Word. If writing for the blog makes that too difficult on time, I tell myself I’ll write when I can. I thank you for your patience and understanding.
Let me leave you with another verse and some links:
29 To those who use well what they are given, even more will be given, and they will have an abundance. But from those who do nothing, even what little they have will be taken away.