“Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” (1 Corinthians 15:58).
In the final week of each year, after the commotion of Christmas has subsided, we like to set time aside to seek the Lord, and to ask Him to speak to us about the direction of Asia Harvest for the next year. In the past, many exciting things have been revealed to us. One year the Holy Spirit impressed on our hearts that He wanted to double the total number of Bibles we had produced in China. Without telling anyone, God brought in the funds needed to achieve that goal on the very last day of the following year!
At the end of 2015, as we prayed and asked the Lord Jesus to reveal His direction, the impression we gained may appear a little less exciting to some, but we believe He told us to persevere, and as the above verse says, “to let nothing move you.” Perseverance is a key to bearing fruit for the kingdom of God. All of us encounter hardships and trials in this fallen world, but it’s crucial not to give up when times look bleak. The Bible reminds us: “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up” (Galatians 6:9).
The first Protestant missionary to India, William Carey, came to be known as ‘the father of modern missions’. When he was once asked for the secret of his success after decades of work in India, Carey replied, “I can plod. I can persevere in any definitive pursuit. To this I owe everything.”
Serving the Lord can be adventurous at times, but like William Carey, as we look back over the years we see how God brought much growth in our work as we kept on doing the unglamorous everyday tasks He called us to do.
Many of those we serve on the mission field throughout Asia have also been called to stand and persevere in 2016. We write these words from the heart of Asia, where we have been meeting with various project leaders, praying together and evaluating various strategies for the advance of the gospel.
Last year, two men in ministries we are privileged to serve laid down their lives for the gospel. Both martyrdoms took place in India in the month of August. We would like to honor these two men, who were “counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name” (Acts 5:41).
Samuel Gonda, a 35-year-old evangelist and father of two, was forcibly carried off by four men in the middle of the night. In the morning his family found his dead body, but his spirit had already departed to be with the Lord Jesus Christ forever.
Another Indian evangelist Guru Madi (aged 28) had been threatened by local Maoists (Communists) because many of their members were being transformed by the gospel. They warned him to stop preaching, but he would not be silenced.
On 24 August 2015, a mob dragged Guru from his bed. His wife and two young children found his body a short distance away, with a bullet hole through his chest.
We are thankful for the faithful testimonies of Samuel Gonda and Guru Madi. They endured to the end, and have joined the roll of thousands of Christian martyrs down through the centuries who “did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death” (Revelation 12:11).
We thank everyone who prays and gives so generously to our work. Because of your help, we have provided long-term assistance to the widows and children of these two men, and will continue to do so for as long as it takes for them to move forward.
Thousands of other servants of God we work with throughout Asia were not called to suffer martyrdom last year, but all believers are called to faithfully persevere as they march forward, carrying the light of the gospel into this dark world, for this is how the kingdom of God is established. The Scriptures exhort us:
“Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings. And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen” (1 Peter 5:8-11).
As we pray with our colleagues throughout Asia, it’s clear to us that God’s children everwhere are under great pressure, in various ways. For example the Church in Nepal, still reeling from the massive earthquakes last year, are struggling to come to terms with a recent constitutional amendment, which makes it illegal for any person to convert from one religion to another. This change was clearly aimed at Christians, as the Lord Jesus has reaped a growing harvest from among the population of Nepal in recent years.
In India, many believers are deeply burdened because the schools have made daily yoga lessons compulsory for all students. Each lesson starts with a prayer to the sun god. The true followers of Jesus are once again being tested.
In Indonesia and other predominantly Muslim countries, many believers are feeling pressure from Islamic fundamentalism, as growing numbers of young Muslims are attracted to the warped ideologies of the ISIS death cult.
In China, Vietnam and elsewhere the battle is quite different, as Christians there are called to overcome the temptations and trappings of rampant materialism and consumerism, while retaining their passion for the Word of God.
Although the challenges you face will be different from those of your brothers and sisters in Asia, we encourage you to persevere, and we pray that in the coming year you will draw closer to the Lord Jesus than ever before. He has said, “Look, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to each person according to what they have done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End” (Revelation 22:12-13).
In the remainder of this newsletter we share our Annual Report, detailing the help that Asia Harvest provided the Body of Christ throughout Asia in 2015.
It has been a great privilege to serve the Lord in Asia for another year, and we are blessed to be a link in a chain that has resulted in many people coming to know Him. Last year, more than a million believers were strengthened in their faith after receiving God’s Word through our Bible projects, and the hundreds of Asian evangelists we support led thousands of people to faith in Christ among hundreds of unreached people groups.
For more than 25 years our strategy has been to operate with as few overhead expenses as possible, so that resources get to the hands of the frontline workers of God’s kingdom—the many Asian Christians we are honored to assist and serve. We are thankful for each person who prayed for and supported our work last year. Without your vital partnership none of these things would have occurred.
Partnering with Pioneer Asian Evangelists
Because of your prayers and partnership we are supporting 1,089 Asian missionaries, serving among 594 unreached people groups. More than 24,000 people experienced God’s salvation last year.
The Asian Workers’ Fund provides support to evangelists in Asia who are involved with strategic work among ethnic groups that have never heard the gospel. By the end of 2015 we were privileged to support 1,089 evangelists among 594 unreached groups throughout Asia. These workers encounter many hardships and persecutions, but have persevered and are now seeing breakthroughs among many groups.
In 2015, those we support through the Asian Workers’ Fund led 24,096 people to salvation in Jesus Christ. A total of 81,310 conversions have been reported since the project commenced. Hallelujah! This is even more remarkable considering most of them labor among some of the darkest and most unreached areas of Asia, including numerous Muslim, Hindu and Buddhist people groups.
The Asian Workers’ Fund is constantly expanding and new workers are being recruited. We invite you to support one or more Asian missionaries with a gift of $25 per month each. A laminated prayer card and worker updates are sent to every supporter of this project.
Providing Bibles to Asia’s Christians
Current Total: 642,087 Bibles printed in 69 different languages.
Each Bible costs an average of $2.70 to print and deliver.
Asia is home to many ethnic groups where people have been deprived access to God’s Word, sometimes for decades. The Asian Bible Fund provides the Scriptures in numerous languages throughout Southeast Asia, North Korea, the Indian subcontinent, and elsewhere.
In 2015 we printed 84,766 Bibles through the Asian Bible Fund. Last year we were privileged to provide God’s Word in the following languages:
Assamese, Awadhi, Bhojpuri, Haka Chin, Hindi, Kannada, Konkani, Khasi, Kuki, Maithili, Malayalam, Manipuri, Marathi, Marwari, Mizo, Mundari, Nepali, Oraon, Oriyan, Punjabi, Sadri, Santali, Sindhi, Tamil, Telugu, Tidem Chin, Urdu, Wa.
Each Bible costs an average of $2.70 to print and deliver through the Asian Bible Fund.
Please pray for our project and all those who are involved with providing God’s Word to the precious Christians of Asia.
There remains a critical shortage of Bibles in China today because of the massive growth of the church in rural areas. Tens of millions of house church Christians are still unable to access God’s Word. Our Bibles are distributed to all parts of China, helping establish new believers in the faith and adding fuel to the revival that continues to burn throughout the world’s most populated country. Each Bible costs just $1.80 to print and deliver.
Since 2000, we have printed and distributed more than 9.5 million Bibles to house churches in China, with 867,507 in 2015 alone. This represents 2,377 Bibles every day, 99 per hour, or one full Bible every 36 seconds throughout the year. Each one is a miracle. Thank you for praying and giving.
The Big Event of February 2016
Last year our activities were suddenly shaped by the massive earthquakes that struck the Himalayan Kingdom of Nepal in April and May 2015. Our co-workers in Nepal were perfectly placed to help in the relief efforts, with much of their work already being near the epicenter of the quakes. They worked tirelessly, and always make sure the Good News of Jesus Christ was presented to those they helped physically. Thanks to a generous response from our supporters, we were able to feed and provide shelter to thousands of Nepalis from many ethnic groups. As the people of Nepal continue to get back on their feet, our contacts have found the communities they serve possess a newfound respect for Christians, and the people have a new openness to the Gospel.
We assisted countless others throughout Asia in 2015 through the Persecution & Relief Fund. Believers received life-saving operations they otherwise couldn’t afford, hundreds of widows and orphans were assisted in their distress, and numerous bicycles and motorcycles were provided to evangelists to help the Gospel go forth more quickly to reach thousands more people. In response to our October newsletter on Afghanistan, we have provided funds to construct fresh water wells in 20 villages of that war-torn nation.
Thank you for your prayers and generosity to this and all our projects in 2015. The Bible says that “God’s kindness leads you to repentance” (Romans 2:4), and by displaying the love of God through practical methods, a great number of people last year were led to repentance and have experienced the saving power of the Lord Jesus Christ.
"On a recent trip I stopped to have dinner at a roadside hotel. While I waited for my food, an Imam (Muslim priest) sat down across from me. We began a conversation, and when he heard my family name he realized I come from a Muslim background. Intense questioning ensued because I was now a Christian, and I asked him what he thought of salvation.
To him, salvation occurs when a Muslim makes a pilgrimage to Islam’s most sacred site in Mecca. I took Scriptures from the Qur’an and the Bible and showed him that blood sacrifices are required to obtain God’s forgiveness. I explained that it is now only through the blood of Jesus Christ that true forgiveness and salvation comes.
The Imam broke into tears as I shared the love of Jesus and I helped clarify all of his doubts about the Gospel. He found true salvation and was eager to share his new faith with other Muslims so they too can find the Truth!"
Brother Vimal, a former Muslim, is one of hundreds of Asian evangelists we support through the Asian Workers' Fund. We invite you to join us as we help them take the Gospel to the unreached peoples of Asia.