"If there is no resurrection of the dead then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised... And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins" (1 Corinthians 15:13-15, 17).
As we launch out into another year serving the Lord Jesus Christ among the people of Asia, the thing that excites us most is how the Gospel has continued to advance despite (or perhaps because of) fierce demonic opposition. People who try to understand why the Church is growing so quickly in Asia will never understand it unless they have a personal relationship with Jesus. Without first knowing Him, they will reach wrong conclusions as to why millions of Asians are pressing into God's kingdom.
When we think about what the Living God is doing in many parts of Asia right now, we can boil the reason for the phenomenal growth down to just three words: "Jesus is Alive!"
In China, 2016 saw the government launch a massive crackdown against the house churches. Many pastors throughout the country have been bundled into vans and not seen again, or taken to dreaded 'black jails' (secret facilities where they are mercilessly tortured). Reports have come across our desk about some church leaders who were arrested and injected with an unknown substance. They were returned to their families in a vegetative state, and are now permanently mentally incapacitated.
This evil crackdown is all because the insecure Chinese government is desperate to stop the growth of Christianity. They don't understand that it cannot be stopped, because the Church is a living, breathing entity which follows a living, breathing God. Jesus is Alive!
In India the believers face similar challenges. The government there is also deeply alarmed by the rapid growth of Christianity in many parts of the country; where Hindus are coming to the Lord Jesus by the thousands. The RSS (a radical Hindu organization) has vowed to eradicate Christianity from India by 2021. They are destined to fail! The enemies of the gospel don't realize who they are up against. Like Saul of Tarsus, when they persecute Christians they are persecuting Jesus Christ, and the more they attack the Church the more it grows, because Jesus is Alive!
If Christianity was merely a human religion or man-made philosophy it would have folded centuries ago. Muslim extremists are just one group determined to wipe out Christians, yet experts say the fastest growing church in the world right now is in Iran. It makes no natural sense how this could be possible, but when sin-bound people encounter the Living Jesus Christ and are healed and set free by His power, their lives are completely transformed and nothing can separate them from the love of God. Only a living Savior could perform such a mighty miracle!
The kingdom of God continues to march forward, quietly but surely. Wicked governments can't hinder God's plans. Nor can Muslims and Hindus stop them. The more they try, the more the Church will grow. This has always been the case with the people of God. The Bible notes that when the Israelites were enslaved in Egypt, "The more they were oppressed, the more they multiplied and spread; so the Egyptians came to dread the Israelites" (Exodus 1:12).
The nations of this world will grow increasingly frustrated and violent as Gods plans march on towards His ultimate goal. One day before long, God's timetable will be completed, and He will close the curtain on this sick and sorry age. A trumpet will sound, and a loud voice will be heard in heaven, saying, "The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!" (Revelation 11:15).
A Special Prayer Request from Paul
Many who pray for and support the work of Asia Harvest first heard about us by reading one of our books, like The Heavenly Man or Operation China.
In the past few years I have taken a break from writing books, and have concentrated on leading the ministry well and getting over a few health issues. By God's grace I am strong and back in the midst of the battle. I believe the Lord has led me to begin writing books again for His glory and the edification of His people.
I have been working on several books recently, which I believe will be a great blessing and encouragement to many: May I please ask you to pray for me as I write? Pray the Lord would guide each step of the process and lead us to the right publishers. Please pray the Lord Jesus would be lifted up through the books, and that the Holy Spirit would use the pages to communicate God's heart.
I believe the first book will be a surprise! We plan to announce its release in a few months. Thank you and God bless you.
2017 Annual Report
In the remainder of this newsletter we share our 2017 Annual Report, detailing the help Asia Harvest provided to the Body of Christ throughout Asia in 2016.
It has been a privilege to serve the Lord in Asia for another year, and we feel greatly blessed to be a link in a chain that has resulted in many people coming to know Him. Last year, just under a million believers were strengthened in their faith after receiving God's Word through our Bible projects, and the small army 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-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.
From the time of Asia Harvest's inception in the late 1980s, we have always strived to be transparent in the area of finances, and our annual financial statements have been available to anyone upon request. Now, we have taken the extra step of having our finances independently audited each year by a respected firm. These reports will be freely available on our website.
We thank God that last year we were able to send out substantially more project money than we received!
How is this Possible?
Although our operating costs are minimal, we do of course have some expenses. These are covered by general, non-project donations, and also from income generated by book sales. Our ongoing commitment is that 100% of all project donations will be used exactly as specified. Nothing is deducted for administration, bank fees, or any other expense. As a result, if someone sends us $100 for Bibles or to support evangelists, $100 really does go to the workers on the field.
If you would like to read our latest financial statement, please go to the "Resources" tab at our website www.asiaharvest.org
Asia Harvest Projects Supported in 2016
ASIAN WORKERS' FUND
Partnering with Pioneer Asian Evangelists
Because of your prayers and partnership we are supporting 1,677 Asian missionaries, serving among 756 unreached people groups. More than 67,000 people experienced God's salvation last year.
The Asian Workers' Fund provides support to evangelists in Asia who are working among ethnic groups that have never heard the gospel. By the end of 2016 we were privileged to support 1,677 evangelists among 756 unreached groups throughout Asia. These workers encounter many hardships and persecutions, but have persevered and are now seeing breakthroughs among many groups.
In 2016, those we support through the Asian Workers' Fund led 67,496 people to salvation in Jesus Christ. A total of more than 164,000 conversions have been reported since this 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.
CHINA BIBLE FUND
Equipping China's Christians with God's Word
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 Gods 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 10.2 million Bibles to house churches in China, with 673,852 in 2016 alone. This represents 1,846 Bibles every day, 77 per hour, or one full Bible every 47 seconds throughout the year. Each one is a miracle. Thank you for praying and giving.
ASIAN BIBLE FUND
Providing Bibles to Asia's Christians
Current Total: 719,266 Bibles printed in 72 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 2016 we printed 77,179 Bibles through the Asian Bible Fund. Last year we were privileged to provide God's Word in the following languages:
Bengali, Bengali (Mwslmani), Cham (Eastern), Chin Haka, English, Gujanti, Hindi, Hmong Bua, Indonesian, Kannada, Marathi, Mnong (Central), Nepali, Oriya, Punjabi, Tamil, Telugu, Urdu, Vietnamese.
Please pray for our project and all those who are involved with providing God's Word to the precious Christians of Asia. Each Bible costs an average of $2.70 to print and deliver through the Asian Bible Fund.
BLESS THE CHILDREN FUND
Reaching and Discipling Asia's Children
Your generous support has so far helped lead an estimated 63,014 children to Christ throughout Asia, and multitudes more have been exposed to the Gospel for the first time.
The Bless the Children Fund introduces children to Jesus Christ in India, China, Vietnam, Indonesia, Nepal, and a host of other Asian countries. Activities include printing and distributing literature designed for children, providing free surgeries for those with special needs, and generally lifting children out of spiritual and physical poverty. The fruitfulness of this project has been tremendous. It costs an average of just $20 to reach a child for Christ.
In our December 2016 newsletter we shared about a strategic initiative to distribute 100,000 children's Bible story books to children in two countries of Asia. To meet that goal we required $170,000, but when we sent out our newsletter we had practically nothing in our account for it. We are deeply thankful for the generous response, and we received just enough to complete the project! The books have been distributed to appreciative children and their parents among many different tribes, and follow-up work is currently under way. It will take a few more months before all the reports come in, but we bow before the living God for His goodness and mercy. Thank you for praying and partnering with us to bless the children of Asia!
LIVING MARTYRS' FUND
Because of your partnership we are supporting 368 living martyrs.
"A martyr has been defined as "a Christian who chooses to suffer death rather than deny Christ or His work...One who sacrifices something very Important to further the Kingdom of God and endures great suffering for Christian witness."
The Living Martyrs' Fund supports pastors and evangelists in China, Vietnam and elsewhere who are unable to work because of injuries or illness caused by persecution. They and their families face extreme poverty and hardship. Through a gift of $35 per month you can help support one of these living martyrs. A prayer card is sent to every supporter of this project.
BLESS THE CHILDREN FUND
Your generous support has so far reached 63,014 children throughout Asia.
The Bless the Children Fund introduces children to Jesus Christ in India, China, Vietnam, Indonesia, Nepal, and a host of other countries. Activities include printing and distributing Gospel literature designed for children, providing free surgeries for those with special needs, and generally lifting children out of spiritual and physical poverty. The results of this project have been staggering. It costs an average of $20 to reach a child for Christ.
PERSECUTION & RELIEF FUND
Transforming lives from ashes to beauty with God's love.
Over the years Asia Harvest has provided assistance to the victims of natural disasters that have struck Asia. In addition to providing aid through medicine, tents, blankets, food and water, rebuilding homes etc., the Christians we partner with take every opportunity to share the Gospel, and many people have come to know Jesus Christ. This project also provides physical and spiritual relief to Christian communities and families throughout Asia who have been affected by persecution.
"Greetings in the Name of Jesus! My name is Enkhsarul and I live in Mongolia. I had been a Buddhist my entire life, and I knew nothing at all about Christianity.
I first heard the Good News when a team of Christians visited our remote area. They shared about Jesus Christ and gave me a New Testament. When I discovered that Jesus had the power to deliver, I confessed my sins and received His salvation into my heart.
Sometime later my youngest son Chinbatar developed a kidney problem and was unable to go to the toilet for days. The doctors said it was hopeless and we should prepare to lose him. They told us to call on a Buddhist lama or a spirit-priest for spiritual help and comfort. Instead, I went to the hospital and I held the hand of my seven-year-old son and spent the whole night praying for him in the Name of Jesus Christ. The next morning he was much better and his body started to function normally again.
Because of this great miracle, our entire family became followers of the living God, and He brought real transformation to our lives. God has been so good to us. We all love Him, and the Holy Spirit has given us the strength to keep on believing. All glory to the true and living God!"
Brother Enkhsarul, from Mongolia, 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.