"This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: 'Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,' says the Lord of hosts.
Who are you, O great mountain? Before Zerubbabel you shall become a plain! And he shall bring forth the capstone with shouts of 'Grace, grace to it!' Moreover the Word of the Lord came to me, saying: 'The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this temple; His hands shall also finish it. Then you will know that the Lord of hosts has sent me to you.'" (Zechariah 4:6-9).
At the end of each year we set aside time to seek the Lord, thanking him for the year that passed and asking Him for guidance and blessing for the year ahead. As we reflected on 2018 we saw a year of huge challenges as well as great blessings and breakthroughs. We started 2018 by warning people that terrible persecution was coming to the Church in China, and that things were heading back to the dire times of the Cultural Revolution. As we were among the first to report these developments, many people didn't believe it and thought we were exaggerating. Since then, the rest of the Christian world has caught on to the fact that cruel persecution is underway throughout China, and the Body of Christ is facing its most severe trials since the 1960s and 1970s.
At the same time, new opportunities arose both inside China and around Asia to advance the glorious Gospel! We were greatly encouraged to receive reports of thousands of families and entire people groups being transformed by the Lord Jesus Christ.
Some people have asked how we can continue to serve God in the current environment, when foreign missionaries are being systematically expelled and governments are using incredibly invasive new technology to help them persecute God's people. They want to know how it's possible to keep printing hundreds of thousands of Bibles and doing all the other activities we conduct.
The only explanation we have for how we function is found in the above passage from Zechariah. Zerubbabel was given the huge task of rebuilding the temple in Jerusalem. The people started with great zeal and shouts of joy (Ezra 3), but after a while they grew greatly disheartened. They were ready to give up and felt completely overwhelmed by having to move hundreds of tons of rubble, one stone at a time. They were also mocked and opposed by enemies who wanted to see them fail. It was in this context of struggle and intimidation that God encouraged Zerubbabel and the workers by telling them how the work would be completed: "Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit."
Many people involved in Christian work grow weary and suffer burn out. For years they feel like they have been rolling a large boulder up a hill, only for it to roll back to the bottom each time. Life can be overwhelming, and at times God's people can feel like they're just moving tons of rubble.
This is also true of the activities of Asia Harvest. While at times we face great opposition and uncertainty, the work has been able to continue by the Spirit of God actively protecting and empowering His children to do what they never could do with mere human strength.
In our experience, a few seconds of heavenly visitation from God's Spirit can achieve more for His kingdom than years of human endeavor. Our Lord is the Living God! Not only does He do the hard parts, He can carry the whole load. When we attempt to live in our own strength, life's burdens become very heavy. The Bible is full of examples of God enabling His servants to do the impossible. The Lord delights in such work, because He gets all the glory.
Noah not only built a massive ship by the inspiration and power of the Spirit of God, but can you imagine the scene if he had tried to round up the animals in his own strength to bring them on board? It would have been a perilous situation if Noah had tried to push lions, crocodiles and rhinos up the plank! Thankfully, God did what Noah could not do, and He brought all the animals on to the ark in an orderly manner.
We ask you to pray that everyone at Asia Harvest will continue to walk in obedience and meekness, not getting in the way of what God wants to do. Our desire is to watch the Holy Spirit continue to do the impossible, such as printing millions of Bibles for our brothers and sisters in the most hostile environments; and allowing us to be a link in the chain that is now reaching more than 1,000 different people groups through the Asian Workers' Fund.
As long as the Lord keeps the door open and His grace continues to sweep us along, we will stand back and watch the Holy Spirit achieve things that are humanly impossible. Please pray we will never be deceived into thinking we can do God's work in our own strength, for the Lord Jesus said, "I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing" (John 15:5) and, "The Spirit gives life, but the flesh counts for nothing" (John 6:63).
2018/19 Annual Report
In the remainder of this newsletter we will present our Annual Report, which details the help Asia Harvest provided to the Body of Christ throughout Asia in 2018.
It has been a privilege to serve the Lord for another year, and we feel greatly blessed to be involved in many people coming to know Him. Last year, hundreds of thousands of Christians were strengthened in their faith after receiving God's Word through our Bible projects, and the 1,300 Asian evangelists we support led a total of 77,397 people to Christ among more than 1,000 different people groups.
For 30 years, our strategy has been to operate with as few overhead expenses as possible, so that the maximum resources are placed in the hands of frontline workers—the many Asian Christians we are honored to assist and serve. We thank 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 are available to view on our website.
We thank God that last year we were able to send out substantially more project money than we received! Our operating costs are minimal, and are fully covered by non-project donations, and from income generated by book sales. This means that 100% of all project donations are used on the field in Asia exactly as specified.
If you would like to read our latest audited financial statement, please go to the "Resources" link at our website www.asiaharvest.org
Asia Harvest Projects Supported in 2018
Asian Workers' Fund Partnering with Pioneer Asian Evangelists
Because of your prayers and partnership we ended 2018 supporting 1,299 Asian missionaries, serving among 1,007 unreached people groups. A reported 77,397 people experienced God's salvation last year.
The Asian Workers' Fund provides support to Asian evangelists who are working among people groups that have never heard the gospel. These workers encounter many hardships and persecutions, but have persevered and are now seeing breakthroughs among many groups.
In 2018, those we support through the Asian Workers' Fund led 77,397 people to salvation in Jesus Christ (an average of 60 per worker). More than 321,000 conversions have been reported since this project commenced. Hallelujah! This is remarkable considering most of the workers serve in some of the darkest and most unreached areas of Asia, including among numerous Muslim, Hindu and Buddhist peoples.
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 is 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 rural churches. 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 full Bible costs just $1.80 to print.
Since 2000, we have printed and distributed more than 11.5 million Bibles to house churches in China, with 708,810 in 2018 alone. This equates to 1,942 Bibles every day, 81 per hour, or one full Bible every 44 seconds throughout the year. Each one is a miracle. Thank you for praying and giving.
Accumulative Graph Showing Chinese Bibles printed and distributed by Asia Harvest: 11,548,681
Asian Bible Fund - Providing Bibles to Asia's Christians
Current Total: 927,028 Bibles printed in 99 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 prevented from accessing God's Word, sometimes for decades. The Asian Bible Fund provides the Scripture in numerous languages throughout Southeast Asia, the Indian subcontinent, and elsewhere.
Please pray for our project and all those who are involved in providing God's Word to the precious Christians of Asia. Last year we printed 102,019 Bibles through the Asian Bible Fund in the following languages:
Assamese, Bengali, Bugun, Chetti, Chin Dai, Chin Falam, English, Gujarati, Hindi, Indonesian, Kannada, Karen Sqaw, Kharam, Khasi, Kok Borok, Kui Khond, Kurumba Attapady, Malay, Malayalam, Manipuri, Mannan, Marathi, Marwari, Meitei, Muthuvan, Muduga, Nepali, Odia, Punjabi, Tagin, Tutsa, Ravula, Sadri, Tamil, Telugu, Vietnamese, Wa
Persecution & Relief - Transforming Lives through God's Love
Your prayers and generous support enabled us to respond quickly to several natural disasters in 2018. Thousands of people were given aid and heard the Gospel for the first time, with many believing in Jesus Christ.
The second half of the year brought three terrible natural disasters to Southeast Asia. This presented opportunities for us to help the victims both with physical aid such as food, water, blankets and medicine, as well as spiritual aid as our Asian coworkers shared the Gospel with all who would listen.
On July 23rd, after weeks of heavy rain, a dam collapsed in impoverished Attapeu Province in southern Laos. The flood water raced downhill, wiping out numerous villages and drowning hundreds of people. The devastation was massive, with thousands of homes destroyed.
We support many Lao evangelists in southern Laos through the Asian Workers' Fund, and they were quickly mobilized to help the victims. We provided water, rice, tents, mosquito nets, blankets, insect repellent and other essential items. Every day the Gospel was preached as God's love was displayed, and dozens of people believed and were baptized! The picture below shows some of the grateful Lao families receiving help from our co-workers in Laos.
Two more major disasters then struck different areas of Indonesia. On August 5th, a series of earthquakes left 563 people dead and more than 400,000 homeless on the island of Lombok. Teams were sent to help 1,000 families in 10 villages, and as always, the aid was accompanied with the message of eternal life in Christ for all who repent and place their trust in Him.
The third major opportunity to help came on September 28th, when a massive earthquake and tsunami struck the Indonesian island of Sulawesi. At the present time, more than 2,500 people are confirmed dead, with countless more missing. We were already supporting many evangelists on Sulawesi among unreached groups, and have provided funds for a group of 16 Indonesian evangelists to spend the next two years reaching people in this area. Thank you to all who prayed and gave generously so we could reach many thousands of people through the Persecution & Relief fund in 2018.