"Then Caleb silenced the people before Moses and said, ‘We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it.'
But the men who had gone up with him said, ‘We can't attack those people; they are stronger than we are.' And they spread among the Israelites a bad report about the land they had explored.... We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them" (Numbers 13:30-33).
In this famous account of the twelve spies, we see one of the fundamental differences that separate mankind. Two of the twelve believed God, and He ultimately allowed them to see the Promised Land decades later. The unbelief of the ten other spies, however, infected the rest of the Israelites, and as a result they wandered around the desert for 40 years before perishing.
Did you ever consider God's feelings about the bad report of the spies? He was so angry with them that a short time later He threatened to wipe out Israel because of their disobedience. The negative report of the ten spies paralyzed the people with fear. By being filled with unbelief, they were essentially saying God cannot be trusted and His Word is not true.
Joshua and Caleb were honored by God, and a generation later, after millions of Israelites had died and their bones had crumbled to dust beneath the desert sands, those two men of faith were still following God and trusting Him with all their hearts, as evidenced by Caleb's remarkable declaration of faith when he was 85: "So here I am today, eighty-five years old! I am still as strong today as the day Moses sent me out; I'm just as vigorous to go out to battle now as I was then." (Joshua 14:10-11).
How could an old man in his mid-80s be so full of life and energy that he was ready to rush into battle for God? What was the main characteristic of Caleb's life that made him like this even in his old age? Surely it was his faith! Caleb still had great faith. He trusted and loved God, and believed the Lord could do whatever He wished.
Cover photo: An old nomadic woman in a remote part of western Mongolia hears the gospel for the first time and receives a Bible, after evangelists traveled hundreds of miles through the snow to share Jesus in the unreached area.
If you've been around church life for any length of time, you will have met some Christians who are old in years but full of life like Caleb. They have a positive outlook on life because they trust and believe in the Lord Jesus, and they have battled against despondency and lack of faith for many years. These are battles we all must have.
On the other hand, you may also have met younger people who are inwardly decrepit. These kinds of people are miserable to be around. They only see the negative side of others and of every situation, and what is supposed to be refreshing, living water flowing from them has turned into a bitter brook.
The good news is that it's not too late for us to repent and to have true, trusting faith in our Heavenly Father! We can ask Him to set us free from doubt and fear so that we may walk hand in hand with Him, and be a vessel of life and encouragement to everyone we meet.
Severe persecution is underway in many of the countries we work in. Those we serve in Asia need a supernatural impartation of the Holy Spirit to enable them to overcome and to be more than conquerors in Christ Jesus. Please pray for us as and our co-workers, as we pray for you, to stand firm in God's Word and in His grace as we come toward the end of the age.
Latest News From China
Many people have asked us for more information about what is happening in China, as the Communist Party continues its campaign to control, and ultimately try to eliminate God's people.
We are limited in our ability to share everything in our paper newsletters, so in the coming months we plan to issue a series of Email newsletters every few weeks on the latest situation in China. These will have detailed analysis and a number of links about the dire challenges facing the churches.
For those who don't have internet access, we will issue a few paper newsletters in the coming months that give a summary, but for more detailed information we encourage you to sign up to our Email newsletters via our website: www.asiaharvest.org
2019/20 Annual Report In the remainder of this newsletter we present our Annual Report, which details the help Asia Harvest provided to the Body of Christ throughout Asia in 2019.
It has been a privilege to serve the Lord for another year, and we feel greatly blessed to be a link in the chain that resulted in many people coming to know Him. Last year, over one million Christians were strengthened in their faith after receiving God's Word through our Bible projects, while the more than 1,300 Asian evangelists we support led a total of 100,188 people to Christ among over 1,000 different tribes and ethnic groups.
For over 30 years, our strategy has been to operate with as few overhead expenses as possible, so that the maximum resources will reach the hands of frontline workers—the 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 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. Our finances are independently audited each year and are available for anyone 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.
To read our audited financial statements, please go to the "Resources" link at our website: www.asiaharvest.org
Asia Harvest Projects Supported in 2019
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 house churches. Tens of millions of Christians are still unable to access God's Word. Our Bibles are distributed free of charge 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.
By God's grace and power, since 2000 we have printed and distributed more than 12.5 million Bibles to house church believers in China, with 1,123,056 in 2019 alone. This equates to 1,942 Bibles every day, 128 per hour, or one full Bible every 28 seconds throughout the year. Each one is a miracle. Thanks for praying and giving.
Accumulative Graph showing Chinese Bibles printed and distributed by Asia Harvest: 12,574,561
Asian Workers' Fund - Partnering with Pioneer Asian Evangelists
Because of your prayers and partnership we ended 2019 supporting 1,349 Asian missionaries, serving among 1,038 unreached people groups. A reported 100,188 people experienced God's salvation last year.
Women and children in Bangladesh eagerly listening to the gospel from one of the evangelists we support through the Asian Workers' Fund.
The Asian Workers' Fund supports 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 seeing breakthroughs among many groups.
In 2019, those we support through the Asian Workers' Fund led 100,188 people to salvation in Jesus Christ (an average of 74 per worker). This is the first year ever that the evangelists have reported over 100,000 commitments for the Lord. More than 429,000 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 the project.
Asian Bible Fund - Providing Bibles to Asia's Christians
Current Total: 1,025,813 Bibles printed in 104 different languages. Each Bible costs an average of $2.70 to print and deliver.
Asia is home to many groups where people have been prevented from accessing God's Word, sometimes for decades. Whereas our China Bible Fund is separate and focuses only on China, the Asian Bible Fund provides the Scripture in numerous languages throughout Southeast Asia, the Indian subcontinent, and elsewhere.
Last year we were thankful to pass two all-time milestones in this strategic project. The total number of Bibles printed and distributed passed the one million mark, and the number of different languages we've provided the Scriptures in passed 100. All glory to God!
Please pray for our project and all who are involved in providing God's Word to the precious Christians of Asia. Last year we printed 98,707 Bibles through the Asian Bible Fund in the following languages:
Bengali, Bodo, Bugun, Chetty, Chin Falam, Chin Matu, Chin Ngawn, English, Gujarati, Hindi, Kachin, Kannada, Kisan, Kokborok, Konkani, Malayalam, Mannan, Marathi, Muduga, Muthuvan, Nepali, Oriya, Pal Kurumba, Punjabi, Ravula, Sqaw Karen, Tagin, Tamil, Telugu, Tutsa, Vietnamese, Wa
The Drunken Priest - Transforming Lives through God's Love
Each year we receive hundreds of wonderful testimonies from across Asia, but we are only able to publish just a few. We would like to share this testimony from a former Hindu priest in India, as it fits well into our Annual Report, since his story touches on several of our projects.
"I was brought up in a Hindu family. My wife and I have a son and a daughter. When I was young I loved the Hindu deities and I devoted my life to their service, becoming a priest in a famous temple. Although I prayed and blessed others every day, I had no peace or joy in my heart. I often prayed to my gods, but it was completely onesided. There was never an answer, which made me increasingly frustrated. Over time, I began to drink alcohol to help me cope and to forget my worries.
My religious duties became a mere ritual to me. During the day I served as a priest, and at night I consumed liquor in ever-increasing amounts. I became so addicted that I started going to bars and drunk openly in front of all. When I was intoxicated, I used to abuse and fight other people, and I became known as ‘the drunken priest.' I lost all respect from the people and I eventually lost my job in the temple.
Because of my addiction, there was no peace in my family. My wife used to cry and pray to our gods to change me, but they never answered.
One day I got such a severe stomach pain that I could not bear it. My wife prayed to our gods with tears, but again nothing happened. My pain increased. Finally, I was taken to the hospital. The doctors did several tests, but could not find the cause of my suffering.
When some Christian gospel workers visited the hospital, they found me lying on the bed in pain. They spoke to me with love and told me about Jesus, but I laughed, because I knew that gods can't help. Despite my attitude, they confidently told me that Jesus can heal me if I trust him.
I didn't know anything about Jesus and I had never prayed to him, but because of the severe pain, I asked them to pray for me. The moment they lifted up their voices to heaven, I felt as if the Almighty God Himself was listening to their prayers. It was comforting and soothing, and I could feel the power of God reducing my pain. After the prayer, while talking about Jesus, I was completely healed.
The Lord Jesus did this miracle in me—the drunken Hindu priest. On that day, the Lord proved to me that He is the God who can speak, heal, and save even a lost soul like me. I decided at that moment to become His servant. I accepted Jesus as my Savior and was baptized. The Lord healed me, saved me and cleansed me, and now my entire family serves Him.
Today, I am an independent evangelist and pastor. I don't have enough money to buy the Scriptures, so I thank God for supplying Bibles and Gospels through Asia Harvest. I carry hundreds of Mark's Gospel to 30 villages and distribute them to people one by one. This distribution has helped me to start prayer groups and baptize many new believers. As a result, 98 families are now attending our church. This is all because of God's love and the power of the Scriptures.
We are now experiencing growing opposition from Hindu activists, who are furious that I tell the people, "Jesus is the only way to be saved!" By the grace and power of God, however, I plan to continue my ministry and do whatever I can to make our new believers strong in the Lord. Please pray for us, and thank you for your generous partnership in the Gospel.
A Hindu priest who has yet to meet Jesus.