"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" (1 Peter 5:8-9).
One of the greatest privileges we have at Asia Harvest is to experience the many parts of the Body of Christ functioning throughout Asia. We get to see and hear reports of successes and struggles from a wide cross-section of God's people across different nations.
Just in the past week, here are a few examples of reports we have received from those we partner with, which reveal some of the diverse needs and challenges they face:
A church leader in western Mongolia wrote to say how thankful he is because they have been able to secure felt to cover the tent where the believers gather to worship the Lord Jesus. With temperatures plummeting to minus 40 degrees in the heart of winter, worship times can be quite miserable because of the extreme conditions. The felt makes a big difference, so they are excited that it will be installed before next winter.
In central India, evangelists we support asked for prayer after the authorities in their state mandated that public schools must have compulsory yoga classes for all students. The Christians are greatly alarmed by this development, as they know the deeply demonic origins of yoga and they don't want their children involved with it (by the way, our Indian colleagues are astonished to hear that "Christian yoga" classes are held in some Western churches. The very postures and breathing techniques used in yoga are designed as offerings to Hindu gods).
There are no Christian schools allowed in that part of India, so at the moment the believers' options seem to be either to allow their children to participate, or deny them an education. They are greatly vexed by this and have asked for prayer.
In China, a group of house church leaders wrote to say they are seeking God's wisdom about what to do during the fiercest persecution the Church has seen in 40 years. They broke their congregations of hundreds of believers into small groups of four or five people who meet discreetly in apartments, but the government is even threatening and fining small groups who gather to study the Bible.
In northern Myanmar (formerly Burma) many of those we support are being persecuted after the local authorities bowed to pressure from the Chinese government, who don't want any Christians in the border areas.
Finally, in Nepal many believers are struggling with the new constitution, which targets Christians and has made most evangelism and baptism illegal, with participants liable to years of imprisonment.
Dear friends, in your part of the world things may be different than in Mongolia, China or India, but one thing is sure: Satan never tires and will continue to harass the people of God until the Lord Jesus destroys him once and for all. May you be encouraged to realize that you are not alone, because as Peter wrote, "you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings."
As we have limited space in our Asia Harvest newsletters, much of the work we are involved with throughout Asia goes unreported. In this issue, we give a pictorial presentation of some of the lesser-known ways we are helping reach people groups in the Himalayas.
Stretching from Pakistan through north India, Nepal and Bhutan, and north onto the Tibetan Plateau, these rugged peaks and deep valleys contain more than 500 unreached tribes and ethnic groups. It is our call and passion to share Jesus Christ with as many of them as possible.
Thank you for praying and giving to our work so the Good News can go forth in the world's highest mountains!
Front Cover photo: A large group of church leaders and evangelists gather together to worship God in the heart of the Himalayas.
Right: An elderly Tamang woman from Nepal.
Jesus in the Himalayas
Above: Believers in this remote area near the Tibet border are overjoyed to receive their first Bibles through our Asian Bible Fund. Below: Christians eagerly studying God's Word in the heart of the Himalayas.
Many young girls in the Himalayas are sold into the sex industry and spend their lives in awful bondage. We have helped set up several sewing centers, where trafficked girls are rescued and taught a trade. Most of them become dedicated Christians. To get the sewing machines to one remote area in Nepal, our co-workers had to carry them on their backs across high mountain passes (below). Sewing machines cost $160 each, and are funded by donations to our Persecution & Relief Fund.
Evangelism and church planting remain at the heart of everything we do. Each year we provide hundreds of bicycles and dozens of motorcycles to evangelists, to aid them in their vital work. This enables them to reach a far wider area with the Gospel, and some villages that previously took a full day to reach on foot are now easily accessible. We support more than 300 Asian missionaries in the Himalayas through our Asian Workers' Fund, with new applications regularly coming in.
Our local partners in the Himalayas have found that one of the most effective ways to reach people with the Gospel is by constructing wells in areas where the water supply is contaminated. These wells, which cost about $1,000 each to construct, not only provide fresh water to grateful people, but they are strategically placed alongside churches, enabling Christians to freely interact with the people in their communities. As a result, many women have heard the gospel and put their trust in Jesus Christ. You can help support this need through our Persecution & Relief Fund.
Numerous other initiatives helping bring the Good News to people in the Himalayas include providing hundreds of solar-powered speakers, projectors and other devices (above) to spread the gospel and facilitate training in remote areas; distributing much loved children's Bibles (right) through our Bless the Children Fund; and equipping evangelists with good jackets, boots, backpacks and other equipment to help them serve more effectively.
The goal of all these activities is to glorify Jesus Christ among those who have never heard His Name. The Gospel has been advancing mightily throughout the Himalayas, with hundreds of baptisms of new believers, whose lives have been transformed by the Word of God and the power of the Holy Spirit. Our co-workers wanted to send a special message (below) to those who have prayed for them and supported these strategic projects. Thank you and God bless you!