"Then the astrologers answered the king, ‘May the king live forever! Tell your servants the dream, and we will interpret it.'
The king replied to the astrologers, ‘This is what I have firmly decided: If you do not tell me what my dream was and interpret it, I will have you cut into pieces and your houses turned into piles of rubble. But if you tell me the dream and explain it, you will receive from me gifts and rewards and great honor. So tell me the dream and interpret it for me.'” (Daniel 2:4-6).
Some people have asked if it's "difficult" for us to print 14 million Bibles inside China for the house churches, under the noses of a hardline Communist government. No, it's not difficult at all! It's absolutely impossible! If you don't believe us, please give it a try.
Likewise, some have asked if it's hard to identify and support Asian evangelists in more than 1,100 different unreached people throughout Asia. No, it's not hard at all. It's impossible! If it was just "hard" then lots of others would be doing it.
The Lord Jesus is not looking for us to do what we can do in our own strength. Daniel faced an impossible task. He and his friends would have been cut to pieces if the Lord of Lords didn't do a great miracle and reveal both the king's dream and its meaning.
God wants to place us in impossible situations where only He can get us through. That way, all the glory goes to Him and no one can claim any credit. The Bible is full of such stories from Gensis to Revelation. Was it difficult for Moses to part the Red Sea? No, it was impossible! Did Joshua and the Israelites implement a clever strategy that caused the walls of Jericho to fall?
Samson tore the city gates (weighing up to 4 tons) from their hinges and carried them about 10 miles. Were his muscles big enough to do this, or was it a supernatural miracle of God? These and hundreds of other accounts in the Bible were all the providence of God, but often our minds are so carnally minded that we attribute any advance of the Gospel to human activity and ingenuity, thus robbing God of His rightful glory.
The American bishop Phillips Brooks (1835-1893) once wrote: "Do not pray for easy lives; pray to be stronger men; Do not pray for tasks equal to your powers; pray for powers equal to your tasks. Then the doing of your work shall be no miracle, but you shall be a miracle."
Of course, this doesn't mean that as Christians should just sit still while God moves us like puppets on a string. No, the Lord wants us to serve Him with all our hearts. Jesus told His disciples about a new kind of holy partnership — when we would be called to partner with the Holy Spirit. This is the secret to all truly successful Christian service. The Lord said that not only would the Holy Spirit testify about Him, but we also would testify:
"When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father—the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father—he will testify about me. And you also must testify, for you have been with me from the beginning" (John 15:26-27). As you read the overviews of 11 different Asian countries that God has called us to serve in (we work in 10 more countries that space does not permit us to list) — please pray for each country, and the many unreached tribes and people groups that remain in darkness, without the light of the Gospel to give them hope.
Years ago, we heard a preacher say that the highest prayer a Christian can pray is for the Lord Jesus Christ to be glorified in a person, a situation, or a whole nation. For example, a parent may be praying fervently for their child who has left home and become a drug addict. We may cry out for the child to be delivered and to return home, but an even higher prayer is to ask the Almighty God to be glorified and exalted in their life. When the Lord begins to move, the rest of the pieces often fall into place.
In the same way, as you read through this newsletter, please pray that God will receive the glory due His Name in each country, and for all the people groups to become His inheritance.
We would appreciate it if you would also lift the work of Asia Harvest before the throne of God. As you will see from the statistics, there are still large parts of Asia where we have, so far, been unable to help as much as we would like, where we believe the Lord is calling us to serve His people.
The State of the Nations
From time to time, we like to present a snapshot of the state of the Gospel throughout Asia. In the following pages are brief overviews of 11 countries Asia Harvest is working in. The statistics used are the latest from the Joshua Project, who define a people group as "unreached” if less than 2 percent of its population are evangelical Christians. We also list how many people groups in each country are being targeted by evangelists we support through our Asian Workers' Fund.
While there is much to thank God for in Asia, the figures are a sobering reminder of how much work remains to be done. Our life's goal is to teach the salvation of Jesus Christ to as many unreached people groups as possible. We appreciate your prayers and partnership, as together we "look forward to the day of the Lord and speed it's coming” (2 Peter 3:12).
Population: 1,424 million
Non-Christians: 1,293 million (90.8%)
All Christians: 131 million (9.2%)
People Groups: 545
Asia Harvest is helping to reach 61 people groups in China.
God continues to move powerfully throughout China. The greatest need is for Bibles and discipleship materials, to equip tens of millions of hungry house church believers. The Gospel has spread rapidly among the Han Chinese majority, strong ethnic, cultural, and language barriers have meant the churches have struggles to penetrate the 440 distinct (non-Han) minority groups. Hundreds of unreached groups still lack a vibrant Gospel witness.
Population: 1,374 million
Non-Christians: 1,349 million (98.2%)
All Christians: 25.0 million (1.8%)
Capital: New Delhi
People Groups: 2,717
Asia Harvest is helping to reach 531 people groups in India.
India poses the most complex challenge for the Body of Christ today. Home to more than 2,700 distinct peoples, the Gospel has flourished among some groups, but most remain devoid of spiritual light. India will soon surpass China as the world's most populated country, but 98 out of every 100 people remain lost and in desperate need of Jesus Christ.
Population: 29.0 million
Non-Christians: 28.6 million (98.6%)
All Christians: 350,000 (1.4%)
People Groups: 285
Asia Harvest is helping to reach 118 people groups in Nepal.
Living among the highest mountains on earth, more than 280 distinct tribes and castes inhabit Nepal. There were just 25 known Christians in Nepal in the 1950s, compared to more than 350,000 today. Some tribes have experienced revival in recent decades, but over 250 remain relatively untouched by the Gospel. There is much work left to do in Nepal.
Non-Christians: 765,000 (99.5%)
All Christians: 4,000 (0.5%)
People Groups: 131
Asia Harvest is helping to reach 27 people groups in Bhutan.
The landlocked Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan (‘land of the thunder dragon') is known as a place of happy, stress-free people, but in reality it is an intensely dark stronghold, with centuries of oppression brought on by ritual worship of demons. The Gospel has made progress among some migrant tribes on the plains, but the Buddhist majority are cut off from Christian influence.
Population: 7.2 million
Non-Christians: 6.9 million (96.3%)
All Christians: 270,000 (3.7%)
People Groups: 128
Asia Harvest is helping to reach 41 people groups in Laos.
Laos is one of Asia's forgotten countries. Because of its small population, many organizations don't consider Laos a priority, but it is one of the most ethnically diverse countries on earth, containing 128 distinct tribes. Only a few dozen groups have a significant Christian presence, while more than 100 remain untouched by the Gospel. Please pray for their salvation.
Population: 54.3 million
Non-Christians: 49.9 million (91.8%)
All Christians: 4.4 million (8.2%)
People Groups: 151
Asia Harvest is helping to reach 10 people groups in Myanmar.
The spread of Christianity in Myanmar is uneven, with some tribes in revival while others are full of dead religion. Our focus has been to provide Bibles in many languages, but it is rare to find evangelists targeting the 57 unreached ethnic groups, including the 31 million Buddhist Myen people.
Population: 273.4 million
Non-Christians: 242.4 million (88.7%)
All Christians: 31.0 million (11.3%)
People Groups: 709
Asia Harvest is helping to reach 108 people groups in Indonesia.
Indonesia is a paradox. It contains the most Muslims of any country on earth, spread across more than 700 distinct ethnic groups. God has moved powerfully, with more than 30 million Christians in Indonesia today, but 270 people groups remain unreached. Please pray the Name of Jesus will be glorified throughout this large and important country.
Population: 16.6 million
Non-Christians: 16.1 million (96.9%)
All Christians: 500,000 (3.1%)
Capital: Phnom Penh
People Groups: 41
Asia Harvest is helping to reach 13 people groups in Cambodia.
Cambodia was known as the "killing fields” in the 1970s, but a vibrant and growing church has risen from the ashes of that horrific genocide. While a number of tribes have embraced the Gospel in recent years, most of the 14 million Buddhist Khmer majority have yet to hear about Jesus. Please pray for their salvation.
Population: 163.9 million
Non-Christians: 163.4 million (99.7%)
All Christians: 430,000 (0.3%)
People Groups: 340
Asia Harvest is helping to reach 110 people groups in Bangladesh.
Bangladesh is one of the poorest and most unreached countries on earth, containing nearly 300 distinct ethnic groups who have yet to trust in Jesus Christ. Nine out of every ten people in Bangladesh are Muslims. Please pray the glory of the Living God will spread widely to every part of this large and needy land.
Population: 219.9 million
Non-Christians: 218.2 million (99.2%)
All Christians: 1.7 million (0.8%)
People Groups: 479
Asia Harvest is helping to reach 49 people groups in Pakistan.
As the numbers indicate, Pakistan is one of the most spiritually dark countries in the world, with 476 of its 479 people groups unreached by the Gospel. Christians here often face severe persecution, and evangelists risk their lives daily to share the love of Jesus with people.
Population: 109.4 million
Non-Christians: 10.8 million (9.0%)
All Christians: 98.6 million (91.0%)
People Groups: 198
Asia Harvest is helping to reach 52 people groups in the Philippines.
Statistics of professing Christians in the Philippines are skewed by the high numbers of Catholics, but only about 15% of the population may be considered born-again believers. it remains a needy country with many unreached groups. We focus on the most unreached, including the many Muslim tribes in the south.