"For the Word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God's sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account." (Hebrews 4:12-13).
While in some parts of the culturally 'Christian' world the Word of God has been marginalized, cast aside and even banned from the public domain, in unreached areas of Asia the Scriptures continue to be desperately sought after, as hungry souls press into the kingdom of God.
It may be hard for some people to really picture the hunger for God's Word that exists. We recently spoke with a friend who took a backpack of Bibles on USB drives to a staunchly Muslim nation that most Christians would consider too dangerous to enter. He told us that when he first tried to give one of the drives the people resisted, but once they discovered what was on the drives and news spread throughout the community, hundreds of people came running from every direction, besieging our friend! For days he shared God's Word with the hungry people, who thanked him with tears in their eyes, and begged him to teach them everything he knew about Jesus.
For more than 30 years Asia Harvest has been providing the Word of God to people in Asia using two main strategies. Firstly, we do all we can to print and distribute Bibles to believers in restricted countries where access to the Scriptures is prohibited. From the early days when we hauled heavy bags and suitcases across borders, God placed His hand of favor on the project so that now, by His grace and power, we have provided more than 11 million Bibles to house church believers in China alone, and many more in dozens of other Asian languages. All glory to His Name!
The second way we see God's Word transform lives is lesser known, as we don't share so frequently about the printing of Scripture booklets that are used to evangelize unbelievers. Over the years we have printed many millions of Gospel booklets and tracts to help reach the lost.
Recently, a colleague told us of an incident that took place in India last year when an evangelist visited a fanatical Hindu area to distribute Gospel booklets. Unbeknown to him, the people of that village had been plagued for a long time by the presence of a demon-possessed woman. They tried to restrain her every day, similar to the demoniac as recorded in the Gospels: "No one could bind him anymore, not even with a chain. For he had often been chained hand and foot, but he tore the chains apart and broke the irons on his feet. No one was strong enough to subdue him" (Mark 5:4).
When the village leader saw that a Christian had dared to enter their remote Hindu community, he was enraged. His men seized the evangelist and the whole village gathered to watch. The Hindu priest asked, "Is your God stronger than our gods? If not, we will kill you!" and they brought the demon-possessed woman and threw her on the ground before him.
The evangelist later recounted that he was terrified by the situation, and he knew his life would soon end unless God performed a miracle. The villagers grew increasingly agitated as they sharpened their knives and sticks in preparation for murdering the intruder.
The Christian bowed his head and silently prayed to the Lord, as the villagers howled with derision. He then looked at the woman and, in the Name of Jesus, bound the demons that had control of her life.
One of our co-workers came across this bamboo cage, which was used to imprison another demon possessed villager. He was gloriously set free in the Name of Jesus Christ, and is serving the Lord today.
Immediately, the woman fell to the ground as if she was dead. For minutes she didn't move at all, and the people were even more incensed, thinking the Christian had killed her with a curse. He continued to call on the Name of the Lord, and took advantage of the intense situation by boldly sharing the Gospel with the crowd.
Finally, after a long time, a hush came over the onlookers. The woman began to move, and managed to sit upright on the ground. For the first time in years she was calm and she even smiled. When the villagers realized she had been set free and the demons had departed her, their intense anger changed to awe, and then joy. Everyone eagerly accepted the Gospel booklets from the evangelist, and they begged him to teach them how to know this Living God, who even has power over demons.
In another location, a powerful witch was deeply disturbed every time her Christian neighbors held a meeting in their home. The sound of people worshipping God especially agitated her, and she told the Christians to stop gathering. When they refused, the witch conjured up a spell and placed a curse on the believers to make them die from snake bites.
Later that night, the Christian family's sleep was disturbed by screaming coming from next door. A snake had slithered into the witch's home and bitten her while she lay in bed! The family rushed over to help their neighbor. They cornered the snake and killed it, and lovingly helped the woman. She recovered and was overcome with the love shown to her by the believers. She later gave her life to Jesus Christ, and shared the story of what had happened, how she had cursed the Christians only to have her curse rebound on to her!
Just in the past month, Asia Harvest provided funds to print 710,000 more Gospels of Mark in 18 different South Asian languages. These little yellow booklets are like missiles for the Lord. They are distributed by local teams of Christians among countless unreached Hindu, Muslim and Buddhist people groups, and those who show an interest in learning more are followed up by the same workers. Over the years we have printed millions of Gospels, and many thousands of people have repented of their sins and surrendered their lives to Jesus Christ.
In this latest production of Gospel booklets, we printed 600,000 Gospels of Mark for just 12 cents each — plus an additional 110,000 booklets containing the four Gospels for 28 cents each — in the following languages and quantities:
Gospel Booklets Recently Printed by Asia Harvest
|Gospels of Mark (12 cents each):|
|Assamese: 20,000||Bengali: 30,000|
|English: 50,000||Gujarati: 30,000|
|Hindi: 140,000||Kannada: 30,000|
|Kui: 10,000||Malayalam: 10,000|
|Marathi: 30,000||Nepali: 50,000|
|Oriya: 30,000||Punjabi: 30,000|
|Rajasthani: 10,000||Sadri: 10,000|
|Santhali: 10,000||Saora: 10,000|
|Tamil: 50,000||Telugu: 50,000|
|The Four Gospels (28 cents each):|
|Bengali: 10,000||English: 10,000|
|Hindi: 25,000||Kannada: 15,000|
|Nepali: 10,000||Oriya: 10,000|
|Tamil: 15,000||Telugu: 15,000|
Please pray that each of these life-changing booklets would find their way to someone who is searching for the truth, and that they would be gripped and convicted of their sin and unbelief by the power of the Holy Spirit as they read the Word of Life for the first time. Ask God to use these resources to bring many lost sheep into His kingdom.
More printings and distributions like the one outlined in this newsletter are undertaken at regular intervals. If you would like to give to this project, you are most welcome. It is a wonderful opportunity to help reach someone who has never heard the Gospel for as little as 12 cents. If you would like to be part of this project, you can do so through our Asian Bible Fund, which firstly provides Bibles for Christians, but also prints millions of Gospel booklets for evangelism among unreached people.