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Archive for October, 2013

One Dream Not Worth Following

October 25th, 2013 Comments off

 

The village just a couple miles away struck fear in Minati’s heart. She knew all previous attempts to share the Gospel with the residents had been met with staunch opposition. An anti-Christian group had warned the villagers to stay away from any new religion, and local missionaries and pastors had given up trying to reach them.

Minati’s heart ached to share Christ with these people, but all doors appeared closed.

But one desperate woman eagerly waited for the hope Minati’s words would bring.

Jayanti was a priestess and gave six years of her life in service to the gods and goddesses of her faith.

Jayanti was a priestess and gave six years of her life in service to the gods and goddesses of her faith.

One Dream Changes Everything

Jayanti was 15 when she had an unusual dream.

Brought up in a family that worshiped many gods and goddesses, she wasn’t alarmed when one appeared to her while she slept. The goddess told Jayanti to perform rituals to please her, and from that day forward, Jayanti served as a priestess in her village. The role required that she abandon hopes of marriage, but she faithfully offered sacrifices and performed the prescribed rituals. Still, something felt wrong.

A Priestess with a Problem

Jayanti wept as she thought about her life. Now 21, six years had been spent in service to the gods, and all she had to show for it was family sicknesses, a brother in prison for murder and little hope for change.

Jayanti tried to fix it. She offered sacrifices in many temples and called on different gods and goddesses she knew. But no one seemed to hear her prayers. Finally she gave up. If the gods refused to help her, she determined to stop trying to please them.

The villagers were upset when she no longer offered her services as a priestess, but Jayanti’s decision was made. Now, if only she could find a solution for her family’s struggles.

A Year-Long Commitment

One by one, Minati and the women entered the room, each taking a spot on the floor. As a small circle formed, they began to lift their voices up to God. They needed a breakthrough.

Minati’s Women’s Fellowship group had been meeting together for a year, often fasting and praying. Their simple request was that God would open a door to share His love in a nearby village where people hadn’t heard the Good News.

A dominant political party had made a firm announcement that no one should listen to the words of the believers, but the women in the group knew God had the power to change hearts. When news that a man from the unreached village they prayed and fasted over had made his way to their church and begun following the Lord, Minati realized God was opening a door.

Minati's Women's Fellowship group met often for fasting and prayer to reach Jayanti's village. All across Asia, thousands of women gather to study the Bible, pray, do outreach and raise money for missions.

Minati’s Women’s Fellowship group met often for fasting and prayer to reach Jayanti’s village. All across Asia, thousands of women gather to study the Bible, pray, do outreach and raise money for missions.

She Saw a Difference

As the former priestess watched Aadit and his family, she noticed something different. He was just an average man from her village, but now he and his family followed a new God. As Jayanti watched the positive changes in their lives, she wondered if this God could change her life too.

One day as Jayanti sat at home crying out for answers, a group of women stopped in for a visit.

“What happened to you, sister?” one asked. “Why are you crying and sitting alone?” Overwhelmed, Jayanti started sobbing again. A few moments passed before she was composed enough to share her story with them.

Minati’s Women’s Fellowship group listened closely to Jayanti’s story and then began to tell her about the love of Jesus. They told of His miraculous power and then prayed earnestly for her. Before they left, they invited Jayanti and her family to church, where she could learn more about Jesus.

Minati's love and concern for Jayanti opened a door for her to share about Jesus.

Minati’s love and concern for Jayanti opened a door for her to share about Jesus.

A Life of Hope

Curious, Jayanti and her brothers showed up at church, where they listened to Pastor Gunin preach from the Word of God. Something began to stir in Jayanti’s heart, and when the service ended, she asked the pastor to pray for her and her family. After he prayed, Gunin invited her to come again.

Jayanti went home different. She knew the Lord was speaking to her heart, so she shared with her family what was going on. They all decided to join her at church the following week, and from then on, she followed the Lord.

Now Jayanti works in a tea garden as a daily laborer and attends church and Women’s Fellowship regularly. She even finds time to help keep the church building organized and clean. She also goes out with the same group of women who remained faithful in prayer to reach her village, and tells others about Jesus—the One who gave her a hope to live for.

 

This article was originally published by Gospel for Asia. To learn more about Gospel for Asia, click here.

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The Church Near Bollywood in Mumbai

October 18th, 2013 Comments off

 

Church in Mumbai

This church building in Mumbai is the result of many prayers.

In India’s city famous for both slums and movie-making, Gospel for Asia missionary Prisan Pinak received a miracle for his congregation. His church was the first in Mumbai (Bombay) planted by a GFA missionary to construct its own building.

About 350 people came to witness Prisan dedicate the church building on this special day. Besides being the first in its area, it was an answer to the believers’ prayers for the Lord to provide money and land, both of which are difficult to obtain in the growing city.

Although the building provided relief from the cramped home the congregation previously met in, it will not have extra space for long.

“The presence of the Lord was felt throughout the dedication service,” GFA’s correspondent wrote. “The Lord opened the hearts of the people and many received Jesus into their lives on that day.”

Miraculously, a local political leader who had previously opposed Prisan’s ministry came to the dedication. Far from the intimidation the politician had shown earlier, he came happily, grateful to have been invited. He didn’t know Prisan had spent time fasting and praying for him. But the Christians knew his presence was another miracle in the service.

Woman with baby

This woman is one of nearly 7 million who live in the Mumbai slums.

Prisan came to Mumbai to start his ministry four years ago. The city of nearly 13 million people has many outstanding characteristics that seem to contradict themselves. Millions, in fact almost half the city’s population, end up in the massive slums that spread over huge portions of Mumbai. Yet this city is also the center of India’s financial stock trading.

The railway area attracts homeless people and abandoned children, and was the location of a political bombing. Mumbai is also home to some of India’s many celebrities who work in Bollywood, the Mumbai moviemaking center that dwarfs Hollywood, California.

Practically, the size of the city means it is hard for Prisan and missionaries like him to find space for church buildings. But the overwhelming number of people needing the Gospel in this city drives these missionaries to minister in far-from-ideal locations. Prisan and his congregation rejoice that God has provided them with their building to continue and minister in their city.

 

This article was originally published by Gospel for Asia. To learn more about Gospel for Asia, click here.

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GFA Missionaries Seeking Cyclone Survivors

October 11th, 2013 Comments off

Gospel for Asia missionaries and local church leaders moved out from Yangon (Rangoon) Thursday morning to go into Myanmar’s cyclone-devastated villages and search for survivors, according to a GFA correspondent inside the ravaged country.

Five teams were sent out to survey the damage and begin assessing the needs of the traumatized survivors. The teams included students from GFA’s Bible college in Yangon, which has become a center of ministry to survivors in Myanmar’s largest city.

One of the teams is being led by the school’s dean of students. The GFA country leader is directing the relief efforts at the college, which includes providing desperately needed food and water to survivors staying on and near the campus.

The campus itself was badly damaged, but some buildings were strong enough to house survivors on a temporary basis.

GFA President K.P. Yohannan has issued an urgent plea for focused prayer as the situation has continued to grow ever more critical.

“The number of dead will probably be over 100,000,” K.P. said from India, where he is working to get GFA relief materials into the beleaguered country. “Vast areas were completely drowned under the water. Now, with dead bodies littering the countryside and food and water running out, we must pray that the government will allow these much-needed supplies into the country.

“I am also asking Christians around the world to pray for our 500 missionaries in Burma, and for our 250 Bible college students.”

K.P. also called for prayer for the thousands of believers who worship in more than 400 churches and 250 mission stations.

“Please pray that God will protect their health,” he emphasized, noting that disease is expected to sweep the southern part of the country, where 120-mile-per-hour winds and a 12-foot storm surge swept away villages, farmland, animals and people early Saturday morning.

“The suffering of the people is unimaginable,” K.P. reported. “Hundreds of thousands—perhaps millions—are homeless. Food and clean water are quickly running out. Electricity may be out for months. People have lost literally everything.”

A few U.N. aid flights have been allowed to land in Rangoon, but only a handful of outside aid workers have been granted visas.

“For us, the issue is not as much visas as it is getting supplies into the affected areas,” K.P. explained. “Our people are already on the ground. Our national leader is organizing the relief efforts. And he is trying to arrange for our materials to get in. But they need much more—and they need much prayer.

“We are working to get some of our workers into Burma from India,” he noted, “but right now we are relying on our Burmese workers and church members who are helping every way they can to alleviate the suffering.

“Most importantly, they are bringing the hope of Jesus Christ into the situation. One of the things we learned in the wake of the Asian tsunami was that even when we bring physical aid, the emotional and spiritual needs are even greater.

“I still remember when one of our missionaries read Scripture to a woman who was about to walk into the ocean and drown herself because she had lost everything in the tsunami,” he recounted. “She had received food and clothing and shelter—but she had lost her entire family and didn’t want to live anymore. It was only the Good News of the Gospel that saved her.

“Even as we minister in the wake of this cyclone, we must never forget what man’s deepest needs are.”

 

This article was originally published by Gospel for Asia. To learn more about Gospel for Asia, click here.

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Easter Parade Reaches Nepal

October 4th, 2013 Comments off
Speaker Sharing about Christ

A Christian speaker shares a message about the love of Christ at the Easter celebration program.

With the sun on the horizon, Christians in Nepal put on their walking shoes. Then they gathered together, and Gospel for Asia native missionary Arun Prasad led them in prayer. Excitement filled their hearts as they prepared for the long day ahead. Easter had finally come.

This year, Gospel for Asia missionaries gathered with about 30,000 other Christians in Nepal for an Easter parade. Joyfully singing songs and carrying colorful banners adorned with Scriptures, the believers walked for several hours proclaiming the Good News of Christ’s resurrection.

Arun and the believers with him passed out hundreds of tracts to people along the parade route—which stretched from one village into another. They also stopped and shared more about the Gospel message with those who had questions.

Easter Parade

Gospel for Asia missionaries and other believers carried banners adorned with Scripture and Christian messages along the parade route.

When the believers reached the final village, they conducted an Easter celebration program that included singing, skits and a presentation of the Gospel message. Many of the people they met along the parade route attended—and heard about the love of Jesus for the first time.

At the end of the day, the believers rejoiced at how the Lord worked that day. They praised God for the time to celebrate His gift of salvation and share about His sacrifice with others.

Arun and the believers request prayer that the tracts they distributed will bring much fruit, and that many will come to know the Lord through the Easter parade outreach.

 

 

This article was originally published by Gospel for Asia. To learn more about Gospel for Asia, click here.

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