Welcoming Jesus at School

June 14th, 2013 Comments off
Tea Gardens

Most of the people Grace ministers to work in West Bengal's famous tea gardens.

 

Desks that once held children engaged in learning sat eerily quiet when Gospel for Asia missionary Grace Sahare entered the school building. She remembered when the school in this village in West Bengal, India was a vibrant place, full of happy, healthy children. The kids came from many surrounding villages to learn and grow at the school.

Then one by one, the children became sick, suffering from a variety of mysterious illnesses. Their parents tried taking them to medical doctors, but their symptoms seemed to defy explanation. The staff tried to determine the source of the students’ strange health problems, but they could not identify it either.

It was as if their young bodies were being tormented by some dark spiritual force. Unable to recover, the once happy, vibrant students gradually stopped coming to school altogether.

The villages where these children live are strongholds of India’s traditional religions. The people worship multiple idols and depend on witchdoctors to solve their spiritual problems.

Missionary

GFA's women missionaries are trained specifically to reach out to the millions of Asian women who have never heard the Gospel.

So it was routine procedure for the school staff to invite the witchdoctors to come and perform pujas, or prayer ceremonies, to cleanse the school. But it was futile. The classrooms still sat dark and empty.

Having reached the end of their rope, the teachers asked Grace to come and pray for the school. This was a giant leap of faith for the teachers, because almost everyone in the village had opposed Grace’s previous efforts to share the Gospel.

This Gospel for Asia missionary graciously offered to lead a weekly Sunday school, prayer and worship service at the school, and the teachers agreed. Grace began to fast and pray, asking the Lord to demolish the strongholds of Satan that were actively working in the school.

Grace moved her existing Sunday school class to the school, and soon others joined. The Lord answered her prayers and eradicated the evil spirits from the school building.

Classes soon resumed at the school! Today students are back in their desks learning and the teachers are amazed. As a result of this answered prayer, many in these villages are interested in hearing the Gospel. The children hear about God’s love each week in the Sunday school that Grace continues to teach in the school building.

Grace asks for prayer that the Lord would continue to effectively use her in this area. The majority of the people who live here work as laborers in the nearby tea gardens and processing factory. These villages are primitive places without much contact with the outside world, and there are people from many different tribal groups living there. Grace is praying that her Sunday school class will unite them all with the common bond of Christ.

 

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

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A Shepherd Boy Becomes a Missionary

May 31st, 2013 Comments off
Sheep

Before the Lord called him to full-time ministry, Sumay tended sheep in Karnataka, India.

 

“Baa!”

The sheep’s bleats stirred Sumay Lahar out of a daze. Picking up his staff, he stood up from his spot at the watering hole and trudged through the dusty field in Karnataka, India. The fresh air was permeated with the smell of damp wool and sheep droppings. As he went about his duties as a shepherd, Sumay never dreamed that in just a few days he would not have the strength to get out of bed.

The virus that was already spreading through Sumay’s body quickly brought his daily activities to a halt. This especially meant that he could no longer withstand the long, hard days of tending sheep. Sumay’s parents spent their minuscule resources on treatment in a hospital, but the treatment did not work.

Next, trusting in the gods of their traditional religion, his parents took him to a succession of elaborate temples and even to chanting witch doctors. But all of the many rituals performed over Sumay were in vain.

Sumay was sure his sickness would eventually kill him. In despair over his deteriorating health, he decided to end the misery and commit suicide.

Then, Sumay and his family heard about a Christian prayer meeting that his uncle was hosting. Eager to try anything that might save him from approaching death, they all went.

The pastor who was leading the meeting shared a message from God’s Word, and then began the prayer time. Noticing that Sumay was severely ill, the pastor told him to put his trust in Jesus. As the pastor interceded, Sumay’s symptoms went away. When the prayer was finished, he had been completely healed. Seeing the Lord’s great power, Sumay decided to follow Jesus that very night.

Thankful for his restored health, Sumay went back to the fields and continued his work as a shepherd. But as his faith developed, the Lord placed a higher calling on his life. Sumay felt a burden to use his life in full-time ministry.

Through the encouragement of a Gospel for Asia native missionary in his village, Sumay applied to a Bible college in Karnataka. He was accepted and studied there for three years. Rejoicing in what God had done in his life, Sumay graduated in 2006.

Now, Sumay shares his incredible testimony of how God transformed his life, both physically and spiritually, as he ministers. Through his passion for Jesus, many souls are hearing about the amazing power that can only be found in Him.

Sumay requests prayer that the Lord will be glorified in all aspects of his ministry. He also requests prayer that many would come to know Him in Karnataka.

 

 

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

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Threats in Maharashtra

May 3rd, 2013 Comments off

 

Beaten Missionary

This GFA missionary was beaten while doing outreach in Maharashtra last year.

Strong opposition against Christians surfaced in one area of Maharashtra, India, when a Gospel for Asia native missionary faced death threats, and anti—Christian extremists tried to barge into a GFA Bible college.

As missionary Dulal Tarang distributed tracts outside a tea shop on March 15, a group of radicals surrounded him. They questioned him about his ministry and threatened him.

“You should never come to our village again, or we will kill you!” the mob exclaimed.

Then the group started to beat him, but the tea shop owner rushed out and stopped them. So the extremists left before they hurt Dulal.

Later that morning, some students from a nearby GFA Bible college came to the village to do outreach. Dulal told them what had happened and directed them to another village for their ministry.

That afternoon, a group of anti—Christian extremists showed up at the entrance to the Bible college, sharply questioning the security guard.

“Who is in charge of this Bible college?” they asked. “And who sent the students to convert our people to Christianity?”

Then they tried to push their way onto the campus, but the security guard would not let them pass. So the group finally left.

Opposition such as this is becoming an ever—increasing aspect of serving the Lord in India. Anti—Christian extremists feel threatened by the number of people who are choosing to follow Christ through the ministries of GFA and other missionaries across the country.

Dulal and the Bible college students ask for prayer as they serve in this dangerous area. They also request prayer that the Lord will soften the hearts of those who are opposing them.

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

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Maoist Party Victorious in Nepal Election

April 19th, 2013 Comments off
Nepali Church

This Nepali church stands in the shadow of the world-famous Himalayan Mountains. Nepal’s new ruling party promises to grant full freedom of religion to all Nepalis.

In a turn of events that has shocked many, the Maoist political party has won 116 of the 215 elected seats in Nepal’s new constitutional assembly, according to news reports coming out of the country. The Maoist party was formerly a rebel group with a brutal history. In spite of their past, the Maoists are now being viewed as catalysts for great change in the country.

Narayan Sharma, Gospel for Asia’s Nepal leader, said the Nepali people are closely watching their new government.

“The country is at peace. The people are not afraid. Rather, they are terribly curious and wondering how things will change. They have much hope in the Maoists, as everyone else has failed them,” he said.

He said the newly elected officials are aware of their tenuous situation with the people who elected them.

Nepali voters went to the polls on April 10, and more than 80 percent of the votes were tabulated by April 15. Once it became clear that they had won, the Maoists began reaching out.

“One of the Maoist leaders called a meeting with all the major Christian leaders in Nepal,” Narayan said. “She spoke very openly to them, saying the Maoists had no intentions to hurt Christians in any way. She said the new constitution will favor a secular state and religious freedom. She said the Maoists would guarantee freedom of religion for all.”

Narayan said the Maoist victory guarantees an end to Nepal’s 240—year—old monarchy. In an interview with the BBC, the Maoist’s deputy leader, Baburam Bhattarai, said he believes Nepal’s monarchy will be abolished in the next three weeks. The assembly’s first item of business will be to ask the king to step down.

“They are being careful not to undermine the hope of the people. They know how much the country has suffered and are vowing to do things differently,” Narayan said.

“If the Maoists had not won the election, then it is for sure that the king would have somehow been put back into power,” Narayan said. “There would be no religious freedom and no hope for change. The corruption would only increase, and there would be no push for the development of the country. The monarchy would continue, and the people would only continue to suffer,” Narayan said.

 

Women Bible Study

Gospel for Asia has been sharing God’s love with the Nepali people since 1988. These women are spending time in worship during their Bible study.

The Maoist party leader, Pushpa Kamal Dahal, who goes by the name Prachanda, said the newly elected representatives would continue cooperating with representatives from the other two political parties, the Nepali Congress and the Communist Party of Nepal. Prachanda told reporters that the party is “fully committed to the peace process and multi-party democracy and to rebuild this country.”

He also said the new leaders would pursue good relations with Nepal’s neighbors, India and China. Traditionally Nepal has been considered to be in India’s sphere of influence, sharing a common history and culture with its southern neighbor. Separated by the Himalayan Mountains from China to the north, the relationship between these two countries has been more distant. Many Nepalis are also critical of China’s policies regarding Tibet, due to the large number of ethnic Tibetans in Nepal.

Nepali political observers are putting forth many theories about the win. One of them is that the people were fearful that the Maoists would once again turn to violence if they lost the elections. Other analysts say that the people were simply fed up with the current government and the monarchy.

Still others say that the people were captivated by the charismatic Prachanda, who promised to return land ownership to the people who work the land, deliverance from caste discrimination and an end to the dowry system. Narayan said the Maoist’s violent history can be linked to fringe elements in the group.

“In the past, Maoists have never purposely tried to hurt Christians. There was never an agenda on their part to make life difficult for Christians. However, due to the immaturity of some and the perception that Christians were somehow ‘agents working for America,’ some Christians did suffer at the hands of the Maoists. Yet, this was never the intention of the party as a whole,” Narayan said.

The Constituent Assembly will be comprised of both elected and appointed officials and will be charged with recreating Nepal’s constitution and ushering the country into a democratic form of government. These newly elected officials will serve two-year terms.

Narayan said that while he will not become involved in politics, he is concerned about the country’s development and the institution of true religious freedom for the people. He asks for prayer for the country, its citizens and its new constituent assembly.

“God has a plan and a purpose for Nepal, and the Maoists coming to power is part of that,” he said. “I am hopeful to see how this will open doors for the furthering of the Gospel in this country.”

 

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

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The Forbidden Hills

April 5th, 2013 Comments off
Andhra Pradesh

In Andhra Pradesh, India, GFA missionaries are no longer allowed to share the love of Christ on seven hills surrounding a famous temple.

In dusty village streets, soggy rice fields, bustling village markets and many other areas, Gospel for Asia missionaries boldly proclaim the story of Jesus in Andhra Pradesh, India. But there are hills, seven to be exact, where no one can utter His wonderful message of salvation.

With Christian freedoms ever tightening, GFA missionaries can no longer share the love of Christ near the area’s famous temple, including the seven hills that surround it. The Andhra Pradesh governor issued an ordinance that prohibits propagating any other religions near this temple and in 19 other places throughout the state.

Because GFA missionaries and other Christians are faithfully sharing the Gospel in Andhra Pradesh, many people have chosen to follow Him. And although the state has not established an anti-conversion law, many political groups are rallying to bring one about in an effort to stop the Kingdom’s growth. And already, if anyone violates the governor’s ordinance, they will face three years imprisonment and/or a costly fine.

GFA missionaries are committed to sharing the transforming power of Jesus Christ throughout Asia, even if that means imprisonment or death. So they request prayer for wisdom in their ministries in Andhra Pradesh. They also ask for prayer that the government officials’ hearts will be softened toward Christians.

 

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

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Rampant “Untouchability” Continues

March 22nd, 2013 Comments off
Woman

When Dalits find Christ, they find a freedom they have never known.

 

High incidents of discrimination against Dalits have led a government survey to label hundreds of villages in Tamil Nadu, India, “atrocity-prone.” For Raji, a Dalit woman in Tamil Nadu, a polio vaccination represented her own personal atrocity.

According to the online newspaper theindian.com, when Raji took her baby son to get a free, government-sponsored immunization “meant to cut across caste and religion to eradicate polio,” she was turned away. Her baby did eventually get the vaccine—at the command of police after local media brought attention to her situation.

But that was not the only “atrocity” to touch Raji’s life. Her family was among four Dalit families to receive land from the government. However, the village elders pressured the four families to turn the land over for village use, which they refused to do. In retaliation, the members of higher castes in the village made life miserable for the families, even blocking them from taking water from the village well.

Widespread numbers of Dalits can relate to Raji’s experiences. In spite of attempts to end the caste system, it remains deeply ingrained in daily culture.

Reminiscent of America’s days of segregation, theindian.com also reported that the “double tumbler system,” in which tea shops keep drinking glasses for Dalits separate from those used by upper castes, is still common.

The detailed report of how “ Untouchability ” manifests itself in Tamil Nadu is representative of the attitude throughout India and nearby countries. While millions of people are still looked down on as less than human, Gospel for Asia missionaries press on to bring them the Good News that Jesus values them enough to give His life to save them.

 

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

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“We will burn you like Graham Staines”

March 8th, 2013 Comments off
House Burned

This Orissa church building was attacked by anti-Christian extremists in 2007.

Two young women from a Gospel for Asia Bible college were chased and threatened by 70 anti-Christian extremists after conducting a worship service in Orissa, India. Chunile Wyn and Preeja Sushan are student missionaries serving their internships in Orissa.

On Sunday, the extremists entered the building where the women were worshipping with 15 other believers. The radicals carried sticks and stones, but the Christians escaped the church unharmed.

However, Chunile and Preeja were still in the building, and the anti-Christians surrounded them and shouted threats.

“We will burn you alive like Graham Staines and his children!” they shouted at the women. Graham Staines, an Australian missionary in Orissa, was burned to death in 1999. Religious extremists set fire to the vehicle Staines and his two young sons were sleeping in, killing them all.

The extremists eventually let the women out of the church, but then chased them through the streets until the girls found a phone booth. Chunile and Preeja called their Bible college, and a pastor came to protect them. By the time he arrived, the extremist crowd had dispersed, leaving only threats that the women must never come back to their village.

Chunile and Preeja request prayer that they can continue their internships without fear. They also ask for prayer that the anti-Christians will realize Christ’s love for them and stop hindering the Gospel. Also lift up the district pastor in this area, that he will be able to stand strong and encourage the local believers.

 

 

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

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Christians Attacked in Bhutan

February 22nd, 2013 Comments off

 

Evangelism

GFA missionaries in Bhutan spend a lot of time sharing the Gospel one-on-one with individuals.

Two Christian families were physically attacked and kicked out of their homes after they chose to follow Christ. These two families live in Bhutan.

Gospel for Asia missionaries Lali Bharose and Ekta Surgari, who recently began ministering in their village, shared the Gospel with these families and they chose to follow Christ.

On Saturday, April 12, their fellow villagers attacked the new Christians and forced them out of the village. They also told Lali and Ekta to leave the village.

Less than one percent of Bhutan’s residents claim to follow Christ. Sharing the Gospel with people who follow the two traditional religions in the country is illegal. Bhutan has a population of about 2.1 million. It is a small, landlocked country sharing borders with both India and China.

GFA leaders ask for prayer for these two families who were attacked, that they would be able to feel the real power of Jesus in their lives. Pray also for their complete healing and for strength to stand firm in their situation.

Prayer is also requested for GFA missionaries sharing God’s love in Bhutan. Pray specifically for Lali and Ekta as they are in a tense situation at present.

 

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

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Bible Translated into Oriya, Orissa’s Main Language

February 8th, 2013 Comments off
Bible Reading

Because of the work of GFA missionaries, the people of Orissa now have a Bible in their own language.

Christians all across Orissa, India, recently praised the Lord for providing His Word in their native language. Gospel for Asia missionaries worked for six years translating the entire Bible into Oriya, Orissa’s official language.

“Many of us spent a lot of time praying for this translation,” one missionary shared. “We once again acknowledge God’s mighty hand behind this work.”

It is the missionaries’ passion to get a Bible into the hands of every person in the state who seeks to know more about Christ. The believers are especially excited to have a deeper understanding of the Lord’s plan for them, because now they will be able to read God’s Word in a language they understand.

Although Oriya is the most common language in the state, several other dialects are frequently spoken. GFA missionaries are now working to translate the Bible into Najug, another local language, to reach a different subset of the population.

The missionaries request prayer that the Lord will help them reach every area of the state with the Word of God. They also ask for prayer that the translation of other Orissa dialects would go quickly so that more may read of Christ’s love for them.

 

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

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Jagdeep’s Gospel Garden

January 25th, 2013 Comments off
Apple Salesman

Himachal Pradesh is famous for its apples. Jagdeep’s family depends on this crop for their livelihood.

 

An apple orchard meant life or death for Jagdeep’s family. And it was starting to look more like their orchard, perched on a rural hilltop, would bring them the latter.

Jagdeep was only 21, but he was the man of his family. His father had died a few years before, so he was left to care for his mother and three sisters. For years, attacks from evil spirits made life even harder for Jagdeep—until he met Saji.

Saji was a Gospel for Asia Bible college student, and for his six-month outreach, he was assigned to work in Jagdeep’s area. Saji was helping GFA missionary Harshad, who ministered in a town just down the hill from where Jagdeep lived.

During outreach one day, Saji visited Jagdeep’s home. When he heard the story of the family’s hardships, he shared the love of Christ with them and the hope they could have in salvation. Saji also prayed, and the Lord delivered Jagdeep right then from the demonic attacks. The whole family chose to receive salvation.

But at that point, things only seemed to get worse. The community rejected Jagdeep’s family for their commitment to Christ. This made it nearly impossible for them to earn a livelihood, as the villagers depended on each other to borrow necessary tools for orchard upkeep. No one would allow Jagdeep to use their tools, and the orchard looked as if it would shrivel up.

In the midst of this discouragement, God showed the family His power. Harshad provided a plow and spray pump through GFA’s Compassion Services. Now, Jagdeep and his family are able to keep up their only source of income, and their neighbors have witnessed God’s care for them.

Harshad asks for prayer that Jagdeep and his family will keep trusting the Lord and that He will continue providing for them. Jagdeep is also applying for the government job his father held before his death, and he asks for prayer that he will get this job.

 

 

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

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