What did you learn on the vision tour?
Visiting South Asia really opened my eyes to what it means to live a life committed to Christ. Without realizing it, I had been like Ananias and Sapphira in Acts 5, claiming to give my life to God, but all the while holding back a portion for my control, to do with it what I wanted to do. Talking to our brothers and sisters on the field opened my eyes to see that Jesus called us to give Him our ALL. The cool thing is He gives us back so much more than our all—He gives us Himself. There is SO much joy in following Jesus. I want Him to have ALL of me. – Anna
What impacted you?
The people are beautiful. In the beginning of our trip, I was overwhelmed by looking at the masses as I tried to see each of them as Christ does. He took the time to create each of them exactly as He wanted, and He knows even the secret thoughts of their hearts. They are known, intimately, but they don’t know this. “What a tragedy!” my heart cried. And then I saw our brothers and sisters who have committed their lives to sharing this incredible truth. Their eyes sparkle with warmth. Their smiles are so inviting. Indeed, even their feet are lovely (Romans 10:15). Instantly, my heart was comforted and my peace returned. These missionaries are simple people with struggles, feelings and desires just like me, yet their love for Jesus and faith in Him gives them eyes to see beyond this life. The work the Lord is doing through them is utterly astounding. There is so much hope because of Jesus! I am very thankful for the national missionaries. I want to be just like them. – Elizabeth
How were you encouraged?
One thing that really encouraged me were the national missionaries. Their prayer life is so radical. They pray based on who God is, not on who we are. If someone is sick, they simply lay their hand on the person, bow their head, and say, “I declare healing in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.” And move on. Their trust in God is so simple and honest. Like a child. – Elizabeth
Share your story
“Jesus loves you.” I have probably heard those three words hundreds of times during the course of my life. Have I taken those three precious words for granted? Unfortunately, yes.
I am now able to take those three words and apply them to every person in Asia. Half of the world does not know those three words and we have the privilege to tell them. I was able to see the hope that Jesus’ love brings when I looked at our brothers and sisters in Asia. I was able to see Jesus’ love in the children’s smiles. I was able to understand how Jesus takes us, who were once abandoned, hopeless and filthy, and changes us into something beautiful. When I think of all the transformation going on in Asia and how so many people are coming to know Jesus I often think of the metamorphosis of a caterpillar turning into a butterfly. We lived completely different lives before the Lord chose us and turned us into new creations.
At the Bridge of Hope center, two girls danced to a song about butterflies and God’s glory. They spread their wings (arms) during the dance, and it brought tears to my eyes to see them as once in bondage in the slums, but now, because of Jesus, they are free to fly. It gave me much hope that every child in the slums and in Asia will have their own set of wings in God’s timing.
The love that the Lord has for us remains a mystery, but there is no doubt it is powerful and has the ability to change people. I would like to pray that all of Asia would know of Jesus’ love and that as a family of Christ, we would be reminded daily of His great love that He has for us, and that we grow intimately in love with Him. – Nikki
In January, I got to visit the mission field. It had been five years since I’d been there. During that time, I met up with an old friend, Gabriel, and this time I got to meet his wife and daughter. His wife is energetic and kind and makes amazing ginger tea. Their daughter, Faith, is two years old. When Faith was born she had a band around her kidney that restricted all blood flow; this meant she had to have that kidney removed. Having a kidney removed as an adult is a major thing, even more so for a baby that’s just a few months old. The prayer request reached us here in the States. Since she was my friend’s daughter, it hit especially close to home for me. The Lord’s hand was so evident throughout Faith’s surgery and she did fine. Her other kidney picked up all the work it needed to do. Praise the Lord! She is now healthy and incredibly smart, and she loves to sing. When I visited she knew about 30 songs in several languages. I know the Lord has a special plan for her life.
Spending time with people like Gabriel and his family made the trip really special for me. Getting to see how the Lord had grown and used friends during the five years since I’d seen them was encouraging. It’s just a simple thing, the reunion of friends, but it was a wonderful snapshot of all God can do in a life and how faithful He will be to complete the work He has begun in each of us. None of our journeys are complete; they’re just five years further along so it gave me a lot of hope, too, hope in all God will do in the future. It has nothing to do with us and everything to do with who He is.
I sometimes liken the part I get to play in building God’s Kingdom to the part a two year old plays when they help wash dishes. They might throw some suds around on the dish, but the adult takes care of the real work. This isn’t to say the Lord only gives us petty jobs; rather, He’s the one accomplishing the work, no matter how big or small. It’s His power and strength working through me, and doing it with Him is the greatest treasure. Just like time spent with your two year old is the real treasure, not the twice cleaned bowl.
It’s Him enabling us to serve. It’s Him walking with us every step of the way. “He who called you is faithful; He will surely do it.” 1 Thessalonians 5:24
Learn how a bicycle can make a huge difference for a missionary – Click Here to watch the video!
- Gospel For Asia -supported missionary Samuel stands beside his wife. A jail term on false accusations has kept them apart for more than five years.
Jharkhand, India, is home to thousands of insurgent Naxalites fighting for communist control. After a vicious fight that left 19 policemen dead, authorities were on the lookout for the Naxalite rebels behind the attacks. They believed they found one in 2004, and this “rebel” has been serving time in jail since then. But this man wasn’t one of the Naxalites. He was Gospel for Asia-supported missionary Samuel.
When it first happened, Samuel’s leaders tried everything they could to get him released. But the police were convinced Samuel was the man they wanted. With continued appeals and court cases, time dragged into years. But Samuel has remained firm in his faith—and his calling as a missionary—the entire time.
“Many of our missionaries face extremely difficult and unexpected circumstances,” said Gospel for Asia President K.P. Yohannan. “But they know these are normal challenges for servants of God working in such unreached areas where the powers of darkness are so strong. These missionaries are willing to face these unexplainable circumstances and continue on. And God is blessing their sacrifice.”
During his time in jail, Samuel has brought his ministry there. Today he leads prayer meetings for the criminals, also worshiping with them during Sunday and Friday gatherings. The jail authorities have come to trust and appreciate Samuel, whose influence has changed many prisoners’ lives forever. Nearly 20 inmates found new hope in Christ.
“I was totally depressed in this situation, but the Lord helped me to realize He has a special plan for me to be in the prison,” Samuel wrote. “The Lord is helping me to share the love of Jesus with the prisoners. Through my ministry, I see the transformation that is happening in the lives of the prisoners.”
However, Samuel’s wife and daughter are still on the outside, waiting and praying for Samuel to return home to them. Gospel For Asia leaders are making sure his family’s needs are met during this time of separation.
“These missionaries are willing to face these unexplainable
circumstances and continue on. And God is blessing their sacrifice.”
—Dr. K.P. Yohannan
Gospel For Asia correspondent writes that the court situation seems to be turning in Samuel’s favor. They continue to hold out hope and pray for his release.
Gospel For Asia leaders and Samuel’s family request prayer that in God’s timing, his innocence will be proven and he can go home. Samuel desires to reach as many people as possible during his time in jail, and he prays the new Christians’ faith will grow strong. Samuel and his family need prayer for the Lord to be near them during these difficult years.*
I can’t imagine being thrown in jail just because I’m a missionary. Samuel’s story reminds me of Hebrews 13:3 “Remember the prisoners, as though in prison with them, and those who are ill-treated, treated, treated, treated, since you yourselves also are in the body.” Wow, I am not sure what it is like in prison or jail but it doesn’t seem very nice. There are hundreds, if not thousands of brothers and sisters around the world who are in prison and are ill-treated on a regular basis. Man I am so blessed to be in America where I can have a Bible and go to church and pray and share my faith in public. Please pray with me for our brothers and sisters around the world. Specifically pray for Brother Samuel. He has a court date at the end of this month. If the courts will hear his case, he has a good chance of being released as a free man and will be united with his wife and daughter. Also, pray for the men he has led to the Lord in the prison that their faith will grow strong.
* You can read more stories of what the Lord is doing on the mission field
Before Jesus ascended into heaven, he left us with the command to “be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8). That wasn’t just a suggestion for the 12 disciples to attempt, that proclamation was the mission statement for all adopted sons and daughters that would be brought into the Kingdom from that day forward to give their lives to.
Overwhelming when looked at from a logical standpoint, sure. But the first part of that verse states, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you.” So we know that this isn’t to be done in our own strength; that would be impossible. God gave us the command to spread His name around the world, but He also said that He is going to be with us.
Therefore, my job is to be obedient in stepping out on this. The only reason I was even saved in the first place was because a camp counselor in Virginia was obedient to God in telling people about Him. How could I be okay with doing any less?
So how does my life fit into God’s plan for world evangelism? It’s my entire reason for being here on earth. However, what that looks like specifically will probably change throughout my life. In high school, it was to be a witness for him and to tell the people at my school about His love and salvation. I didn’t do a great job at fulfilling that, but I did help lead my best friend to the Lord. For right now, it means serving in the office of Gospel for Asia and doing anything I can to help bring the Gospel to the most unreached people in the world.
Beyond that though, there is a lot I can be doing. If it is true that I can only help fulfill the Great Commission with the help of the Holy Spirit, which I irrefutably believe is the case, then I must learn what it is like to be led by the Holy Spirit. God isn’t just going to take control of my body and do everything He wants done on earth, although I often think that would be a much easier way to go. No, He is going to always give us the option to follow Him or to follow the world.
Therefore it is absolutely crucial that I develop and maintain time every single day to spend with the Lord, seeking His face and learning His heart. I am naive to think I can even make it through a normal day at the office and be in anyway effective without total dependence on the Lord.
Paul was obedient to the Lord’s direction even when it meant he was walking to his own death. He had no care for himself or his own life, his only concern was to see the lost saved and to glorify the Lord.
I need to have that mindset that I am not my own; not my body, not my time, not even my thoughts or emotions. I have no rights; and this is a wonderful and merciful thing! Living for what I want in the past has ended in confusion and angst and dissatisfaction. Living with no thought to what I want has brought me only peace and contentment and joy because I am no longer looking at myself. I have no reason to be concerned about anything because my life is in God’s hands and if He wants it to be easy then it will be easy, and if he wants it to be hard then it will be hard. The peace comes from knowing that it’s no longer my concern or in my control.
But this is not easy. It’s not even close.
It’s completely unnatural to not try and plan out my future and stress and wonder how things are going to get done. It’s unnatural not to look at myself and see all these issues and wonder how I can fix things and get consumed in creating solutions. Yet that just brings us back again to how crucial it is that this life is not lived on our own strength, but rather through surrender to the Holy Spirit. I can’t even desire to follow the Holy Spirit without His help!
Prayer, fasting, meditation, studying scripture; these spiritual disciplines are now realized as more than something for my own personal benefit. While they do have significant impact on my life, personal improvement is not always enough motivation for me to dutifully practice each one. But it’s so much more than that. Doing each of the things above brings me into a deeper relationship with God which in turn allows me to be more sensitive the Holy Spirit and therefore more able to be used by God to fulfill the Great Commission.
It’s not just working at a computer at Gospel For Asia that helps to plant churches. If I neglect my relationship with the Lord, I won’t make it here. The way I spend my time and guard my thoughts are just as important so that I remain close to the Lord and able to be used by Him to save people from an eternity in Hell.