This week we organized our quarterly Local Missionary Convention. We gathered all of our local missionaries who are working at The Hub, Pilot, The Edge, 26 Tribes and Bamboo, on the Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar borders. We had a wonderful time of training, strategizing and refreshing.
On day three of the Local Missionary Convention, each of the local Within Reach Global missionaries gave updates and reports from their respective mission fields. It was absolutely unbelievable to hear all the praise reports. Here are a few of them.
The church plants in Bamboo region have recently been undergoing heavy government pressure and persecution. However, there is a real spiritual hunger in the Bamboo region, and the churches have grown from 50 people to over 250 weekly believers. They meet in a few different locations throughout the week, and come to grow in their newfound faith.
But the state church stepped in and told them that they need to register Bamboo church with the government. Bamboo church members were split. Some were scared, and decided they wanted to register so they would not be persecuted. Others said that they would continue as an underground church.
This split was painful, but also began an evangelistic team which now goes out preaching in parks and schools around the city.
Recently as one of the Bamboo church evangelistic teams were preaching, they entered the home of an 83 year old woman and her family. The old woman had died nearly one week earlier, and in the midst of all the burial preparations, they prayed for her to raise from the dead. Miraculously, the 83 year old woman sat up and came back from the dead. People were terrified and amazed, and a sense of awe fell over the home.
The evangelistic team still goes out preaching twice a week in public areas, and they are seeing much fruit.
Home to our children’s ministry, The Edge has been touching kids and their families for almost two years now. The tribal kids are learning to pray, and are meeting Jesus in that simple way that only a child can.
But in the midst of all this great ministry among unreached tribal families in The Edge region, the state church has been persecuting our local missionaries, threatening to turn them in to the police if they do not stop sharing the gospel. Remember, this is a supposed Christian church persecuting them. But because it is government sanctioned, our team has always been wary weather or not the pastor was even a true believer.
In the midst of the persecution and threats, our team continued sharing the life of Jesus with the children, and many of the parents have been touched by their love as well. “Teacher, I know you are so busy,” one of the children texted our co-worker while they attended our Local Missionary Convention. “At first I did not want to bother you, but I just couldn’t help it. I miss you so much!”
Stories like this melt our hearts, and we see the love that these tribal people sense through a Christian touch.
Just last month, our co-workers learned that the head pastor of the state church was demoted, and removed from his position by the government. It is truly and answer to prayer. They are no longer receiving persecution, and the ministry is flourishing. God’s hand is on the righteous, and He punishes the wicked.
There are so many more stories that we would love to share with you. A new second hand clothing ministry to Buddhist monks in the 26 Tribes region has softened hearts to the gospel. One monk even asked our local missionary, “What rank of government official are you to be so generous with me?” The monk was amazed that someone would give him free clothing. Our co-workers have had many opportunities to preach the name of Jesus.
One of our local missionaries who got saved at Pilot, the first Within Reach Global training center, is the son of the village witchdoctor. Until now, his father is extremely angry with him for becoming a Christian, and bringing “shame” to the family. Twice the witchdoctor has tried to kill his own son with a long knife. But our local missionary escaped out the door, and ran for his life.
Four months ago, the witchdoctor invited a communist party leader to his home to eat and drink with him. Our co-worker was there at home as well, and after the two had too much to drink, the communist part leader began to shout and ask our local missionary prying questions.
“Why have you been going to other tribal villages? What are you doing there?” Our local missionary responded boldly that he was telling people about Jesus, a fact that the communist party leader knew already. “If you don’t stop going to those villages, I will have you reported and beaten by the police,” the leader threatened. But our co-worker boldly responded with wisdom, “What you are threatening is against the law. And if you want to take me to the police, that’s fine with me. I am not married. I have no children. I am not scared for my life. But you should fear God, because He is on my side.”
The communist leader was silenced by our local missionary’s wise words. Four months have passed and nothing has happened to our local missionary. He has even intentionally returned to the village that the communist leader told him not to go. He is now discipling a handful of families in Pilot region.
God is a God of breakthrough. He is doing miraculous things through the ministry of Within Reach Global, and we are so thrilled to share them with you. May you be inspired to join us in touching the lives of people who have never heard the name of Jesus before.