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Hope Rises From the Ashes

The Reality of Persecution

L.K., an ordained minister who has lived in South Asia his entire life, has seen churches burned down, public beatings, and consistent abuse (both physical and mental). He’s also witnessed the murder of Christians in a country that supposedly allows its people a guaranteed freedom of religion. In spite of all of this persecution, God’s kingdom is growing.

One Saturday night, the night before L.K. had planned to baptize believers in a nearby village, the unthinkable happened. “A father was killed by his son as the father was preparing to be baptized,” L.K. recalled. “The dead body was brought to the nearest police station, and I saw 12 people inside the newly built church—all of them praying. One of the elders told me that I should go back [to my village], otherwise if found, they maybe kidnap, physically torture, or kill me. We prayed together, and the Lord gave us comfort.”

Two weeks later, L.K. baptized 13 people. Stories like this are fairly common, said Paul Taylor, MTW’s international director of Asia/Pacific, who has spent time in this country alongside L.K. “These people have very little in the way of possessions; this is a very poor country,” Paul said. “When you add on top of that the fact that Christians are a miniscule portion of the population and the dominant religion is very intolerant of Christians, you’re going to have problems. But, there is an extremely dedicated group of Christians who are committed to sharing God’s Word with His people.”

New Believers from All Backgrounds

Paul, L.K, and Jon, an MTW missionary who has also spent time in the region, all agree—the Church in this part of South Asia is experiencing phenomenal growth. 

“You can catch glimpses of it happening—in the Buddhist, Hindu, and Animistic students at the local Christian school who are learning about Christ and coming to faith in Him,” said Jon. “Many villages now have churches where there had been none before. A Buddhist young man who was a relative to an area tribal king professed faith in Christ despite the threats of his family.”

Christ is Calling His Sheep

Although the emphasis in this country has been to primarily use local leaders such as L.K. to spread the gospel, MTW does have a team there. Jon recounted firsthand instances of being able to openly share God’s love with His people in the area.

“I have seen the gospel shared at tea shops, on buses, with neighborhood children, and preached beside national brothers in villages that have never heard of Christ. My prayer for this nation is that Christ would draw hundreds of millions to Himself. We long to see an exponential multiplication of biblical churches sound in doctrine and kindled in Spirit.”

In spite of the increasing number of believers in this country, it’s still very much an unwelcoming place for Christians; but amidst the threat of persecution, God is at work and His kingdom is indeed growing.

“Where [the] father was killed, today there is a wonderful church established,” L.K. said of the man preparing for baptism who died by his son’s hand. The original church building was burned down in 2006, but today there is a concrete church building built with the help of MTW. It often seems that Satan is winning over us, but as Christ died and was resurrected from death and won the final victory, today there is a church where the Living God is dwelling. Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Amen.”

Carter Davis Jun 4, 2013
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