The following story was provided by Missionary Adoption Program (MAP) missionaries serving in South Asia.
Texas Baptists, Brazil Baptists, and local churches in South Asia are partnering together to support indigenous missionaries in South Asia. These locations can take years for people like you and me to get to know the culture and customs. That is why having Christian believers who are from that area reach out to their own people, their own neighbors, their own culture, is so important. We are helping support those indigenous church planters reach their cities and we are seeing God intervene in amazing ways.
We have seen the needs of our workers being met, such as the need for cars, motorcycles and bicycles. These needs have been met through donations from our brothers and sisters and from local churches. Even in the face of so many challenges, we have seen the number of baptisms grow by more than 90% (176 baptisms) over the first four months. Our entire team has planted 32 churches; an increase of 70% from the first four months.
In a northern village, 30 people heard the Gospel for the first time. They learned that Jesus died for them, was resurrected, and will come back. Praise God for these people who came to know Jesus. They began discipleship and will soon be baptized. It was amazing to see the work of the Holy Spirit in action in this village.
At a different location, in the B village, when we shared the Gospel, people were very receptive and eager to know more about Jesus. In C village, five people openly came forward and accepted Christ as their personal Savior. In another nearby village, one of our missionaries stated that “a gentleman was very opposed when we would go to worship in this area. He used to rally people against us and try to stop the church's ministry.” However, one day he was seriously ill, and our workers shared the love of God with him and prayed for his healing. God healed him and he was surprised to see our love and God’s love in action. He came, asked for forgiveness, and became a follower of Jesus. Now he is calling others to come and hear about Jesus. Praise the Lord!
In D village, a 70-year-old believer died due to an illness. His relatives were also believers, but the challenge was what to do with the body of this believer if the custom, according to the Hindu rituals, was to burn the body, and many of his relatives were not believers. So, they asked our missionary what to do, and he gave them the suggestion of having a burial and having a service of gratitude for his life. They were very happy and the first thing they did in the ceremony was to testify that they belong to Christ. It is not an easy decision to make a funeral according to the Christian method in a Hindu village.
Thus, our workers held a memorial service of gratitude for his life the Christian way. They sang hymns and praises and encouraged others through the Holy Spirit with a blessed biblical message. Everyone from the village had come to see what would happen. The name of Jesus was exalted in this village to more than 500 people. The people of the village and all their relatives were surprised and saw for the first time a Christian funeral service being held. Praise God, everything went very well. Some people have shown interest in knowing more about the Bible.
In our work with Muslims, we had 35 people who accepted Jesus shortly after the Ramadan period. During Ramadan, there was a great mobilization of prayer in the churches. We had 39 churches committed to this project. Eighty-five leaders and pastors were challenged to invest in evangelism in the northern area of South Asia.