Why Had Jesus Appeared to Her?

One day, out of the blue, it occurred to Raleigh that she should pray for three of her Turkish Muslim friends to encounter Jesus through dreams and visions. She often prays this prayer for Muslims in general and for her friends in particular, so this notion was not out of the ordinary for her.

A few days later, she received a text from Adile, one of the friends she had prayed for. Adile is a conservative Muslim woman who has been part of a group doing Discovery Bible Study (DBS) with Raleigh. And she had seen Jesus in a vision!

While doing the prescribed prostrations for Islamic prayer, Jesus appeared and spoke to Adile. “The road [you are all on] is not wrong,” he said, “but a good step still has not been taken. Reading Scripture is not sharing Scripture. How are you [all] applying these verses to your lives? How are you consciously obeying them and, when you do obey them, what benefit do other people receive from it?” 

Adile thought a lot about Jesus’ words and also contemplated why Jesus had appeared to her rather than her honored prophet Muhammad. She knew the questions were not just for her; they were also for the others in the DBS group. When she shared what had happened, everyone in the group was deeply impacted. 

One man, a local partner, said, “Adile’s conversation with Jesus binds me even more to this group. Sometimes, even while we’re meeting, I wonder if I’m doing the right thing. Should I continue with this, or are we deceiving ourselves? This vision, though, affirms us . . . and challenges us. We have been fed and filled; we have learned and drunk. But how much have we been filled? Completely satisfied or just a little? Have we drunk deeply or just gotten our lips wet? How well have we understood? We’ve been asking the discovery questions but we haven’t placed importance on the last two questions: ‘How will you obey this?’ and ‘Who will you share with?’ From now on, let’s take obedience and multiplication seriously. What you’ve been fed, feed others. What you’ve understood, explain to others. Don’t keep it to yourself. We need to focus on that. ‘Reading Scripture is not sharing Scripture.’ What a great saying! I’m excited! Jesus is leading us, and he really knows what he’s doing.”

Raleigh was elated. God had answered her prayer! She began to wonder: “Does God answer that prayer every time I pray it? Has a Muslim somewhere had a dream or vision every time I ask God to show himself?”

Please pray for Adile and the two other Muslims in the Discovery Bible group. They love Jesus and read the New Testament but haven’t yet accepted him as Lord. Pray they see Jesus as more than a good teacher and prophet. Pray they would follow him as Lord and Savior and become winsome disciples.

*pseudonym

A Church Was Born

In the Tibetan Himalayas, a church was born — the first church in its district. Its members began to share the gospel with others from their own people group. This brought much fruit, resulting in the formation of several churches in neighboring villages. The first church also expressed a desire to go to different, nearby people groups, including the Tazig* people. Joel*, BEYOND’s Affinity Strategy Leader for the Tibetan Himalayas, works among the Tazig people and has kept in touch with this church for mutual encouragement.

About three years ago, a man from the church was hired as a teacher in a Tazig school and began sharing the gospel in the surrounding area. Soon thereafter, God led Joel and his team to invite a couple of the church’s missionaries to join their trek into Tazig country. These men accompanied the team on three of their month-long trips. They were able to see how the team discipled people they encountered for the first time, as well as those with whom they had already built relationships. “I have learned so much from joining you on this trip,” one man said. “I have come to this village before by myself, but I didn’t know how to talk to these people, and I didn’t know how to start a church, but by watching you, I have so many good ideas.” 

Joel learned that other men from the church were actively attempting to make disciples among different people groups, often walking long distances to reach them. Seeing their obedience to Matthew 28:19-20, Joel offered to lead a DMM (Disciple Making Movement) training for these earnest men. Seven men attended, including the church’s pastor and a young man who had traveled with one of the missionaries. They were thrilled with the training! One said, “I was already committed to doing this work, but now I know how to do it.” 

Two of these men have been commissioned to the Tazig people, one to a different Tibetan Buddhist group, and two more to Hindu people groups. Please pray for them as they go make disciples in these people groups. 

In Beyond’s free, online Nugget training: “What is Jesus Looking for in his Disciples?” we will look at what Jesus truly cares about when He asks people to follow Him. Join us Thursday, June 25th, from 7-8:30pm CST as we discuss explore some modern-day examples of how God is using ordinary people to further His Kingdom to the ends of the earth. 

*pseudonym

“Jesus Knows My Name”

Geriel*, an old Mongolian woman, had talked about Christ with her dear friend, Khulan*, many times, but Khulan was never interested in hearing more.

One day, Geriel heard about a five-day training on church planting that was being held near her home, and she decided to go. Kevin*, Beyond’s East Asia strategy coordinator, was part of the team teaching the principles and importance of Disciple Making Movements to the class. 

During the training, a portion of each day was spent learning and practicing how to engage others with truths from Scripture through the Discovery Bible Study (DBS) process. In a DBS, the Holy Spirit leads participants into understanding, as a facilitator asks a few simple questions about a passage of Scripture. Geriel thought she could try this method with Khulan using Jesus’ calling of Zacchaeus from Luke 19. 

That night, she found her friend and showed her the story of Zacchaeus. Geriel asked her to read the story twice, then asked if she understood it. Khulan said she did not understand.

Geriel asked her to read the story a third time and again asked if she understood. Khulan’s face began to brighten as realization dawned!  “Jesus knows my name,” she said, “and he’s calling me! He wants me to follow him too!” Right then and there, she decided to give her life to Christ! She said that, just like Zacchaeus, she would be the best disciple ever! 

When I talked to her, she never responded,” Geriel said. “But when the Holy Spirit talked to her, she saw herself in the story and responded to his voice!”

*pseudonym

Openness in SE Asia – Thanks to COVID

In light of the global COVID-19 pandemic, disciples of Jesus in Northeast Thailand have changed how they begin conversations with people when they go out to prayer walk and share the gospel. Media coverage and the extensive government lockdown have created fear and uncertainty. Going to nearby villages can draw criticism and opposition. Each village headman, assisted by volunteers, investigates any visitors from outside the village, especially those returning from other countries. 

Social pressure is intense, so adjustments have been made in approaches to sharing the gospel. Some believers have switched to only sharing in villages where disciples live and are known. Since more family members are at home together, they can all hear the Good News at the same time. And when more family members hear together, they are more likely to feel free to come to faith in Jesus.

Another adjustment has been ensuring that disciples who do go to other villages know how to prevent COVID-19 transmission and how to help those who may have the disease. The disciples have learned that, by talking about the pandemic and meeting a felt need by giving out health kits, they can create opportunities to engage in spiritual conversations. (The kits contain a small bottle of isopropyl alcohol, a bar of soap and hand towel, a hand-sewn washable face mask, a pamphlet on COVID-19 prevention produced by the Thai Ministry of Health, and a Scripture verse or Bible portion.)

After passing out kits, talking about how to prevent contracting the virus, and sharing information such as when to take loved ones for medical care, disciples ask, “Are you or your family suffering in some way from the lockdown?” or “Is anyone feeling anxious or fearful?” After listening to the reply, they share, “I follow Jesus, who gives peace that transcends all understanding and guards my heart and mind.” (Phil 4:7) The disciple then shares a relevant personal testimony, shares the gospel, or prays a blessing that addresses the particular concerns. Overall, believers are finding more openness to the gospel than in normal times.  Several have come to faith in just the past month!