Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year

This year, Chinese New Year (CNY) begins on Saturday, February 10, marking the new year’s arrival (on the traditional Chinese calendar) for nearly one-sixth of the world’s population. The whole celebration lasts 16 days, from New Year’s Eve through the Lantern Festival on the 15th day of the new year. For a portion of those days, nearly 1.4 billion people return to their family homes, making it the largest annual migration of people on earth.

Once home, families usher in the New Year by eating a family meal together, honoring their ancestors with offerings, exchanging gifts of money, and generally welcoming good fortune into their lives for the upcoming year.

The reunion meal, eaten on the Eve of Chinese New Year, is considered to be the most important meal of the year. Before the meal begins, the family honors their ancestors by offering food and lighting incense. Then the family enjoys many symbolic foods, which, when consumed, are believed to ensure a happy, healthy, and prosperous year. On the stroke of midnight, fireworks are set off to scare away evil spirits and bad luck. Many cities have huge public displays, but some families and businesses also have private ones.

Liberal use of the auspicious color red also courts good fortune in the new year. Red lanterns, banners, couplets, and symbols decorate businesses and homes. Red clothing is a must and is thought to protect people and bring good luck and fortune.

Giving money in bright red packets is a way to pass on good luck. Children delightedly receive the envelopes from family members and close friends. Married people pass these packets to their single friends, and businesses often give them to their employees and loyal customers.

During this time, people adhere to many rituals and taboos. There is to be no cleaning of the home, laundry, or even oneself on New Year’s Day. To do so would be to sweep or wash good fortune away, ensuring a difficult year. One should not use sharp objects such as knives, get a haircut, break anything, say unlucky words (“death” or “sickness”) or do anything taboo that could cause good fortune to leave the family.

Please pray that people would realize that wealth alone can blind one to their true state of being. As Revelation 3:17 says: “You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind, and naked.”

HOW CAN WE PRAY:

  • Pray that Beyond field workers would be ready to engage those celebrating CNY with the truth of the gospel.
  • Pray that the seeds sown during this time will find fertile soil and will take root, and pray that those who hear will come to know that life in Christ is the best choice they could ever make.

 

Freedom from Demons, Baptism and 40 New Churches

Freedom from Demons, Baptism and 40 New Churches

Moon (literal translation of his name into English) is from a poor, nomadic, unreached people group in India. Illiterate and low caste, Moon had no job and no prospects. He lived on the side of the road in a plastic tent, sleeping on adirt floor. Moon was estranged from his wife because of his abusive anger. He was once arrested for getting violent with a girl. He fought anyone and was afraid of no one.

Sanjay and a friend, Jacob, had been working closely with Moon’s community leaders for a couple of years. The leaders asked the two men for help. Sanjay and Jacob’s first impression of Moon was that he was simply crazy. He even drank the blood of goats when they were butchered in the market. What kind of person was this!?

For months, Sanjay and Jacob returned to Moon’s community to visit with him and pray for him. Most people avoided Moon. Sanjay and Jacob loved him. During the course of a year, they saw change. Moon became a follower of Jesus. He became peaceful. He and his wife reconciled. They now have a son.  As a family, they eagerly share their story with others. 

Sanjay estimates that over 40 new house churches have been birthed through Moon and his wife’s efforts. Moon has even baptized new followers of Jesus who he is discipling.

Like the story in the Gospel of Mark, chapter 5, Jesus is still in the business of rescue. Rescued new disciples are making more disciples. The movement churches reported more than 100,000 baptisms in two months, across 16 states in India. This is the power of multiplication—every disciple making another disciple.

 

RELATED STORIES

MY LIP HAS FALLEN OFF (KRISH’S STORY)
Krish grew up in a devout Hindu family. For six years, he had been an active member of a radical pro-Hindu group. read more …

FRIEND, PEON, MANAGER
In the West, it is the general practice for a business owner to hire a manager if he or she doesn’t have. read more …

IN SPITE OF THE BEATINGS
The two men shared a Bible story with the family. The family liked the discussion. The men didn’t preach, but simply shared the story, read more …

The Bridge of Hair and the Lamb

The Bridge of Hair and the Lamb

Kent was prayer-walking, which is simply walking while praying for people along the way and the area. On his walk, Kent visited an Indonesian mosque. Quickly, he was surrounded by young men curious about “the foreigner.”

Abruptly, a young man shouldered his way to Kent and sternly asked, “How can you claim Jesus is God if he cried out on the cross, “My God, My God, why have you abandoned me?’”

Kent answered briefly, then met with him on several other occasions. When Kent moved to another city, a coworker continued meeting with the young man.

They discussed a story well known among his people group: On Judgment Day, people will be trapped at the edge of a fiery abyss. The only way to God will be over a bridge the width of one-seventh of a hair. The bridge breaks from the weight of people’s sin, and they fall into the fire below.

Occasionally, they say, God sends a pure lamb across this narrow bridge. Anyone who rides this lamb can safely cross the abyss to God.

Nothing spiritual happened during the first discussion of this story. Yet weeks later, perhaps through the working of the Holy Spirit, when the story was mentioned again, he looked startled. He slammed the table and said, “Jesus is that Lamb; isn’t He?” That day, he trusted the Lamb to carry him safely into God’s very presence!  

We give glory to the Holy Spirit for this revelation and acknowledgement that He is the best teacher. May the Holy Spirit continue to reveal His truths and multiply disciples in this region!

*pseudonym

READ RELATED STORIES

THREE MAJOR HINDRANCES -4000 DISCIPLES
Hanli* helped her husband track data describing their region’s largest family of church planting movements. 
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SUSI, IS STILL SEARCHING
The ladies dished some carrot cake before Jane asked Susi to share her story. Susi had grown up in a difficult home.   read more …

REMEMBER SUSI, THE SEEKER
Since Susi’s husband and extended family do not believe, she remained cautious about fully committing herself to read more …

Guns, Knives, and a Motorcycle Gang!

Guns, Knives, and a Motorcycle Gang!

Charlie and Sarah met with Ali, who has shown great hunger for reading stories from the Bible about Jesus. Charlie and Sarah wanted to establish him in the pattern of reading the Word, obeying the word, and then telling others in his circle of influence. He had already voiced that he now believes Jesus can save us from sin. But he was more resistant to the fact that Jesus is actually God.

When they arrived to meet with Ali, he asked to go to a quieter location. So, they found a nice quiet shelter on the side of the road, which was empty when they arrived. It didn’t stay that way, though, as they were joined by two foreign tourists, a couple from another island wanting to buy land, and a motorcycle gang. Next, an older couple arrived with a basket of food, sat down with them, and started setting up lunch for a large group. Then a group of six angry-looking farmers arrived, carrying guns and knives. The farmers had come to help the older couple find their cows, which had been stolen the night before. But they had to eat lunch first.

While they were eating, Charlie and Sarah prayed with them in the name of Isa al Masih (Jesus) for them to find their lost cows. They read the story of the one lost sheep, though  by this time several parallel conversations were happening at once. Then, all but Charlie, Sarah and Ali left on their quests. 

Following that sequence of interruptions, Charlie and Sarah finally got to lead Ali in a discovery Bible study about the life of Jesus. He was very engaged and asked several very deep questions, which encouraged them. 

God showed Charlie and Sarah that He can work even in the midst of chaos. In fact, God thrives in these types of situations. They still don’t know Ali’s motivations or what he truly is looking for. In any case, God loves him and knows his heart.  

Join us in prayer for Charlie and Sarah’s continued communication with Ali, and for Jesus’ breakthrough in Ali’s life.

*pseudonyms

READ OTHER STORIES FROM CHARLIE AND SARAH BELOW

QUEENS, KILLER BEES AND MULTIPLICATION
“As we took our discouragement to the Father,” Sarah shared, “God reminded us of a seemingly unrelated experience a few
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JESUS HEALS AS IS WRITTEN IN THE QUR’AN
“This was the same lady, Ibu Muli, in whose home we now sat. She told us that immediately after the prayer, her back had been healed, and read more …

I TOLD HIM I WAS QUITTING
*Charlie worked in the IT industry. He specialized in indirect sales and marketing; he educated and supported hundreds of salesmen. He also led efforts to simplify  read more …

Insiders & Outsiders

Insiders & Outsiders

Lately, *Chad and *Tia have had great discussions with their local teammates about some key paradigms in disciple-making movements that are not usually seen in traditional mission work

As outside catalysts serving in Indonesia, Chad and Tia know that every believer has a vital role to play in bringing the gospel to unreached peoples. Their part is different from that of near-culture believers (those whose culture is similar to but slightly removed from that of a neighboring people group), and both of those roles are different from the part a cultural insider will play.

“While talking with our teammates about this concept, we saw the lights come on for one of them,” Chad says. “She shared how when her mom, who is from West Java, witnessed to another West Javanese person, there was so much more natural understanding than when she herself had shared with the same woman. Though she had seen the principle in action, she couldn’t explain it. As we talked, she immediately recognized that the principle was true and important to remember. 

“We shared with our team how near-culture servants are vital for bringing the gospel to an unreached group of people, but usually someone from inside that culture can most effectively and quickly share the Good News and communicate biblical principles. With fewer cultural and linguistic hurdles, insiders can multiply disciples more quickly — in a culturally relevant way — and the Kingdom can grow at optimum speed.”

*pseudonyms

MAKING INROADS
Chad has been enjoying getting to know “D” through their mutual work for the last several months. 
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WHAT CAN I DO …
we’ve constantly been willing to reevaluate and assess what we are doing, we have seen  read more …

WHAT WILL THE TEAM DO NOW?
The men told *Chad and *Tia, their partners and Beyond mission catalysts, the exciting news. “Praise God!”  
read more …