What Is Paul Doing Here?

When Joel,* a cross-cultural worker in Asia, arrived at the Disciple-Making Movement (DMM) training, he was shocked to see Paul*. “Why is he here?” Joel wondered. For six years, he’d tried to get Paul, a Tazig* believer, to attend a training. Joel had invited him multiple times, but Paul had never come. Why, then, was he at a training Joel hadn’t invited him to? 

The answer was Sami, an influential local pastor who had attended an online DMM training Joel had conducted. Sami had been so impressed that he wanted his whole network to take the training. Joel and Sami met to plan it. In the course of conversation, Joel mentioned his work among the Tazig and Sami remarked on his recent contact with Paul. Briefly, Joel shared his history with Paul.

That’s how Paul ended up coming to the training! Sami had invited him. God is using Sami to draw people otherwise unwilling to respond. 

In every movement documented, God has used the combined strengths of cultural outsiders and insiders to catalyze the movements. God is touching Sami’s heart to look beyond his church and pursue seeing every people group discipled. That includes the Tazig people and Paul!

*pseudonym

An Invitation They Couldn’t Refuse

*Karly and her roommate, *Julie, went back to visit the vendors at the fruit stand. Earlier, the young women had shared some Old Testament prophet stories with them, and they had been eager to hear more.

However, when they returned to share another story, the couple only wanted to debate. Karly and Julie disappointedly bought their fruit and turned to leave.

A man who had overheard their conversation followed them as they left. “Would you come to my house?” he asked. “We need to clean our minds with this kind of talk. Come and tell that story to the women at my house.”  The roommates looked at each other.  They were tired but this was the kind of invitation they prayed for. They couldn’t refuse.

Later, as Karly and Julie shared the story, the ladies served tea and freshly roasted peanuts. Everyone discussed the story, then the roommates prayed for those who were sick. They exchanged phone numbers to keep in touch.

Pray for this family as they encounter the truth of Isa al Masih (Jesus the Messiah). Pray too for Karly and Julie as they obey the Holy Spirit’s promptings concerning this new family.

*pseudonyms

A Holy Discomfort

Andy* is a young boy who lives in Thailand with his mom, dad, and new brother, Micah. 

His parents recently told him that many people had been praying for him since before he was born. They had prayed he would follow Jesus at an early age. Now they were praying the same thing for baby Micah. Andy knew for certain that he wanted his brother to be in heaven with him one day.

As his parents continued talking, Andy became very disturbed by the idea that some people he knows and loves, who don’t follow Jesus yet, won’t go to heaven. The idea took root in his heart for the first time. 

He was brought to tears when he realized some kids at his school don’t know Jesus yet, including one of his best friends, Prem. His parents told him that was the reason they had moved to Thailand. “As followers of Jesus, Andy, it is our job to pray for people’s hearts to be open to Jesus and to share Jesus with them.” 

“While the moment was emotionally hard,” Andy’s mom says, “it was beautiful as well. To watch his young heart understand in such a personal way was truly a gift. Having a face to pray for is much different from talking about a large group of people.” 

Lord, stir up a holy discomfort in all your followers concerning those who will not be in heaven with us. Billions of people can’t say yes to you — they’ve never heard of you! Break our hearts with this reality, Father. May we boldly share the glorious news of YOU with those around us. Call us to the nations for your glory. Amen.

*pseudonym

Seven Generations of Disciples

In North India, some women have been trained in making disciples. They have been faithful to apply what they’ve learned, and are experiencing joy from bearing fruit. They have also cast a vision for disciple-making in six districts of their state.

One of the leaders of this group, a lovely and gentle woman, recently shared her testimony. Two years ago, she became a follower of Christ. She, her husband, and their children had been idol worshipers. Her family was “broken and terrible.” They had no joy. Her husband drank all the time and beat her. Her children were undisciplined and refused to go to school. 

Then one day, she says, it was as if a light suddenly came on. That was the day she attended a Bible Study in a nearby home. She loved it. After participating in the Bible study for three months, she wanted to start one in her own home. Soon, she and her whole family were baptized. 

Today, through ongoing obedience to the Word and the application of its truths to their lives, this woman and her whole family have been changed. Her husband no longer drinks or beats her. Their children are full of joy. They actively share with others all that God has done for them. This one woman has started nine different Discovery Groups from which have come seven generations of disciples making disciples! 

Jesus promised to build His church and has not forgotten His promise. His Kingdom of love and light is growing in some of the hardest-to-reach places in the world, through simple disciples like these ladies in North India.

He Taught a Communist Rebel to Study the Bible

Two years ago, Ethan and Nicole* led an introductory disciple-making training in the Philippines with 14 seminary-trained pastors. Honestly, they had doubts about the outcome. Would traditional, denominational pastors be willing to go outside the walls of their church, outside the walls of their own traditions, in order to obey Jesus’ command to go (not invite)? 

Sure enough, months later, they’d barely heard a word from any of the participants. Then, nearly a year after the training, Jacob, one of the pastors, contacted Ethan. “I am mentoring a group of young pastors in Manila,” he wrote. ”Would you and Nicole spend a few days with us, doing what you did last year?”

After praying together, they decided Ethan would hold the training with Alex, a BEYOND colleague who lives in the Philippines. After the training, Alex could coach those wanting to apply what they’d studied. 

Since then, Ethan has occasionally wondered if anyone was applying the training and, if so, how it was going. In May, he received an encouraging email from Jacob.

“Three months ago, “Pastor G” taught a former Communist rebel how to study the Bible in his home with his family. He has been doing this for several weeks. Last week, the rebel’s son became severely sick, to the point of death. The father remembered the story of the woman who touched Jesus and the story of Jairus’ daughter. At his son’s death bed, he prayed, “Lord, we surrender our son to you if this (his death) is your will, but can you please heal my son as you have done for this woman and for Jairus’ daughter? 

His son immediately sat up and asked for water!

Thank you for this life-changing experience (the training and coaching). Today, our group has 45 non-Christian families studying the Bible in their homes.

Alex adds that since March, when the COVID-19 lockdown started, Pastor G’s church has transformed into eleven house churches, and it is still growing! They have many more people involved in these house churches than they had in their “building” church before the lockdown.

In Matthew 16:18, Jesus said, “I will build my church, and the forces of Hades will not overpower it.” Jacob and these pastors are discovering the joy and fruitfulness of simple obedience to Jesus. The Lord is building his church among the nations (the ethnic groups) of the earth! “All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the Lord, and all the families of the nations will bow down before him” (Ps. 22:27). Hallelujah! 

*pseudonym

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

“I’m in this Job for a Reason . . .”

God convicted *John of not sharing his faith with his unbelieving co-workers. He became convinced that God had placed him in the exact cubicle, in this exact job for a reason – to tell them about Jesus and what he had done in John’s life. 

John began by laying a foundation of prayer and asking some close friends to hold him accountable for sharing his testimony. He started going to lunch with six of his colleagues. He told them how the Bible had radically changed his life and asked if they would like to read it with him to learn what it says about God and people. Some of them rejected the suggestion outright; some remained silent. 

Undeterred, John asked others: “I’ve never fully shared with you my life story. Could I share with you over lunch how Jesus changed my life?”  John got a lot of no’s.

Then one day, John asked a manager named Jason, a known atheist, if he would like to study the Scriptures. Jason had been one of the silent people in the lunch group, but when asked one-on-one, Jason responded, “Sure. Why not?” Another co-worker said, “Yeah, I’ve never really read the Bible before.” John was surprised! These guys were the ones he had thought least likely to come!

On the first week, John printed out a short Bible story, and the group read through it. He asked what it said about God and about people. He then asked: “If this is true, how should you apply it in your life?” They were intrigued and kept coming to study. Word got around the office, and in a couple of months, most of those in the office were attending the lunch gatherings. 

It wasn’t a scary or intense time. People walked in, picked up a sheet of paper, and started talking about it. Barriers came down. It was simple, straightforward, and moved beyond the office as the attendees told the stories to family and friends.

In similar ways, BEYOND mission catalysts seek to make obedient followers of Christ among the unreached. These disciples make other obedient disciples who plant churches that plant other churches. By living open lives and using simple, reproducible methods, we seek to bring God’s glory and saving power to those who don’t know him.

*pseudonyms used

The Parable of Good Soils

Michael and Nicole* were excited to be asked by a couple they had previously mentored to train a group of refugees living in East Asia on how to implement a Discovery Bible Study (DBS). This couple had put in the time and effort to build relationships and gain trust with the refugees, and they wanted to see them equipped with tools that would enable them to reach their communities with the Gospel.

On the first day of the training, there were twelve people from six different countries in attendance (Uganda, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, and India, to name a few) including three residents from East Asia. The refugees had fled their countries for various reasons, some under duress and danger. One is a pastor from Uganda; another is from India studying to be a minister.

The group started with the parable of the soils from Luke 8. Michael and Nicole were pleased with everyone’s participation and how quickly they understood that the aim was to let scripture speak for itself through the group’s discussion of the passage and how they would apply it to their lives. The pattern of DBS, Michael and Nicole felt, was well established.

Two weeks later, Nicole went to lead the second lesson. She soon discovered that everyone had shared the Luke 8 passage with at least one other person, and Peter, the pastor from Uganda, had already started three DBS groups!

Michael and Nicole are encouraged by how well-suited DBS is to the lifestyle of the refugee and even more by the group’s willingness to hear from the Word of God and be obedient to it. They are continuing strong.

Please pray that these precious people will continue to seek the Father and encounter Him in the Word. Praise the Lord with us that this group has already seen its first fruits! A refugee woman from Egypt eagerly soaked up the studies and has recently become a follower of Jesus.

*pseudonyms