House Parties Building Kingdom Relationships

*Gabriella lives in Central Asia and is the only known follower of Jesus in the city where she lives. For a while, she didn’t really share stories from the Bible with those around her. She was afraid.

*Frank and *Helen, Beyond movement catalysts, have been praying for Gabriella to have Jesus’ heart for the lost, especially for her own unreached people group. They were delighted to hear that she now hosts weekly dinner parties in her apartment. Delicious food, fellowship, and conversations around stories from the Bible are all on the menu! Every week several people gather, including a young man named Mahir.

Mahir began doing Bible studies with Frank a little over a year ago, and in a recent conversation, Mahir told him of the parties he was attending in Gabriella’s home. Mahir has not stopped studying the Bible! Instead, he has found a place for his interest to continue to grow, all because Gabriella stepped out in faith.

Please pray for Mahir and all who attend Gabriella’s parties to understand and obey the truth they read in the Bible. Pray they would share it with those they meet, that the Good News would spread through this unreached people group. And thanks to Beyond donors who support Kingdom relationships like these.

*pseudonyms

Spiritual Conversations Over Tea

“That song sounds nice, and it’s wonderful to hear new songs in the Tibetan language and style . . . but who is this Savior Jesus that you are singing about?” 

In the Himalayas, all good conversations happen over tea – sometimes in the home around a warm fire and sometimes in the warmth of the sun. Recently during these tea times, our Tibetan team members have begun sharing new worship songs they’ve written. They do this to spark a spiritual conversation with those around them.

Often an older family member will comment on the traditional Tibetan style of the song and inquire about the Jesus mentioned in the songs. The team then tells those gathered about Jesus and why they are his disciples. When the household or group of friends show further interest, the team leads them in a Bible study. A Bible app with sets of stories about Jesus and instructions on how to keep having discovery Bible studies is given to the group. 

Historically, Tibetans have been slow in walking the path toward following Christ, but it doesn’t have to be that way! Beyond donors, you’ve been part of bringing the gospel to this unreached region.  For that, we thank you. Please pray that interest in Christ would grow and that seekers would begin studying the Bible together.

Day 15: Shinbyu ceremonies in Myanmar

Nyan was excited as he dressed in the clothes of a prince for his Shinbyu ceremony. At 11 years of age, his family had finally saved enough money for him to spend a week at the Buddhist monastery. This event, which usually takes place in March, during school holidays, is the most important tradition for Buddhist families in Myanmar. Sending a son to the monastery for the first time is considered a blessing that will benefit the whole family and be a spiritual gift that will last a lifetime.

Everyone came out to watch Nyan parade to the most important pagoda in the village. Riding on a horse, he followed his parents around the Buddha statue. His mother carried a box with the white robes he would wear at the monastery. Later, Nyan’s hair would be shaved and kept in a cloth for his parents, and he would be formally accepted as a novice, observing the monastery rules and studying Buddhist scripture while he was there. But first – there would be a feast! 

Buddhism is practiced by approximately 90% of the people of the Myanmar and has the highest number of monks in terms of the proportion of the population of any country. 

HOW TO PRAY

Pray for Buddhist parents in Myanmar to know the good gifts that their Heavenly Father has for them and their children. (MATTHEW 7:7-11). 

Parts of Myanmar have seen ongoing conflict between different religious groups. Pray for peace and reconciliation through Christ. (COLOSSIANS 1:21-23) 

Pray a blessing on the children of Myanmar as Jesus did. (MATTHEW 19:14) 

Sourced from the Buddhist Prayer Guide

Day 14: Buddhism In America

American culture celebrates hard work and rewards individual accomplishment. A successful life is often recognized by the acquisition of material things. Buddhism, with its pursuit of the acceptance of suffering and a focus on suppressing desire does not seem like it would easily integrate into the American way of life. And yet, Buddhism is ever ready to adapt. 

Buddhism arrived in America with Chinese immigrants seeking their fortunes in the Gold Rush of the mid- 1800s. Japanese immigrants helped popularize Zen Buddhism in the mid 1900’s and young Americans travelling in India and Thailand developed an interest in Buddhist meditation in the 1960s and 1970s. Around this time, there was also an increase in immigration to the United States from East Asia. This created a Buddhist population which is a combination of immigrants and converts, who adapted traditional practices to suit their own needs. 

Today, only about 1% of the US population identifies as Buddhist and the majority of those are immigrants. Some Americans have incorporated Buddhist traditions such as meditation, yoga and the burning of incense in an effort to acquire the peace they hope it will bring. 

HOW TO PRAY
Pray for Buddhist immigrants to the US to meet Christians who will share their friendship and their faith. (MATTHEW 25:38-40) 

Pray for American Buddhists, seeking peace and wisdom, to find the truth that sets them free. (JOHN 8:31-32) 

Pray for the church in America, to be light and salt to Buddhists in their nation. (MARK 9:49-50) 

Sourced from the Buddhist Prayer Guide

Day 13: The Buryats

About 500,000 Buryat people live across northern Russia. Bayrma was born to a Buryat family in Siberia. Her maternal grandmother practiced shamanistic rituals when there was a family need. At school, Bayrma was taught that God was an outdated belief. Her paternal grandfather prayed with Buddhist prayer beads, burned incense before a small Buddha statue and visited a Buddhist temple once a year. But Buddhism was a mystery to Bayrma. No one talked to the children about it. 

When the Soviet Union collapsed, Bayrma’s father announced they now had freedom to follow the Buddhist path. It was the way of their ancestors. Bayrma’s first visit to a Buddhist temple left her with many questions. Why were the prayers in Old Tibetan, a language they couldn’t understand? Why did they have to pay money for the rituals? Why were there so many Buddha statues and why could you not turn your back on them? Her father had no answers. He too was learning Buddhism. They were Buryats so they were Buddhists, he said. 

In college, Bayrma was asked by some foreigners to help with some translation work and she became friends with them. She began attending a Bible study with them and was fascinated by a Bible in her own language. She began finding answers to many of her questions in its pages. She found stories in the Gospels that she could relate to. Putting her faith in Jesus gave Bayrma a new identity, one that was clear and free and led her to salvation. 

HOW TO PRAY

The Buryat are surrounded by many religious – and non-religious – belief systems, but few Christians. Pray that they will experience the living Christ. 

Pray for the Buryat to discover their identity as God’s beloved children. (1 JOHN 3:1-2) 

Be inspired to pray for the Buryat from PSALM 115. 

Sourced from the Buddhist Prayer Guide

Day 12: Buddhism in Vietnam

Whenever they could, Mai and her friends took weekend trips to visit nearby temples. It was refreshing to get out of the city, especially to visit temples in the mountains, and the Huong temple has a cave which shelters many different shrines to deities and even special rock formations which are considered sacred. 

There are many others visiting the temple on a pilgrimage. Mai is not particularly devout, but Buddhism is a part of life in Vietnam and she makes a point of stopping at two particular rock formations called Nui Co (the girl) and Nui Cau (the boy) to ask  for the blessing of a child, which she and her husband have been longing for. When she leaves, she will pay a dollar to a person holding small birds in cages. The dollar pays for the bird to be released, which Mai hopes will mean merit for her in a future life. 

Buddhism has a long history in Vietnam and although many Vietnamese practice traditional religions or no religion, Buddhism has influenced the culture of the nation significantly. Buddhism is the largest organized religion in Vietnam, with about 15% of the population calling themselves Buddhist. 

HOW TO PRAY

Pray that Buddhists in Vietnam will experience the Father’s love for them. (MATTHEW 10:29-31) 

Pray for churches in Vietnam – whether they have been able to take services online or have had to stop meeting due to COVID-19. Pray that church members would grow in their faith and be witnesses to their neighbors. (EPHESIANS 6:14-15) 

Vietnam has a vibrant culture, globally renowned cuisine, and a growing economy. Pray that their leaders will promote justice and peace in the nation.
(1 TIMOTHY 2:1-4). 

Sourced from the Buddhist Prayer Guide

Day 11: Sinhalese Buddhists in Malaysia

An and his family were building a special sandcastle to celebrate the new year. Each grain of sand in the castle represented a wrongdoing and would be washed away when the tide came in, enabling their family to start the new year well. An worked to make the castle higher! 

In Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on the night of the first full moon in April, Buddhist groups such as the Sinhalese celebrate the Theravada New Year. This marks the beginning of the lunisolar calendar, a system that marks both the phases of the moon and the solar calendar. This calendar was commonly used in many east Asian cultures and several Buddhist celebrations are determined by it. 

The Sinhalese in Malaysia originally migrated from Sri Lanka, an island nation south of India, in 1890. Many of them came to assist the British colonial government with the administration of Malaysia and they brought their own form of Theravada Buddhism with them, funding some large temples which are still active and prosperous. About 30,000 Sinhalese Buddhists live in Malaysia today, and Buddhism is the second largest religion in Malaysia, with about 20% of the population, mostly ethnic Chinese, identifying as Buddhist. 

This excerpt is based on a prayer entry from Global Prayer Digest, now merged with Joshua Project’s Unreached of the Day, https://joshuaproject.net/pray/unreachedoftheday 

HOW TO PRAY

Pray that the Sinhalese in Malaysia, as well as in Sri Lanka, come to realize that Jesus Christ Himself is the Light of the World, the true source of spiritual truth for which they hunger. 

Pray for faithful workers who live out and communicate well the message of good news that Jesus has come to light their darkness. 

Pray for every Sinhalese family to come together in gratitude and worship of the One who created the sun, moon, and the stars. 

Sourced from the Buddhist Prayer Guide

Day 10: Buddhists in Thailand

Nung tugged at her mother’s sleeve. “Ma, why are the monks here?” she asked. Her mom answered, “Your little brother has been sick for two weeks and the doctors don’t know why. We have asked the monks to chant for him to bring him healing.” The monks set up in the boy’s room to chant while Nung’s parents prepared gifts to give them after the ceremony. 

At the end of the chanting session, one of the monks took special string and tied it around the little boy’s wrists. He warned his parents, “Don’t break or cut the strings, or let him break them. They will keep his spirit safe in his body while he recovers from his illness. The boy’s parents then formally offered the gifts to the monks in thanks for their services. 

Nung’s brother recovered slowly. She was very happy when he could finally run and play with her as usual. Until primary schools were provided by the state, the only place for boys like Nung’s brother to receive early education was at the village temple. It is still common for many boys to become ordained and serve as a Buddhist monk for a few years before returning to secular life. 

HOW TO PRAY

Pray for boldness for Thai Christians to pray for Buddhist friends or family members when they are sick. Ask God to heal in response to these prayers. (LUKE 9:6) 

Pray for ongoing efforts in Thailand to improve access to healthcare and education in rural areas. (2 CORINTHIANS 9:8-10) 

Pray for young men serving as Buddhist monks in Thailand to find Christ on their journey. (MATTHEW 7:8) 

Sourced from the Buddhist Prayer Guide

Getting to the Harvest is Doable

Charlie and Sarah hadn’t planned on the pandemic. They began 2020 with plans to move to Southeast Asia in July, to join one of Beyond’s movement catalyst teams.

Though they had already left their jobs and were making preparations, the move was halted when their destination country closed to visitors. They hit their knees in prayer and sought God’s direction. 

God directed them to continue investing in a small team of intercessors who would stand in the gap for them and their ministry. They also learned that a medical issue was more complicated than they had initially thought, thus more easily addressed in the US.

After weeks of praying, God opened a door. Charlie and Sarah obtained a visa to enter their country of service. They arrived 10 weeks later than planned. “But,” they declare, “it wasn’t 10 weeks later than God had planned! God’s timing is perfect!”

Getting to the field is doable! God made a way through the obstacles, and Charlie and Sarah are stronger for it. 

*pseudonym

Day 9: Buddhism in Japan

Yua grew up in Japan surrounded by traditional religious practices. Every Saturday, Yua and her friends went to the Buddhist temple for Japanese calligraphy classes which took place after chanting and meditating. They also went regularly to the Shinto shrine to learn martial arts. First, they would clean the shrine, chant, and meditate before practicing the martial arts called “Kendo” as taught by a Shinto priest. 

Buddhism first came into Japan in AD700-800 through scholars who introduced writing systems from China. At first, it was a belief for rich and educated people. As Buddhism spread in Japan, it merged with the existing spiritual traditions of Shintoism, which is often described as an animistic religion with a focus on many spirits who inhabit the natural world. Buddhism and Shintoism were practiced together, with little distinction between them until the late 1800s. At that time, the Japanese empire was restored, and Shintoism became the state religion. 

After World War 2 this changed, but the majority of Japanese continue to practice both Shinto and Buddhist rituals, with Shinto traditions used for weddings and blessings, and Buddhist rituals for death. 

HOW TO PRAY

The Japanese have adapted their beliefs to include many spirits. Pray for them to have the revelation of Jesus, who came to show us the Father. (MATTHEW 11:27) 

Only 1% of Japanese people are Christians. Pray for more workers to share the gospel here. (MATTHEW 9:37-38) 

Read PSALM 104 and be inspired to pray from it for the Buddhist people of Japan. 

Sourced from the Buddhist Prayer Guide