The Fruit Vendors Loved Talking About Prophet Stories

Karly was studying Luke 10 with a group of believers in a heavily Islamic nation. They concluded that, as disciples of Jesus, they should be following Jesus’ instructions in the passage. Without bringing everything they might need, they should go out two by two into new places. They should talk to random people to see what God was already doing or would do among them. If invited to stay, they should be ready to bring the blessings of the Kingdom upon those willing to receive them. 

Though it wasn’t a new idea for Karly, she had to confess that it still didn’t sound fun to her. She would rather read a book about church planting strategy. Or write a book about it. Or pray for others to do it. Or teach people to do it. Or… lots of other things. But Karly knew that would be disobedience, and she chose to obey. 

She and her roommate went out and soon got invited to sit down and talk with the owners of a fruit stand. The young ladies ate fresh coconut as the owners demonstrated how to make a local fruit salad. They talked for almost two hours. The fruit vendors loved talking about prophet stories and invited the young ladies to come back and study more from the Bible.

When Karly’s group gathered again, each pair shared a story similar to Karly’s. They didn’t really want to follow the instructions in Luke 10, but they did anyway, and God faithfully led them to various people open to hearing about the gospel. God reminded them of the blessing of obedience.

When Did We See You Hungry and Feed You?

Beyond’s South Asia team has received hundreds of photos and videos from various movement leaders expressing their great appreciation for your generous giving to the COVID-19 relief fund. On their behalf, we’d like to thank you for your generosity. Thousands have been provided with food and several communities received wells for much-needed access to water. Your generosity has also provided medical help for many who were sick but, due to the lockdown, unable to earn money to pay for needed medicines. These relief funds even helped a few families rebuild their homes after Cyclone Amphan struck in May.

With your help, thousands of people have been blessed. 

We want you to hear directly from our partner Sanjay about the spiritual impact your giving has had. Below is a translation of one of his recent messages: 

I am sure that in these days thousands of people (many hundreds of families) . . . have started Bible studies in their homes . . . across nine states, including [a new state that opened to us during the lockdown]. Because of [the ration distributions], new Discovery Bible Studies have started . . .. Because we gave food to so many, all those people were able to see the work of…(the Kingdom). Our leaders (distributing rations) were met with astonished faces and people saying, “The Indian government doesn’t care for us or send us help, but you care for the poor.” They want to know more. Everyone is giving thanks to Jesus for the food (including many who don’t know anything about Him yet). They are ready to come to the Father through Jesus. I hope to get a real number of how many Bible studies have started since lockdown, how many have been baptized, and how many churches have been birthed out of these Bible studies. This report will not be about how many groups we leaders were able to start, but how much . . . (fruit came) . . . because of this Covid Relief effort (and how much work God did as we all simply obeyed His command to care for the poor and needy).

So many people are taking baptism these days. They are so joyful. They were concerned about not having food to eat, and now they take baptism, now they have the words of Jesus. I still have faith we will achieve the goal of 60,000 new churches birthed this year. God is our very present help.

We continue to accept donations toward this effort, as the lockdown is still in place, and rations are still being distributed. 

Most importantly, though, movement leaders are planning systematic follow-up in households and communities where God has opened doors through this relief effort. They are returning and spending time discipling the new families. By discipling whole families, followers of Jesus from an established movement can see new movements birthed in new regions and among previously unreached people groups!  Interested in Discipling Groups and Whole Communities? Sign up for our upcoming Nugget Training

These new discipling efforts require finances that go beyond their own capacity, particularly in this season.  

*pseudonym

Obedience So Grandmother Can Hear

As *YouLin and *Amy greeted one another and sat down, YouLin said excitedly, “Thank God I’ve had the opportunity to spend more time with my grandmother recently. I’ve been following up on what I told you I wanted to obey from our Bible discussion two weeks ago.” 

Previously, the women had read Luke 2:1-20, and YouLin had been impacted by the fact that, after the angels told the shepherds about Jesus, the shepherds hurried to find him. Then, upon seeing Him, they actively spread the news while glorifying and praising God for all they had seen and heard. In response to this story, YouLin’s obedience commitment was to make haste to share the Word of God with her grandmother and to openly praise God in her presence.

While her grandmother feels more comfortable using the local dialect, YouLin learned almost all she knows about God’s Word in the official language. She considered how to do what she felt God leading her to do. Amy mentioned that videos are available online that tell God’s stories in the local dialect. YouLin prayed, and the Holy Spirit led her to a YouTube channel containing stories from God’s Word in her grandmother’s dialect. 

The next challenge was to break the ice and share the stories in a way that wouldn’t seem like she was imposing them on her grandmother. God orchestrated an opportunity one morning as YouLin prayed and prepared her grandmother’s breakfast. The television was showing a depressing news report, and YouLin’s grandmother asked her to change the channel. Flipping through the channels, YouLin paused on a man telling a Bible story in her grandmother’s dialect. The grandmother’s eyes brightened, and she listened intently. After all, who doesn’t love a story — especially one in their own heart language? 

Afterward, YouLin asked her grandmother if she liked the story. She said she did, especially the compassion of the God in the story. She wanted to hear more! YouLin has since found a phone app that allows her to play Bible story videos through her grandmother’s TV. 

Give thanks for God’s creative answer to prayer and for YouLin’s persistence to obediently follow His promptings. Pray for this grandmother and others like her to receive Jesus with an open heart and become his follower, even in her 80s.

*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!

North Korea: “The Jerusalem of the East”?

North Korea has been much in the news lately. Let’s pray rich blessings over this nation and its people.

Let’s pray that God would birth a great spiritual awakening as He did in the early 1900s when a disciple-making movement spread through Pyongyang. By the 1920s, the movement had permeated the Korean peninsula. Whole families and regions came to Christ! The revival was based on principles found in the book of Acts, which we see in many movements around the world today.

John Nevius was a missionary whose ideas helped launch this dynamic movement. Instead of urging people to come to a building to listen to a key leader or two (attractional churches), Nevius believed in local, empowered leadership, the priesthood of all believers, and simple reproducible Bible studies which any believer could start and help others to start. As a result, the gospel spread like wildfire.

Simple, reproducible Bible studies multiplied from sarangbang (a room used for meeting or studying) to sarangbang. Previously, Christian workers had problems starting attractional churches, but through these methods, Bible studies multiplied faster than workers could keep up with them! Many of these sarangbang Bible study meetings developed into house churches in this truly indigenous movement.

The movement was hottest in Pyongyang; in fact, Pyongyang became known as “the Jerusalem of the East.” Some believed it was the fastest spiritual awakening seen since the one recorded in the book of Acts. Pyongyang became home to 300,000 Christians. Eventually, 29% of Koreans were involved in these house churches. 

  • Pray that God will launch a “Book of Acts” movement again so all people in this country can know Jesus’ love.
  • Pray God will equip and launch laborers into this harvest field.
  • Pray many will choose to follow Him in loving obedience. 
  • Pray for a great multiplication of house churches who love and serve their people and country.
  • Pray for God’s protection from Satan, for Jesus’ disciples. 
  • Pray for wonderful blessings for all the people of this country. 
  • Pray that we will once again see “average” believers do extraordinary things, through and because of Jesus’ love.