He Taught a Communist Rebel to Study the Bible

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

Related Articles:
From Persecuted to Welcomed
Trusting the Holy Spirit to Speak to my Family
Seedlings
Making Inroads

Do You Go Beyond the Four Walls?

Do You Go Beyond the Four Walls?

Learning the basics of Disciple Making Movements requires a paradigm shift for pastors of well-established denominational churches. The idea of reaching lost people more effectively by going outside the four walls of the church is daunting. Choosing to go to the lost instead of to invite them into church buildings can be a challenge!
 
But in the Philippines, Alex* continues to coach twelve traditional church pastors in disciple-making principles via Zoom calls. Says Alex, “It’s as if the Lord has blown down the four walls of many of their churches.”

There are now over 70 house churches among this group of pastors! During this time of pandemic restrictions, they have answered the Lord’s call to go. They report that more people are hearing the gospel and being discipled via house churches than when they invited people to church and followed their normal routines. Two of the pastors have 35 and 15 house churches respectively! Another was called before the community “captain” because one of his groups exceeded the community’s present pandemic restrictions. They have since multiplied to become two house churches!

Praise God for moving His Church into the world — and growing it — during this present crisis.

*pseudonym

The Power of the Simple Story . . .

The Power of the Simple Story . . .

The Gospel is unstoppable and uncontainable: like a river, it flows despite obstacles and barriers. It penetrates the hard-to-reach places, seeping in because the spreading of the Gospel has nothing to do with man and EVERYTHING to do with God. In this story from the field, our team in South Asia give us a glimpse of how the Gospel continues to spread despite persecution and resistance.
Soma sent us a couple of voice messages last week. One was a recording he took of a conversation he had had with a leader who has been with us almost since the beginning. This man was part of the second group we ever trained. Only two men from that group applied, but–oh, what fruit they have borne! So many generations!

At some point this year, this brother was forced to leave his home. The Hindu radicals in his village simply ran him out. Here’s a brief summary of that conversation between Soma and the leader:
Radical Hindu groups are forcing their way into Christian homes, searching for Bibles. They threaten the people when they find something. They also bring cameras with them and take photos of the Christians in the homes. Discovery Bible Study is proving to be really powerful because it is so simple. But, we must continue to keep it simple. People must just learn the Stories, then the method gets passed along. People must memorize the Stories, instead of carrying a Bible. [In other words, the whole thing must be done orally or with speakers, not with actual Bibles.] When these radical groups find no Bibles, they treat the people better. How great it is to simply discuss a Story, even without a Bible!

I did not hear defeat in their voices. They were just stating the facts while declaring that the Work is continuing/will continue. Hallelujah! It’s a precious thing to realize illiterate followers of Jesus know more Scripture than we do. They’re memorizing the Stories because they have to! We are also praying about how to get more audio speakers (hand held devices with select scriptures and story sets) distributed. Historically, we’ve paid for Bibles and audio speakers from the same fund. Right now, that fund has dropped to the lowest it’s ever been. We’re not sure what that means. Are we to stop buying Bibles because owning one causes trouble for people? Having a speaker in their homes seems to be more innocuous. So, is it time for us to raise more funds to purchase as many speakers as we can? We invite you to pray with us for this.

Join us in prayer for these innovative and resourceful leaders. Pray that we will be able to raise funds to buy more speakers and pray that like a mighty, unstoppable river, the Good News of the Gospel will continue to flow despite the opposition and persecution.