Sharing the Christmas Story: The Only Woman Named in the Qu’ran

Sharing the Christmas Story: The Only Woman Named in the Qu’ran

“Do you know the name of the only woman mentioned in the Qu’ran?” Nicole asked the four young women. They had been meeting as an English Club and had gathered for a Christmas celebration.

One woman knew the answer: Miryam (Mary). Yes, the mother of Jesus even has a chapter in the Qu’ran named for her.

Nicole asked if they would like to hear Mary’s story. Everyone was eager, so they began reading the story found in Luke. The women then discussed it by answering searching questions.

Finally, Nicole asked if anyone had heard the story before. The Buddhist woman, *Neha, shook her head. No, she never had. This was the first time she had ever heard the Christmas story. The Muslim women nodded their heads, but only because they’d heard the character’s names. This was their first time to hear the actual story.

There are over 2 billion others like these women: they have never heard the story of Emmanuel, God with us. They don’t know that he came – as one of us – to redeem us from sin and restore us to God the Father.

*pseudonym

Sharing the Gospel with Hindus

Sharing the Gospel with Hindus

Reaching out to Hindus with the love of Jesus requires some understanding of the unique challenges and opportunities they present. Here is some guidance as to things to consider when sharing the gospel with Hindus.

1. Offer Jesus’ forgiveness:  Bakht Singh, an evangelist and Indian convert from Hinduism, said, “I have never yet failed to get a hearing if I talk to [Hindus] about forgiveness of sins and peace and rest in your heart.” Since the Hindu system is based on karma, forgiveness is not available to Hindus.

2. Keep God’s personhood in mind: A personal God is able to empathize with and respond to our suffering, something an impersonal ultimate essence (Brahman) is unable to do. Hindus need to know that a personal, fulfilling relationship with a holy and loving God is available to them.

3. Ask and listen: Hinduism is a very tolerant religion because of its widely diverse beliefs, so it is important to listen to your Hindu friend’s particular beliefs about God, sin, salvation and so forth. You will probably hear the word “enlightenment”, the Hindu version of salvation—you may want to discuss with your friend the difference between salvation based on human effort versus that based on God’s grace and forgiveness.

4. Be humble: Because of their sacrificial lifestyle, Hindus often consider themselves spiritually superior to Christians. Humbly share your life with them and let them see the peace and love your relationship with God gives you.

5. Focus on Jesus: Even Mahatma Gandhi said, “I shall say to the Hindus that your lives will be incomplete unless you reverently study the teachings of Jesus.” Encourage your Hindu friend to discover Jesus for themselves, and to read the New Testament, particularly Luke or John.

6. Be aware of differing definitions: Be especially careful of the term “born again”. To a Hindu this means reincarnation, something from which they want to be liberated.

(Adapted from
Hinduism: A Religion Profile by International Students, Inc.)

Pleading with God for the Privilege

Pleading with God for the Privilege

Here is a message from Brad, a faithful friend and supporter of the work of BEYOND:

“It is a privilege to partner with BEYOND as they work to spread the gospel throughout the unreached world. I have supported BEYOND for many years through prayer, professional IT work, and financial giving.

“Personally, I invest in world missions in obedience to God’s word but also because of the law of sowing and reaping and God’s love of a cheerful giver. 

“Participating in the work of the gospel spreads the good news beyond the faithful to the world. The role of the messenger — the “herald” — is the primary means God uses to spread the gospel of the Kingdom to the entire world.

“My point is that the herald is most worthy of support in the Christian world. Paul wrote that God chose the preaching of the gospel, mere foolishness to the world, as the mysterious and powerful way to save the world.

“At the end of my life, I hope to be counted among those who pleaded with God (2 Corinthians 8:3-4) for the privilege of generously supporting God’s messengers and His work in the world.”

We are very grateful to Brad and his wife Susan . . . and to YOU.  Thank you for all the ways you support BEYOND, reaching the Unreached. 

The Rich, OLD Ruler

You’ve heard the story of the rich young ruler from Mark 10. North India also has a “rich ruler.” He isn’t young, though, which makes  it even harder to “sell everything.” Elders in India have standing. And this man has been a pastor for years! 

Recently a young newlywed couple moved into his area, having little or no social standing. But they didn’t let that stop them. They kept talking to the pastor about being disciples of Jesus, really following Him, and teaching others to do the same. The pastor was fascinated by their excitement. They had personal stories of miracles and of whole families getting baptized together! 

The “rich old ruler” had a choice to make: keep all he had and walk away, or sell all and follow. He chose to “sell all.” He humbled himself and began learning from the younger couple. The three of them are now a disciple-making team, bearing fruit among the lost. Whole households are giving their allegiance to Jesus. This “rich old ruler” was willing to lose his life for Jesus’ sake, and now he has truly found it.

Pray that new disciples quickly learn to love and obey Jesus, surrendering all, so his living water can flow through them to others.

Friend, Peon or Manager?

Friend, Peon or Manager?

In the West, it is the general practice for a business owner to hire a manager if he or she doesn’t have the time or desire to manage it themselves. In India, however, this is not the custom. The owner is the manager. He or she trusts no one else with the business. The owner manages, and everyone else is a peon. Yes, peon is a commonly used word in India. 

Imagine the wonder, then, that people living in this rigid society of hierarchy feel when they hear Jesus say that He freely shares His authority with us (Matthew 10:1; 16:19; Luke 9:1; John 1:12; Acts 26:16). But He goes further than that! Jesus says, “You are my friends if you keep on doing what I command you. I do not call you servants any longer… but I have called you friends . . .. (John 15:14-15). What?! The God for Whom there is no idol doesn’t consider me a peon? He calls me friend, and entrusts to ME the task to make other disciples? What a message!

Beyond’s South Asian field leaders, Ethan and Nicole, learned that the disciples in India were sharing Matthew 28:18-20 as part of the Gospel Message. “I love that they had eyes to see something about the Gospel that we with our western eyes and deeply rooted Christian traditions could not see,” Nicole says. “Have you ever included Matthew 28 in your Gospel presentation? I’m guessing not. But, for those coming out of slavery, for those who live in a culture where peon is still in common use, sharing in the Master’s authority and carrying responsibility IS Good News. They’re so excited about having a purpose for their lives that they can’t hold themselves back. They embrace the honor to be given the chance, and they quickly share the opportunity with their friends.”

Praise God for obedient friends of Jesus who diligently share His message!

Our field leaders ask for prayer as top Indian movement leaders travel to meet with local leaders to check on the wellness of the churches, gather reports of persecution, pray over needs, and pass on new trainings from God’s Word. The traveling is difficult; they can be harassed by the local police; they are away from their families. Your prayers for these trips are greatly appreciated.

Secondly, we can be praying for the disciple makers’ financial provision. God is giving them creativity to make money/work with their hands. Many are farmers. Some own small shops. Please pray that God would bless their labors so they can continue in the work of making followers of Jesus. Pray, too, that they would continue to be generous with one another like we see in the book of Acts.

*pseudonyms used