South Asia (MNN) — Following Christ can be deadly in South Asia. According to Open Doors USA, “Pastors are frequently beaten up or killed, church buildings destroyed, and converts forced to flee their homes.” However, people in this region desperately need to hear the Gospel. One country in South Asia holds the most unreached people groups in the entire world.
A Scriptures In Use worker* from South Asia says despite the danger, he and others are risking it all to share the Good News. As a result, “The Gospel is penetrating regions where there has been no Gospel witness before, bringing tremendous hostility to people who are working [there], tremendous persecution for new believers.
“We are living in a very difficult time of great persecution, great hostility to the Gospel, and a great challenge to the Church.”
But with great challenge comes equally tremendous opportunity. Because of the sheer size of this region’s population–over a billion people, the SIU worker notes, there is potential to impact the entire world for Christ, if people are discipled correctly.
“Correct discipleship” includes an emphasis on evangelism, says the worker.
“This is God’s mandate for every person who believes in Jesus Christ: that he needs to become a witness,” the worker states. He then quotes Acts 1:8, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
“I think the first example of the Holy Spirit coming upon you is being a witness,” he explains. As to being Christ’s witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria, “That’s not being one or the other, but being ‘here’, ‘there,’ and everywhere. That is how the text is actually written.”
Believers are to share Christ wherever they are, the worker emphasizes. In South Asia, that means learning nontraditional methods from SIU to communicate God’s Truth with unreached oral cultures.
“They are at the heart of discipleship, of how to disciple people who cannot read or write,” says the worker. “They are at the cutting edge of making the Gospel known in Southeast Asia.”
There are approximately 2,000 unreached people groups in this region, and 310 of those groups are “unengaged.”
“Unengaged are those people who have no access to the Gospel, who have no ministry working with them to evangelize them, and those who have no tools by which they can be evangelized,” he explains. “They’re just cut off from hearing the Gospel.”
This worker and his cohorts are passionate about reaching the lost with the Gospel. SIU’s Bridges program equips them to share that life-changing Truth in a way that it will be easily-received by oral cultures.
“The Church is growing: not because of church planters directly, or the witness of pastors or leaders,” the worker says. “It’s the witness of common people–simple people who are transformed because of the love of God and who are willing to witness about it.”
There are a few ways you can equip more believers in South Asia to share the Gospel. “I would really encourage people of God, who are passionate about making His Word known, to be partnering with agencies that are on the forefront of missions,” he suggests.
“We need help with that, especially with helping pioneering teams that are going out to church plant.”
Pray for SIU workers who risk it all to share the Gospel. Ask the Lord to give them courage to share about His love and Truth. Pray that they will have boldness and wisdom.
“We have a responsibility to pray for those people who are at the forefront of God’s work,” states the SIU worker. “We need to listen, take down notes, and pray. I think there’s no power greater than the power of prayer.”
* = Names and specific locations are withheld to protect workers’ lives and to protect projects from anti-Christian groups.