South Asia (MNN) — Global Disciples has a big vision—to see the least reached and unreached people groups of the world have the chance to encounter the Gospel. One way the ministry works towards this vision is by training national leaders in how to share the Gospel. These leaders can then train others to do the same.
Monks and Discipleship Training
In South Asia, God showed up at one training event. Global Disciples’ Tim says a man named Elijah was leading a training event when a Buddhist monk came across the meeting. Elijah invited the Buddhist monk in, and the monk stayed for the rest of the day.
Once training for the day concluded, the monk asked Elijah if he could return the next day, but with two friends. Elijah agreed. Sure enough, the following day brought three Buddhist monks to the training event Elijah was leading.
“They stayed for several days. But it happened, too, that as they were hearing in the discipleship classes about who Jesus is, and what He does, and intimacy with Jesus, and what it means to be a Christian, then they finally explained to Elijah,’ well, somebody has to be wrong here. Either Buddha is god or Jesus is God’,” Tim explains.
“They asked Elijah if he would be willing to test and to see who really was God. They would go to a forest, and they would fast and pray, and if God or Jesus could bring lunch to them, and if He could make it rain, then those three Buddhist monks agreed that they would them accept Jesus as Lord.”
The men traveled to the jungle and once there, they prayed. Tim relays that at exactly 12:30 pm, there was a man hollering in the forest. The stranger stumbled into the opening where Elijah and the three monks were. The man was lost, but as they talked together, he opened his bag and shared his food with Elijah and the monks.
“God gave them their first miracle,” Tim says.
However, it still needed to rain. The catch? It was the dry season for this region. Tim says on this particular day there were no clouds in the sky. Eventually, the monks left the forest, unconvinced by the meal.
“[Elijah] wrestled with God, even so much so that His whole body was sweating, and he was wrestling, and he was wondering ‘God, do you really do things like this? Would you make it rain?’,” Tim says.
Elijah finally returned home and about five o’clock that evening clouds began to form and it rained so hard that they had to cancel their evening service, and the Buddhist monks couldn’t even come to the service that evening.”
The next morning, the three Buddhist monks returned to where Elijah was leading the training, and they proclaimed Jesus Christ to be Lord. Tim says they were secretly baptized by Elijah. They even left their Buddhist priestly robes in the area of the forest where they had met with Elijah as a symbolic gesture of leaving their old lives to begin a new life in Jesus.
“Today, those three Buddhist monks are evangelizing and they’re working among drug addicts in their country. And so, it’s stories like these that we hear that we just praise God for the amazing things that God is doing around the world,” Tim says.
However, not every story ends in a joyous revival of the heart. Tim recollects how sometimes Buddhist monks have burned down churches and even banned people from their villages. For each story like Elijah’s, there are many more without a reconciled relationship with God.
“One brother relayed to me that he had gone into a village and there he met a man who was blind. As he told him about Jesus, he also suggested to the man that Jesus could heal him from his blindness, but the man said ‘if my Hindu gods don’t heal me, then I would rather stay blind.’ So, the work is very difficult,” Tim says.
Be Prayerful, Be Faithful
Still, God is doing miraculous things to make Himself known. Tim says let stories like Elijah’s encourage us not to confine Jesus to the scriptures, but instead, recognize that He is at work today and then live each day for His glory.
“Pray for the church to rise up in areas that are really difficult, for these individuals, like Elijah, to pray for them that they would have the boldness and the courage to speak even to other religious leaders and I think that takes a lot of wisdom and boldness and it certainly takes the power of the Holy Spirit. If we just would pray that the church would rise up to the occasion, be filled with the Holy Spirit, and make a difference in our world,” Tim says.
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*Names of subjects in the story have been changed for security purposes.
Header photo courtesy of Global Disciples.