SE Asia (MNN) — Majority religions in Southeast Asia make it difficult and dangerous for people to follow Jesus. More about that here.
Nonetheless, “God’s working in two locations suffering persecution [in] Southeast Asia,” FARMS International Communications Director Tim Landis says.
Despite persecution, “the Holy Spirit is still active and at work, using these pastors in different fashions,” he adds.
Pastors in these countries need to be bi-vocational. “They need to hold the office of pastor and be able to preach and teach the people in their congregations, as well as hold a job to earn income for their families,” Landis says.
With physical needs at home in order, pastors can focus on reaching local communities for Christ.
In one country, churches welcomed 271 new believers last year, and 229 people were baptized. Believers led 78 people to the Lord in a second country.
Children in the first location lost their homes and village school to a civil war. Resilient as ever, the kids adapted to overcome. A jungle ravine became their new classroom, and twisted tree roots were their desks.
“They’re all so eager to learn, to know Christ more,” Landis says.
“Even though circumstances in life haven’t [given] them a normal setting for church or school, they’re still willing and able to meet wherever God has afforded.”
Revolving loans and training from FARMS help church leaders and believers work their way out of poverty and support Gospel endeavors. Learn more about the process here.
“We desire to support their (believers’) physical needs, so that opens them up to support spiritual needs. That’s the end goal of FARMS – to strengthen the global Church,” Landis says.
Pray for wisdom and discernment as believers start new small business ventures. Pray Christians will proceed using biblical ethics and Scripture as their guideposts.
“In some of these locations, growing things that might not be ethically good” is a strong temptation, Landis says.
“People in Southeast Asia can make good money [by growing opium poppies], but it’s doing damage to people,” he describes as one example.
Header image is a representative stock photo courtesy of Colin Roe/Unsplash.