Simple love trumps volatility in Asia

By June 11, 2014
(Photo courtesy Asian Access)

(Photo courtesy Asian Access)

Asia (ANA/MNN) — There’s a *people group in Asia about whom this is said: “If you have a chance to save a viper snake or a [member of this tribe], save the viper. It is less likely to kill you.”

Yet, at the same time, they’re fighting for survival. “There’s a refugee situation now where people are being expelled. There’s an ethnic cleansing going on,” explains Asian Access vice president for leader development, Noel Becchetti. And yet, there’s a pastor who is “just going counter to all that, and basically, in Jesus’ name, he’s just loving on these people.”

Becchetti goes on to say, “We’re talking about a part of the world where the political situation will change, sometimes even from a less oppressive situation to a freer situation, but in doing so, all sorts of cultural and ethnic tensions that have been simmering–sometimes for decades–then kind of explode.”

(Photo courtesy Asian Access)

(Photo courtesy Asian Access)

A2 builds into the lives of pastors and Christian leaders throughout Asia. And for one guy, this training took. Pastor Charles (not his real name) was an A2 participant from South Asia. Becchetti says Pastor Charles felt like it was his time to reach out to this tribe. It was an insistent call and a scary one, because as Becchetti puts it, “It’s particular to a certain area, and this is a group that has always been, essentially, shunned by every other country and group in its area.” In fact, this tribe is so difficult and dangerous to approach that both the United Nations and Doctors without Borders have recently withdrawn from the area.

When Pastor Charles asked local Christian leaders about their outreach efforts to this tribe, eyes widened. “We do everything we can to stay away from them,” he was told. Yet, Becchetti says, Pastor Charles obeyed God. “Over time, he’s gained the trust of people in this community. Their faith background is Muslim. That said, in recent years he’s baptized over 500 members of this community.”

What’s more, his “strategy” for outreach was simple: pure love, pure Gospel. Effective. Becchetti noted that “the denomination that he’s a part of is so impressed by what he’s doing that they’ve set aside their strategic plans and said, ‘We need to be figuring out how to commit ourselves to communities, going in, getting to know people over time, and just seeing what God will do with that.”

(Photo courtesy Asian Access)

(Photo courtesy Asian Access)

As Becchetti observed in a recent blog post, “Pastor Charles and leaders like him are at the core of God’s vision for transforming churches, denominations, communities, and whole tribes into the image of Christ. We are grateful for the opportunity to build into the life of a leader like Pastor Charles–and learn from him as he lives out a way to reach not just the unreached, but the virtually unreachable.”

A2 provides the tools for church leaders to succeed in the “pray, give, or go” of the Gospel. Giving supports the day-to-day operations of these leaders. Going provides the feet. The frontline element: “Prayer for sure, because you’re talking about people who are quietly getting in there, getting in the trenches that carry a certain level of risk.”

*unnamed for security reasons

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