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The price of faith in Southeast Asia

Asia (MNN) – World Mission’s reach in Asia spans to countries in the southeast, including Cambodia, Myanmar, Vietnam, Indonesia, and more. In certain areas, there is persecution that puts old and new believers at risk.

Greg Kelley recently traveled to Asia to connect with and encourage World Mission’s national partners on the ground.

Treasure audio Bible (Photo courtesy of World Mission)

“World Mission will distribute about 20,000 Treasures into Southeast Asia,” says Kelley. The Treasure is World Mission’s solar-powered audio Bible. “Over the course of the year that those units are being distributed, our leaders are faced with a heavy price. It’s very taxing. They’re trying to encourage new believers. They’re establishing new churches, but they’re doing it in the face of great adversity and challenge.”

Some areas may have a high population of Islam, Buddhism, or Hinduism and it may be hard or even dangerous to engage with the people.

Engaging Communities

World Mission’s national leaders often start engaging new communities through compassion projects such as water, medical, or disaster relief.

“That’s a great inroad to sharing the Gospel,” Kelley says.

“Many times disaster relief projects are not things that are making the headlines or the mainstream media. But as an example, there [are] different outbreaks of fires that have happened recently in Cambodia.”

Cambodian families have lost their homes and all of their possessions. Following the fires, World Mission’s partners informed them of the disaster and they helped rebuild homes for these unreached people groups in the name of Jesus.

“People have come to know Jesus because they’re so appreciative. They are just so overwhelmed by the compassion and the love that was shared to them.”

(Photo courtesy of World Mission via Facebook)

As they work on relief projects, World Mission distributes their solar-powered audio Bibles to people in their native languages.

Kelley says he met with a family that came to know Jesus and received a Treasure. He asked how long they listen to it on a daily basis and they said they listened until it stopped.

“They’re listening to the Treasure for three and four hours at a time, just absorbing the Word of God.”

Persecution in Asia

However, while some people may come to Christ, others may not and have even become resentful and sparked violent persecution against new believers.

Kelley says in a Buddhist-majority area, a family became the first converts of their village. The family told the other villagers that they loved Jesus and that He changed their lives.

A monk confronted them and mobilized a mob of 400 people to stone the family’s home while they were inside, trying to kill them because they had left Buddhism.

The family survived.

Kelley says, “The thing that struck me the most about this was the father. The father had been led to Christ by his daughter, who was the first Christian in this village. The father had only been a follower of Jesus for two days when the mob showed up to stone them.”

(Photo courtesy of World Mission via Facebook)

Rather than telling the village that he would convert back to Buddhism, he hovered over his children, protecting them and praying to Jesus.

“We just have to realize that in some of these places, the extreme measures that people are facing for being simply followers of Jesus is very inspirational, but it shows that it’s not some intellectual decision that’s being made. It’s a supernatural encounter with the living God that is changing them, that’s creating this courage and boldness.”

Pray for new and old believers in Asia to remain steadfast in their faith. Pray also for the Lord’s protection.

Be an encouragement to World Mission’s partners on the ground by supporting their humanitarian and Treasure distribution projects here.

Header photo courtesy of World Mission.

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