Asian Stories That Inspire
I am here in Siem Reap, Cambodia, with other Asian missionaries for a much needed retreat and fellowship. Other Asian leaders are here for consultation and mutual encouragement. One pastor from a Creative Access Country tells me his story and close encounter with the local authorities. He says, when he was leading a worship service, the police came to stop the meeting. He invited them (the group of policemen) to join the service and witness for themselves what the Christians are doing. Pastor Carl, not his real name, narrates, "The police eventually left. After this incident, members from two families who in the past were not serious about their Christian faith, approached me and expressed their desire to serve God fully." Pastor Carl states that it was that courageous encounter with the authorities that made them think hard about their Christian faith.
In another instance, Pastor Jay (a pseudonym) recounts to me his recent visit to another Creative Access Country. He says that one local church is praying for a brother who is in his final preparations to become a medical doctor. The church members want this person to be their missionary, to go to another province where the dominant religion is Islam. It will take a long time to fulfill this plan but Pastor Jay says this medical student and the church members are willing to wait and invest in this future missions work.
I am also getting acquainted with a North American pastor who is here in Asia working in another (a third) Creative Access Country. He is originally from this country and officially working as a cross-cultural worker visiting new Christians and planting new churches across the country side. He expresses to me that it will most probably be years before any kind of harvest is seen much less any form of government recognition will happen. I sense, however, his strong determination to keep working and wait on the Lord to bring in the harvest.
It is hard work. It takes a lot of determination. But God is the Lord of the Harvest, and He is and will bring in more harvesters to the field. A Pastor from Malaysia says to another pastor from a Creative Access Country (the fourth restricted country FMWM is in): "I have a friend who owns a property in your capital city, and he wants to donate this for Christian work." We all smile. God is bringing in the harvest.