South Asia Problems
Different Strokes For Asia

Common Themes

Here in South Asia, I had the privilege of meeting two prayer warriors, Mr. Tamang and Mr. Abishek. They are already in their mid-70s, and yet, they are able to walk for days in the mountains, slowly traversing mountain trails for the purpose of praying for churches, local pastors, and families. They give a little twist to the Christian meaning of “Prayer Mountains.” What they would do is visit an area whenever there are Christian events or ministries that are soon to take place. They came to our meeting place in Bear-jet and prayed for our time of training and celebration. What I learned later was that they have this practice of coming to the area of prayer days before the actual dates, and they stay in the nearby mountains praying in the early morning, interceding for God’s blessing on the people. The other pastors told me that Mr. Tamang and Mr. Abishek would sometimes spend the night on a mountain trail simply because they would run out of time before reaching their destination or before finding a nearby village. I am glad I saw them in our gathering, and not “lost” in some mountain trails. I am so privileged to be a part of a mountain ministry that was covered by the prayers of these two warriors of God.

This is one description of a prayer ministry here in South Asia. Let me elaborate more on one church ministry that I saw during my last visit.

Bear-jet Free Methodist church is located on top of a mountain with a 5686 feet in elevation. The members of this church prays and sends one of their lay pastors, to go to another mountain area for two nights on the weekends. It takes about three hours of walking and hiking through a mountain trail before this volunteer lay pastor can be at the newly planted church. One member of this church-plant donated a one-bedroom house. The 30 or so members meet in the living room and the only bedroom becomes the living quarters of the visiting church planter. Financial contributions are very minimal and yet the work continues. Simple and yet very effective.

I met John when I was in Bear-jet FM church. We talked about the ministry and the many ways God is blessing the work. I met his family, his wife, daughter and two sons.  His wife has been spearheading the prayer ministry of the local church. His daughter and son are involved in the music ministry. A simple family and yet God is using the family members effectively for this mountain ministry in South Asia-NP.

What would this ministry above look like if we are in Michigan, USA? In what ways would a US ministry look like that of this South Asian work? How would we imagine it to be?  What are some common themes?

Imagine a Free Methodist church from Grand Rapids (MI) sending one of their volunteers to the the U.P. for a weekend ministry.  The volunteer would drive his car to the Upper Peninsula in probably less than three hours. One would certainly connect with a friend and have coffee or be invited to family dinner. There maybe a room available for him to stay in as a guest, but if not, the volunteer can always stay in a hotel for the weekend. The opportunity to share the gospel will happen during any of these meal times and fellowship with the host. I would assume the Grand Rapids congregation would be financially supporting this church plant effort. Members will be praying for the church planter. Reports will be given every so often and encouragement will be shared. Simple efforts and yet this could be a very effective way of sharing the gospel outside the confines of the local church.

Who would this church planter and volunteer be? He or she would definitely not look like John from the Bear-jet church. But, maybe, the spouse could be a prayerful partner. Maybe, the children would be involved in the local music ministry of the Grand Rapids church. Maybe, they could even join the trip to the U.P. for the weekend. This could be just a simple family. However, we rely on God to take all our simple things and he will do the rest. God will take ordinary people and make them effective tools for the work in His kingdom.

Bear-jet church is one of our Free Methodist church here in the hinterlands of South Asia. I was there in the mountains for four days, teaching and visiting our leaders last October 2019. The next time I visit there, I will talk to John and share with him some ways of developing a church plant ministry. I hope I can encourage him to continue in God’s work.

What would these ministries look like in your part of the world? Do you have prayer warriors like Mr. Tamang and Mr. Abishek? Do you have someone like John and his family? I would love to hear from you and we can compare notes and find some common themes in our stories.


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