A Faithful Witness amidst persecution
By John Stuart | South Asia
Representative image of South Asia.
Kai* was sitting in a church service in South Asia, praying that God would guide his ministry. He was far from his East Asian home that morning, a home he had left with his wife and five kids months before to embark on their new journey. As he worshipped with his spiritual brothers and sisters in a language he was still learning, his moment of ministry clarity came.
Weeks before, Kai had been researching where to begin his ministry with Faithful Witness in South Asia. He had homed in on one town in particular, and being intentional, he wrote down the name of the town, a place with a reported 0 per cent Christian population. Then… he started praying.
Weeks later, as Kai sat in church that morning, still praying about the town he had written down, a man stood up to share with the small congregation. As God would have it, that man was from the exact town Kai had been praying about! But he told a troubling story about the persecution of local believers there, including the man’s own father, who had recently been severely beaten. Kai listened intently to the man’s story and approached him after the service to share how God had been leading him. From then on, Kai knew where God was calling him to serve.
When you look at the challenges in this region, conducting a viable ministry there almost seems insurmountable. With the number of Christians hovering around 0.1 per cent (and lower in some areas), laws actively curtailing spiritual work and even physical barriers like extreme heat (hitting 50 degrees Celsius in the peak of summer), the challenges are many indeed.
But it’s exactly because of these difficulties that Kai and Faithful Witness are committed to seeing a ministry established where people are living and dying without knowing Christ.
Kai’s approach is straightforward. He aims to work in one of the many companies in the North India region, leveraging his local language skills. This places him in a unique position to work with local people and sow seeds in the fledgling local church. But even here, Kai and his family want to lead by example and partner with the local church.
“Since our vision is to be rooted in a local church with local leaders to spread the gospel to the least-reached, we would serve the church with the pastor, besides run my business,” Kai says. “We would bring the gospel to the people in the city and other people around the region together. The pastor and his wife are keen to start a biblical training center in the church as well and they may invite me to help train people in the church.”
Kai and local believers face significant roadblocks for ministry. Even so, they remain fully committed to God’s work in the region, trusting he will bring a spiritual harvest in time.
“Persecution is still very active,” Kai says. “Going alone to minister in rural places is very risky and not likely to succeed. People are watching carefully for any evangelism. And persecution is happening often including attacks, beatings and violence. So, we will not take action without cooperation with local church leadership for a sustainable fruitful ministry.”
Local people are generally deeply religious, according to Kai. And thankfully, they are able to have many spiritual conversations, often discussing how their faith in Christ has direct implications for daily life.
“People tend to accept the Bible as one spiritually edifying teaching among many religious beliefs,” Kai says. “And people think Christianity is a Western religion. So, we need to cross those barriers by living out the gospel and sharing the good news in the context of how we follow Jesus in our daily lives, in a world that is filled with injustice and unfairness.”
“So, we need to cross those barriers by living out the gospel and sharing the good news in the context of how we follow Jesus in our daily lives, in a world that is filled with injustice and unfairness.”
Like Kai and his family, who are settling in for a long-term commitment to the people of South Asia, there are opportunities for more workers to join the vital Faithful Witness ministry there. Kai and Faithful Witness desire to see more workers placed there in a strategic way in the years to come. For Kai, his passion for ministry is the same today as it was the first day he set foot in the country.
“I hope the business I work for would be used to expand the ministry network, and not only make a profit, but be very effective at spreading kingdom values,” Kai says. “Together with the local church, we want to make investments in the local business community and create work opportunities for people with financial challenges.
"My passion for ministry is to create opportunities for Christians to grow in maturity in their faith. This comes through worshipping God and serving together with the church and letting the Holy Spirit bring the good news to those who haven’t heard.”
How to pray
• Pray as Kai applies for jobs in the region that he would find the right company to work for, and that he could access a long-term visa through this arrangement to begin ministering among a local church and community.
• Pray more workers would feel a calling to South Asia, to work in least-reached areas where the population is only 0.1 per cent Christian.
• Pray for the persecuted Christians of this region, for protection and for a flourishing of new believers and the local church.