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One of the many complications with ministry in Asia is the tension we must navigate between presenting a bold witness and at other times exercising wise caution and discretion.

Many places in Asia seem unfriendly to Christianity. For that matter, many believe that Christianity is a “western” religion, or that it somehow originates in the USA.

This may be a matter of political bias. It might be a governmental system that’s opposed to religion all together. Or it might be a religious block that is anti-Christian, or anti-anything other than themselves.

These realities can instill fear: of discovery, of rejection, of harm, or worse. But while I’m often cautioned to be careful about my identity, most of my friends in Asia want to be bold with their witness.

The pioneering work we do in some places in Asia often encounters people that might be opposed to what they see as Christianity, but actually less opposed to Jesus and the Good News about Him.

Take my good friend Samuel, and the work he’s accomplished in the jails near his home in India. You might think that officials would stand against him, but he brought in blankets and medicines along with the Gospel. In fact, the team in this photo ALL went inside the jail this past Christmas. And after the message was shared, nearly EVERYONE prayed to receive Jesus. About 300 people.

The Gospel has amazing power, even in the face of opposition. Paul told us early on in the book of Romans that he was “obligated, eager, and unashamed” to share the Gospel because of that power (see Romans 1). So, while we need to be wise and careful, I’m also learning to be more courageous and trusting like another Asian brother of mine who leads our work in a country that is moving to dramatically restrict sharing Jesus. Abraham not only courageously works in his own country, but he has a plan to enter a neighboring country that has a bit of a reputation for opposing people of faith. Yet his love for Jesus and his pioneering spirit compels him forward.

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Random letters? Chemical formula? No, they represent three of God’s chosen servants in a creative access country.

F.T. came to Indianapolis as a visiting scholar. While here, he received Jesus as his Savior, was baptized and returned to his home country. He arrived back in his homeland to find an angry wife, greatly upset over her husband’s conversion. God was at work, however, and soon she became a believer. Together they formed a “family gathering,” which grew to more than 140, followed by a second gathering of 40. A third gathering was added a year ago with 18 gathered in F.T.’s home. Feeling God’s clear call, F.T. and his wife organized and trained a team of new believers. Their aim was to travel to the Philippines to tell children, youth and adults the gospel. This they did in the summer of 2017.

G.L., a nurse from a creative access country, heard the brief testimony of a very new Christian and immediately decided to become a Christian. After being in our house church for only several weeks, she returned to her homeland, a creative access country, where she grew in the Lord. A return to the US to complete Ph.D. studies further strengthened her faith. She now serves her people back home, and her faith continues to have a profound impact on her work as a university professor.

H. Fh was converted while a visiting scholar in Indianapolis. After six years of spiritual growth, she serves the physical needs of children and spiritual needs of the families, as a pediatrician in a creative access country. In addition to her formal vocation, she also serves as a contributing writer for a daily Bible blog that resources individuals who have previously attended our house church.

These three stories are the tip of the iceberg among many more that reflect God’s power and presence in the individuals attending a Saturday evening “house church” in Indianapolis.

Is God calling you to be a missionary in your own living room?

*Names and pictures are withheld for security.

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Jaleh and his new little family live in Chiang Mai, Thailand. They are from Shan State in Myanmar, but have been a part of the Chiang Mai Free Methodist Church for several years. Jaleh has a strong determination to share the gospel with everyone, but particularly with Burmese people in Thailand. Every week he visits the jails, conducts Bible studies, and nurtures new small groups. Virginia and I were present for their wedding over a year ago, and just recently for the dedication of their new baby. They live in a very poor community, and struggle to make ends meet.

Pa Kep, our superintendent from Myanmar, attended a church service in Chiang Mai this past December and met Jaleh. He was encouraged to hear about Jaleh’s desire to plant a new Free Methodist Church. We have had some new conversations recently, and I am optimistic that we’ll be further defining a partnership between FMWM Asia, the FMC in Thailand, and the Myanmar FMC. As area director, I’ll be working closely with Jaleh, Pastor Joshua (who oversees our work in Thailand) and Myanmar Superintendent Pa Kep in a wonderful effort of cooperation between multiple countries.

Pray for Jaleh! Pray we will be able to support him in a way that will result in many Burmese and Thai people giving their lives to Jesus. Consider a monthly or one-time gift to the Multiply 2018 Church Planting Initiative to help support Jaleh and the new church. For more information about how to support Jaleh, please contact info4fmasia@gmail.com.

World Missions Prayer Calendar: April

01 SUNDAY
Middle East

About 1.5 million Iraqi and Syrian refugees have entered Jordan since 2011. They arrive in an unfamiliar land, carrying little but the heavy burdens in their hearts. Pray for the Free Methodist Church in Jordan as they minister to 4,000 refugee families sharing God’s love.

02 MONDAY
Creative Access C

Pray for missionary Julie as she gives leadership to a small sewing business which is a livelihood ministry for women with disabilities.

Birthday:  Julie

03 TUESDAY
Philippines

Darin and Jill Land are serving the Free Methodist Church in Southeast Asia.  Pray that Darin will have wisdom to know how best to provide guidance and resources for pastoral training and leadership development for the Free Methodist work across Asia.

Birthday: Darin Land

04 WEDNESDAY
Nepal

Dr. Dale serves as the Area Director for the Middle East.  Pray that he will grow in his cultural understanding in the region he serves, for discernment of new opportunities, and continued good health as he and his wife Dawn travel for ministry.

Birthday: Dr. Dale

05 THURSDAY
Hungary

Pray that the Lord would provide workers to help with ministry and for the continued spiritual growth of the national leaders.

06 FRIDAY
Middle East

Dr. Dale serves as the Area Director for the Middle East.  Pray that he will grow in his cultural understanding in the region he serves, for discernment of new opportunities, and continued good health as he and his wife Dawn travel for ministry.

Birthday: Dr. Dale

07 SATURDAY
Latin America Creative Access Country C

Pray for the church in the Dominican Republic as they give oversight to ministry in this creative access country.  Pray for the believers to have boldness in their faith in spite of persecution.

08 SUNDAY
Colombia

Pray for Ricardo Gomez as he shifts away from some of his administrative responsibilities and focuses more on church planting and training pastors in practical theology.

Birthday: Ricardo Gomez

09 MONDAY
Global

Pray for David Yardy as he serves as a resource to Free Methodist World Missions endeavors around the world. Pray for wisdom as he provides theological and cultural perspectives.

Birthday: David Yardy

10 TUESDAY
Middle East

Pray for the many prisoners who have become Christ followers in jail.  Although they may never be released, they are telling other inmates about Jesus as well as their families resulting in new house churches.

11 WEDNESDAY
Burundi

Pray for Burundian Christians living in Tanzania and Congo refugee camps as they share their faith with others.

12 THURSDAY
Latin America

Pray that Paul Olver will have focus and favor as he coordinates implementation of Community Church Planting and a new Pastoral Formation process throughout Latin America.

Birthday: Paul Olver

13 FRIDAY
Myanmar

Free Methodist ministries include work among the Chinese and the Chin tribal people. Ministries in Yangon include a child care center, boarding school for high school students and a Bible college, which are managed by the Yangon Chin church plant. Pray for Superintendent Pa Kep as he gives leadership.

14 SATURDAY
Bulgaria

Continue to pray for the emerging churches in Bulgaria. Pray for the organization and structure to fit together as they work through cultural and administrative expectations from all sides.  Also pray for Al and Diane Mellinger as they travel to many of their partner churches to share stories of what God is doing in eastern Europe.

Birthday: Al Mellinger

15 SUNDAY
Ukraine

The work in Ukraine is led by several dedicated lay leaders. Pray for wisdom, spiritual growth and daily faith for the young lay leaders and for cessation of the hostilities in eastern Ukraine.

16 MONDAY
Greece

Pray for Arabic ministry which is going strong among the refugees. Pray that the Lord would provide more Arabic workers for the harvest.

Birthday: Michael Long

17 TUESDAY
Europe

Pray for Chad and Hollie Wells as they are facing a significant season of transition.  Pray for their girl’s emotional, spiritual and physical health as they navigate life in Europe.

Birthday: Hollie Wells; Katie Keranen (Africa)

18 WEDNESDAY
Thailand

Pray for Taylor and Katelyn Shockey as they minister in Bangkok at an international Christian school.

Birthday: Katelyn Shockey

19 THURSDAY
Costa Rica

Glenn Lorenz reports that the Pastoral Formation Team has sensed the blessing of God in its initial strategic planning for the training of church leaders across the Latin American Area of the Free Methodist Church. Pray that the team will keep in step with the Holy Spirit as they continue to listen, learn, and teach together.

20 FRIDAY
Ecuador

Pray for the Ecuadorian church to have boldness and wisdom in implementing the principles of Community Church Planting.

Birthday: Becky Crouse

21 SATURDAY
Cambodia

Pray for the evangelism efforts of the Free Methodist Church in Japan.  Pray for Chris and Yuko Wilkins as they come alongside to serve the Japanese people at the Machida Free Methodist Church and seek to be good parents to their two sons, Caleb and Corey.

Birthday: Chris Wilkins

22 SUNDAY
Hong Kong

Pray for the conference missions committee as it overseas extensive missions work and for church planting endeavors within Hong Kong.

23 MONDAY
Nigeria

Pray for peace, unity and growth in the church.  Also pray for the church as it faces challenges from religious extremists that want to do harm to Christians.

24 TUESDAY
Creative Access – C

Pray for Bryan as he teaches at a university and shares the love of Christ with his students and other faculty.  Pray for discernment as Bryan and his family consider next steps in ministry.

25 WEDNESDAY
Asia Creative Access

Pray for the expansion of the house church system which meets on Sunday afternoons and the barriers of intense prejudice, mistrust and dislike of Christianity to be broken down.

26 THURSDAY
Spain

Pray for Ada Hernandez as she ministers with her husband Josè in Spain. Pray for wisdom for effective outreach as well as emotional and physical health.

Birthday: Ada Hernandez

27 FRIDAY
Ukraine

Pray for wisdom, spiritual growth and daily faith for the young lay leaders giving oversight to the work in Ukraine.

28 SATURDAY
Creative Access – C

Pray for Sally as she teaches English to university students as a means of outreach and navigates the complexities of this ministry country.

Birthday: Sally

29 SUNDAY
Mexico

Pray for the vision and development of structures for sending missionaries to other parts of Mexico and Latin America.

30 MONDAY
Israel

Some 1.6 million Israeli Arabs reside in Israel and many don’t yet know Jesus as Savior. Pray for the church planting efforts among the Arab population.

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