It seems impossible that we stand at the brink of 2018! As 2017 draws to a close, our Eurasia team is reflecting on what has been accomplished and plotting our course for what lies ahead.
We rejoice in what God has done—and how you have been part of the process through your gifts and prayers. Together we have shared the gospel with those who have never heard, given tangible help to people in great need, and taken the light of Christ’s love to areas of deep spiritual darkness.
As a result, we are planting the Church in areas where Christ was previously unknown.
Church planting in Eurasia presents unique challenges. In most areas, the gospel cannot be proclaimed openly. Religious and cultural traditions have kept people bound for centuries.
Yet these difficult places are filled with people for whom Christ died. They need the opportunity to hear and receive the message of salvation.
And this is happening! One of the places where doors are opening for the church is North India. For years this area was considered “off limits” for the gospel. But in a small town tucked away in the Himalaya Mountains, God is putting together the nucleus of a church among Tibetan Buddhists.
For nearly 60 years, Tibetans have been coming to this area for various reasons. Some come to escape persecution. Others want the chance for an education. Still others come seeking economic opportunities. They bring with them hopes, dreams—and their Tibetan Buddhist traditions.
Our workers have opened a Tibetan tea house in the town as a way to establish a presence among the Buddhist population. They created a space with Tibetan foods and décor. They pray earnestly that God’s presence will fill the space.
The result? Patrons often leave saying, “I feel peace here.” A Tibetan Buddhist priest frequently visits the shop and is engaging in conversations about what the Bible teaches.
Other outreaches—such as English tutoring, health seminars, and activities designed for women—have been launched to establish relationships and touch as many lives as possible. As a core of believers is formed, the shop will double as a gathering place—a church—where people come for teaching, discipleship, and fellowship.
Recently a team member struck up a friendship with a Tibetan Buddhist nun who had become dissatisfied with life in the monastery. As the two women spent time together, the team member taught her about Jesus.
Hungry to know more, the nun moved out of the monastery. She joined in the team’s prayer meetings and soon committed her life to Christ. Though her decision brought shame upon her in the eyes of the town, she gladly bears any hardship to follow Jesus fully. She may well be a key component to the church God wants to create in this previously “off limits” area of India.
That’s what church planting looks like in Eurasia.
Across our region, teams are involved in planting churches in difficult areas. The process involved may vary, but the goal is the same: to establish communities of believers who will model Christ’s love and point lost people to the Cross.
Teams are willing to go and learn the language and culture. They are willing to endure the difficulties and frustrations of being “outsiders.” They are passionate about reaching people who have never heard of Christ’s sacrifice for mankind. They are praying that 2018 will be a year of spiritual breakthrough.
Will you help them?
Church planting costs vary according to location. In some areas, rental property is quite reasonable; in others, it is exorbitant. Necessary permits, literature, and supplies add to the expense. Church planting teams need your help in meeting these expenses so they can concentrate on reaching people rather than worrying about keeping ministries afloat.
Would you make a year-end gift to our church planting efforts in Eurasia? For only $100, you could pay a week’s rent on the tea shop in North India. For $50 you can provide literature for an English tutoring class in Central Eurasia. Larger gifts will be used for ongoing needs in Bible training or outreach. God is using these efforts to build His church. Will you partner with us to see His work accomplished?
Millions of people in Eurasia need the opportunity to hear and receive the truth. Our team members are eager to do what is needed to reach them. I believe you are too. Please give your best gift today.
End 2017 by giving a new beginning to the lost of Eurasia.