Although we can’t share their names, we ask that you pray over the people that our team met and pray over the people in South Asia to experience Jesus.
Experiencing and fully coming to know Jesus through dreams, visions, or physical experiences isn’t something that we are familiar with in the Western world. The road to salvation for Americans is often by hearing a clear presentation of the gospel taught through healthy churches, and making the personal choice to surrender their life to Jesus. For people in South Asia, coming to know Jesus and choosing to follow Him can be challenging. Living in a culture that is embedded with Muslim, Hindu, and other religious beliefs causes many obstacles for people who choose to follow the path of Jesus. Many only come to know Him through a radical experience, through dreams and visions, or by being in the path of someone who chose Jesus over other gods or family traditions and witnessing his power throughout their life. A small team from Church at The Mill was recently able to visit South Asia and learn more about what it’s like to know Jesus in these types of circumstances through a group of South Asian women they had met.
While spending time together over lunch, learning more about each other and praying, the group of women and team quickly learned that they all had something in common – they had family members who were not seeking Jesus or who claimed to know Jesus but were not living their life in obedience to Him. One of the team members recalls witnessing an answered prayer while on the trip through one of the women who was the only believer in her family. She would read her Bible at night while her family worked so that no arguments would be caused. She shared how, in the past, she had been beaten when they would catch her reading her Bible. On another occasion, she fell asleep while reading her Bible, and one of her family members walked in early from work and began questioning what she was doing. This time, instead of getting angry and beating her, the family member simply asked that she put her Bible away and not bring it out around their family. She said that God reminded her that this happened because of the time that was spent in prayer over her family members, together with her new friends from America.
They also learned of another woman who was struggling with what she believed. Her religion led her to pray to and believe in so many gods it became confusing to know who to pray to, give sacrifice to, or worship. She had learned about Jesus through a friend and decided to be bold in seeking the truth about who he was. In her home, she had a wall that displayed other gods with their photos or small statues to represent them. She decided to hang a picture of Jesus on the wall and began to pray and ask for the one true God to reveal himself. She said at that moment, a rush of wind came into her room and blew all of the photos and religious objects off of her wall, except for the photo of Jesus. After that, all she could do was pray. She prayed to Jesus and said that if no other god was able to remain on her wall, then they must not be worthy of her worship as he was. From then, she chose to follow Jesus.
One of the most powerful things that they witnessed was the intentional discipleship relationships that were being built by many of the women and their boldness in pursuing Jesus despite the culture that they lived in. One of the team members was able to share her testimony and be an encouragement to the women in their discipleship efforts and explain how choosing Jesus as their most important relationship can be life-changing. Another team member was able to give a full presentation of the Gospel along with his personal testimony to a family who had witnessed the powerful work of Jesus through a family member who was demon-possessed but had years of Muslim beliefs in their family, keeping them from putting their faith in Him. Every chance the team had to share the gospel, their testimony, or pray for someone was a seed planted that they knew God would use to change generations.
For some, following Jesus means risking their lives, causing shame to their families because of ancient traditions, or fully surrendering what they have always known and have been comfortable with to follow an uncomfortable lifestyle with Jesus because they know that He is the Most High God.
After what they had heard from these women and others, they all agreed it was a dark and hopeless place filled with false religions, human trafficking, and poverty. Yet, they each found encouragement in the stories of the women they had met who were faithful believers and living their lives to make the name of Jesus known everywhere— from large cities to tiny, unreached villages.