At 4:45 A.M. the Muslim call to prayer outside my apartment window wakes me. As I lay in bed spending my own time in prayer these quiet times with the Lord give me the strength to prepare for the day ahead.
“Prayer is really helpful for actually getting out the door. If you spend time worshiping long enough, you remember that He’s sovereign,” no matter what occurs.
I am teaching in the Tibetan Highlands to reach a people group with a history of persecuting Christians. This region has been hostile to the Gospel since “proselytizing a non-Islamic religion” is prohibited but I am here to share Christ’s love.
Living in a communistic government dominated culture I am building solid relationships and share the Gospel while teaching English to university students.
Although I am here only for a few years, the work has grown to include participating in house churches activities, hosting discipleship groups and seeker groups, training nationals to be trainers, strategizing with other Christian workers, prayer walking the city, distributing Bibles and participating in English Corner clubs.
Often during my two hour lunch time students will come and sit with me and chat, which are divine opportunities to ask “What’s going on in your life?” or “What do you know about God and the Bible“ or “Do you go to Church on Sundays” knowing full well that the majority of them have never heard of God, seen a Bible or a church from the inside.
I also spend every week considerable time in the teachers’ faculty lounge, drinking hot tea or coffee with co-workers who love to talk with a foreigner and practice their English.
These are special moments to ask questions, share personal stories or comfort someone who carries a burden and pray for them.
Initially, I was hesitant to share my faith too openly for fear of being arrested or expelled from the country which are daily real concerns. But being discouraged by the lack of seeing people coming to know Christ I was tired of not seeing fruit.
Deciding to get bolder and bolder as time went by started to yield fruits despite the many oppositions and with the Lord’s protection I am going to continue to be bold.
People here are not accustomed to being loved by Westerners and are perpetually “on the defensive.” But their tough exterior is riddled with cracks.
They are very prideful and they are very good at putting up a good “front,” but the bottom line is they are just a “broken people.” They are not used to hearing about a heavenly Father who cares for them.
In a recent discussion, I was sharing with three students from the Book of John about the Word becoming “flesh.”
The three young men were confused — why would God “care” enough to put on flesh and come to the earth? God doesn’t care about us, they said. Nobody does.
“Is it possible for someone to care about you by leaving his culture and family behind to come to Xining and tell you that God loves you?” I asked.
It was as if a light bulb turned on.
“If a human cares enough to come to you to tell you this, then surely God loves you enough to send me, and God loved you enough to meet with me,” I said.
There is a noticeable shift of attitudes amongst the younger generation in this country. People who were once closed to hearing anything about Christ are now more willing to listen. The window is open right now for abundant Gospel sowing.
It is exciting to see how God is moving in mighty ways. Some government workers have accepted Bibles.
A young woman who cried in joy to receive a Bible continues to study it.
Women who hated men because of past abuse are learning about forgiveness and that the Lord is a loving Father.
“You just never know where God is working” when you are doing the “seed sowing.” It’s almost like a physical transformation happens.
You can see changing attitudes, burdens being lifted and hatred abandoned.
Yes, engaging people in hostile places comes with risk and sacrifice for all who obediently choose to be His heart, His hands and His voice.
Most of us aren’t threatened because of our faith, but we need to be in prayer for those who are.
Not that persecution will end but that believers in persecution will stay courageous and bold.
Pray the Lord will work miracles, that hearts will soften toward the Gospel, and that the suffering, especially of women and children, will diminish as the people of this land come to know the Savior.