Thursday, April 15, 2010

Visiting an unreached village in East Asia*

Heading out from base to a different village we went northwest and were quickly overwhelmed by the majesty of the Himalayas. The shear steepness of the mountains was breathtaking as we switched back and forth down 5000 feet to the Yangtze River below. Once we reached the bottom we crossed a 200 foot high bridge and then began the ascent up the other side. Paved road soon changed to cobblestone, with no guardrails and plunging drop-offs.

Travelling with us this day was Missy*, a 21 year old “Catamount”* who has a violent history of abuse. She gave her life to the Lord several years ago and cannot get enough of learning the Word. Her heart is to learn so she can reach her family and her people. On the way there she told of a dream she'd recently had where she saw her father, presently not a Christian, taking a stand for Jesus.

After four hours of travel we arrived at Missy’s village which is a large “Catamount” village with a couple believers. A water project completed by North American believers has given access to visit and work in this village. Walking into her parent’s home we found ourselves sitting around the typical “Catamount” kitchen with a fire and tea being poured. They were very happy to have us there. The “Catamount” people are very welcoming and are honored to have guests. When people visit, tea, sunflower seeds and other snacks are a must. If they are glad you are there they might butcher a chicken and feed you dinner. If they consider you an honored guest then they will butcher a pig. Both are very generous and costly gifts; a chicken is the equivalent of one week’s wages and a pig, the equivalent of 6 week’s wages. After sipping on tea and catching up I heard the sound of a squealing pig outside. Yep, they considered us honored. Very honored.

Out in the courtyard we saw the entire process from squealing to ready to cook. Back around the fire, we, the honored guests were served the best the feet and the liver. Glad it was dark. Ham and beans followed as conversation picked up.

With dinner finished and tea still flowing we were joined at the fire by the village chief, the village shaman, the local area communist leader and Missy’s parents. The communist leader was an older man who had served in the army and fought many battles and lost an eye in the service of chairman Mao. With his face glowing in the fire light, he began to slyly attempt to discredit Americans, Christians and Jesus. The conversation was in a different language so we were getting updates on what was happening on the side but I was overwhelmed with God’s presence and the need to pray. I began praying God would do something big, reveal Himself and hard hearts would be pierced. As the communist’s propaganda increased, Missy’s father spoke up. In a calm, quite, yet strong voice he began to defend Jesus. He said he had been reading the Bible and believed Jesus did exist, did live on earth and did die. Our American contact jumped in and shared the gospel of Jesus. What an amazing privilege to see Missy’s dream come true and to see God glorified. I believe and pray it will only be a matter of time when Missy’s father begins a personal relationship with the Jesus whom he defended.

Villages of unreached people are scattered all over the mountains of East Asia. Many are friendly, many are open but they have not yet heard.

How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!" Romans 10:14-15

Please consider praying, giving or going to take the Good News to the unreached.

*(Names, location and people group have been changed for security)

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