By Keith Peters

he setting was remote. The people were humble. The way of life simple. A small number of believers gathered together under the tin awning which stretched from the simple bamboo thatched home over the veranda to welcome our team from Canada for a time of fellowship.

After one of our members shared from God's Word, it was time to pray. The local pastor overseeing this small flock spoke up about their need for protection from those around them. "They are all around us" he said as he looked around and pointed out the various homes in this spread out village. "They donít want us here and they oppose us. Pray for us that we would be strong."

"Thank you for sharing your burden with us," I thought. We can pray. How many times have I not heard something like this from the pastors Iíve visited in Asia? Here was another real life example right in front of me of a church facing the fires of persecution.

We did pray, but only after hearing a word from this pastorís pastor. Our team got a glimpse of the counsel that one of our partner leaders with whom we were traveling, Pastor Kirit, gives to the pastors under his care as their mentor and leader.

"Consider the believers gathered in Jerusalem that we read about in Acts 1 shortly after the ascension of Jesus," Kirit said. "What were they doing? They were gathered together to pray. They too were surrounded by people who opposed them. And what did God do? On the day of Pentecost they spoke the word with boldness and 3,000 were added to their number. You too can pray for half the time and God can add 1,500 of those who surround you to your number. Do not call them your enemies. They are not our enemies. We are just caught in between the enmity between God and Satan and it has been that way since the fall in the garden of Eden. I too was a Hindu and had the Gospel shared with me. These people around you need to hear the Gospel. That is what they need most."

Yes, this Pastor and small church needed prayer but they also needed a challenge and encouragement from someone who has gone through relentless opposition himself since he received Christ over 45 years ago.

Kirit identifies with his people's suffering. But he doesnít view it as a corner he has been backed into. He sees it as the platform from which to cry out to God to move mightily through the church to reaching those who do not yet know the joy of knowing Christ.

posted on Dec 1, 2017
Advancing Indigenous Missions 2017