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Thankful for a Black Eye

*Representative photo

Written by Jon Wood, JFA President

Friends have been asking us about our “Sensitive Countries” donation category, and since I am currently in one (at the time of this article), I thought I’d take the time to write about it. 

“Sensitive countries” are closed to traditional means of witnessing. Each of these countries has varying degrees of closure to the Gospel. Some are entirely closed, while others are just difficult. These countries are categorized as “sensitive” because if we use names on social media, local workers could lose their visas, at best, or their lives at worst. Most of these countries are in the western side of Asia. 

Our focus in these areas is to sponsor Bible Workers since they are the most effective means of sharing the Gospel we currently have available. These Bible Workers are courageous and take great risks in living and sharing their faith.

In one area, the local government discovered a Bible Worker had been passing out Bibles and teaching people about Jesus. They threatened to expel him from the community if he did not stop. If expelled, he could no longer work, buy, sell, or interact with others in his village. This would make it difficult to survive. Despite the risks, this Bible Worker continues quietly and carefully sharing the Gospel with his people.

These Bible Workers need your prayers and are so thankful for your support. The needs in this category are GROWING! And they will continue to grow as the Gospel spreads and work starts in more sensitive countries.

I was privileged to be invited to meetings last weekend where ministry leaders got together to brainstorm and pray for ways to hasten the spread of the Gospel in these “sensitive” countries. Many ideas came up, but one great need was very clear: dedicated people who will accept the call to unpleasant places in this world for the sake of an infinitely valuable prize–a human soul won to eternal life. These areas are not the most fruitful parts of the world, and often, seeing even one person come to Christ takes many years. But the Father would have sent His Son for just one or two, so how can we not follow His example?

For many of these people, changing religions is not a simple thing. It often involves the risk of death, even at the hands of family members, or forsaking one’s entire identity and country.

I’ll tell one story I heard this weekend. My friends were having a Bible study, and one of their interests showed up late with a black eye and a smile on her face. They asked her what happened. She said she had been sharing her newfound faith with someone online. She didn’t know the person she was sharing with was her brother in the room beside her. He was also coming to faith, and she was so excited that she accidentally left some Christian literature in a place her mom could find.

When her mother found the literature, she ordered her brother to immediately go and kill his sister to save the family from shame. Except her brother had just come to Christ!

He went into her room and told her he had to hit her, and then she needed to leave. So he punched her in the eye, and she ran. She was able to escape from home and make it to the Bible study. That’s why she was happy about her black eye!

Imagine your own mother telling your brother to kill you. This illustrates why we have to be careful not to reveal the identities of those working for Christ in sensitive countries, but it also shows how important your prayers and support truly are. We will only see the full results in eternity. Thank you, and God bless,

-Contributed by Jesus for Asia


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