Missional Trip to SE Asia
(Specific locations and names are intentionally omitted for security purposes)
Our recent trip to SE Asia was one of the most fruitful and productive experiences I have enjoyed in my 14 years of ministry. Our mission team at Henderson’s First Baptist joined together with a team from Hope Baptist Church in Las Vegas and together we ministered to nearly 300 pastors and leaders from 62 churches in the surrounding area of our primary location.
I was blessed to have my entire family with me on this trip. Both of my boys thoroughly enjoyed the ministry and want to return again next year.
My role was to preach in general worship sessions and to participate in Q&A workshops for pastors and leaders asking questions related to theology, biblical texts, and practical ministry.
During breaks I enjoyed talking with a few pastors who knew some English. We encouraged one another and passed along email addresses and other contact info.
While our team was involved in much ministry, I believe the most encouraging moments came in the mornings when we were blessed to meet and pray with pastors and leaders who had undergone persecution for their faith. It was literally like hearing from the Book of Acts.
One man shared that he had been arrested four different times simply for being a Christian. Imprisonment was not something new to this man as he had spent 13 years in a concentration camp. His last imprisonment for his faith occurred during his wife’s pregnancy. Because he was not allowed food in prison, his pregnant wife sold her jewelry to buy him food.
Another man shared that he had been imprisoned for 3 years and 1 day. During his imprisonment many people came to know Christ as Savior.
One of the most stirring testimonies came from a woman whose husband was murdered for his faith in Christ. She tearfully recounted the story of his death and how she is now carrying on the work of ministry.
It’s difficult to describe feelings and thoughts when one listens to these dear people share their experiences. They are our brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus. They are our family. We weep with those who weep and rejoice with those who rejoice (Romans 12:15). We also feel just how small our own notions of persecution and affliction seem to be in comparison.
Another observation is that God is BIG and He is building His BIG church all over the world! Jesus said, “Upon this rock I will build my church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it (Matthew 16:18).” Wherever persecution occurred the church just grew larger.
Personally, I am convicted about continuing to pray for my church family in SE Asia and about giving sacrificially to support this important ongoing work.
When they finished sharing their stories, we enjoyed gathering around these brothers and sisters, laying hands on them, and praying for them.
They are our heroes in the faith.