Training believers in difficult areas

September 29, 2009

As more and more countries close their doors to the gospel (and foreign missionaries), the presence of native missionaries becomes even more significant. Knowing that workers are few and "time is of the essence," indigenous ministries rely on Biblical principles found in the New Testament for planting a witness among every tribe and nation. Following the Lord´s model, relationships are formed and discipleship follows.

Relationships are particularly important in the Middle East. Once a native missionary has established trust, and a friendly foundation has been established, the work begins. To those who ask, "What must I do to be saved?" a veteran missionary is ready to disciple them.

Central Asia has been changing rapidly in the past decade. Under communism, no religion was accepted–but Orthodox Christianity and Islam went underground and blended with ancient pagan beliefs, rituals, and superstitions. As long as religious adherents obeyed government rules and regulations, they were left alone. Today, a new generation of gospel-preaching missionaries are suspected by authorities of rejecting the leadership of government officials and Orthodox Church leaders.

The Chings have been laboring for more than twenty years, helping to establish Bible schools and training centers all over China through Christian Aid. When they first began this quest, there were only two Bible schools. Today, there are 139 -- officially. Unofficially, it is difficult to say. "Many of the 139 schools have satellite locations that even I have not visited," says missionary Ching.

In other areas of the world, training takes many forms. Today, in places that are developing rapidly, you can find the more familiar kind of Bible schools, seminars, and conference centers. The Bharat Bible College in Andhra Pradesh, India began in 1963 in a rented house with only six students. Their emphasis was, and still is, evangelism. While the curriculum consists of conventional classroom studies, there is one unique aspect that has continued over the years. Students regularly participate in practical evangelism on the field. Throughout the year, teams go into surrounding villages or remote areas to promote special Christmas programs or conduct gospel tours.

These are only a few of the ministries supported through Christian Aid which are setting the standard for training and discipleship in the two-thirds world.