Local missionaries slowed by COVID-19 in South Asia are seeing the Lord’s work continue unhindered in miracles throughout the region.
South Asia has millennia-long traditions of demons and deities; workers at Christian ministries based in the region are used to doing spiritual battle.
A local missionary in one country spoke of Christ’s death and resurrection to a woman who had suffered from demon possession for seven years, the leader of a native ministry said. Family members had spent large sums of money trying to cure her.
Broke and weary of her disruptive behavior, relatives brought her to a local missionary’s church, where a fasting and prayer service was underway, the ministry leader said.
“It took three hours for her to get fully free from the demon,” the leader said. “The following Sunday, she testified that she was now free from all sickness in her body and had much peace in her heart. Her family is coming to our church, and all her family members are happily living Christian lives. And now other families are coming; she is now one of the best evangelists bringing people to church.”
A leading folk tradition in one South Asian country holds that demons are responsible for many illnesses. In this belief, long ago a demonic chieftan with god-like powers stopped lesser demons from directly attacking and eating humans, allowing them only to inflict disease and suffering, according to Volume 1 of Moncure Daniel Conway’s “Demonology and Devil-Lore.”
Earlier this year, one of the church plants of another native ministry was holding a fasting and prayer service. Afterwards the local missionary serving as pastor received a phone call from a woman pleading with him to come to her home and pray for her, saying she was no longer able to bear her depression.
“My wife and I went there – when she looked at us, she cried,” the pastor said. “We prayed for her. Suddenly she fell down and rolled, and after that she became normal. Thank God she was delivered from an evil spirit.”
The woman said she had twice attempted suicide.
“The following day she came to our church,” the pastor said. “We spent 30 minutes in prayer and shared the gospel with her.”
The woman is growing closer to putting her faith in Christ; meantime, that same month a couple brought their young daughter to the native ministry’s church because an evil spirit had been afflicting her for six months, the pastor said.
“They had done everything they could, but nothing was successful,” he said. “We prayed for her; thank God who delivered and healed her. Now the family is coming to church with a strong testimony. God led us in a miraculous way over the past month. Thanks be to God’s holy name.”
During the same month, five people put their faith in Christ, he said.
In a different area, local missionaries with a native ministry that provides education and a healthy home environment to poor children received a visit from a mother whose child benefited from the school. She shared her struggles with workers, including how severely a foot injury was bothering her.
“Our workers prayed for her, and she received healing,” the ministry leader said. “She thereafter accepted the Lord and began to dialog with our workers, who encouraged her to go on with the Lord. She was in a bound state earlier and was unhappy, but now we see her content and trusting in the Lord for her needs.”
Working amid COVID-19
The spread of COVID-19 in the region and the attendant shutdowns have hit such members of the working poor the hardest.
Many of the women who bring their children to the native ministry’s school for needy children are domestic workers paid on a daily basis who have lost their income to the lockdowns.
“Some of their husbands are not employed, on drugs or are not living with them,” the ministry leader said. “By the grace of God, we were able to obtain curfew passes and distribute food packs to about 95 families, mothers of children in our school, and their neighbors who live in depressed areas.”
Lockdowns have limited church services and outreach, and even the reduced efforts come with risks. A local missionary recently visited a family to pray for a sick child, and a few days later both mother and child tested positive for COVID-19.
“The health department sent me and my family to a quarantine center for 10 days,” the worker said. “Thank God we were negative in the test results, and we were sent home.”
By the grace of God, he said, the ministry is growing.
“But because of COVID-19, our ministry was disturbed very much,” he said. “In the last few months, we stopped sharing testimonies in our testimony time during the church service, because time was limited with the restrictions; it is a short time. But thank God we are able to conduct services with a limited crowd.”
The leader of the ministry said the pandemic limited house visits last year.
“But people would hear the Word through our believers and coming to church,” he said. “We warmly welcomed them. Last year we were able to baptize 40 people.”
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