The owner of a small shop in northwestern Cambodia was on her way home from work last summer when she saw a gang of teenagers chasing a younger boy.
Kimbap* said the gang members were brandishing machete knives, large stones and sticks and appeared bent on killing him. Though a lifelong Buddhist, Kimbap had been listening to a Christian radio program for several days, so when he screamed for help, she instinctively began praying to Christ.
“I have to tell you the truth, when I called upon Jesus’ name, I had very little belief that He was there for real to help this boy, because I am a Buddhist worshiper,” Kimbap said. “I knew a lot about Buddha, but I knew very little and close to nothing about Jesus, except for what I’d heard on the radio program for several days.”
The gang members began thrashing the boy, striking him with their weapons. When police officers arrived, she and the rest of a crowd of onlookers were astonished that he was unhurt.
“None of us had any hope that this poor boy was going to live, but no one was able to touch him during the attack,” she said. “Soon after the police arrived, the boy was safe, and he ran to hug and thank me, saying, ‘Thank you my dearest sister, I saw a Man who was standing there using His hands to protect me!’ Let me tell you now, I know who that man was – it was Jesus the Savior!”
Amid pandemic shutdowns, the local ministry’s radio program and its broadcasts posted on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter became the native ministry’s primary means for sharing the gospel, the organization leader said.
“We are thankful for this opportunity to share the gospel this way, as it was more impactful than anything else we have ever done,” he said.
Not anticipating how effective the broadcasts would be, the ministry team was challenged with how to follow up with seekers and disciple new Christians amid the pandemic, the leader said.
“We honestly did not foresee it growing so quickly and are praying for clarity and wisdom as to how to do this,” he said. “It was also hard to do anything since the government shut many things down, so it was difficult to actually meet with people. Now that the country is back and running, we will be able to have better follow-up with these people.”
The ministry has also seen the kingdom grow as it distributed audio Bibles loaded onto USB sticks, along with messages from the radio program, he said.
Among those listening to the broadcasts was a well-known performer who not only grieved the loss of her parents and siblings in a tragic accident but was deeply troubled by feelings of guilt. She told the ministry leader that listening to his radio program gave the first relief to her soul.
“I had been counseled by religious monks and teachers, but nothing had helped me feel relief from that self-blame,” she told him. “I had been told that what is happening in my life right now is because of what I had done in my previous life – that I have to pay it back in this present life without an end to it.”
After listening to the leader read from the Bible, her heart, spirit and soul found peace, she said.
“I know that all things happening in my life right now are because I was born amid the sinful nature of mankind,” she told the leader. “I am now seeking to understand more about the Savior Jesus, and I believe I shall be ready to invite Him into my heart very soon. Thank you!”
Lockdowns and pandemic restrictions in Cambodia have eased since late last year, and churches that began meeting in limited numbers have seen greater freedom in spite of increases in Omicron-variant infections.
Restrictions have also eased in Thailand, where workers with a native ministry rejoiced at the resumption of church services and evangelistic events. While COVID-19 restrictions limited the number of people attending one event to 108, 104 of them came forward to receive Christ as Savior, the leader said.
“Then we had water baptisms, and 85 people got baptized,” he said. “Praise the Lord.”
Other areas reported similar kingdom growth, with gospel proclamation at church services leading several families to faith in Christ. At the same time, workers provided aid to refugees from war-ravaged Burma (Myanmar), as well as to the poor in Thailand, opening hearts to the message of Christ’s salvation.
One 65-year-old man in an impoverished district of Thailand received relief packages from the native ministry’s area church three times, the leader said.
“Because of the love of the local church and the care and visits for the past three months, he felt the love of Christ and came to visit the church,” the leader said. “Then after three months of attending church, he decided to accept Jesus Christ.”
Local missionaries are bringing spiritual and physical aid to hurting people throughout Southeast Asia. Please consider a donation today to equip and encourage them.
*Name changed for security reasons