Thursday, March 31 – Christian Aid
Far ahead of his time when he founded Christian Aid Mission, Bob Finley was the first person to recognize how effectively native Christians brought the gospel to their own people.
At a Christian youth camp with distant views of snow-capped mountains in the Central Asian country of Kyrgyzstan, nearly 50 nervous children were having a hard time warming up to each other. At more than 5,200 feet above sea level, the camp center was warmer in July than during most of the year, but the kids ages 10 to 14 had arrived cold with gloom about how they were going to get through the week surrounded by strangers. “On the first day when the kids arrived, they were very closed and dissatisfied,” the leader of the native ministry said. “We began to worry a little about how we would do anything if they were so dissatisfied.”
Muslim extremists often appear in refugee camps, and word spreads that native missionaries bringing aid to the tents pray with refugees and leave Bibles for them. So workers were concerned when a grim-faced refugee camp leader summoned them to talk over tea. “Last week while distributing things to the children, you were praying, and you gave some people copies of the Bible,” he told them.
Kimbap was on her way home from work in Cambodia last summer when she saw a gang of teenage boys assaulting a younger boy. Though a lifelong Buddhist, Kimbap had been listening to a Christian radio program for several days, and when he screamed for help, she instinctively began praying to Christ. “I had very little belief that He was there for real to help this boy, because I am a Buddhist worshiper,” Kimbap said.
Burma’s internal military conflicts have curtailed ministry efforts, but the chaos also has helped expand God’s kingdom as displaced people take refuge at a Bible college and Christian camps. Among those fleeing to the jungles or to neighboring countries are young people, a native ministry leader said. “Many young people, however, remain in the country and do not know what to do with their lives,” he said. “Some young people run to Bible colleges and Christian camps.”
A ministry leader in North Africa arrived at the home of dying woman to say farewell, pray for her and, at her parents’ request, baptize her. Only after he arrived did he realize she had often attended his church, then mysteriously stopped. “She was aware that she had a few days left before she would die and had no hope for healing,” he said. “Although we didn’t know anything about the medical reports of her illness and what it was, I had a feeling that this could be an evil spirit.”
A young Iraqi girl’s grandfather died when a suspected Islamic State (ISIS) militant rammed the car carrying him. Sara later learned from a teacher at a native ministry’s school in Jordan that God loved her and her family, so she thought He must be different from the divine being her parents blamed for the loss of her grandfather. One day she was deeply missing her grandfather and crying at school, and the teacher noticed that she seemed frightened as well as sad.
A native ministry leader in Liberia and team members at times walk five to seven hours daily through jungles to bring the gospel to the lost. They must rely on God to protect them against wild beasts or hostile followers of tribal religion. “Idol worshippers sometimes threaten us, saying that if we don’t leave their village, they will kill us,” he said.
Seeking to reunite with his brother in London, a 16-year-old Bedouin shepherd boy from the Middle East was growing frustrated with questions local missionaries were posing to him. The boy started crying when they asked him to sign an application form for asylum. “He had never gone to school and didn’t know how to read or write,” one of the leaders of the ministry said. “He started crying when our interpreter explained to him what a signature meant.”
In a country in the Middle East, a young Muslim man recently passed by a local ministry’s church site and picked up a New Testament from the stack outside. “He took it home, secretly read from it and hid it, because he feared what his family might do to him,” the ministry leader said. The 22-year-old Muslim had no idea his older brother was also secretly exploring Christianity.
A young mother in Africa had gone to a series of traditional healers, each with their fetishes and incantations to tribal gods, in a desperate quest to heal her son. He was 3 years old and had never been able to walk. She heard about a meeting at a nearby community where villagers studied the Bible. In her sub-Saharan country unidentified due to local opposition to the gospel, both the healing and the deaths of children recently moved parents to seek Christ.
Heba was rescued before she could end her life, condemning the 32-year-old mother in northern Africa to continue in a misery whose sources she did not fully understand. An affair with a younger man blunted the pain at times but soon compounded it, further toxifying problems with her husband. “I was living a miserable life filled with sadness, failure and problems,” she said.
An 11-year-old boy in Mexico had trouble socializing, and his father was addicted to drugs, so local missionaries seeking to help him had persuaded his mother to let him live at their educational center living quarters. Workers noticed some alarming drawings in his notebook. The sketches made it clear the boy was suicidal.
Christian Aid Mission seeks to establish a witness for Christ in every nation by assisting indigenous ministries based in areas of poverty and persecution, giving priority to ministries sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ with unreached people groups. Today, we work with hundreds of indigenous ministries in eight regions of the world that share the gospel with more than 2,000 unreached people groups.
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