SOUTHEAST ASIA (BP) -- Most instruments need musicians to play them. But others, as two Christian workers once learned, don't need any humans at all. David and Regan York*, nine years ago, moved with their two children to a Southeast Asian city rich in artistic culture. The city itself looks like artwork, with buildings adorned in murals and graffiti paintings, but residents especially prize the complex melodies of their traditional music. [QUOTE@left@180=One night after the family had gone to bed, one of the instruments began to play itself.]York, who holds advanced degrees in music, planned to use his knowledge to create opportunities for sharing the Gospel. But when the Yorks purchased a number of instruments -- bronze kettles, gongs and slabs set in beautifully carved wood -- they experienced firsthand the spiritual world connected to the culture's artistic expression. Not long after moving into their Asian home, the couple placed the purchases in their living room. Then, one night after the family had gone to bed, one of the instruments began to play itself. "We thought ... 'Maybe I was still half asleep -- maybe a million things," Regan said. "'Maybe it's some other instrument that somebody else has in a neighborhood that's close by. Maybe it's not ours.'" David and Regan didn't talk to each other about the music, each thinking that the other might not have heard it. Yet the same song played night after night. David got out of bed, checked the house and locked all the doors. No one had entered but he could see the bronze slabs still vibrating from the music. After several nights of worry, the Yorks finally admitted to each other they heard the song. They also admitted the only thing that could cause an instrument to play without a musician was spiritual warfare. When local craftsman make instruments, the couple soon discovered, the men fast and pray over their work, asking spirits to inhabit and enhance the instruments' sound. The couple stayed calm at first, but when Regan learned that Esther*, their oldest child, could hear the song as well, she began to fear for her family. "I remember praying and telling God, 'This is scaring me to death,'" Regan said. ...
INDONESIA (BP) –- The lines on the face of 40-year-old Tri Hartoyo* disappear when Suh Hasan* pops her wild cloud of hair into the doorway. Hartoyo enthusiastically throws her thin arms around Hasan and pulls her into the house. They settle onto a couple of overused couches with patches of upholstery missing. Women Share Gospel […]
SOUTHEAST ASIA (BP) -- In a Southeast Asian orphanage, a 20-year-old woman struggles to stand up.
SOUTHEAST ASIA (BP) -- Sometimes, people don't need tracts or literature to share the Gospel. Sometimes, God designs their bodies as living, breathing ministry tools.
PORO, Philippines (BP) -- In a bamboo home on the Filipino island of Poro, a coconut farmer's wife holds a ginger leaf carefully over a spoon. She squeezes a few drops of juice onto the utensil while her 3-year-old son watches. The drops mix with juice from tamarind leaves, lemoncito leaves and lemon, forming an amber liquid the woman uses to treat her little boy's cold.
SOUTH ASIA (BP) -- A small group of believers in Asia watches as tears fill a woman's eyes. She stands before them in a tunic and baggy pants -- their own traditional clothing -- and her voice quavers as she speaks. "You can pastor yourselves without foreigners," the woman tells the group. "You can evangelize." The government of this country in southern Asia may deport the foreign workers who have helped disciple the believers. They are worried what will happen when they are left alone. Although Huan Tan* resembles her listeners, she doesn't speak their language and must use an interpreter to encourage them in their spiritual growth. Through the voice of another, she tells the group they can mature in their faith and spread the Gospel to their friends and families. Asians, she says, can sustain a successful church and spread the message of Christ themselves. Tan knows it is possible because she has seen it happen. She and her husband, pastor Feng Tan*, traveled across a swath of the Asian continent to share their spiritual knowledge with this tiny band of inexperienced Christians. The Tans were accompanied by five other members of their church in Southeast Asia -- a congregation full of believers of Chinese descent. The group encourages spiritual growth by teaching leadership and discipleship at three locations in southern Asia, but this morning Tan feels her country's Christian history might inspire her listeners more than her prepared lesson. She wants them to know how God matured her own family of Southeast Asian believers. Thirty years ago, Tan says, the government in her country deported all the American missionaries who had discipled them, leaving a leadership gap in congregations and seminaries. However, as time passed, the local believers appointed and trained their own pastors and carried on their own evangelism.
SOUTHEAST ASIA (BP)--As a teenager, Budi Mulyadi* trained to kill Christians with a 9 mm pistol. For months, he aimed it at a target while an instructor shouted slurs against Christianity. Mulyadi didn't know anything about the religion, just that it threatened Islam. Not once did someone explain Christ's sacrifice to him. Yet, almost 20 years later, he serves as a Christian worker. Today Mulyadi works with American Christian workers to manage worship sessions for youth in Southeast Asia. He helps local farmers learn better ways to raise healthy fish and grow their crops. He gives food to poverty-stricken families. As Mulyadi works, the jobs and the people he works with bring him joy and he smiles, but his smiles fade when he talks about his adolescence. At the age of 14, he lived in an Islamic terrorist camp that imbued him with wrath and hate. Hate "was something that was implanted in my mind," he said. "I could just think about Christians and the hate would pop up." An obstinate child, Mulyadi ran away from an Islamic boarding school in his early teenage years. The school merely taught him Muslim scripture but had too many rules for his taste. He had already run away from home after a violent disagreement with his father, so the 13-year-old had nowhere to turn. Then he met an Islamic extremist who promised him a new education. The man took the young Mulyadi to a large compound of tents that was surrounded by trees. Twenty other boys slept in the tents at night and trained with knives and guns during the day. They only stopped for sleep, food and prayer. When their instructors talked to them, they touted the supremacy of Muslims and the wretchedness of Christians. The Christians, they said, deserved to die. "We were told that the Christians were infidels," Mulyadi said. "If we would kill Christians, then that would be a free ticket into heaven for us." At the camp, Mulyadi felt anger and self-righteousness boiling inside. As he practiced with a gun supplied by the camp, hate filled him. At times, though, he also felt doubt and confusion. The instructors told him that Christians should burn in hell, but did he want to send them there? The boy continued to mull over these questions as his marksmanship improved and as the gun felt more and more familiar in his hand. Eventually, the leaders believed, Mulyadi and four other boys were ready to prove their worth. Without a clear strategy, they sent their students out to kill anyone they could.
SAMAR, Philippines (BP)--Evelyn Riviera has a question for the five American university students gathered around her front door. "Is it true that Americans don't eat rice?" she asks. "They just eat bread?"