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WEEK OF PRAYER: Prayer and miracles transform lives in Southeast Asia

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EDITOR’S NOTE: This year’s Week of Prayer for International Missions in the Southern Baptist Convention is Nov. 28-Dec. 5, with a theme of Together. The theme parallels the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Mission’s theme of Let’s Advance God’s Kingdom Together. The offering provides a significant portion of the IMB’s annual budget and 100 percent of the funds go to mission work on the field. Gifts to the Lottie Moon offering are received through local Southern Baptist churches or online at IMB.org/lmco [2], where there are also resources to help promote the offering. This year’s goal is $185 million.

Stephen and Erin Spencer* minister in a region of Southeast Asia where tribal warfare is ongoing, civil unrest is on the rise and foreigners are blacklisted from entering certain regions. However, the Good News is entering homes and hearts. One of these hearts is a woman who goes by the name “Momma.”

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An elderly woman watches her grandson in a village in Southeast Asia. A local believer named ‘Momma’ boldly shares the Gospel in villages like this one, and many have committed their lives to Christ.

Momma has seen miraculous answers to prayer – a pig raised from the dead, rashes cured, and a woman healed from paralysis. The Spencers say prayer transformed Momma’s village, and answered prayers are leading many to Christ.

When Momma heard Bible stories, she told her family, “There might be something to this Living God they’re talking about.”

One day Momma’s daughter came with the disastrous news that their pig had died. In this area, a pig can be sold for the equivalent of two or three months of income. “Is there anything this ‘Living God’ can do?” her daughter asked.

“Momma marched down to the pigpen where a crowd had gathered from the village and didn’t know what else to do,” Stephen explains. “She just crawled into the pigpen and got down on her knees and said, ‘God, if You’re real, then show these people that You’re real.’ And while she was praying, the dead pig stood up.”

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Momma believed and was baptized the next day.

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A villager in Southeast Asia tends to two piglets. In this area, a pig can be sold for two or three months of income. A pig belonging to a Christian unexpectedly died, but through the fervent prayers of the Christian, the pig was raised to life.

Erin said one miracle after another keeps happening.

When the Spencers visit Momma, they say, “So, tell me what He did this week.”

A woman in Momma’s village became immobilized and was bedridden in severe pain for four months. Village members began placing bets on what day she would die.

“I know you can pray, and God does things. Will you pray for my wife to die? Because she’s just in agony,” the woman’s husband asked Momma.

Momma asked him if she could pray and ask God to heal her. Mama shared the Gospel and prayed for the woman. Ten minutes later, the woman was sitting upright in a chair. The next day, the woman walked out of her house to greet Stephen and Erin. She committed her life to Christ.

“It was a testimony of the power of God because everybody in the village knew what condition she was in,” Erin says.

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Stephen and Erin Spencer* and their three children serve with the IMB in Southeast Asia. The Spencers minister in a region where tribal warfare is ongoing, civil unrest is on the rise and foreigners are blacklisted from entering certain zones.

Though God opened hearts, many remained skeptics.

“It’s hard sometimes being the only one out here, and everybody thinks you’re crazy, and there isn’t anyone who understands and can relate to me. Sometimes I get discouraged,” Momma told the Spencers.

When Momma heard hundreds of Christians in Stephen and Erin’s partner churches were praying for her, her eyes lit up in appreciation and wonder.

“Now I know that I will never be alone,” she said.

Momma has faithfully shared the Gospel during the pandemic, and more than 11 people have committed their lives to Christ as of the writing of this story.

*Names changed for security