When you truly believe something, you will defend it and prove it to anyone willing to listen. Even when you are facing persecution from other people, you will still share if you genuinely believe. We watch that happen among our pastors regularly. In Myanmar, eighty-five percent of the population are Buddhists. Some of those people are merely following the religion that they grew up hearing from their parents. However, some are zealous and persecute our churches, and they fight against every other religion.
Pastor Solomon is leading a growing congregation in the mountain region of the Northern Chin State. When he began his work a few years ago, there were not any Christians in this area. Many of the people had never even heard of God, and they had no idea who Jesus was or what his death had to do with them.
In some ways, this reminded me of the announcement by the angels about the birth of Jesus. Imagine what a scene that must have been when God sent his angelic hosts to bring the first announcement of his son’s birth. The Shepherds were the lowest members of society. They were considered dirty and corrupt to the level that they were not allowed to participate as a witness in a court of law.
God chose them to be recipients of the message of Good News that a Savior for all the people had been born.
For unto you is born this day in the city of David, a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.Luke 2:11 (ESV)
The shepherds went with haste to find the baby just as the angels had announced to them. What amazes me is the true conviction those shepherds had as they finished their experience at the manger. They went about telling everyone what they had been told about this child. We don’t have any follow-up to the life of these shepherds in the Bible. We don’t know if anyone believed them, but the results of their mission to tell others was not counted by how many other people believed. They made haste in obedience to find the baby just as the angels had told them, and their response was to go tell others about Jesus.
We received news from Pastor Solomon about an incredible ministry that took place this weekend. A group of young people, all newer believers, from his church, decided to distribute gospel tracts throughout their neighborhood. He gathered them at the church for a few days of training. I was encouraged that his study included a discussion about different kinds of faith. He taught them that some young people have a “Historical Faith,” meaning that they only declare themselves a Christian because it is their family’s tradition.
Another kind of faith they discussed was a “Temporal Faith,” meaning that you only act like a Christian when you are around other Christians. When a person with just a temporal faith is around a bad group of peers, the uncommitted person acts like the unbelievers. The group of young people at Solomon’s church dedicated themselves to having a “Saving Faith,” a faith that is trusting and dependent on the person and work of Jesus Christ. A faith with true convictions. A faith that changes your life entirely.
We had the privilege to pray for them during these two days of training, and then Pastor Solomon sent photos of the response of all the young people. They went around their neighborhood and distributed the tracts. They divided into groups and went out by twos. They delivered masks and the tracts to anyone willing to receive them. They were not afraid of persecution or people rejecting the message of the gospel. They boldly delivered tracts and opened discussions.
On some occasions, the people asked questions and wanted to have a discussion. Others just took the tract, and follow-up will occur later. The young people distributed over three hundred and fifty tracts.
The church will host a baptism on December 24th for seven people. Three of those people come out of Buddhist background. The remarkable progress of this church growth comes through the faithfulness of Pastor Solomon and his wife, Cing Bawi. God also uses your partnership and prayers to advance the work of the gospel in these remote areas. Thank the Lord for the faithful students who are bold in their witness for Jesus Christ.