Missionary Diary: God does the impossible in Southeast Asia
Ana serves in a sensitive area of Southeast Asia where missional business provides a way to show God’s love among unreached communities. Pray for more cross-cultural workers, entrepreneurs and people who want to serve in a missional business – so that more in remote places may be transformed by Christ.
A despairing teenager sat on a hillside minding the buffalo. Looking up to the heavens, she called out, “If there’s anyone there, help me!”
Years later, she found her way to our school and asked to study. In time, she made a commitment to follow Jesus.
When she went home for term break, she told everyone what she had learnt, aware that God’s power had changed her life but unaware of the antagonism with which her words would be met. Children and teens hung on her words, but elders feared that she was challenging the area’s spirits and soon she was not welcome in the village.
Yet, she kept visiting.
From one despairing young woman, almost every home in her small village now has one Christian or more. Some now study and work with our school – and despite the challenges, they return home regularly, sharing the gospel in their home heart language.
How does this happen? The short answer is – the work of the Holy Spirit; we can teach, model, encourage and show grace, but only God can change hearts and open eyes and minds.
The long answer is – it also takes a business. The Holy Spirit works in the day-to-day of business as we live what we teach and deepen our relationships with him. We live out the gospel in a community context over the long haul.
A hope and a future
Our riverside missional business has a key verse: John 10:10. In my past 20 years here in Southeast Asia, I’ve seen God bring people fully into our community life through the gospel.
It may sound impossible. But we serve the God of the impossible.
There are possibilities and impossibilities where our team serves. We can’t just talk about Jesus because talk is just information here. People here don’t expect information to affect their lives and are almost always happy to accept what we say – because it’s just information. So in our training, people are often shocked to hear that what we teach is something they need to do, not just know.
How, then, to communicate the gospel effectively? How can we see the work of the Holy Spirit transform lives? It may sound impossible. But we serve the God of the impossible.
Day to day in a missional business
Running a missional business takes sheer energy. There is little separation between life and work for our team.
We teach evening classes in English to meet community needs. We run a residential, vocational training program with the Bible as its foundation. As well as learning hospitality or construction skills, our students learn to trust and follow their Creator.
Many of our students stay on as staff – running a bakery, a café, a guest house, and a building program. They earn a livelihood and go on to teach others, blessing their communities through their work. They continue learning and growing in skills both in business and in mission.
When God works, impossible things happen. Students want to tell others about his work. They want to learn how to teach children, lead a youth group, and share the gospel. They want to know more and make disciples through their changed lives, deepened understanding of the word of God, and sharing of the good news of Jesus in their own languages.
The security they’ve found should have been impossible, but in Christ, they live life to the full (John 10:10).