I would like to devote all of my posts this year to shining the light on what it is like ministering around the world. The world is a very diverse place! Terrain, culture and religions differ greatly as you learn more about all the different countries of the world. Also ministering in each place brings its own uniques challenges, adventures and opportunities. We are very blessed to represent over 800 Independent Baptist Missionary ladies serving around the globe. All have surrendered their life to take the gospel to where the Lord has called them and their families. Many times, I dare say the majority of the time, these ladies serve in places far different then their home country. They have daily striven to understand and adjust to thinking and places that are far from their originally up-bringing to reach people with the gospel who most of the world know very little about. Some serve in places where the name of Jesus has never been heard and others serve where Christianity in some form is highly popular and some serve where religion in any form is avoided, each presents its own challenges and ministry.
I have divided the world into 12 segments. They are not based on continents or countries but on regions that I believe have some commonality.
Canada & America
Greenland and Iceland
Russia and Siberia
Australia and New Zealand
This month we are taking a glimpse of Southeast Asia. I have had a few ladies help by giving input on their areas of service. Let's take a trip to Southeast Asia.
For our spotlight this area encompasses Nepal, India, Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand, Cambodia, Malaysia, Burma, Laos, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Philippines. I lived in Southeast Asia for 7 years and I have personally visited 6 different countries in Southeast Asia and I have some friends serving in a few of the other remaining countries. Even in this small geographic area, you will find many differences as well as many similarities.
This area is the east half of the area that Christians call the 10/40 window. The 10/40 window is described as the area of the world that contains the most un-evangelized people in the world, aka "Satans stronghold". Not only are the main religions there Islam, Buddhism and Hinduism, but it is also the hub and origin of most of those religions. This is where you will find the biggest Hindu and Buddhist worship sites in the world and the 4th largest mosque in the world.
For many years, I Iived within walking distance of one of the largest Buddhist Stupa worship sites in the world. This dome is topped with what is called, "the all-seeing eyes of Buddha" and is daily surrounded by thousands of devout Buddhist and Hindus who are searching for merit from these "all-seeing eyes" that will gain them a better after life. Old and young, they come by the hoards with their prayer wheels and prayer beads. They chant a prayer that was written for them by a priest an auspicious number of times. Some of them will prostrate themselves on the ground throughout the entire day as the gongs and chants of monks can be heard in the background. Some just chat with friends as they walk through their routine or accompany an older family member. Buddhist wares and religious ornaments are sold in shops 5ft away, in a circle pattern as people walk and pray. No matter their reason or intent it is indeed a battleground between righteousness and evil. For a Christian, as you begin to walk within 2 blocks of this temple the cloud of spiritual warfare begins to fall and thicken. With every step, you know you are drawing nearer to the devils domain. A heaviness settles upon you as you watch hundreds and thousands of people march to the lie of Satan. No peace is found there. No comfort will be seen. Only broken hearts desperately looking for an answer to the void they feel but blinded by years of deceit by man's religion. They long for release from this bondage but strongly fear the change of trusting something they have never heard of and turning their back on the religion of their family and forefathers, a sin of the highest ranking in many of these countries. But we walk with light and with the message of the one who has the power to break all ties of bondage and enslavement. We share the gospel with all who will listen and we walk back out with a prayer and a weighing burden for blinded eyes to be opened to the truth.
These are some quotes from Wikipedia about a Southeast Asia.
The original 1990 GIS 10/40 Window analysis produced several insights, among them showing that the nations of the 10/40 Window represented (as of the research date):
Thankfully there are some places where long term faithfulness has yielded much fruit and change. The Phillipeans is one place where the Lord has done a great work in the last decade or two and the numbers of Christians continues to grow greatly. While there is still much work to be done we rejoice in Gods work and the fruit that has abounded thus far. For the other countries while the numbers are fewer, miraculous testimonies and works are being done for Christ.
Thank you for joining us on this spotlight trip to Southeast Asia