April 6, 2022

WILLS POINT, TX – GFA World (Gospel for Asia) founded by K.P. Yohannan, has been the model for numerous charities like GFA World Canada, to assist the poor and deprived worldwide, issued this first part of a Special Report on the unstoppable compassion force of national missionary workers.

Compassion Sweeps ‘Forgotten Islands’

In what are known as the “forgotten islands” of South Asia, remote outposts dotted along the shoreline of the Indian Ocean, villagers still use oxen as a mode of transportation and wash themselves, their dirty clothes and their dishes in the same stagnant ponds they drink from.

Ritesh and national workers travel between islands through boats to show the love of Jesus
Ritesh and his national missionaries are constantly on the move to show the love of Jesus to the “forgotten islands” in South Asia, to which they sail on boats, walking several miles a day, then riding on bicycles.

No clean water. No schools. No medical clinics. Life seems hopeless—and improvement seems impossible—for many of the “forgotten” people of these islands. But a team of young GFA World national workers was changing all that. Traveling on rickety boats from island to island, these committed young workers brought hope and good news to islanders on the brink of giving up.

“It is not we who have been doing ministry, but it is God who has been doing ministry through us,” said group leader Taj, whose team earned the trust of hundreds of villagers as they prayed for the sick and showed these “hidden” people the love of God.

Their hands-on compassion and care has built strong bonds.

“You are my son,” one elderly widow told a member of the team. “You are my mother,” the young missionary replied.

When Gospel for Asia (GFA World) launched its child sponsorship program on several of the islands, the impact on children who’d never before had the chance to go to school before was staggering, resulting in a new birth of hope and purpose.

But Taj and his team weren’t done yet. “I began to pray that we may have enough resources of water,” Taj said.

Women and children enjoying clean water from Jesus Wells.
Jesus Wells meet practical needs in communities for safe, clean drinking water, and in doing so, convey the love Jesus has for the people in these villages.

The answer to his prayers came: Teams drilled new Jesus Wells, bringing clean water for the first time to thousands of islanders who had only tasted water from filthy ponds, which were contaminated and often caused children to fall sick and even die.

In just two years, the commitment and perseverance of Taj and his team brought new hope and good news to dozens of islands, showering the love of God on everyone they met—including the boat drivers who ferried them from place to place.

Such perseverance is a hallmark of faith-filled national workers who have a deep interest in the well-being and health of their fellow countrymen, propelling them to great lengths to share the wholeness and inner peace they’ve discovered themselves.

GFA Pastor Marty shares the love of Jesus in the slums
As a child, Pastor Marty often dug through garbage to fill his empty stomach. Now he is living in the same slum he grew up in, showing the love of Jesus by meeting practical needs of people who are going through the same struggles he went through.

A Native of the Slums Brings Hope

Marty, an indigenous pastor, has dedicated many years to transforming life for the children in the sprawling South Asia slum he was born in. He recalls digging through the garbage as a boy, desperate to find scraps to relieve his hunger. When his alcoholic father died, Marty, who was still only a boy, became his family’s provider.

GFA Pastor Marty prays for the people living in the slums
Every morning Pastor Marty goes on a neighborhood prayer walk, interacting with residents, praying over the community (shown above) and asking for help in showing the love of Jesus in practical ways. It is only through the power of prayer and tangible help that these communities in South Asia can be transformed.

Having experienced the pain, struggles and addictions that plague children every day in the slums, Marty’s eyes tear up as he describes his heartache for children wallowing in extreme poverty, sifting through the trash without hope—like he once did. That’s why he and his wife, Prina, are so passionate about serving the slum dwellers.

“Most of these children’s parents are my friends. We went to school together,” Marty said. “But most of them dropped out. … They started indulging [in] wrong things. … Some of them are even dead. So I started thinking about their children. Why [don’t] we do something for their children?”

Every morning, Marty goes on a neighborhood “prayer walk.” He prays for each individual by name, and the people in the slum—who embrace him as one of their own—recognize there’s something different about him, something almost heavenly.

“[He] is a great example for us,” says one of his neighbors. “He does what Jesus would have done. Helping the poor and needy and also loving people … He is always willing to help people. … He knows the situation… He understands better than anyone else.”

After serving his neighbors in the slum for 15 years, Marty’s perseverance has turned gray skies into blue. He’s launched two child sponsorship initiatives, turning others’ despair into hope and his own tears into joy.

“Ever since my childhood, the pain and difficult situations and poverty—all those things,” Marty says, “when I look back, [they] were … to make me strong and to trust and [have] faith in [God].”

Pastor Marty … grew up in [this slum] and now is back serving with his family.” says GFA World’s Yohannan. “Serving here is not easy. … Pastor Marty and many other [national workers] are faithfully serving in the slums.”

Across Asia, thousands upon thousands of national missionaries toil and labor every day, trekking miles on foot—often barefoot in extreme heat or cold—to bring hope and good news to their own people who struggle to see any purpose in their lives or reason to go on living.
Women national missionary workers travel from one village to another with the use of a bicycle
With a heavy-duty bicycle like this one, two women missionaries can visit many more ladies than they could on foot, travelling from one village to another, meeting practical needs for personal help, hope and encouragement.

Inspired by Jesus’ love for the poor, these workers press on. Even in the face of hunger, disease, dangerous journeys and other hardships, they refuse to give up.

To reach the remotest villages that are too far to reach by walking, national workers turn to pedal power.

In 2020, amidst the pandemic, hundreds of trained workers on bicycles—a compassion crew on wheels—ventured to remote villages across Asia. Working in conjunction with local authorities within pandemic restrictions, with the heart of Christ they provided help for people in desperate need.

Before the pandemic took hold, bicycles were already helping workers to make the most of their time. Rainer saw how he could help even more people, and he prayed for two years for a bicycle so he could encourage and help a cluster of villages nine miles from his home. Months passed with no sign of a bicycle, but Rainer refused to give up hope. Eventually, he got news that he would receive a bicycle, which was provided through generous donations of people in the West. Rainer cried tears of joy. Today, he rides to 10 villages too far away to visit on foot. His bicycle has even become the local “ambulance,” transporting sick villagers to the nearest clinic. In short, Rainer and his bicycle have been a blessing beyond all expectations.

Rainer, GFA national missionary worker, and his bicycle
Because of a bicycle Gospel for Asia (GFA) national worker Rainer has been able to travel to various communities and their churches to show the love of Christ by encouraging the believers, meeting practical needs within the villages for food, clean drinking water and health care, and to support other national workers present in those neighborhoods.

National & Non-National: A Beautiful Partnership

Rainer’s story is a wonderful example of how missions-minded people all around the world can link their lives with the lives of national workers on the frontlines, bringing hope into places they could never go. By supporting and sponsoring a national missionary—perhaps by purchasing a bicycle for them, providing monthly financial support, or committing to pray for them—a beautiful partnership is formed, blessing everyone involved.

The unstoppable, never-give-up attitude of national workers like Rainer is a soul-searching challenge to all who desire to bring hope and love to their neighbors in their own communities, wherever they live—a challenge presented in Yohannan’s new book, aptly titled Never Give Up.

Dr. K.P. Yohannan, GFA Founder
Dr. K.P. Yohannan, GFA Founder

“A day will come when all your family, friends, responsibilities, possessions, degrees, popularity, all of it will be gone,” Yohannan writes. “It’s just going to be you and Christ and nothing else. Let the decisions you make today be ones that will reflect well in the light of that moment.”

“Let me ask you, when was the last time you actively went out of your way to show the love of Christ to someone, and then to talk to them about His love for them?”

“Do you sense a growing ache for those who do not know the love of Christ?”

“Do you feel a deeper burden to care for the suffering and needy… widows and orphans as He did?”

“The choice not to give up is mine. It is also yours.”

As we ponder how to personally convey God’s love in word and deed to those within our spheres of influence, we can also partner with a national missionary who is dedicated to being an unstoppable force for compassion in areas of the world we could never reach on our own. Our prayers and financial support of their commitment to bring practical help and hope to people desperately in need is one way we can never give up in the effort to share good news to a world in need of Christ’s love.


Give to Support National Missionaries »

If this special report has touched your heart and you would like to help national workers show Jesus’ love by meeting practical needs, then make a generous one time or monthly gift to support a national missionary in Asia or Africa.


Read the rest of this Gospel for Asia – Transforming Communities (GFA World) Special Report: National Workers: Unstoppable Compassion Force Part 1, Part 2


About GFA World

GFA World (Gospel for Asia) is a leading faith-based global mission agency, helping national workers bring vital assistance and spiritual hope to millions across the world, especially in Asia and Africa, and sharing the love of God. In GFA World’s latest yearly report, this included thousands of community development projects that benefit downtrodden families and their children, free medical camps conducted in more than 1,200 villages and remote communities, over 4,800 clean water wells drilled, over 12,000 water filters installed, income-generating Christmas gifts for more than 260,000 needy families, and teaching providing hope and encouragement available in 110 languages in 14 nations through radio ministry. GFA World has launched programs in Africa, starting with compassion projects in Rwanda. For all the latest news, visit our Press Room at https://press.gfa.org/news.


Read more blogs on GFA World, National Missionary Workers, and World Missions on Patheos from Gospel for Asia.

GFA’s Statement About Coronavirus

Learn more by reading this Special Report from Gospel for Asia on the Lord’s work in 2020 through GFA and the partnerships worldwide while following Him in His work in 16 nations, including Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Nepal.


Learn more about Gospel for Asia: Facebook | YouTube | Instagram | LinkedIn | SourceWatch | Integrity | Lawsuit Update | 5 Distinctives | 6 Remarkable Facts | 10 Milestones | Media Room | Widows & Coronavirus | Endorsements | 40th Anniversary | Lawsuit Response | International Offices | Missionary and Child Sponsorship | Transforming Communities through God’s Love

Notable News about Gospel for Asia: FoxNews, ChristianPost, NYPost, MissionsBox

Read what 25 Christian Leaders are affirming about GFA World.

This Special Report originally appeared on gfa.org.

April 4, 2022

WILLS POINT, TX – GFA World (Gospel for Asia) founded by K.P. Yohannan, has been the model for numerous charities like GFA World Canada, to assist the poor and deprived worldwide, issued this first part of a Special Report on the unstoppable compassion force of national missionary workers.

Sisters of Compassion, women national missionary workers, praying for a poor widow
These Sisters of Compassion are praying for this poor widow who lost her husband to a tiger attack. They often find practical ways to assist people who are desperate for help, hope and encouragement, showing the love of Christ throughout the process.

Looking ‘Inside’ for Lasting Solutions

When Helping Hurts book cover
With more than 450,000 copies in print, When Helping Hurts is a paradigm-forming contemporary classic on the subject of poverty alleviation. Photo by Moody Publishers

Instead of looking to the West, many humanitarian and missions groups are looking “inside,” turning their attention to the vast pool of dedicated and talented workers within the nations in which they serve. They’re convinced that national workers are the key to lasting transformation.

It’s an opinion shared by development specialist Steve Corbett and economics professor Brian Fikkert, co-authors of When Helping Hurts: How to Alleviate Poverty Without Hurting the Poor and Yourself.

“God has blessed many of these indigenous workers with amazing talents and strong passions,” they write. “They often minister long term in environments that would be a deep challenge for even the most impassioned outsider. Furthermore, these indigenous workers’ understanding of local cultures and languages makes them far more effective than the outsiders could typically be, either in the short or long term.”

“Moreover, these indigenous workers usually do this work at salaries that are far below mainstream North American standards,” they said. Corbett and Fikkert continue to discuss how one highly respected organization equips and manages national workers across Africa at a total annual cost of $1,540—a total that, according to the authors, includes the worker’s salary, bicycle, backpack, shirt and bedroll.

These are facts that the Church in the West needs to accept, they say: “The North American Church needs to more deeply appreciate the fact that Christians at home and abroad are ministering within their own nations, people groups, and communities at a large and growing rate, particularly in the [developing world]”.

One national pioneer worker in South Asia put it like this: “This is what I have been trying to say to missionaries from abroad. You have been offering the water of life … in a foreign cup, and we have been slow to receive it. If you will offer it in our own cup—in an indigenous form—then we are much more likely to accept it.”

The ‘T’ Word: ‘Transforming’ Communities

A church in Nepal
Often the area church leaders visit their churches in Nepal to encourage and teach the believers and assist them with practical ways to show the love of Jesus to their communities, like providing health care, clean water, food or medical assistance.

“Transformation” is a buzzword widely used in humanitarian, community development and missions circles, and it means different things to different people. Generally, it refers to a rebirth of a community, a revival of health, wellness, vitality, prosperity and hope. For faith-based organizations, everything is wrapped in God’s love. It’s the goal of all workers who follow Jesus—foreign and native—to bring transformation.

But what does transformation really look like?

Global CHE Network builds what it calls “transformational” movements within thousands of villages and communities across more than 130 countries by equipping and training national workers to spread health, good news and the love of God.

The organization tells the following story. In a small town in the Philippines, the jail sits empty, and the local attorney had to relocate because he didn’t have any clients to defend. The streets are spotless with barely a scrap of litter in sight, and the town sign reads: “Welcome to Bingawan, a Christian Community.”

It wasn’t always like this in Bingawan. The town used to have its share of trouble, crime and vice. But when the local people—impacted by Christ’s love and a revival of hope—decided to make changes in their own lives, the entire town underwent a profound transformation. Gambling joints closed, crime plummeted and the guards at the local jail found themselves staring at empty cells, according to Global CHE workers.

Asian missionary worker shares the love of Christ to his community
This Asian missionary’s goal is to show the love of Christ with every family in his community, by meeting practical needs each person has for help, hope and encouragement.

Other humanitarian agencies also tap into the strengths and connectivity of national workers, putting already-established local networks into action in the pursuit of lasting transformation.

Care Groups in a village
Care Groups are formed with 10-15 community members who build trust, share information, support one another, and then pass on what they’ve learned to others in their village with the end goal of helping their entire community. This approach has reached over 1.4 billion homes in 28 countries bringing awareness, health, and open doors for the hope of Christ.
Photo by World Relief

One inspired approach, known as the Care Group Model, has revolutionized the health and lives of hundreds of thousands of impoverished villagers in Asia and Africa.

Launched by World Relief, the Care Group Model tackles community problems at the grassroots level and operates in the heart of the community by training groups of local volunteers to confront the most serious health threats.

These volunteers, which are nearly all women, each share their newfound knowledge with 10–15 of their neighbors, spreading lifesaving know-how in the most effective way: mother to mother.

In one area, surveys revealed Care Groups:

  • Reduced the number of malnourished children by 45 percent.
  • Improved access to trained birth attendants, saving lives.
  • Increased the number of household latrines.
  • Significantly expanded the use of bed nets to prevent malaria.

The proven impact of the Care Group model, which is sustained and fully operated by national workers, is phenomenal. Across regions containing hundreds of villages, the local volunteers achieve “saturation coverage,” meaning every household is reached.

Thoeun, a local health educator in Cambodia, says if a child fell sick, villagers often suspected supernatural causes and looked to supernatural remedies. Growing up in the culture, Thoeun understands the way the villagers think. But the Care Group introduced her to a new way of thinking about health—and showed her the love of God. The combination of education, care and good news changed her life, she says, and since then she’s encouraged hundreds of others.

GFA World national workers have transformed lives in more than 12,000 parishes across South Asia.“The local people wonder why we’re so positive and friendly. … They ask us why,” Thoeun says, explaining it opens the door to tell them about God’s love.

While different faith-based and humanitarian groups have made a big impact on communities by recognizing the strengths, commitment and drive of local workers, perhaps no agency has done more than Gospel for Asia (GFA World). Its national missionaries have transformed lives in more than 12,000 parishes across Asia, in nations such as Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

‘Native Shockwave’

When GFA World’s K.P. Yohannan launched his best-selling book Revolution in World Missions in the mid-1980s, its groundbreaking message sent shockwaves through churches, missions agencies and humanitarian organizations that were used to operating according to the traditional norms of Western missions endeavors.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet
From the villages of India to the shores of North America missionary statesman KP Yohannan’s passion is contagious!

Yohannan’s vision helped turn the traditional Western “missions sending model” upside down, instead advocating for people in the West to support and train national workers already in place. Yohannan claimed local workers were better suited to do the work of transforming communities across Asia. They already lived at the same level as the local people: working alongside them, living among them in the villages and slums, dressing the same, speaking the same language, eating the same food, drinking from the same well.

Jager is one such worker. Trained and supported by Gospel for Asia (GFA World), Jager ventured to villages in a difficult area of South Asia, determined to show people the love of God. Jager and his wife lived in a one-room mud house, like the local people, and cooked their food on an open fire.

National workers, Yohannan reasoned, understood the local culture and customs, were more easily accepted and could go where outsiders were not able or permitted to travel.

In effect, Yohannan’s dream is to see thousands of community-transforming national workers across Africa and Asia, equipped with the training and resources to break extreme poverty and offer hope to those in despair, all in the name of Christ.

National missionary workers home fellowship
Many national workers live in one room homes like this one which can double up as a location for fellowship and thanksgiving where a local pastor can encourage the villagers in the Lord.

“Filled to overflowing with the love of God, these national workers are passionate to share that love with everyone they meet,” Yohannan said. “Ultimately, the only true lasting transformation can happen through Christ who brings hope for this life and the life to come.” Yohannan continues, “While we must care for the hungry and suffering, we must not forget to share the authentic message of redemption through Christ. The holy Scriptures tell us in Mark 8:36 ‘What shall it profit a man if gains the whole world and loses his soul.’”.

A criticism sometimes leveled at national workers in developing nations is that they lack quality, formal training. The inference is they’re not up to “Western standards” of education and knowledge. But groups like Gospel for Asia (GFA World) don’t expect national workers to operate on passion and enthusiasm alone. Each worker undergoes extensive, in-depth training and preparation for their role of service.

Following a three-year period of intense training, these courageous national missionaries set off into “uncharted territory” where often no missions or humanitarian agency has gone before, bringing clean drinking water through “Jesus Wells” to the remotest villages, launching child sponsorship programs for children who never dreamed they’d be able to go to school, and fighting poverty with vocational training, sewing machines and fishing nets.

Missionary Pastor Ravid shares his compelling story of how he continued to show God’s love and meet practical needs within his community throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdowns.


Give to Support National Missionaries »

If this special report has touched your heart and you would like to help national workers show Jesus’ love by meeting practical needs, then make a generous one time or monthly gift to support a national missionary in Asia or Africa.


Read the rest of this Gospel for Asia – Transforming Communities (GFA World) Special Report: National Workers: Unstoppable Compassion Force Part 1, Part 3


About GFA World

GFA World (Gospel for Asia) is a leading faith-based global mission agency, helping national workers bring vital assistance and spiritual hope to millions across the world, especially in Asia and Africa, and sharing the love of God. In GFA World’s latest yearly report, this included thousands of community development projects that benefit downtrodden families and their children, free medical camps conducted in more than 1,200 villages and remote communities, over 4,800 clean water wells drilled, over 12,000 water filters installed, income-generating Christmas gifts for more than 260,000 needy families, and teaching providing hope and encouragement available in 110 languages in 14 nations through radio ministry. GFA World has launched programs in Africa, starting with compassion projects in Rwanda. For all the latest news, visit our Press Room at https://press.gfa.org/news.


Read more blogs on GFA World, National Missionary Workers, and World Missions on Patheos from Gospel for Asia.

GFA’s Statement About Coronavirus

Learn more by reading this Special Report from Gospel for Asia on the Lord’s work in 2020 through GFA and the partnerships worldwide while following Him in His work in 16 nations, including Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Nepal.


Learn more about Gospel for Asia: Facebook | YouTube | Instagram | LinkedIn | SourceWatch | Integrity | Lawsuit Update | 5 Distinctives | 6 Remarkable Facts | 10 Milestones | Media Room | Widows & Coronavirus | Endorsements | 40th Anniversary | Lawsuit Response | International Offices | Missionary and Child Sponsorship | Transforming Communities through God’s Love

Notable News about Gospel for Asia: FoxNews, ChristianPost, NYPost, MissionsBox

Read what 25 Christian Leaders are affirming about GFA World.

This Special Report originally appeared on gfa.org.

March 7, 2022

WILLS POINT, TX – GFA World (Gospel for Asia) founded by K.P. Yohannan, has been the model for numerous charities like GFA World Canada, to assist the poor and deprived worldwide, issued this first part of a Special Report on the unstoppable compassion force of national missionary workers.

GFA World (Gospel for Asia) issued this Special Report on the unstoppable compassion force of national missionary workers.
To help a village on top of a Himalayan mountain, this Gospel for Asia (GFA) national worker rode a bus for hours, then hiked uphill for three hours more, to show the love of Jesus by meeting their practical needs.

A young Asian woman wearing a white robe and head covering cradles an elderly woman’s feet that are horribly deformed by leprosy and gently washes them in a bowl of water.

The old woman can scarcely believe someone is touching her, caring for her, loving her. Most people would recoil from this woman and avoid the leprosy colony where she lives. The colony is a place of disease, disfigurement and disability. Its residents are used to being treated as outcasts by others and viewed as cursed. They are used to their deformed bodies being seen as objects of ugliness.

Geeta, Sisters of Compassion, cleans and bandages the wounds of a leprosy patient
Geeta (pictured), a Sister of Compassion, works in a leprosy colony where 30 families live. Many of the residents are unable to work, so the Sisters visit regularly to encourage them, clean their wounds, cut their hair and trim their nails, give them baths, wash their clothes, clean their houses and cook for those who are unable to do so themselves.

But to the young woman dressed in white, these feet are beautiful.

She and her companions, known as Sisters of Compassion, come here regularly to clean wounds, cut hair and trim nails. They see beauty amid the truncated limbs and deeply scarred bodies that few are willing to look upon, let alone touch.

As locals and neighbors, the Sisters fully understand the culture and customs into which they pour their compassion. They appreciate and respect the historical and religious traditions, speak the local language and know the nuances of the dialect. And they’re specially trained in leprosy wound care and family counseling.

To all this, they add the unspoken language of Christ’s love.

“We do all this because of the love of God,” says Geeta, one of the Sisters trained to care for people with leprosy.

No one else could have the impact these women are having on their own people, often their own neighbors. Their roots of love go deep, and their branches of compassion reach into places where no one else goes.

While their long white robes, known as saris, might appear like unusual attire to Western eyes, the significance in South Asia is huge. The Sisters’ simple handspun uniform mirrors the traditional sari once worn by the lowliest of servants in Asia. It says to the old woman whose body has been disfigured with leprosy: “I am here to serve you. I see your worth.”

Mungeli Das, a leprosy patient
People like Mungeli Das (above) receive help from the Sisters of Compassion. Says Geeta: “If we didn’t help them, no one would have served them or taken care of them … they would die without any hope. Whether it’s a literacy class or cleaning their wounds, we do all of this because of the love of God.”

Mungeli Das, who contracted leprosy as a little girl more than 50 years ago, was treated for five years, then cured. Because of the deformity left by the disease, the leprosy colony has been her home for decades. She clings to the help and hope that the Sisters of Compassion bring her. The Sisters follow the example of Jesus who, according to the gospels, touched and healed those, like Mungeli, with leprosy.

“Before the Sisters came, there was no one to help trim our hair, cut our nails or help us clean our houses and encourage us,” Mungeli says. “The Sisters help us by cleaning our wounds, and they make us happy and encouraged [us] all the time.”

In places where outsiders, foreigners and foreign mission workers are prohibited or restricted, national workers and national missionaries have much more opportunity to serve. These women and men are welcomed and considered trustworthy counselors and friends of the community.

Outsiders may come and go. But national missionaries, such as GFA World’s Sisters of Compassion, stand the test of time.

“Each woman who serves as a Sister of Compassion is full of sacrificial love, just like Jesus,” explains Gospel for Asia (GFA World). “They do the most unglamorous things, such as bathing someone … or feeding people who’ve been affected by leprosy [and] no longer have any fingers [to] feed themselves.”

Sisters of Compassion teaching practical skills to struggling women
Teaching practical skills to help struggling women make a living is just one of the many things Sisters of Compassion do as they serve their communities. In all they do, these national missionaries demonstrate the love of Jesus for the poor and impoverished.

Unsung Heroes of the Frontline

CT Studd
CT Studd was a foreign missionary to China, India, Sudan and the Congo who said: “Nothing in this world would last, but it was worthwhile living for the world to come.”

While Western workers often venture to far-flung places and do amazing things, it’s the unsung heroes of the frontline—the local, indigenous people—who consistently make the greatest impact and bring true transformation to their own communities.

In the past, missions trailblazers like William Carey from England in the 1700s, and C.T. Studd in the late 1850s and early 1900s, paved the way for swarms of foreign missionaries and humanitarian workers, mostly from Western countries.

But the tide has changed.

National workers are the “new pioneers” of the 21st century, and they’re proving to be an unstoppable compassion force.

“[National] workers toil to bring healing and hope,” GFA World says. “They touch thousands of lives with the tangible love of God through slum, leprosy, medical and disaster relief ministries. Thanks to them, men, women and children who otherwise might have gone without help … have been blessed with much-needed aid.”

Beauty of Local Mission Workers

On a worldwide scale, according to the Center for the Study of Global Christianity (CSGC), there were 430,000 foreign mission workers overseas in 2021, compared with 13.2 million national workers (local citizens).

John Allen Chau, American Missionary
John Allen Chau was an American missionary killed by the Sentinelese, a self-isolated people, after illegally travelling to North Sentinel Island in an effort to preach to them.

That means national mission workers—those serving within their own culture and nation—now outnumber foreign workers by more than 30 to 1.

The CSGC predicts the number of national mission workers globally will explode to 17 million by 2050, while the number of foreign workers will increase to 600,000.

To be sure, Western Christians are still drawn to overseas missions in large numbers. But the exporting of expatriates to distant foreign fields can come at a high cost, potentially hindering progress.

In extreme cases, the quest of well-meaning foreigners with a zeal to exercise their faith and do good can end in tragedy, as in the headline-making case of a U.S. mission worker in 2018.

While attempting to make contact with the “unreached” indigenous people of North Sentinel Island, an isolated island in the Bay of Bengal, it’s believed David Allen Chau was speared to death. As of the date this article was published, his body had not been recovered.

Chau’s death was tragic and highlights the very real dangers facing non-nationals in remote areas. But it’s not only the safety of foreigners that’s an issue. It’s also the cost in dollars of sending Western workers and keeping them in their overseas assignment.

Pie chart representation of national mission workers vastly outnumbering foreign mission workers by more than 30:1
Statistics from Center for the Study of Global Christianity, “Status of Global Christianity, 2021, in the Context of 1900–2050.”

Counting the Cost of Foreign Workers vs National Workers

Missions Fest International, an annual global missions conference, spotlighted the financial cost of “sending” a Western mission worker compared with the cost of supporting a national worker in a provocative article on its website titled “Should We Stop Sending Missionaries?”

Julian Lukins with Stephen Kaziro of the Church of Uganda
Author Julian Lukins, pictured in Kampala, Uganda, with archdeacon Stephen Kaziro of the Church of Uganda who oversees dozens of village churches, including several that also act as local health clinics in the rural Namutumba district.

While stating there’s still a great need and important role for foreign workers in many parts of the world, the article points out it typically costs more than $50,000 a year to support a Western family in a developing nation such as Africa and Asia—an annual sum that could help support more than 50 national workers, the article says. For example, based on my personal experience in Uganda, an American family of four living in Africa might pay $1,000 a month for expat health insurance coverage that includes emergency medical evacuation. Because of security issues, they might have to live in a secure compound at high rent and pay hundreds of dollars every month for guards 24/7. Legal paperwork and visas can cost hundreds, even thousands, of dollars every year.

Run the numbers and it’s perhaps no surprise, then, that national workers—willing and able to live far simpler and free of immigration restrictions—are increasingly seen as a wise investment.

More than 140 organizations “are now built on the premise of gathering and sending money [to support national workers], not people,” the article says.
A national missionary worker teaches a group of children how to read
In a village where not one person could read or write, this missionary is showing the love of God by teaching children how to read.

While short-term overseas missions trips still play a huge role in the West, the merit and value of supporting local, native workers over the long haul has become widely embraced as the most effective approach in the quest for the “holy grail” of missions: to bring long-term, total transformation to impoverished communities.

Certainly, over the past couple of decades, it’s become a trend in Western nations for people, especially young people in their 20s, to travel to places in Africa, Asia or South America to volunteer in orphanages, children’s homes and the like.

Photos of young Westerners cuddling babies and surrounded by excited children in Africa and Asia have flooded social media and reinforced the so-called “white savior” label, often unfairly attached to compassionate individuals from the U.S., Canada, U.K. and other wealthy countries who simply want to make a difference in the world.

But now, it seems, this missions phenomenon—undoubtedly impacted further by COVID-19 travel restrictions—could be in decline.

An article in The Atlantic put it like this: “Among the new generation of Western Christian missionaries, the so-called ‘white savior complex’—a term for the mentality of relatively rich Westerners who set off to ‘save’ people of color in poorer countries but sometimes do more harm than good—is slowly fading.”


Give to Support National Missionaries »

If this special report has touched your heart and you would like to help national workers show Jesus’ love by meeting practical needs, then make a generous one time or monthly gift to support a national missionary in Asia or Africa.


Read the rest of this Gospel for Asia – Transforming Communities (GFA World) Special Report: National Workers: Unstoppable Compassion Force Part 2, Part 3


About GFA World

GFA World (Gospel for Asia) is a leading faith-based global mission agency, helping national workers bring vital assistance and spiritual hope to millions across the world, especially in Asia and Africa, and sharing the love of God. In GFA World’s latest yearly report, this included thousands of community development projects that benefit downtrodden families and their children, free medical camps conducted in more than 1,200 villages and remote communities, over 4,800 clean water wells drilled, over 12,000 water filters installed, income-generating Christmas gifts for more than 260,000 needy families, and teaching providing hope and encouragement available in 110 languages in 14 nations through radio ministry. GFA World has launched programs in Africa, starting with compassion projects in Rwanda. For all the latest news, visit our Press Room at https://press.gfa.org/news.


Read more blogs on GFA World, National Missionary Workers, and World Missions on Patheos from Gospel for Asia.

GFA’s Statement About Coronavirus

Learn more by reading this Special Report from Gospel for Asia on the Lord’s work in 2020 through GFA and the partnerships worldwide while following Him in His work in 16 nations, including Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Nepal.


Learn more about Gospel for Asia: Facebook | YouTube | Instagram | LinkedIn | SourceWatch | Integrity | Lawsuit Update | 5 Distinctives | 6 Remarkable Facts | 10 Milestones | Media Room | Widows & Coronavirus | Endorsements | 40th Anniversary | Lawsuit Response | International Offices | Missionary and Child Sponsorship | Transforming Communities through God’s Love

Notable News about Gospel for Asia: FoxNews, ChristianPost, NYPost, MissionsBox

Read what 25 Christian Leaders are affirming about GFA World.

This Special Report originally appeared on gfa.org.

December 20, 2021

WILLS POINT, TX – GFA World (Gospel for Asia) founded by K.P. Yohannan, has been the model for numerous charities like GFA World Canada, reveals in a new report: National missionaries — those working in their own countries — are the “new pioneers” of the 21st century, and they’re proving to be an “unstoppable compassion force,” a new report reveals. “More and more, local missionaries are driving ministry projects in their own countries and transforming their own communities,” said K.P. Yohannan (Metropolitan Yohan), founder of global mission organization Gospel for Asia (GFA World). According to GFA World’s new report, National Workers: Unstoppable Compassion Force, (www.gfa.org/press/workers) there’s a natural progression toward “indigenous” workers who understand their own culture, language, and neighbors far better than foreign missionaries.

In 2021, there were 430,000 foreign “expat” mission workers overseas, compared with 13.2 million national missionaries serving on their home soil, the report says.

National Workers ‘Far Less Costly’

National missionary workers are the pioneers of the 21st century, proving to be an unstoppable compassion force, a new GFA report reveals.
UNSTOPPABLE COMPASSION FORCE: National missionaries — those serving in their own countries and cultures — are the “new pioneers” of the 21st century, and they’re proving to be an “unstoppable compassion force,” says a new report (www.gfa.org/press/workers) by global mission organization Gospel for Asia (GFA World).

National workers also serve in their own countries at far less expense — and with fewer restrictions — than expat Western workers who often incur costs associated with emergency medical insurance, security, and immigration, as well as safety restrictions on movement, says Gospel for Asia (GFA World).

It can cost between $50,000-$120,000 a year to support an American family in a developing nation — an annual sum that could help support 50 national workers.

“National workers live at the same level as the local people,” Yohannan said, “working alongside them, living among them in the villages and slums, dressing the same, speaking the same language, eating the same food, drinking from the same well.”

Today, 80% of the world’s countries are either completely closed or severely restricted to foreigners doing any form of religious work — Afghanistan being one example.

“Then again,” Yohannan said, “no matter what closed doors, restrictions or financial costs might be, God still calls his people to evangelize, to go, and send missionaries to preach the gospel and fulfill the Great Commission.”

Most Needy Places on Earth

GFA World’s national workers run projects in more than 12,000 parishes — or local churches — across Asia. And the organization is expanding into Africa as well.

Its workers complete a three-year training period before they venture full-time into some of the most needy places on earth, bringing clean drinking water through “Jesus Wells,” launching children’s education and health projects, helping poor families generate income, and sharing God’s love.

In South Asia, mission worker Rainer prayed for two years for a bicycle so he could encourage and help a cluster of villages nine miles from his home. Now his bicycle has become the local “ambulance,” transporting sick villagers to the nearest clinic.

GFA World’s Sisters of Compassion — teams of specialized women missionaries who serve in leprosy colonies — are uniquely trained in care and counseling. Geeta and her local co-workers clean the wounds of leprosy patients and wash their deformed feet.

“We do all this because of the love of God,” Geeta said.


About Gospel for Asia – now GFA World

Gospel for Asia (GFA World) is a leading faith-based global mission agency, helping national missionaries bring vital assistance and spiritual hope to millions across the world, especially in Asia and Africa, and sharing the love of God. In GFA World’s latest yearly report, this included thousands of community development projects that benefit downtrodden families and their children, free medical camps conducted in more than 1,200 villages and remote communities, over 4,800 clean water wells drilled, over 12,000 water filters installed, income-generating Christmas gifts for more than 260,000 needy families, and teaching providing hope and encouragement available in 110 languages in 14 nations through radio ministry. GFA World has launched programs in Africa, starting with compassion projects in Rwanda. For all the latest news, visit our Press Room at https://gfanews.org/news/.

Media interested in interviews with Gospel For Asia should contact Gregg Wooding at InChrist Communications @ 972-567-7660 or gwooding@inchristcommuications.com


Learn more about GFA World Compassion Servicescomprised of four areas of ministry: slum ministry, leprosy ministry, medical ministry and disaster relief. Through these ministries, GFA missionary workers are relieving the burdened, rescuing the endangered and revealing God’s compassion to the people of Asia.

Read more blogs on National Missionary Workers and Compassion Services on Patheos from Gospel for Asia.

Read what 25 Christian Leaders are affirming about GFA World.


Source: GFA World Digital Media News Room, National Workers are ‘Unstoppable Compassion Force’ Says GFA World Report

August 28, 2020

WILLS POINT, TX – Gospel for Asia (GFA World and affiliates like Gospel for Asia Canada) founded by Dr. K.P. YohannanSharing the stories about the Gospel for Asia (GFA) missionaries and their lives of prayer for the needy, the sick and helpless, leading them to Jesus for healing and full salvation.

Gospel for Asia (GFA World and affiliates like Gospel for Asia Canada) founded by Dr. K.P. Yohannan: National Missionaries praying for healing.

Every day, our brothers and sisters in Asia are crying out to God on behalf of needy people around them. Interceding for those who have various physical ailments is just one of their prayers. We receive countless stories about God touching people’s lives through prayer, and when He brings healing, it’s often the catalyst for an individual, a family and sometimes an entire community to understand who He is.

Gospel for Asia Missionaries Praying from 1–3 a.m.

Haimi couldn’t move the left side of her body. Frequent seizures left her exhausted, and she gradually lost her ability to see. When she took a sudden turn for the worse, her son took her to a hospital, but to no avail. Desperate, he called Gospel for Asia (GFA) pastor Tapas, who lived in the village.

Pastor Tapas visited Haimi and prayed for her. After his visit, he set a regular time of prayer for her every morning from 1–3 a.m. In answer to these prayers, God healed Haimi of her paralysis and restored her eyesight.

Through this miracle, Haimi and her family found eternal healing in the Great Physician.

Escaping Epilepsy

As a child, Navin, now 24, had wanted to go to school with his friends, but epilepsy and physical weakness often confined him to his bed. His mother decided to borrow money for his treatment, yet his condition only grew worse.

“I . . . prayed to my gods to heal me, but my prayers were never answered,” Navin shares.

Then a Gospel for Asia woman missionary named Heera encouraged the family from the Word of God, prayed for Navin and told them about Jesus’ great love and power to heal. When the Lord healed Navin completely, Navin and his entire family also received everlasting joy and eternal security.

What Money Couldn’t Fix

Ritu and her wealthy husband thought their son was going to die. He couldn’t speak and could barely move. They paid for expensive treatments—money was no object— yet nothing helped 4-year-old Janu. He was slowly wasting away. When a Gospel for Asia pastor named Nilay heard about Ritu’s son, he went to their home to pray for Janu. The hopeful family brought him to Nilay’s church the next morning, where believers were eager to pray for the little boy. The congregation prayed for Janu twice a day for two months, until God answered their pleas. Today, Janu is healthy, and the whole family has found true riches in Christ—something money can’t buy.

Shway Khin and Mya Htet

Pregnancy Brings Abundant Life

Shway Khin and Mya Htet had been married for 13 years, but they still had no children. The treatments doctors prescribed did nothing, so the couple turned to their gods in desperation. Still, nothing happened.

When they asked a Gospel for Asia woman missionary named Hla Shein to pray for a child, however, things began to change. A week later, Mya Htet became pregnant, and the couple asked Hla Shein to tell them more about her Savior. As a result, today this happy family knows and loves Jesus—the God of mercy who answered their cry.

Gospel for Asia (GFA World and affiliates like Gospel for Asia Canada) founded by Dr. K.P. Yohannan: Healing through the prayers of a national missionary
Babita and her mother

6-Year-Old Couldn’t Walk

Stuck suddenly with paralysis, little Babita hadn’t walked for five months. Every day, her mother sacrificed hens, money, fruit—anything the witch doctors asked—seeking healing from her gods, but Babita never improved. Then one day, the distraught mother contacted a local Gospel for Asia pastor named Pratap and told him about their situation. He came to her home and prayed for her little girl, and three days later, Babita began to show improvement. The congregation Pastor Pratap led also prayed for her. Seeing her daughter’s health progress, her mother began to pray, too. When God healed Babita completely in a single week, Babita’s entire family found hope in Jesus.


*Names of people and places may have been changed for privacy and security reasons. Images are Gospel for Asia stock photos used for representation purposes and are not the actual person/location, unless otherwise noted.


Source: Gospel for Asia Featured Article, Short Stories about National Missionaries

Learn more about the GFA national missionaries who carry a burning desire for people to know the love of God. Through their prayers, dedication and sacrificial love, thousands of men and women have found new life in Christ.

Learn more about the Women Missionaries and their heroic efforts, dedicating their lives to bringing hope and God’s love to the women of Asia.

Click here, to read more blogs on Patheos from Gospel for Asia.

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Notable News about Gospel for Asia: FoxNews, ChristianPost, NYPost, MissionsBox

September 10, 2019

WILLS POINT, TX – Gospel for Asia (GFA) – Discussing International Day of Charity, the misconceptions perceived on what charity is, and what the Bible teaches is the true picture of charity – involving not just giving, but sacrifice.

And now abides faith, hope, charity, these three;
but the greatest of these is charity.

September 5 was set aside by the United Nations General Assembly in 2012 to be observed as the International Day of Charity. The date was selected to coincide with the anniversary of Mother Teresa’s death on September 5, 1997. The native of Macedonia spent most of her adult life working in the slums of Calcutta, India, loving and caring for destitute people for whom no one else evidenced concern.

WILLS POINT, TX – Gospel for Asia (GFA) – Discussing International Day of Charity, the misconceptions perceived on what charity is, and what the Bible teaches is the true picture of charity - involving not just giving, but sacrifice.

What Charity Is Not

The concept of charity has become so watered down that we generally think of “charity” as an organization that provides necessities of life to people who are suffering from perpetual poverty or trying to survive in the wake of a disaster.

While not entirely wrong, neither is the concept of an organized institution altogether correct. In fact, thinking of charity in this context can lull people into a lazy paradigm that leaves charitable work up to an “institutional other” to which they donate goods or funds as a way to “do our part.” Charity may then be perceived as a person or a group with their hand out seeking donations for their cause.

The thought process is based on determining what we own that we are willing to give to help. We are careful to account for what we offer because we mistakenly believe it to be ours.

What Charity Is

When we say that the concept of charity has been watered down, we refer to 1 Corinthians 13:13 where the Apostle Paul said, “And now abides faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.”

The word translated as “charity” here is “agape,” a love that places the interest and good of others above our own. Note that it is not limited to either their current or chronic needs but to their overall well-being at all times and in all circumstances.

This perspective is based upon understanding that we own nothing, that all we have is a gift from God and is intended to be used for Him and His purposes. True charity — agape love — moves our giving from the realm of mere donation to the higher plain of sacrifice.

Charity at Gospel for Asia

Whether in Asia or at any of the GFA administrative offices across the globe, GFA staff have their hearts set, individually and corporately, on loving the unloved and the unlovely, serving the unserved, offering hope to the hopeless, feeding the hungry, encouraging the downtrodden, and becoming the hands and feet that demonstrate the love of Jesus.

Yes, it takes financial support to accomplish GFA’s purposes, but our prayer is that the gifts given always flow from hearts that give in agape love. This is what charity truly is, taking our minds off ourselves to be a blessing to others.


About Gospel for Asia

Gospel for Asia (GFA, www.gfa.org) is a leading faith-based humanitarian and mission agency, bringing vital assistance and spiritual hope to millions across Asia, especially to those who have yet to hear the “good news” of Jesus Christ. In 2018, this included more than 70,000 sponsored children, free medical camps conducted in more than 1,100 villages and remote communities, over 4,700 wells drilled, over 11,400 water filters installed, income-generating Christmas gifts for more than 240,000 needy families, and spiritual teaching available in 110 languages in 14 nations through radio ministry. Gospel for Asia celebrated its 40th anniversary on July 3, 2019.


Click here, to read more blogs on Patheos from Gospel for Asia.

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April 13, 2019

WILLS POINT, TX – Gospel for Asia (GFA) – Discussing what national workers do daily to spread God’s love across Asia. “They need to think about what is needed, not what is possible because possible can change. A major problem I see . . . is not having visionary leaders.” —R.D. Thulasiraj, Director of Operations, Aravind Eye Care System
Mr. Thulasirai’s sage observation, although having nothing directly to do with missions, might be worthy of our consideration of what it really means for indigenous, national workers to be supported by GFA and its generous donors.It is difficult for us to imagine the role of pastors and other national workers in Asia because we have not seen what they have seen, nor have we experienced what they have. One thing is for certain, these pastors and workers do not have the same routine that most Western pastors do.

It is difficult for us to imagine the role of pastors and other national workers in Asia because we have not seen what they have seen, nor have we experienced what they have.

Gospel for Asia-supported pastor Marty grew up in an Asian slum where, as a young boy, he often dug for food in the bottom of dirty garbage bins to avoid starvation. He describes life in the slums as a vicious, generation cycle.

Garbage litters the streets. Dirty drinking water and the absence of simple hygienic practices like hand-washing cause disease rates to soar. Prostitution, sex trafficking, and other crimes hold countless people in bondage with no escape. [1]

Now, Pastor Marty and his family minister to families in the slum where he was raised. One believer in his church said, “He is a great example for us as he represents Jesus. He does what Jesus would have done. Helping the poor and needy and loving people. He is always willing to help people.”

Another Gospel for Asia-supported pastor, Kanak, witnessed people in his village drinking from the same pond in which they bathed and washed their livestock and dirty dishes. He’s seen mothers unable to feed their children because they have no source of income. He ministers to children and adults who have no education. He works among people who barely have what they need to survive let alone prosper.

“When I see the condition of [these] people, their poverty, . . . it hurts me. It pains me to see them suffering. I wish I could bring changes in their lives.” —Pastor Kanak [2]

Like Pastor Marty, that’s exactly what he is doing. He spends time with the villagers and becomes acquainted with their struggles, assessing what would help them the most and show them Jesus’ love. These men, and multiple others like them, spend their days considering the needs of the people to whom they are called to serve.

They demonstrate spiritual leadership by “thinking about what is needed.” Because they understand the people’s needs, they are able to discern what they can do to help those individuals, families and villages according to what they need most.

If people need clean water, the pastors may arrange for the installation of Jesus Wells or distribution of BioSand water filters. If the people need education, national workers help establish Bridge of Hope centers for children and literacy classes for adults. If a rural household needs a source of income, they may arrange for the most appropriate farm animals for the individuals in need. In the slums, they may organize vocational classes to train women to generate income to provide for their families.

People with vision are those who see a need and then make every effort to meet that need. Vision in ministry is all about seeing the need, then doing something about it.

Once we see their needs and minister to them, they will already begin to see Christ in us.

To read more about these national workers, click on the their stories below:

[1] GFA World, “A Slum Child’s Return,” March 2016

[2] GFA World, “A Heart Burdened for His People,” July 2015


Learn more about National Workers and Missionaries – the men and women the Lord God is raising up living in Asia to be His ambassadors.

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Sources:

September 15, 2018

Going to Their Own: The Purpose and Passion of National Missionaries - KP Yohannan - Gospel for Asia

Gospel for Asia (GFA World), Wills Point, Texas – Discussing the purpose, passion and impact of National Missionaries.

Dr. KP Yohannan’s seminal book, Revelation in World Missions, may have been inspired in part by a recognition that the nations of the world were themselves facing major changes in the post-World War II era. Many nations, previously parts of global empires, were experiencing the early stages of independence. Independence is the favorite traveling companion of national identity.

Whenever or wherever one nation is subject to another there is always some measure of lost identity that accompanies the loss of governmental and economic control. This has been true through all of recorded history. Ruling governments, including the Greek and Roman empires, gave great priority to determine the appropriate form of governance that would be most tolerable by the local culture whilst maintaining control over them.

History also shows that no government has ever found a successful way of repressing national cultural identity because that identity screams for the freedom to be who we are meant to be.

Nonetheless, Yohannan’s national missionary vision was not inspired by the metamorphosis of the political and economic landscape. The vision was planted in his heart by the Lord Jesus Christ who understood the need for ministering to people within their identity more than any of us ever will. He not only knew it. He experienced it.

The Beloved Disciple, John, recorded that Jesus “came to His own, and His own did not receive Him” (John 1:11).

The Purpose of National Missionaries

The work of national missionaries reflects the purpose of Christ. He came to His own, the special people group He loved, chose to represent Him, and to whom He promised a Savior. The Old Testament is replete with descriptions of God’s love for His chosen people and of His covenant plans to bless them with abundant life.

His purpose was to reach out to the people He called His own and the apple of His eye. He was committed to fulfilling the promises He had made because they were His people.

It doesn’t matter who you are or where you are from, there is a unique bond between you and the people who are like you. This is especially true when we meet people of our same heritage, culture and national identity. We feel a special affinity. We share a cultural comfort zone. We can witness the effect of a microculture like sports. People wearing the regalia of their favorite athletic team are readily received by those who are adorned in a similar fashion. After all, they “are on the same team.”

Not to mention that they may be skeptical of anyone emblazoned with an opponent’s gear. “Whose side are you on, and what are you doing here?” flashes like a neon sign across their minds.

I believe that Revolution in World Missions was a result of our prayer-answering God directing a praying Indian man, showing him the best way to share His love with the people of South Asia over the ensuing decades would be through national missionaries. Missionaries who would go to their own just as Christ came to His own.

The Passion of National Missionaries

The downside of the story is that “His own did not receive Him.” But notice that did not delay or deter Him—because He loved them. He still does.

We want to be with those whom we love. We want to help them. We want to seek the best for them. We are willing to sacrifice for our own because we love them in a special way.

If the purpose is the engine that drives us, passion (love) is the oil that keeps that purpose running effectively—even when we are ignored, rejected or spurned.

Then there is the love of Jesus in us and flowing through us. His love is a relentless spring, flowing like a river, bringing eternal life to all who believe. We cannot contain it. We must share His love.

And with whom are we most likely to share it? With our own people. Those who are the closest to us and the most like us.

It is not economics or politics that make the national missionary concept so powerful. It is the passion that God built into us to reach out to our own people so that they, too, may possess and experience the eternal life with which we are blessed.

The Power of Prayer

If many of Jesus’ own rejected Him, it is reasonable to expect that not everyone will receive the love of Christ now. But it is also reasonable to expect that some will, and it is just as reasonable to expect that more people of those cultural backgrounds are likely to open their doors, their hearts and their minds to someone just like them.

Based on first impressions of other people usually being visual, a national missionary has a far better chance than a stranger from a different culture will have to engage in conversation. National missionaries often have an open door where strangers experience only a wall.

With such a fortuitous start, the major thing national missionaries need is prayer. This is probably where you thought I was going to say “funding” or “support.” Yes, those are important, but they are not even in the realm of the power of prayer.

It is prayer that started this endeavor of raising up and training national missionaries, and it is prayer that will continue to enable and empower them. Without prayer, funding and support are just money. The Lord doesn’t need money. He needs people with the purpose of ministering to others in His name, a passion for doing so, and prayer warriors who under-gird their work.

The idea of national missionaries is not a work of genius. It is a work of God. The God who has a purpose and a passion for all the people of His creation. GFA’s national missionaries are completing that purpose with a passion planted in their hearts by Jesus Christ Himself.

Please pray for the work of national missionaries. They have the privilege of sharing Jesus’ love in places where the doors are closed to others like us. Count it the honor that it is to pray together for them.


To learn more about the National Missionaries, visit this page on the GFA website.

To read more posts on Patheos on National Missionaries, go here.

Image Source: Gospel for Asia, Photo of the Day

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May 20, 2022

WILLS POINT, TX – GFA World (Gospel for Asia) founded by K.P. Yohannan, whose heart to love and help the poor has inspired numerous charities like GFA World Canada, to serve the deprived and downcast worldwide, issued this third part of a Special Report update on girls facing decreased opportunity and increased violence, the young victims who remain hidden in the shadow of the COVID 19 pandemic.

Mother with her son and daughter in front of an outdoor toilet gifted through GFA World donors
This mother no longer needs to worry about her young daughter as her family now has safety and dignity through the generous Christmas gift of a toilet provided through a Gospel for Asia (GFA) donor.

Fostering Safety and Education

While meeting the basic needs of girls, non-profits and communities and families must also work to value and protect girls and their education. Malala Fund is partnering with organizations and governments in several developing nations to promote digital learning, secure education funding for girls and ensure girls’ mental and physical well-being during school closures.[33]

Malala Yousafzai, Malala Fund Co-Founder
Malala Yousafzai, Malala Fund Co-Founder Photo by Dr. Flavia Bustreo, Instagram

“Our goal should not be a return to the way things were but instead a renewed commitment to the way the world should be, a place where every girl can learn and lead.”[34]

Gospel for Asia (GFA) workers have encouraged communities to promote girls’ education, even during the pandemic. Last October, Gospel for Asia (GFA) workers in one community held a small International Day of the Girl celebration at the local church, where regional pastors and a Women’s Fellowship leader shared about the importance of valuing girls.

“Children are a gift from God; they are His reward,” explained the Women’s Fellowship leader, referencing Psalm 127.

International Day Of The Girl Child observed in GFA World church
To mark the International Day of the Girl Child, Gospel for Asia (GFA World) held an event at a local church during the COVID-19 pandemic in October 2020, to promote the importance of girls’ education, and highlight ways to value daughters, and to distribute pens and chocolate bars to those in attendance, and pray for each girl present.

One of the pastors then prayed for each girl present while the other attendees lifted their hands toward the girls in a sign of agreement with his prayer of blessing. At the end of the program, the girls each received a pen and a chocolate bar.

These may seem like small gifts, but even small ways of showing respect for girls can impact a community.

“I acknowledged the fact that a girl child is a great blessing for the family, church and in our society, who must not be considered as a burden, rather an instrument for source of blessings,” said one woman present.

“A girl child must not be shown any partiality from her parents nor put down without knowing her potential. … She must be educated well and needs to be motivated,” shared a 15-year-old girl who attended.

As churches, non-profits and governments work together to help girls reach their potential, girls will most likely have safer communities. Parents who value their daughters will probably spend more time with them, engage them in conversation more often, and help them to develop healthy relationships. In countries where technology is available, this means parents will safeguard their daughters’ online experience.

As families and communities choose to embrace and educate their daughters, girls will face a lower risk of trafficking, violence and abuse.

Group of young women / girls
Over the next three years, Malala Fund is addressing the immediate and long-term implications of the pandemic on girls’ education in five ways: 1. Keep girls learning through school closures; 2. Re-enroll girls to catch up on missed lessons; 3. Support teachers with resources and training needed to deliver a quality education; 4. Strengthen education systems against future crises; 5. Ensure girls’ physical and psychological well-being in the classrooms. Photo by Dr. Flavia Bustreo, Instagram

Fighting Injustice

A mother, daughter and child in Ethiopia, where child marriages are common.
Ethiopia – east of Addis Ababa: The Hunger Project is actively working with Her Choice to end child marriages by setting up Girls Clubs and making sanitary pads available. In this way teenage girls can attend school as much as possible. Alemtsheya was able to ask the Girls Club for help when her parents wanted to marry her at the age of 15. “My step-mother suddenly found me a man who wanted to marry me and he had a good income. My parents liked that. But I didn’t like that at all! I wanted to stay in school and learn a profession. But my parents didn’t want to listen to me.” Photo by Her Choice

While creating safe environments for girls is key, organizations and governments must also work together to end child marriage and trafficking and provide justice and care to girls who have already been victimized.

In 134 countries, child marriage (marriage where at least one partner is under age 18) can happen if a parent, judge or authority consents.[35] In the United States, several states allow for child marriage if a parent consents. North Carolina and Alaska allow a girl to be married at 14 if she is pregnant.[36] In 2002, North Carolina received a marriage application from a 57-year-old wanting to marry a 17-year-old.[37] Because of exceptions in the law, a teenage girl may be pressured or even forced into marriage by her parents or others, so advocates suggest that governments should keep the marriage age at 18—with no exceptions.[38]

Calling on governments to remove exceptions to the legal marriage age can protect girls from experiencing statutory rape and/or being forced to marry someone who may have abused them. It can help these girls grow up with a better chance of finishing school and choosing a partner when they are old enough to know what is right for them.

As churches, non-profits and governments work together to help girls reach their fullest potential, girls will most likely have safer communities. And as families within communities choose to embrace and educate their daughters, girls will face a lower risk of trafficking, violence and abuse.

The Dominican Republic reached a milestone this year in the fight against child marriage: On January 6, the nation’s president approved a bill removing any grounds for child marriage.[39] Now that marriage is prohibited for anyone under age 18 in the Dominican Republic, girls there will be less vulnerable to human trafficking and abuse.

Portrait of a girl
It is estimated that nearly 30 MILLION people are being trafficked worldwide. The average lifespan of a trafficking victim is 7-10 years, and the average age of sex trafficking victims is 13 years old. Girls are at a higher risk.

Meanwhile, despite the pandemic, organizations such as International Justice Mission, Freedom Firm and Exodus Cry have continued their work to rescue girls (and other victims) from trafficking, bring justice to traffickers and provide care to survivors.

One victory in the fight against trafficking occurred in the success of the Traffickinghub campaign, which has been shining a light on the prevalence of the abuse of women and children found on the website Pornhub.[40] The Traffickinghub campaign, along with a New York Times editorial by Nicholas Kristof, drew attention to this and eventually encouraged government leaders and businesses to investigate allegations that Pornhub was profiting from child pornography and rape.[41] Eventually, Visa, Mastercard and Discover refused to process transactions on the site, and Pornhub had to remove nearly 80 percent of its videos. Meanwhile, senators have introduced two bills in Congress to help protect women and girls from pornography being posted online without their consent; one bill makes it easy for victims to sue platforms like Pornhub, and another requires such platforms to provide proof of age and consent for the individuals appearing in videos.[42]

Malala Yousafzai, Malala Fund Co-Founder
130 million girls were already out of school before the pandemic. Now 20 million more might never return. COVID-19 is creating a global girls’ education crisis. That’s why Malala Fund is working to ensure girls can keep learning during and after the crisis. Around the world, they’re funding local activists and education leaders, helping girls continue their education from home and fighting for policies that will allow them to safely return when schools reopen. Photo by Malala Fund, Facebook

A New Beginning

Portrait of a girl in darkness
COVID-19 has been making the lives of girls more difficult and dangerous. Months of poverty, neglect and violence have the potential to derail girls’ futures. For girls, a single mistake—or a single experience of abuse—can yield years of pain or injustice.

Serena, one of the women interviewed by Kristof, was 14 when a classmate asked her to send him a naked video of herself. She did, and he posted it on Pornhub without her consent. As classmates mocked her for it, she fell down a spiral of shame, suicide attempts and drug addiction.[43]

“A whole life can be changed because of one little mistake,” she told Kristof.[44]

Making mistakes is a normal part of a child’s development. But for girls, the cost of a “mistake” is often too high. Trusting someone who turns out to be untrustworthy or failing to stay safe online could entrap a girl in years of abuse and exploitation. For some girls, lacking a strong family or support system simply endangers them, apart from any decisions they have made. Girls’ risks are increasing, whether they are making “mistakes” or not.

For Alexis Martin, one mistake was trusting a man who ended up trafficking her.[45] Now, although life on parole has its hardships, she is free from trafficking and free from prison. She has been living with a mentor and working to save money, buy a car and attend college. She now goes by Kee, a shortened version of her middle name, to remind herself that she is a new person.[46]

Young girl holding a chalkboard with Education written on it
“If girls learn one thing from my life so far, I hope it’s that speaking out about the issues they care about can make a difference, no matter their age.” — Malala

For girls, a single mistake—or a single experience of abuse—can yield years of pain or injustice. COVID-19 has been making their lives more difficult and more dangerous. Months of poverty, neglect and violence have the potential to derail girls’ futures. Like Alexis, girls who have endured trauma can gain a fresh start, but they will need support, advocacy and help to break the grip of destructive forces on their lives. That’s why it’s more vital than ever to provide girls with safe, nurturing environments and to bring justice and aid to those who’ve been abused.

There is much work to be done, but organizations, communities and governments can work together to equip girls with education; protect them from trafficking, child marriage and violence; and help girls who have been exploited find restoration. The COVID-19 pandemic will have years of consequences, but with God’s help, we can prevent it from destroying girls’ lives. We can witness a new beginning.


Give to Help Girls at Risk »

If you want to support girls in South Asia and Africa, consider a one-time donation to help young victims who have been delivered from desperate situations in their lives, but are still struggling everyday. Your gift will provide for their pressing needs, while we locate permanent sponsors to cover their monthly needs to remain in school.


Read the rest of this Gospel for Asia – Transforming Communities (GFA World) Special Report: Young Victims Remain Hidden in Pandemic’s Shadow  Part 1, Part 2


About GFA World

Gospel for Asia (GFA World) is a leading faith-based global mission agency, helping national workers bring vital assistance and spiritual hope to millions across the world, especially in Asia and Africa, and sharing the love of God. In GFA World’s latest yearly report, this included thousands of community development projects that benefit downtrodden families and their children, free medical camps conducted in more than 1,200 villages and remote communities, over 4,800 clean water wells drilled, over 12,000 water filters installed, income-generating Christmas gifts for more than 260,000 needy families, and teaching providing hope and encouragement available in 110 languages in 14 nations through radio ministry. GFA World has launched programs in Africa, starting with compassion projects in Rwanda. For all the latest news, visit our Press Room at https://gfanews.org/news/.


Read more blogs on GFA World, National Missionary Workers, World Missions and the COVID 19 Pandemic on Patheos from Gospel for Asia.

GFA’s Statement About Coronavirus

Learn more by reading this Special Report from Gospel for Asia on the Lord’s work in 2020 through GFA and the partnerships worldwide while following Him in His work in 16 nations, including Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Nepal.


Learn more about Gospel for Asia: Facebook | YouTube | Instagram | LinkedIn | SourceWatch | Integrity | Lawsuit Update | 5 Distinctives | 6 Remarkable Facts | 10 Milestones | Media Room | Widows & Coronavirus | Endorsements | 40th Anniversary | Lawsuit Response | International Offices | Missionary and Child Sponsorship | Transforming Communities through God’s Love

Notable News about Gospel for Asia: FoxNews, ChristianPost, NYPost, MissionsBox

Read what 25 Christian Leaders are affirming about GFA World.

This Special Report originally appeared on gfa.org.

January 14, 2022

WILLS POINT, TX – GFA World (Gospel for Asia) founded by K.P. Yohannan, whose heart to love and help the poor has inspired numerous charities like GFA World Canada, to serve the deprived and downcast worldwide, issued this second part of a Special Report update on girls facing decreased opportunity and increased violence, the young victims who remain hidden in the shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Pensive mother and child
The most pressing question is what will happen to a generation of girls whose lives have been upended by the COVID-19 pandemic?

A Pandemic of Abuse and Exploitation

Woman and little girl from South Asia
Delhi: Born into an area with one of the highest female suicide rates in the world, this little girl’s mother, most likely, cannot offer a hopeful future to her daughter.

As girls face an increased risk of child marriage, they are also becoming more vulnerable to violence and trafficking.

In May 2020, World Vision, a Christian community development organization, suggested up to 85 million children worldwide would be exposed to physical, sexual or emotional violence for three months over the COVID-19 quarantine.[22] Imagine how many more children have now been impacted—lockdowns in many nations extended to well over a year! And while all children can face violence, girls and young women may also face abuse from a husband or boyfriend, rape, sexual assault or sexual harassment.

UNICEF reports that approximately 120 million girls and young women under age 20 have been raped or forced to perform sexual acts.[23] According to the World Health Organization, around 1 in 3 women endure physical or sexual violence from a romantic partner or sexual violence from some person during their lifetime.[24]

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, executive director of UN Women
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka,

Executive Director of UN Women
Photo by New African Woman Magazine

“It’s deeply disturbing that this pervasive violence by men against women not only persists unchanged, but is at its worst for young women aged 15-24 who may also be young mothers,” commented Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, executive director of UN Women. “And that was the situation before the pandemic stay-at-home orders. We know that the multiple impacts of COVID-19 have triggered a ‘shadow pandemic’ of increased reported violence of all kinds against women and girls.”[25]

Human trafficking woman survivor enabled to book a rescue flight
Gifts to Polaris enable them to book airplane rescue flights for human trafficking survivors who need to access services, testify in court, and reunite with their families. Photo by Polaris, Facebook

The pandemic has also increased girls’ risk for human trafficking. In April 2020, the anti-trafficking organization Polaris Project observed a 40-percent spike in the number of crisis calls to the U.S. National Human Trafficking Hotline requiring intervention within 24 hours.[26]

This increase in human trafficking didn’t just occur in the United States, though, and it may have the worst impact on developing nations, some of which have been hardest-hit by the virus. The U.N. Office of Drugs and Crime has predicted trafficking rates will increase, especially in places where unemployment rates have rapidly increased, and people from poor communities will likely be trafficked to places recovering more quickly.[27]

According to the World Health Organization, around 1 in 3 women endure physical or sexual violence from a romantic partner or sexual violence from some person during their lifetime. According to 2018 findings, girls comprised about 20 percent of total trafficking victims and 25 percent of victims trafficked for sexual exploitation.
Vectors by Freepik, www.freepik.com
Girl with access to technology
Becuase of COVID girls are spending more time online, which places them at risk to predators who might target them for sexual exploitation or abuse.

This may continue even years from now, due to the pandemic’s ongoing financial and social impacts. Times of economic need make children especially vulnerable to trafficking, and if a girl comes from a dysfunctional family situation or a home where one parent is absent, that also increases her risk for trafficking.[28] Furthermore, in places where children can easily access technology, they are spending more time online, which places girls in the sights of predators who might target them for sexual exploitation or abuse.[29] As the pandemic continues to strain both the economy and family relationships, girls will be increasingly at risk for trafficking. According to 2018 findings, girls comprised about 20 percent of total trafficking victims and 25 percent of victims trafficked for sexual exploitation,[30] but those percentages may increase due to changes in society, such as children’s increased time online, emotional stressors on parents (which may distract their attention from their children) and increased financial burdens on families (which may cause parents, especially in developing countries, to send their daughters to work, thus making them more available to traffickers).

Turning the Tide of the Pandemic’s Impact on Girls

Save the Children’s 2020 Global Girlhood Report
“Even before the COVID-19 crisis hit, progress for girls on some issues was under threat. Now, with reports of gender-based violence increasing across the world … and the number of children living in poverty estimated to climb by around 100 million,” COVID-19 is exacerbating the impacts of gender inequality for girls today. Photo by Save the Children

As reports and predictions increasingly forecast a grim future for girls, it’s clear the COVID-19 pandemic has become a global crisis for girls in a unique way.

Save the Children’s 2020 Global Girlhood Report sums it up: “The worst health impacts for girls might not result from infection with the virus. Instead, the greatest impacts on girls of the COVID-19 crisis are likely to be losing access to other health services, increasing poverty, food insecurity, losing access to education and being exposed to violence.”[31]

Even one year of financial and social upheaval can sow years of consequences. Women like Alexis can attest to the toll taken by years of physical, emotional and sexual abuse or trauma. What will happen to a generation of girls whose lives have been upended by the COVID-19 pandemic? How many years will it take to overcome the consequences of limited or halted education and increased chances for abuse or exploitation?

Now is the time to stand with non-profit organizations and governing authorities to ensure girls don’t fall through the cracks. Fostering safe communities for girls and promoting their nutrition, health and education can help protect and nurture girls to have a strong future despite the setbacks of a long pandemic.

Child sponsorship programs, including GFA World’s, World Vision’s and Compassion International’s, play a key role in creating safe, healthy communities and ensuring girls receive adequate care, even when lockdowns have prevented students from gathering for their usual tutoring programs.

Pervasive violence by men against women is at its worst for young women aged 15-24 who may also be young mothers. And that was the situation before the pandemic stay-at-home orders. Since then, multiple impacts of COVID-19 have triggered a ‘shadow pandemic’ of increased reported violence of all kinds against women and girls.

Throughout the pandemic, GFA World’s child sponsorship program has worked to meet the basic needs of children in the program, along with their families and communities. Gospel for Asia (GFA) workers provided COVID-19 relief to 2 million people during the pandemic in 2020 alone, and child sponsorship centers became community kitchens.

GFA wWorld food distribution event during the COVID 19 pandemic
Tamil Nadu: The Gospel for Asia (GFA World) child sponsorship center organized dry ration kit distribution to needy families in August 2020. The center provided rice, oil, toor dhal, turmeric powder, mustard seed and fenugreek seed – 1 packet each to 78 girls and their families.

At one food distribution event during the pandemic, Gospel for Asia (GFA) workers met Ajia, a 13-year-old girl who was caring for two younger brothers. They have parents, but their parents were living in a different country to find work and were sending money home to their children—until they lost work due to the pandemic. This left the children without money for their basic living expenses. The Gospel for Asia (GFA) workers were able to give Ajia and her siblings needed supplies and groceries.

“Thank you for your love and care toward us,” Ajia said. “You are the one who knew about our situation and fulfilled our needs.”

By providing something as basic as food, Gospel for Asia (GFA) workers are helping girls stay healthy—and keeping girls from begging on the streets, which may lead to exploitation. Hopefully, these free meals and groceries will not only provide for girls’ basic nutrition but also ease families’ financial burdens and encourage hard-pressed parents, making the home environment safer and more positive.

To mitigate the effects of the pandemic on girls’ well-being, child sponsorship programs and other non-profits must be able to continue their community development work to meet communities’ basic health and safety needs. Gospel for Asia (GFA World) and other organizations provide practical care to communities that benefits girls, such as clean water and sanitation facilities. Clean water is vital for everyone at all times, but it is even more important for girls so they can practice good menstrual hygiene, which is often compromised during times of emergency.[32] Constructing toilets not only improves the health of entire communities, but it also protects girls. Girls who must walk to a distant field to go to the bathroom risk sexual harassment or assault, especially because many go at nighttime for privacy reasons.


Give to Help Girls at Risk »

If you want to support girls in South Asia and Africa, consider a one-time donation to help young victims who have been delivered from desperate situations in their lives, but are still struggling everyday. Your gift will provide for their pressing needs, while we locate permanent sponsors to cover their monthly needs to remain in school.


Read the rest of this Gospel for Asia – Transforming Communities (GFA World) Special Report: Young Victims Remain Hidden in Pandemic’s Shadow  Part 1, Part 3


About GFA World

Gospel for Asia (GFA World) is a leading faith-based global mission agency, helping national workers bring vital assistance and spiritual hope to millions across the world, especially in Asia and Africa, and sharing the love of God. In GFA World’s latest yearly report, this included thousands of community development projects that benefit downtrodden families and their children, free medical camps conducted in more than 1,200 villages and remote communities, over 4,800 clean water wells drilled, over 12,000 water filters installed, income-generating Christmas gifts for more than 260,000 needy families, and teaching providing hope and encouragement available in 110 languages in 14 nations through radio ministry. GFA World has launched programs in Africa, starting with compassion projects in Rwanda. For all the latest news, visit our Press Room at https://gfanews.org/news/.


Read more blogs on GFA World, National Missionary Workers, World Missions and the COVID 19 Pandemic on Patheos from Gospel for Asia.

GFA’s Statement About Coronavirus

Learn more by reading this Special Report from Gospel for Asia on the Lord’s work in 2020 through GFA and the partnerships worldwide while following Him in His work in 16 nations, including Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Nepal.


Learn more about Gospel for Asia: Facebook | YouTube | Instagram | LinkedIn | SourceWatch | Integrity | Lawsuit Update | 5 Distinctives | 6 Remarkable Facts | 10 Milestones | Media Room | Widows & Coronavirus | Endorsements | 40th Anniversary | Lawsuit Response | International Offices | Missionary and Child Sponsorship | Transforming Communities through God’s Love

Notable News about Gospel for Asia: FoxNews, ChristianPost, NYPost, MissionsBox

Read what 25 Christian Leaders are affirming about GFA World.

This Special Report originally appeared on gfa.org.


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