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March 9, 2020

WILLS POINT, TX – Gospel for Asia (GFA World) founded by Dr. K.P. Yohannan issues an extensive Special Report on the deadly diseases brought by the mosquito and the storied impact of faith-based organizations on world health, fighting for the Kingdom to “come on earth as it is in heaven.”

Bangladesh—Samaritan’s Purse treats Rohingya refugees affected by the diphtheria outbreak
Bangladesh—Samaritan’s Purse treats Rohingya refugees affected by the diphtheria outbreak. Photo credit Samaritan’s Purse

This is Part 3 of a Three-Part Series on FBO Initiatives to Combat Malaria and Other World Health Concerns.
Go here to read Part 1 and Part 2.

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No Mosquitoes in the Room Now: A Quick Look at the Impact of Faith on Modern Medical Approaches

One of the most succinct summaries of the role of faith-based activity in relationship to ongoing health needs worldwide is a paper by Matthew Bersagel Braley, “The Christian Medical Commission and the World Health Organization.” In it, the author outlines the collaborative work done between the CMC and the WHO in the 1960s and 1970s. They both, concurrently and intentionally aided by the proximity of their headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, sought to address many of the deficiencies that were (and still are) growing apace modern Western medicine with its rapidly increasing dependence upon expensive diagnostic and curative technologies.

Braley’s abstract explains, after referencing the existence of two previous international consultations organized by the World Council of Churches out of which grew the Christian Medical Commission: “What followed was a theologically informed [italics added] shift from hospital-based tertiary care in cities, many in post-colonial settings, to primary care delivery in rural as well as urban communities.”

They saw the mandate of the church as being that of working to restore (as much as is possible) the world to God’s original design.

The early consultations, Tübingen I (in Germany) and Tübingen II, had developed a theology of health that eventually culminated in a mutual understanding. Looking as they were through the lens of health and defining health as the kind of flourishing that God intended for His human creation, they saw the mandate of the church as being that of working to restore (as much as is possible) the world to that original design. Wholeness then is a kind of health—an “at oneness” with God, with fellow humans, with our communities and with our environment. As believers work toward this goal, despite the fact it will never be ultimately achieved until Christ returns, they consequently become healers or health-bringers with an emphasis on flourishing.

Health was also redefined as the ideal that God desired for the people of the earth, one that will probably not be achieved completely, but will have periodic breakouts in time. Health was seen not simply as the “absence of disease” as defined traditionally by the medical establishment, but the presence of ecological health, harmony within the community, at oneness within the individual and in his or her relationships. It was a presence of peace and a lack of warfare; it was an insistence and concern that the neglected, the poor and the oppressed should even be given preferential treatment because of the systemic unfairness, lack of parity and often true evil exercised by the powerful over the powerless.

David Mains, Karen Mains, 1983, at Mount Hermon Conference Center in CA
David and Karen Mains, 1983 at Mount Hermon Conference Center, CA

Personal Reflections

These theological comprehensions and conclusions have personal meaning to me, because I’ve seen firsthand the importance of working together to help others achieve this all-encompassing health. In 1967 we planted a church on the near west side of Chicago, across the expressway from what is now the Illinois Medical District. At that time, we knew it was one of the largest medical centers in the world; now it consists of 560 acres of medical research facilities, labs and a biotechnology business incubator, four major hospitals, two medical universities and more than 450 health care-related facilities. Needless to say, our small but rapidly growing congregation consisted of many medical grad students, nurses and doctors, and social workers.

There must have been something in the international waters, because totally unaware of the groundbreaking conversations going on among the professionals concerned with health impacts on the other side of the world, David Mains, my husband and the founding pastor of our church, discovered Christ’s major preaching theme was the Kingdom of God. Salvation, or being saved, was entry level to an understanding of that preeminent theme. If the predominance of this message was correct, then it totally shifted our thinking from an individualistic interpretation of faith lived out among private lives to a corporate identity framed through the mutual understanding of Scripture’s teaching of this breakthrough concept. Our salvation was worked out in dialogue around Scriptures and in community with other spiritual pilgrims.

“How important it is when members of faith-based consultations … across the world put aside their differences and … design outcomes that have the possibility to alter … whole nations for the good.

There were places in the world, I discovered as I traveled in the role of journalist, where the people used the word “I” but really meant “we.” I began to understand the Epistles often addressed readers with the word “you.” This was not an individual personal pronoun; in most cases, it was a plural pronoun requiring group action, as in “you, the people of God.” David preached a sermon series titled The Christian, the Church and Society including Christ’s two-part summary message, “Unless you are converted and become like little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.” The dialogue of those Christians, listening to David’s sermon in that place and that time in history, when a whole revolutionary resistance movement was rising in our culture—against the war in Vietnam and against injustice, racism, sexism and government corruption—forced upon us a theological conversation that just didn’t happen in other places.

In addition, David, in his 30s, became the head of the Greater Chicago Ministerial Association, and we learned to dialogue across the whole body of faith-based confessions. So, we understand how important it is when members of faith-based consultations here at home or far away across the world put aside their differences and in respect and with deep listening capabilities design outcomes that have the possibility to alter cultures and societies and whole nations for the good.

A part of Samaritan’s Purse relief efforts, these men and women helped fight the Ebola pandemic that swept across West Africa in the spring of 2014. Photo credit Samaritan’s Purse

Conclusion: Our Part in World-Changing, World Health

Matthew Braley’s chapter, taken from the book Religion as a Social Determinant of Public Health, is filled with theological terminology such as epistemology and eschatology, but for the average layperson, what is most important is the Christian Medical Commission’s (CMC) understanding that God’s desire for humankind was that humans flourish in environments most optimal to health as defined not by the absence of disease but by a growing wholeness, and that the thrust of Christ’s ministry and preaching demonstrated the ways to achieve this, aptly summarized in His explanation that we are to love God and love our neighbor as ourselves. The CMC’s struggle to understand redemption as a growing wholeness eventually resulted in the “game-changing” 1978 Declaration of Alma-Ata, the conference out of which the Millennium Development Goals proceeded.

Everybody is needed in order to fight diseases such as Ebola, HIV/AIDS or tuberculosis

All eight of those goals, delineated earlier in this article, are undergirded by and initiated from a theological understanding of the health emphasis, the redemptive purpose, the salvific meaning demonstrated by Christ and often emulated (though not often enough) by His followers. The MDGs are basically communal in the fact that they bring healing in the large sense of being at peace—or at home—with one’s self; with one’s family, friends and community; and with one’s place in the world. And they cannot be accomplished in a village or a nation or globally without the commensurate communal action of as many entities as possible, giving whatever they can to eradicate whatever suffering can be done away with through these human initiatives.

The participants at Tübingen I and II, the emergent Christian Medical Commission, and thousands of others of us who have, as the Jewish phrase states, worked at “repairing the world” for most of our lives would insist this is God’s work, in God’s way and with God’s help. Fortunately, as Bishop Tutu of South Africa said when he addressed the 2008 61st-annual meeting of the World Health Assembly, the World Health Organization’s governing body, “It is a godly coincidence … together WHO and WCC share a common mission to the world, protecting and restoring body, mind, and spirit.”

As Sharon Bieber responded: “Surely the relief and development organizations that are out there in the world can come to the same conclusion on this one thing—everybody is needed in order to fight diseases such as Ebola, HIV/AIDS or tuberculosis; every agency has strengths that will add to the synergy of the whole.”

So when we see groups like Gospel for Asia working to hand out hundreds of thousands of mosquito nets to fight malarial infection, when we know tens of thousands of wells have been dug to provide clean water, and when we understand that the effectiveness of the message of Christ can often be measured by how many latrines have been built in a village or a city, we understand that this is what is necessary to help the participants in our world discover true, full health.

Gospel for Asia-supported Moquito net distribution
This family received a mosquito net at a GFA-supported Christmas gift distribution. Now they have protection from mosquitoes while they sleep.

Who knows what consultations among desperate folk with common passions are forming even now that will salvage our world at some future critical juncture?

Half the Sky book

Perhaps you would like to be part of that network of people determined to spread goodness (God-ness) throughout the world. First, begin by educating yourself. Read the book Half the Sky by Nicholas Kristof and his wife, Sheryl WuDunn, which includes a compendium of organizations seeking volunteers. The authors do not hide how impressed they are with conservative faith-based organizations doing work in the world. Another book to read is To Repair the World by Paul Farmer, a medical doctor many consider to be a modern-day hero.

“This is a bold read by a humble visionary. For those who care about humanity, this is a handbook for the heart,” reads a blurb on the back cover written by Byron Pitts, the chief national correspondent for CBS Evening News.

Then circle one of the volunteer efforts that seems to be calling your name. Become an activist. No need to travel overseas (although that is highly recommended). There is plenty of work to do at home, wherever home may be for you. Just don’t only think about doing something: Do it! (I’m going to look up volunteering for disaster-relief training with The Salvation Army—or the American Red Cross—and I’m 76 years of age!)

At the end of the parable of the Good Samaritan, Jesus says to the young lawyer, “Go and do likewise.” No, there’s no danger pay for the faith-based health worker. I don’t know of any who have become wealthy. Most of them belong to the league of the nameless. For these, fame is not a motivator either; it generally gets in the way of doing the job.

But mercy? Compassion? Daring to go where others dare not go? Becoming more and more like Jesus? Yep, these are where most of those I know find deep satisfaction. A remarkable man once said, “Go and do likewise.” And they do.

Is that a mosquito I hear buzzing above my ear?

It only takes one mosquito bite to raise a welt.

It only takes one mosquito to kill a child.

It will take a multitude of innovators (believers or nonbelievers) to fight for the Kingdom to “come on earth as it is in heaven.”


It Takes Only One Mosquito — to lead to remarkable truths about faith-based organizations and world health: Part 1 | Part 2

February 23, 2020

WILLS POINT, TX – Gospel for Asia (GFA World, www.gfa.org) founded by Dr. K.P. YohannanDiscussing Gospel for Asia’s ministry commitments during the past 40 years and how they have remained the same but have taken on new forms over the decades.

On July 3 of this past year, Gospel for Asia celebrated the 40th anniversary of its founding on July 3, 1979. Throughout these years, the Lord has continually allowed us the privilege of seeing lives in Asia change for the better. He has proven Himself faithful in every way, and we rejoice in what He has done in and through this ministry.

Gospel for Asia founded by Dr. K.P. Yohannan celebrated it's 40th anniversary on July 3. Our ministry commitments during these 40 years has remained the same but has taken on new forms over the decades.We are thankful for our many faithful supporters, through whom the Lord has worked to touch the lives of countless millions in Asia. And we are grateful for the men and women serving on the field, giving of their time, energy, emotion and every part of their lives in order that more may experience the love of God.

Our vision for ministry during these 40 years has remained the same, but the working out of that vision has taken on new forms over the decades. Here are just a few of the ways GFA focuses on helping the people of Asia.

  • Transformation. The foundation of Gospel for Asia’s ministry is, and always has been, doing whatever possible to help transform families and communities with God’s love, especially among those who have little or no opportunity to hear of His grace. Tens of thousands have joyfully understood Christ’s offer of new life and have chosen to follow Jesus over the past 40 years.
  • Compassion. Every personal connection with the people of Asia springs from the same compassion that Jesus demonstrates for all the people of this world. Gospel for Asia workers are devoted to not only telling others about Jesus but also to personifying His love in action. This is how we become the hands and feet of Jesus. Compassion takes on many forms, from treating the heartbreak and physical wounds of leprosy patients to giving women sources of income to prevent prostitution to providing aid to families suffering in the wake of natural disasters. GFA-supported Sisters of Compassion are committed to serving the Lord by doing some of the most lowly tasks associated with tending to the downcast.
  • Sanitation. Inadequate sanitation continues to be a common problem in emerging countries. Even in countries where economic growth is being driven to new heights, millions suffer from unsanitary waste removal. Hundreds of thousands of people in remote villages across Asia continue to practice open defecation, creating breeding grounds for vector-borne diseases. Gospel for Asia is transforming the lives of families and entire villages through improved sanitation. In 2016 and 2018 combined, GFA installed more than 17,500 sanitary toilet facilities in needy communities.
  • Health & Healing. Health and hygiene are among the many concerns and issues today. Disease affects millions and kills just as many. Some of the hardest-hit communities are in South Asia, where poverty and destitution leave families vulnerable to many illnesses. Unable to afford medical care or proper food, many people are afflicted by preventable diseases that are ravaging their lives. GFA-supported health initiatives seek to minister to these people and bring them health and hope amidst their troubles. GFA-supported workers organize medical camps to curb disease rates and care for those already sick. Whether it be in remote villages or crowded cities, the sick and the hurting are brought hope and comfort. When many are otherwise unable to afford treatment or lack access to medical care, these camps provide them the care they need—free of charge. Gospel for Asia conducted more than 1,100 medical camps in 2018. That is more than an average of three per day.

  • Practical Empowerment. It takes more than encouragement to empower people who have either no marketable skills or means to generate income. GFA-supported workers provide literacy training for tens of thousands of women each year. Through Gospel for Asia’s Women’s Literacy Program, the written world is opening up to thousands of women for the very first time. The foundational text for the classes is Scripture, so participants gain Biblical knowledge even before they’ve completed the course. Knowing how to read is one step. Having a marketable skill is another. GFA-supported workers organize vocational training that makes it possible to learn a new trade and succeed. For instance, through a six-month tailoring course, women learn how to sew blouses, trousers, undergarments, and many other practical items they can sell to provide a healthy income for their families. Nonetheless, those women could not generate income without the proper tools. GFA-supported workers provided nearly 9,000 sewing machines in 2019 to women trained in their use.

These ministries remain just a part of all that Gospel for Asia is committed to doing to share God’s love with the people of South Asia. Whenever we see a need, we ask the Lord, “What can we do?”

Please pray with us that we will be able to continue sharing hope, practical help and God’s love throughout South Asia.


Source: Gospel for Asia, Pray for Specific Areas of Ministry

Click here to read the original Five Ministry Commitments of Gospel for Asia, as GFA Celebrates 40 Years of Service

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

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February 22, 2020

WILLS POINT, TX – Gospel for Asia (GFA World) founded by Dr. K.P. Yohannan – Bishop Danny Yohannan talks about the power of to love others through the supernatural ability of Jesus loving through us.

What have you found is the most effective way to share Christ with other people?

Let me tell you a story. The other day, it was raining outside, so my family and I decided to go to In-N-Out for dinner. On rainy days they always give the kids who are there for free hot chocolate.

I’m always interested to see what Bible verses they put on their food containers—they have verses on the fry holder, the burger wrapper, the milkshake cup, everything.

Gospel for Asia founded by Dr. K.P. Yohannan - Bishop Danny Yohannan talks about the power of loving others through the supernatural ability of Jesus loving through us.
Bishop Danny Yohannan talks about the power of loving others through the supernatural ability of Jesus loving through us.

So I looked to see what verse was on the hot chocolate cup, and it was John 13:34–35. That verse says,

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are My disciples, if you love one another.”

This is amazing! Even at a burger restaurant we are being reminded to love one another. This verse is one of the most important passages in Scripture for a lot of reasons. Jesus is telling us the whole world will know we are His followers if we simply love one another. This is the greatest witness we could give to other people—and, I believe, the most effective way to share Christ.

In one way, it’s far greater than literature and apologetics and programs, because it’s life begetting life. Now, don’t take that to the extreme and think that there’s no need to do anything else; that’s not true either. But we can’t really be an effective witness in our marriages, in our families, in our work or in anything else unless we are doing it with this heart and mindset.

Can you clarify for us exactly what it might look like to “love one another” in the way Jesus was talking about?

I think a lot of times we read this passage and 1 Corinthians 13 and others, and we think, Okay, that’s the good Christian thing to do, so we’ll just kind of try to be a little nicer and maybe do a random act of kindness here and there. That’s good, but that’s not the full picture of what Jesus is talking about here.

You can be nice, have good manners and everything else without knowing the Lord at all. I know some very nice nonbelievers, and some of them are better-behaved than other Christians I know.

But what Jesus is talking about here, which we maybe don’t fully realize, is that it’s the same thing He prayed in John 17: that His disciples would be united in oneness as He and the Father are one. The love within the Holy Trinity is an example of perfect love and submission.

Think about the Incarnation for a second. God became man. A lot of us have grown up believing that the main reason Christ came was just to be the sacrifice on the cross, so the Father could kill the perfect lamb in order to appease His wrath brought about by our sin. But that perspective is a bit off.

The true reason for Christ’s coming was because of His perfect love. It was completely in love that the Father sent His son; in love that Jesus went to the cross; and in love that He took on death and healed us of our disease, which had separated us from our relationship with the Father.

When Adam and Eve sinned, God could easily have re-created mankind. But He didn’t do that. Instead, out of complete love for us, the Father sent His Son to make a way for our healing and restoration with Him.

This is the kind of self-sacrificial love Jesus was talking about when He said, “As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” It’s a deeper love that He is calling us to walk in.

Gospel for Asia founded by Dr. K.P. Yohannan - Christian love is not about being a “better version” of the world’s type of love—being a more-behaved person or a better husband, wife or friend—though we are called to do those things. It is something that is so different from the world that it will capture people’s hearts and eyes when they encounter it.

It sounds impossible for any of us to reach that standard—am I right?

What Jesus is calling us to do is impossible in our own human strength, because what Jesus is saying is for us to love one another with His supernatural ability so that others will see something different than what is in the world.

Christian love is not about being a “better version” of the world’s type of love—being a more-behaved person or a better husband, wife or friend—though we are called to do those things. It is something that is so different from the world that it will capture people’s hearts and eyes when they encounter it.

We know from history that Christians would often gather in the catacombs or in houses, and they would live out what Saint James said in his epistle: “Confess your sins to one another” (James 5:16). They would get together in groups and start confessing their sins aloud. Can you imagine what that must have been like and how much love and trust that would take?

If you give away sensitive information about yourself—like the sins you’ve committed—they can take that information and use it against you. But the love among these Christians was so strong that they could trust one another that much and confess their sins openly to the whole group. That’s incredible and shows that it’s not impossible.

This kind of deep love for one another only happens through an internal change, something on the inside that takes place by the power of the Spirit as we submit to His will.

It is not automatic, but as we are purposeful in seeking the Lord, we learn more of what it means, and we grow into it.

What are some practical steps we can take to move toward that kind of supernatural love?

There are many practical things we can do. In fact, most of the epistles were written as corrective information for the Church about how they lived their lives together in love for one other. If you look at the epistles, you’ll see it is not mainly theology, though that is there, but it is basically the Apostles correcting what was happening in the life of the community of the Church.

How often the Apostles told us, “Fight for unity,”[1] “Love one another,”[2] “Get the two people to talk together,”[3] “Stop fighting.”[4] These are all instructions for us to follow so that we can grow in what it means to love one another.

But like I said before, we won’t get anywhere if we do it in our own strength.

My encouragement is to turn to the Lord for His help. Ask Him. He is faithful to answer. You can even pray something simple, like, “Lord, I want to know You more. Help me to love people like You do.”

We must recognize that this is something we can trust the Lord to do in our lives. It’s not about looking back and feeling bad about areas where we have failed and just hoping that we will change going forward. There is a time and place for us to reflect on wrong things in our lives and seek to change them, but when it comes to loving like Christ, we have to trust the Lord will do His work in us as we seek Him with all our hearts.

God will give us the grace for that. As we grow in this, our very lives will proclaim the love of God to the world, whether we are at work or at the grocery store or the gas station or anywhere else. I pray God will encourage your hearts as you seek to truly love one another.

In this way, the world will know that we belong to Him.


[1] See 1 Corinthians 1:10, Ephesians 4:3, Philippians 1:27

[2] See Romans 12:10, Ephesians 5:2, Hebrews 13:1

[3] See Philippians 4:2–3

[4] See Galatians 5:15


Source: Gospel for Asia Features, Love One Another as Christ

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February 12, 2020

WILLS POINT, TX – Gospel for Asia (GFA, www.gfa.org) founded by Dr. K.P. YohannanDiscussing Dayita and her family, their struggle with poverty, and the lasting impact Gospel for Asia’s gift of a blanket brings.

Gift of a Blanket: Gospel for Asia founded by Dr. K.P. Yohannan – Discussing Dayita and her family, their struggle with poverty, and the lasting impact Gospel for Asia's gift of a blanket brings.
Dayita (second from left) and her children and grandchild pose for a picture with Pastor Ansh (far right). The pastor’s gift of a blanket made a lasting impact for Dayita’s entire family.

After the death of her husband, Dayita and her children faced many challenges, especially when it came to finances. Without the presence or provision of her husband, Dayita carried grief and sorrow as her constant companions. When Gospel for Asia-supported pastor Ansh met Dayita, the expression she wore moved him to compassion.

Pastor Ansh and his wife often traveled through their village and the surrounding areas, talking with neighbors and learning more about their lives. When they came to Dayita’s home, they learned that the widow’s elder daughter was married and lived in the same village and her youngest, a son, was studying in the 10th grade. Her two remaining children worked in the paddy fields to provide for the family.

An Unexpected Gift of a Blanket

As Pastor Ansh and his wife spent time learning about the family and their challenges, they offered Dayita encouragement, sharing Scriptures from God’s Word and praying with her. Dayita was comforted by Psalm 46:1–3 as well as the truths in Isaiah 41:10:

“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”

Before leaving, Pastor Ansh gave Dayita a blanket—a valuable gift for a family struggling to make ends meet. She received the gift; but based on her outward response, the pastor’s generosity didn’t seem to have much of an impact.

However, Dayita was actually deeply moved by the compassion and generosity of Pastor Ansh and his wife. She became interested in the God they served and was moved seeing the pastor’s compassion. Days grew into months and months into years, and Dayita’s secret desire to learn more about God continued to grow.

A Courageous Step

Finally, Dayita decided to visit the fellowship where Pastor Ansh led a community of believers. There, Dayita learned more about God and His Son, Jesus. She and her family began to regularly attend the gatherings. Now, they all enjoy personal relationships with Jesus.

“At a time of difficulties, none of our relatives came to meet us,” Dayita describes.

“Pastor Ansh came to visit our home and prayed for us. Seeing the situation of our family, he provided us a blanket. I really felt that God had sent His angel to visit our family, and it impacted my life deeply.”

A simple blanket impacted Dayita and her family long after the gift was given. Would you consider giving the gift of a blanket? You never know how it could change a life for eternity.


*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 Reports, Gift of a Blanket Leaves Lasting Impact for Widow

Learn more about how generosity can change lives. Gifts like pigs, bicycles and sewing machines break the cycle of poverty and show Christ’s love to impoverished families in Asia. One gift can have a far-reaching impact, touching families and rippling out to transform entire communities.

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

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January 14, 2020

WILLS POINT, TX – Gospel for Asia (GFA) – Discussing the life of a widow, and many like her, robbed by illiteracy, and the gift and blessing the door of literacy unlocks even to learn about the Great Physician who heals and gives new life.

Jeni studied the curling lines and shapes on her grandson’s homework paper. With a sigh, she handed it back, knowing a great treasure lay within those squiggles and loops, but she lacked the key to unlock it.

Robbed by Illiteracy

This woman, like Jeni, also never learned to read. She hungered for God's Word but could only stare at the pages of her Bible, unable to read them.
This woman, like Jeni, also never learned to read. She hungered for God’s Word but could only stare at the pages of her Bible, unable to read them.

Years earlier, poverty had hindered Jeni from attending school, leaving her illiterate in a world filled with written information. While many children took education for granted, Jeni longed for the opportunity to attend school.

Jeni’s lack of education impacted her childhood and adult life in a multitude of ways. Illiteracy deprived her of the joy of reading stories—both to herself and, later, to her five children. Unable to read newspapers, the current events of her nation had to reach her by word of mouth. Street signs were useless when finding her way around a new area. No reminder notes or shopping lists could be written. What’s more, Jeni could have looked straight at the written name of Jesus and never have known it.

Although Jeni was blessed with good health, her husband succumbed to an illness when Jeni was only in her 20s. As the sole provider for her children, she worked hard to learn tailoring and managed to earn an income through her stitching work. But without literacy and basic math skills, Jeni and other women like her were often cheated by dishonest shopkeepers, making already tight budgets even tighter.

As years passed, Jeni’s children married, and she became a grandmother. Even then, her illiteracy troubled her.

“Sometimes my grandson and granddaughter asked me to help with their school homework, but I did not know what to do.” — Jeni

Jeni felt ashamed of her inability to read or to sign her own name, and she had no idea the gift of literacy—and eternal hope—was just around the corner at a local church.

Answered Prayer Points Widow to Jesus

In addition to her problems caused by illiteracy, Jeni suffered from pain in her shoulders. Even after several doctor visits and treatments, she found no remedy for the pain—until she met a believer from a local church. Jeni accepted the believer’s invitation to attend a worship service and soon sat amidst a congregation of believers led by Gospel for Asia-supported pastor Ajay.

Just as Jeni received prayer, both believers and unbelievers can receive prayer at local churches in Asia.
Just as Jeni received prayer, both believers and unbelievers can receive prayer at local churches in Asia.

When Jeni shared about her painful shoulders, Pastor Ajay and the believers joined together to lift her up in prayer to the Great Physician. Faithful and mighty, God touched Jeni and set her free from the pain she was enduring. Jeni grew to love the Lord with all her heart and began faithfully worshiping Him alongside her new family in Christ, rejoicing in God’s demonstration of mercy and compassion.

Church Provides Literacy Classes

Now a fledgling believer in Christ, Jeni was again hindered by illiteracy. She had no way to read her Savior’s words or read the stories of God’s faithfulness toward His children in the Bible.

When three Gospel for Asia-supported women missionaries serving the congregation learned of Jeni’s difficulty, they encouraged her to join the literacy classes they taught for women in the community. Naturally a shy person, Jeni attended the first lesson timidly

“Don’t lose heart,” one of the sisters encouraged her. “Believe in God and do your best.”

The joy of literacy - Gospel for Asia-supported women missionaries gently guided Jeni (right) as they taught her to read and write.
Passing on the gift of literacy, the Gospel for Asia-supported women missionaries gently guided Jeni (right) as they taught her to read and write.

After the first lesson, however, Jeni’s excitement overcame her shyness, and she eagerly joined the other women learning to read. The skill she had longed to learn for so long was finally within reach!

“I am so thankful to God and our women missionaries for their help,” Jeni shared. “Though I had the desire [to learn], I never went to school.”

Jeni persevered in her lessons and diligently learned from the women missionaries. They guided her hand as she learned her letters, and soon the strange loops and lines she had seen on her grandson’s paper began to hold meaning.

Community Blessed Through Literacy

Other women in Jeni’s community observed her progress in her studies, and Jeni encouraged them to join the classes as well. Soon, a few more ladies joined the classes to decipher the same letters that had baffled Jeni for so many years.

No longer held back by illiteracy, Jeni (pictured) now reads her Bible for herself and can grow in her knowledge of God's Word.
No longer held back by illiteracy, Jeni (pictured) now reads her Bible for herself and can grow in her knowledge of God’s Word.

As these women worked through a Gospel for Asia-supported literacy curriculum used to educate thousands of other women across Asia, they soon found reason to rejoice. Utilizing Scripture as a foundation for teaching, the curriculum not only helps women enter the world of literacy, but it also helps them discover the love of Christ.

Within six months, Jeni could both read and write. Jeni’s children happily watched their mother’s progress and celebrated her ability to do simple things that had troubled her before.

“I am very happy that my mother is able to read and write now by the help of women missionaries,” Jeni’s daughter shared. “These days, she is able to negotiate with the shopkeepers and writes her signature.”

Jeni’s excitement over her new skill soars, and she thanks God for ending the struggle that troubled her for decades.

“Today,” Jeni declares, “I am proud to say I am not illiterate.”

Share the Gift of Literacy

Jeni’s new skills enable her to perform daily life activities that were impossible before attending the literacy classes, and she is now equipped to learn more about the Great Physician who healed her and gave her new life.

You can help other women discover hope and freedom of literacy by donating toward Gospel for Asia-supported Women’s Literacy today.


*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 Reports, Unlocking the Door of Literacy

Learn more about the Women’s Literacy Program, and how you can help over 250 million women in Asia who are illiterate.

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

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August 11, 2019

WILLS POINT, TX – Gospel for Asia (GFA) – Discussing the impact of women missionaries in the lives of many suffering, and the hope that and healing that only Jesus can provide.

God sent Prama and her Gospel for Asia Women’s Fellowship team to Sampat’s village at a moment of despair for Sampat’s family—his life was about to be extinguished.

Sampat, a model son, was everything his parents hoped he would be. At 23 years old, he worked hard as a shop -keeper to help his father support the family.

Sampat (not pictured) lost any hope for healing after 5 years of suffering from an illness his family could not afford to treat.
Sampat (not pictured) lost any hope for healing after 5 years of suffering from an illness his family could not afford to treat.

Sampat’s job kept food on the table and clothes on his siblings’ backs. His family depended on him. His father alone could not meet the family’s needs in such a rustic setting.

Descent to Death’s Door

One day, the family’s stability was threatened when severe knee pain debilitated Sampat and didn’t go away.

After seeing a doctor, Sampat’s condition did not change. In fact, it got worse. Slowly, over five years, Sampat suffered more and more, gradually becoming crippled. He sought medical help repeatedly with no results. He performed many sacrifices, hoping for divine help.

Eventually Sampat became bedridden. No longer a primary provider, Sampat became a burden for his family. His parents could not pay for the major medical treatment their son needed. Sampat could no longer eat and wasted away to a critical condition.

Hope Grows in Sampat’s Heart

But God had a hope and a future for Sampat. It was in these desperate days that Prama and her Women’s Fellowship team visited Sampat’s village. Praying for the sick and offering encouragement from God’s Word to the downtrodden, the team of godly women left hope and life in their wake.

National workers often find themselves praying for infirmities. Moments of crisis are often the first time someone considers turning to Jesus. Through those desperate prayers, God brings healing to many as a demonstration of His power and love.
National workers often find themselves praying for infirmities. Moments of crisis are often the first time someone considers turning to Jesus. Through those desperate prayers, God brings healing to many as a demonstration of His power and love.

During this trip, Prama met Sampat. She listened with a heavy heart to the young man’s story. When she learned that he had been sick for five years, she knew the only hope for his healing was the power of Jesus. Prama comforted Sampat from the Scriptures, sharing with him about the hope in Jesus for physical and spiritual healing.

Before departing, Prama and her team prayed for God’s healing touch on Sampat.

A week later, Sampat knew Jesus was working in his body. He was getting better. He continued to pray to Jesus and put his hope solely in the Lord. However, instead of seeing the healing at work before their eyes, Sampat’s family was disturbed and strongly objected to his decision to follow Jesus.

“I believe Jesus will heal my sickness, He is the only healer,” Sampat shared with his family.

The firmness of his decision kept his family quiet. They wanted Sampat to be healed, but they did not believe Jesus could do it.

Healing: Raised to New Life

Prama visited Sampat again to encourage him and join her prayers with his. That night, great relief flooded through Sampat, and he slept peacefully for the first time since his ailment started years earlier. Three days later, Sampat was completely healed!

This touch of God solidified Sampat’s budding faith.

“I truly acknowledge that there is an Almighty God who can heal every sickness and give life to the dying,” says Sampat. “I am one of those who was able to receive His grace and mercy and have a new life.”

Many people in Asia have experienced God’s power and love firsthand through healing. Often, these healings are keys that open hearts to the message of forgiveness. There are many stories of transformed lives, including Talika, a little girl who encountered the Almighty God at VBS and became a living testimony of His grace. Read her story here.


*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 Reports, Twelve-year-old Pastor’s Son Shares Christ with Neighbor Boy

Learn more about the National Missionaries and their passion to help the people in their nations understand Christ’s love through various ways.

Learn more about the Sisters of Compassion, Gospel for Asia’s specialized women missionaries, who have hearts that ache for hurting women and those deemed as poor and needy.

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

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August 2, 2019

WILLS POINT, TX – Gospel for Asia (GFA) – Discussing the life and experiences of a man named Ojas, who, despite severe persecution, losing his eyesight, his heart burns evermore in great joy to serve the Lord and love his fellow sufferers in this world.

As the bus drove away, Ojas saw his mother running behind, crying. He was leaving home. His new faith had brought them both enough abuse from his father.

Ojas was not simply running away from problems; he was heading straight into a life of more searing pain—and greater joys—because of Christ’s love.

New Life, New Suffering

Ojas had faced hardships since he was just a few years old, when he became blind. One day during his teenage years, he listened to a voice on the radio speaking about a God named Jesus. Hearing how Christ healed the sick, made the lame walk and gave sight to the blind, Ojas believed, and Jesus healed his eyes. Although Ojas’ eyesight wasn’t completely restored, he could see, and he put his trust in Christ.

Ojas’ father, however, was furious. As a priest of their traditional religion, he had dreamed his sons would one day follow in his footsteps. He derided Ojas for his new faith. But his piercing words paled in comparison to the torture he inflicted by beating Ojas’ mother for her son’s choice.

As abuse raged, Ojas heard a voice inside him telling him to leave. He sold some of his clothes for cash, got on a bus and left home. He headed to a place where he could learn more about the God he now trusted: Bible college.

Gospel for Asia (GFA) – Discussing the life and experiences of a man named Ojas, who, despite severe persecution, losing his eyesight, his heart burns evermore in great joy to serve the Lord and love his fellow sufferers in this world.

Trials, Vision and Perseverance

Far from escaping problems, Ojas faced continued challenges. With no financial support and limited vision, completing his studies was a battle. Worst of all, he worried about his mother, still at home facing his father’s rage.

As graduation approached, Ojas saw a vision telling him to serve Jesus in a place where nobody knew Him. He embraced this challenging call and moved to a region where people were often hostile to Christianity, though it would cost him dearly.

Ojas, though small in stature, had big dreams for suffering people to see Christ’s love. He found ways to serve people as Jesus would. He tutored children for free and encouraged young people to avoid the snares of substance addiction. Sometimes, if they couldn’t afford the expenses of further education, he would give students money to help pay for books and school fees. When people in the community fell sick, he visited them, prayed for them and took care of them. Through his prayers, Jesus healed many.

Ojas’ compassion and humility touched hearts. People became interested in Christ, and a number began following Him. Not everyone was excited, however.

One day, a rich, tall man who was feared in the community asked the young pastor to visit. When Ojas went to his home, the man chased him around the house and beat him.

Another time, a gang of young men accosted Ojas by a river and beat him mercilessly. They were carrying him toward the riverbank to bury him alive when a local official came by. They fled, leaving Ojas severely wounded.

These violent incidents didn’t frighten Ojas. He continued loving people, even praying fervently for God’s mercy on his persecutors. But the heavy blows he received near his eyes left lasting damage. He began to lose the eyesight that God had previously restored. According to doctors, the head trauma he experienced gradually destroyed his eyesight. After several years, he became almost completely blind.

Joy Through Pain

Pastor Ojas’ vision loss limited his ability to travel, but he learned new ways to continue ministry, like praying for people over the phone. The Lord also raised up a helper for Pastor Ojas: his daughter, Sahasra. Sahasra would lead him by the hand and help him get on and off buses or rickshaws. She also helped him by singing, reading Scripture and collecting the offering during prayer meetings and worship services.

People noticed Pastor Ojas’ commitment even in suffering.

A local church member said,

“Pastor Ojas has been a source of encouragement not only for me but for everyone here in this place. He is … committed to work for unity and love. … Instead of lamenting his fate and getting pessimistic, he is continuing these things, going out for people’s love, unity and care.”

Over the years, Pastor Ojas’ lifestyle has impacted his community—and his family. His mother came to know Jesus, and his father’s heart softened over the years. After studying the Bible for himself, Pastor Ojas’ father believed in the Lord.

Now faith is burning from one generation to the next. Although Pastor Ojas didn’t follow his father’s dream for him, his father followed his example. And as Sahasra helps Pastor Ojas, she is gaining a passion to serve Christ herself.

“Whenever I see my father doing ministry, there is a burden in my heart,” she says, “and in the coming days, I will also be like my father and do ministry in many places.”

Although he’s experienced pain for loving Jesus and loving others, Pastor Ojas continues to pour out his life.

“Though I lost my eyesight, I am rejoicing in the Lord. It is a great joy for me to serve the Lord,” he says.

“The same passion and the same burden is burning in my heart. And when people call me for prayer, though I have lost my eyesight … I feel that my spiritual eyes are open.”

Sponsor a national missionary like Pastor Ojas


Source: Gospel for Asia Reports, Loving with Eyes Wide Open

Learn more about the National Missionaries and their passion to help the people in their nations understand Christ’s love through various ways.

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

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June 20, 2019

Pastor Shorya knew the Holy Spirit had been speaking to him about going to visit a certain village—a village where he’d been told not to come back. The GFA-supported pastor lived nearby and had gone there several times, offering a message of hope to any who wanted to hear. Some men in the village didn’t want to hear it, though, and they told him he might not survive if he came again. Heeding this threat, Pastor Shorya didn’t return for nine months. But when Pastor Shorya sensed God was telling him he needed to visit that village again, he listened. Soon he found himself confronted by one of the most notorious men in the village: Hitansh, a gangster.

Pastor Shorya hadn’t met Hitansh before, but he had heard enough to fear him.

An Unlikely Ally

Pastor Shorya

“Why did you stop coming to our village?” Hitansh asked Pastor Shorya.

When Pastor Shorya explained that some men had threatened him, Hitansh told him not to worry. He encouraged the pastor to continue visiting the village and said he would make sure no one else bothered him.

Such a guarantee meant a lot coming from a person like Hitansh, whose feared reputation came from his status as a leader of a gang known for robbery, kidnapping and murder. Hitansh’s wife, however, believed in Jesus. She told her husband that the Christians in the village needed Pastor Shorya’s encouragement, so for the sake of his wife, the gangster supported the pastor.

As Pastor Shorya started visiting Hitansh’s village again, a relationship developed between the two men, and he told Hitansh about Jesus and invited him to come to worship services. Hitansh wasn’t interested, though.

Grace in Prison

Hitansh

Hitansh’s life of crime eventually caught up with him. After getting arrested for robbing the police superintendent’s home, he landed in prison for several months. One night he had a dream that reminded him of things Pastor Shorya had shared.

In Hitansh’s dream, he stole a gold chain. As he was running away, a lion approached and swallowed the chain. Then a man from Hitansh’s village appeared.

“Brother, look up,” the man said.

As Hitansh looked up, a cross stood before his eyes.

Hitansh woke up, troubled. He knelt down and prayed, and the next day, a desire burned within him to know about Jesus. He asked his brother to bring him a Bible.

Having failed the fifth grade multiple times, Hitansh had struggled to read his own language, but now he found himself able to read Scripture clearly. Day by day, God continued to burden his heart as he pored over Bible passages and remembered Pastor Shorya’s words about Christ.

When Hitansh was released from prison, he immediately wanted to talk to Pastor Shorya.

“I have done many sins,” Hitansh said. “Will Jesus Christ forgive me from all my sins? How can I get peace in my heart? In the jail, I was remembering your words every day. Show me the way … ”

Pastor Shorya comforted him with words from Scripture, sharing that Jesus would forgive sins. He told Hitansh that Christ was the way to peace.

No Longer a Gangster

That day, Hitansh found peace as he believed in Jesus Christ. Soon, he started attending worship services and prayer meetings at Pastor Shorya’s church. His family members began noticing a change in Hitansh, and they also came to know Christ.

Now, instead of engaging in criminal activity, Hitansh provides for his family by doing masonry and labor work. He also works for Jesus full time, telling others about the God who gave him a second chance.

Hitansh’s transformed life impacted the entire community, sparking an interest in Jesus among more people, encouraging the believers and even touching the hearts of the gang members Hitansh used to work with. Although the other leaders of Hitansh’s gang didn’t feel they could openly make a commitment to Jesus, they began to believe in Him.

As Hitansh continues to grow in his walk with Christ, Pastor Shorya continues to encourage him, sharing insights from God’s Word and teaching him how to live an exemplary life. Hitansh is grateful for how Pastor Shorya has mentored him and other members of his family. Just as he guaranteed, the former gangster continues to support the pastor—but now he does this by inviting people to attend worship services and prayer meetings. Hitansh even serves as the church secretary and treasurer.

Because God reached down to pull a criminal off a treacherous path, an entire community is finding new hope. And He did this through one man who loved a village enough to go back, despite risk to his own life, and through an unlikely ally. Now, Hitansh is no longer a criminal, and he and Pastor Shorya are not just friends—they are brothers.

Sponsor a national missionary like Pastor Shorya


Source: Gospel for Asia Features, The Pastor and the Gangster

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

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

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June 19, 2019

WILLS POINT, TX – Gospel for Asia (GFA) – Discussing the plight of missionaries come wintertime, who live barely protected from the elements, and the immeasurable blessing the gift of winter clothing brings.

Pastor Babar shivered under his thin jacket. He walked up to a group of villagers huddled around a blazing fire in the early morning hours. Warming his hands, the GFA-supported pastor shared a story about Jesus to the chilled figures gathered around the heat of the flames. This joyful story constantly burned in his heart, no matter how cold the weather was outside.

Pastor Babar and the Bible college students felt deep inside their hearts a calling to carry their Lord's love to others, While they shared the love they knew, they encountered many families suffering during the wintertime with insufficient winter clothing and blankets.
Villagers in cold regions in Asia often can be found warming themselves by fires outdoors, as many do not have indoor heating.

Battling Winter Struggles

As the sun rose, villagers in the area where Pastor Babar served would gaze out their windows waiting for the sun’s rays to warm the outdoors. For those with meager winter clothing, it often wouldn’t heat up enough to travel until nearly 10 a.m.

Every morning, Pastor Babar opened his sleepy eyes in the early hours to pray over the day before him. In the wintertime, he read Scripture and prayed while tucked underneath layers of blankets to keep himself from becoming too cold.

“It is very difficult to get up in my house early in the morning because of the cold weather,” Pastor Babar shared. “And unless I have warm water, I cannot brush my teeth, nor can I take a bath or wash myself with cold water. So I have to heat water…”

Even though there were days when the temperature would drop below freezing, Pastor Babar never stopped his ministry. During those days, he would pull on nearly every piece of warm clothing he owned to face the outdoors. He endured splitting headaches; dry, cracking skin; and the common cold to visit the men and women he pastored.

Pastor Babar and the Bible college students felt deep inside their hearts a calling to carry their Lord's love to others, While they shared the love they knew, they encountered many families suffering during the wintertime with insufficient winter clothing and blankets.
Pastor Babar reads his Bible and prays each morning before he starts his day ministering. In the wintertime he wraps up in a blanket, like this GFA-supported national worker pictured.

Bible College Students Struggle in Winter

In nearly the same climate and region of Asia, Bible college students looked at the teacher in the front of the classroom. Giant puffs of air sporadically appeared throughout the room as the men exhaled. The temperature was freezing, and it was difficult to take notes, as fingers grew numb from the chill. Focusing on the lessons of the day was extremely difficult because of the brain fogginess and lack of solid sleep they experienced caused by the cold weather.

It was a long morning on campus for the students. For some, the sleepless night spent shivering meant they began their days already tired. Others who managed to sleep well enough, moved about in their rooms getting ready for the day. But when it was time to wash their faces and brush their teeth the water was frozen.

The students knew they must get up and serve, but there was a strong temptation to perform outdoor morning chores wrapped up in bedding. Later that day, maybe some of them would go into nearby villages to share the hope they held in their hearts—but not until the sun was fully up.

It has been reported that it is 20 times more likely for someone to die in the cold weather than from the heat. Insufficient winter clothing causes many of these deaths.
It has been reported that it is 20 times more likely for someone to die in the cold weather than from the heat. Insufficient winter clothing causes many of these deaths.

Willing Hearts to Serve No Matter the Temperature

Pastor Babar and the Bible college students felt deep inside their hearts a calling to carry their Lord’s love to others, even though they had to face the inconveniences of the cold. It was a love too good to withhold. While they shared the love they knew, they encountered many families suffering during the wintertime with insufficient winter clothing and blankets. For many laborers, winter made working for daily survival incredibly difficult, and oftentimes, they had no extra cash for buying winter garb.

But God saw the needs and difficulties of the villagers, Pastor Babar and the students in the Bible college. People across the world displayed compassion by giving resources for warm coats, hats, scarves and blankets. These warm items were given with joy to the Bible college students, Pastor Babar and other GFA-supported pastors and workers, and some villagers during a GFA-supported Christmas gift distribution.

Winter Clothing: No Longer Hindered By the Cold

With his thick, warm winter coat, Pastor Babar can now venture outdoors at any hour of the morning to meet with believers who need prayer. He can stay outdoors longer and doesn’t need to worry about his health or focus on rushing home each night before the temperature drops and becomes even colder.

The men at the Bible college can bundle up in their winter clothing in the classroom and study more comfortably. As they share the Christmas story with those around them, they don’t have to worry about catching sickness—their bodies are protected by the warmth of their coats.

“I am grateful to those brothers and sisters who saw me in need, who understood how it is difficult to serve the Lord in … cold weather and high altitude,” Pastor Babar said after receiving his new winter coat.

“I am thankful to them from the bottom of my heart. I would like to thank them for thinking about me and giving me this jacket. Now my prayer is that the Lord would bless them and the Lord would use them to encourage the people like us on the mission field.”

Support the faithful men and women who risk their lives in cold climates and also help bring winter clothing and blankets to needy families across Asia today.


Source: Gospel for Asia Features, Waiting for the Sun to Rise

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

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June 9, 2019

WILLS POINT, TX – Gospel for Asia (GFA) Part#2 Special Report on the aftermath of acute gender imbalance: Discussing the horrendous reality of 100 million missing women worldwide.

Gospel for Asia (GFA) Part#2 Special Report on the aftermath of acute gender imbalance: Discussing the horrendous reality of 100 million missing women worldwide.
Geeta’s husband used to come home drunk and beat her with the wooden cricket bat pictured. Violence against women is a major public health problem in Asia and a violation of women’s human rights. The majority of this violence is intimate-partner violence, estimated to be 30 percent worldwide.

Intimate-Partner Violence Against Women Contributes to Gender Imbalance

One of the greatest contributors to this missing-women / gender imbalance factor is violence against women—both sexual violence and violence by their own intimate partners. According to the World Health Organization, “Violence against women—particularly intimate partner violence and sexual violence—is a major public health problem and a violation of women’s human rights.”

  • Global estimates indicate that about 1 in 3 women worldwide (35 percent) have been victims of physical and/or sexual violence, sometimes inflicted by their own intimate partners, in their lifetimes.
  • “As many as 38 percent of murders of women are committed by a male intimate partner.”
  • “Violence can negatively affect women’s physical, mental, sexual and reproductive health, and may increase the risk of acquiring HIV in some settings.”
  • “Men are more likely to perpetrate violence if they have low education, a history of child mistreatment, exposure to domestic violence against their mothers, harmful use of alcohol, gender imbalance norms including attitudes accepting of violence, and a sense of entitlement over women.”

A conclusion about the above data is, obviously, that intimate-partner violence is an undeniable contributor to the missing-women dilemma. In case there is any doubt as to what exactly is meant by all this, the United Nations defines violence against women as “any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life.”

The Coequal Value Seen in Genesis

The extraordinary message of the Christian Scriptures, beginning with the first book of the Old Testament, Genesis, affirms the value of men and women: “So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.”

Biblically faithful Christianity has always been confronted by this theological premise: Man and woman are created in the image of God. It’s a huge bump in the road for those who might mistreat the female sector within its following and is a premise worthy of the moans and groans of those who hear a sermon pointing out their misconduct. How we treat one another, in Christendom, is evidence of the reality and depth of our faith.

This young woman, Maloti, was kidnapped from the tea farm she worked on as a day laborer and recently married to someone of a higher caste. Her in-laws, disgusted by her being of a lower caste, hated her so much that they poisoned her. Their murderous attempt failed and Maloti survived, but suffered damage to her vocal cords.
This young woman, Maloti, was kidnapped from the tea farm she worked on as a day laborer and recently married to someone of a higher caste. Her in-laws, disgusted by her being of a lower caste, hated her so much that they poisoned her. Their murderous attempt failed and Maloti survived, but suffered damage to her vocal cords.

Do You See This Woman?

Let’s summarize again that story from Luke that began this article, “And behold, a woman in the city who was a sinner … brought an alabaster flask of fragrant oil, and stood at His feet behind him weeping; and she began to wash His feet with her tears, and wiped them with the hair of her head; and she kissed His feet and anointed them with the fragrant oil.”

The important religious leader, a Pharisee named Simon, was appalled by this woman who, uninvited, crashed his dinner party. In his heart he thought Jesus could not possibly be who He said He was, or He would know what kind of woman she was. Simon certainly thought he knew what kind of woman she was—an emotional type, obviously; a town prostitute, probably. A woman of bad manners and of lower class, which was not his type of person, certainly.

Jesus tells a parable about two debtors, one who owed a creditor little and one who owed the same man much. Both of their debts were forgiven. Jesus asks his host, Simon, which one he thinks loved the creditor the most—the one with little debt forgiven or the one with much debt forgiven? The answer is obvious, even to those of us reading the story many years removed from the dinner-party incident. We agree with the Pharisee’s answer: the one who was forgiven much.

At the risk of being redundant, it is here that Christ asks the question that resounds through the centuries, one that should be considered by any hostile intimate partner and any theologian or churchgoer who has a twisted, mysogynized theology: “Simon, do you see this woman?”

This photo tells a story from the book of Luke: An uninvited woman, seen as a sinner, a woman of lower class who wanted to wash a religious leader’s feet with her own tears. The owner of the house was appalled by her, but Jesus “saw this woman”, intervened and provided protection, illustrating how to advocate for those longing for forgiveness.
This photo tells a story from the book of Luke: An uninvited woman, seen as a sinner, a woman of lower class who wanted to wash a religious leader’s feet with her own tears. The owner of the house was appalled by her, but Jesus “saw this woman”, intervened and provided protection, illustrating how to advocate for those longing for forgiveness.

Do you see this woman? Christ saw the woman, not her bad reputation, not her past misdeeds, not her wayward lifestyle. He saw her best potential self. He saw her broken heart. He saw the gratefulness she felt that any man could think she was something other than the role the community had assigned to her.

Jesus saw the women. If you want to conduct a study as to Jesus’ attitude toward women in a time when they were considered lower than second class, look through the stories collected in the Gospel of Luke. Here we see a man who loved women, advocated for them, healed them and welcomed them as companions in His earthly ministry.

We, too, need to see the women of the world. We need to turn our energies toward helping countries change and cure the great harms that have contributed to the extraordinary demographic imbalance of some 110 males for every 100 women. Indeed, many developing countries consider elevating women from underclass to an educated class as a means of increasing the capacity of the country to function competitively in a global economy.

This little girl, along with thousands of other children, lives in the slums of Delhi. She—and the children like her—lack access to education, nutritious food and health care facilities, to name the least. They begin working at a very young age picking up trash or working for small workshops to earn wages to provide for themselves.
This little girl, along with thousands of other children, lives in the slums of Delhi. She—and the children like her—lack access to education, nutritious food and health care facilities, to name the least. They begin working at a very young age picking up trash or working for small workshops to earn wages to provide for themselves. Realities like this lead to an increasing amount of missing women and acute gender imbalance worldwide.

A Consensual Solidarity of Concern

Let us grieve for these who have suffered such hardships, deprivation, bondage, violence, societal disfavor or low self-esteem brought on by the scornful esteem of the men in one’s social circle. Let us form a solidarity of concern and do what we can to change the capacity of others, either men or women, but for the purposes of this article, particularly women, for the 100 million missing women and fight the aftermath of gender imbalance.

In 1980, I went on a sponsored survey trip for Food for the Hungry to write about that organization’s work in the disaster areas of the world. It was an extraordinary global journey and an extraordinary exposure to the needs and crises of humanity worldwide as well. At the start of the trip, on April 1 in Hong Kong, I had time to do a study of Christ’s ministry as recorded in the Gospel of Matthew, and I wrote out all the verses to remind myself of how dramatic His healing, teaching and miracle-filled ministry must have been to the masses.

Something about Christ’s response to the needy women who were part of all those crowds touched me deeply, and I wrote:

Lord, I praise You that while You are also God of the individual, You are also God of the masses. What did you have in mind for me to write about these masses of women?

  • Those who with little household aids, nevertheless, keep their houses (huts or tents) clean?
  • Those who demonstrate industry weaving or knitting?
  • Those who work in gardens, hoeing with homemade instruments or digging in the soil with sharpened sticks?
  • Those who run sidewalk cafés—little set-up carts?
  • Those who pour cool drips of the water they have walked miles to gather over the bodies of their sweaty and dirty children?
  • Those who are painstakingly learning English in order to better themselves with foreigners?
  • Those who are raising pigs in piggeries?
  • Those in refugee camps who have nothing profitable to do afternoon after afternoon after afternoon?
  • Those who have willingly offered me their babies because the past is horrendous, their husbands are no longer alive and the future looks hopeless?
  • Those with wholesome, plain faces who volunteer their lives to serve the missionaries who bring some sensibility of promise into nonsensical and unpromising conditions?
  • Those who plant flowers in front of their settlement housing (canvas tents or ramshackle shelters)?

There is something about actually seeing the masses of needy and desperate yet often-courageous women struggling just to survive in the resettlement housing in Hong Kong, in the refugee camps in Thailand (those fleeing the Pol Pot massacres in Cambodia), in the canvas villages with dirt paths, in the milk-and-food lines provided by development organizations, or in the old abandoned ammo depots now housing a population of 20,000.


Read the rest of Gospel for Asia’s Special Report on 100 Million Missing Women & the Aftermath of Acute Gender Imbalance here: Part 1 | Part 3

Learn more about Gospel for Asia’s programs to combat the acute gender imbalance reality by helping women through Vocational Training, Sewing Machines and Literacy Training.

This Special Report article originally appeared on GFA.org


Read more on the missing women dilemma on gender imbalance and violence against women on Patheos.

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

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