When newcomers arrive at a student center in Southeast Asia, Awn,* a senior, sometimes introduces herself as “Nee’s sister” even though it’s obvious that the two women aren’t related. When Nee clarifies, “from a different father,” Awn is quick to respond, “No, from the same Father.” In a community where few people have heard the good news of Jesus, Awn understands the great blessing of being part of God’s family.
Awn is one of approximately 400 students who participate weekly in programs at the student center, an outreach begun on a university campus by workers serving through SEND International. Christar workers Doug and Ann have ministered there since 2017. When they moved to the community, they began asking their support team to pray that God would start a self-multiplying house church movement in the country. Since then, they’ve seen Him begin to answer this request as He’s worked in the hearts of numerous young people.
The university is located in a town with as many as 90,000 students, and nearly all are least-reached. Just one in a thousand people is a believer in Christ. “But God is reaching out His hands and has been giving these students opportunities to trust Him,” Doug shares.
Students come to the center seeking to improve their English skills through the games and lessons offered each week. But in addition to honing their abilities in a second language, they repeatedly learn of the hope Christ offers. “As we have English games and lessons, as we teach life skills and offer friendship to these students, we are also giving the gospel at every meeting,” Doug explains. “And the students eat it up!”
Most of those who come to the center have never before heard the name of Jesus, except used as a curse. The gospel is a foreign concept, and numerous factors often stand in the way of students accepting the good news. “Buddhism is very much engrained in their culture and mindset,” Doug says, explaining that being a Buddhist is an integral part of national identity as well. To turn to another religion is widely considered not only strange but unpatriotic.
Doug and Ann estimate that a student must hear the gospel up to 100 times before it penetrates their heart. But, each time they hear the message of Christ at the student center, they’re a step closer to embracing the good news.
They’re also a step closer to being part of the church-planting movement Doug and Ann have been praying for. Doug and Ann can see this clearly as they look at how the Lord has worked in Awn’s life. Before Awn placed her faith in Jesus, Nee, one of Doug and Ann’s teammates, held a home Bible study with her over the course of a year, as well as traveled a significant distance to visit with her family. When another teammate asked Awn if anything was hindering her from trusting in Christ, she admitted that nothing stood in her way. Within a month she became a follower of Jesus, and soon after she was baptized.
Awn will soon graduate and work in a new city. And by God’s grace, she’ll take the gospel with her and share it with others. Nee has been training Awn to hold Bible studies with unsaved fellow students and friends, and Awn has been practicing under Nee’s guidance. The team is praying that when she leaves the university, she’ll not only invite others to study God’s Word with her, but will see many place their faith in Christ and train them to reach out as well.
Preparing students like Awn to carry the gospel with them is an integral part of Doug and Ann’s strategy to see churches planted throughout the region. Through them and their reproducing ministries, the message of Christ will spread to communities where few know the name of Jesus.
How can I get involved?
- Praise God for students in Southeast Asia who’ve embraced Christ and are eager to share Him with others.
- Ask the Lord to draw many other students to Himself.
- Pray that a reproducing house church movement will enable many in Southeast Asia to know and worship Jesus.