One of the other features from The Mission of God Study Bible is titled “The Church Unleashed.” It is a series of essays written by missionary personnel from around the globe. The stories they tell are compelling are several levels and I will share some of them here at the blog over the next few months.
Today, I’d like for you to consider the work that is being done in a completely different part of the world. The person’s name who shared the story has been withheld in order protect their work and identity because of the region where they serve. As you read the essay, I hope you will do two things. First, pray, pray, pray. Ask the Lord to work in this far-flung part of the world. Second, think about your own mission field. As you pray for Christ to unleash the church in China, ask for the same to be done in your neighborhood.
– Submitted by a worker in South China –
After praying every day for twenty years to the unknown Most High God to send someone to explain who He was, Solomon (names changed in this essay) finally received his answer. When the visiting missionary concluded the story of Christ, Solomon immediately believed and began telling others that same day. Three months later, after seeing seven others believe, Solomon was confronted by the local shaman who told him to stop sharing the gospel. Solomon refused and was cursed by the shaman—who said Solomon would die in three days. On the fourth day, he was still alive. This prompted his entire village to gather outside his home and ask, “What do you know that we don’t know?” Solomon shared the gospel again, and 80 of the 160 villagers believed in Christ that day. As the news of Solomon traveled throughout the surrounding villages, more and more believed—more than 20 in one village and more than 60 in another.
Over the next nine months, as Solomon received further discipleship and in turn passed that on to the new believers in his village, one of the first churches was born among the Shengzha Nosu (an ethnic minority in China). The church began to tackle difficult issues such as whether they as Christians could continue to celebrate traditional festivals and holidays which had pagan origins, how to deal with drunkenness in their culture, and how an opium farmer who claimed to believe should be integrated into the church body. At the same time, the discipleship process did not cease with the first church. Members of this church went to the other villages in order to train the new believers. Six months later, another church was started. Several months passed and two more were started. Two young men from Solomon’s village, Doug and Micah, felt God’s call on their lives to travel from village to village sharing the gospel. They shared their call with the church, who supported them in prayer, and they left the next day. On their first trip, they saw two come to faith and saw new believers in twelve different villages over the next year.
Through the power of the Holy Spirit, the church has not only changed individual lives in Solomon’s village, but the Nosu culture as well. As 190 of the 195 villagers are now believers, this village does not look like any other Nosu village in all of China. In most villages the men are drunk all the time and gamble away what little money they make on card games while their wives and children work the fields. In this village, the men work alongside the women. They have stopped drinking and beating their families. They gather together as a church body in some form every day of the week—for prayer, teaching the Word, fellowship, accountability, evangelism and worship. In less than five years, the church has been unleashed on this village, with results only attributable to the Most High God, who is no longer unknown among the Nosu.