Samantha Allgood is one of those, and she recently had the exciting opportunity to live in an Asian country that is still restricted to resident western missionaries. Sam is seeking God's leading for future ministry opportunities in this exotic country which is still shrouded in mystery and religious oppression.
I was especially excited that Sam was able to spend time this fall with T. Pungsar and his wife Maeram, some of our national colleagues that I've enjoyed working with already, though my interaction with them has been long distance. I particularly enjoyed researching the language situation of the Rawang people this past summer, and TP and his wife were a great help in my project.
Samantha has written the following article beautifully demostrating the way God is working through many faithful national believers.
This month I will get to see TP on my trip through Asia. The following testimony will help you understand why it is such a privilege to be a part of this work God has called us to, and why we are humbled to serve with people like T. Pungsar.
You can view Samatha's full article here: A Kingdom Shaker's Journey: http://a-golden-season.weebly.com/blog/a-kingdom-shakers-journey
On a similar note I'm in the middle of reading two excellent missionary books relating how the gospel first came to the Rawang people. If you're interested in more exciting testimonies of God's goodness I would highly recommend the following books:
"Everyday, day and night, day and night, I am thinking this - only this," says evangelist TP, regarding his mission to spread the gospel to his fellow countrymen in Myanmar. As leader of M. Studio in Yangon, TP plays a key role in developing effective evangelistic tools and strategies to reach this Buddhist nation.
"Every Buddhist wants to worship the true god, but they don't know what Gautama taught to his followers. They don't know how to worship the true god,"
TP explains of Theravada Buddhists. Those who elevated Prince Siddhartha (Gautama) the seeker to the position of "Buddha" - the position of "god," failed to grasp Gautama's true message. "No, Gautama is not Buddha. Gautama himself [sought] the Buddha," Pungsar clarifies. He believes that the key to Buddhist evangelism is leading one to question who the "true Buddha"- the "true God" - may be, pointing one to correct worship.
In Gautama's seeking, he taught his followers five attributes that the "true Buddha" must possess: 1) The true Buddha must be free from sexual relationships, 2) He must have power over spirits, 3) He must overcome death, 4) His body must not decay, and 5) He must have power over nature. By these standards, a Christian would recognize that Jesus Christ perfectly meets these qualifications.
During the early years of his ministry, TP recalls going village to village talking with the pagoda elders and the head of Buddhist monasteries. "Do you hate Islam?" he asked. They said yes. "Do you hate Christians?" he continued. They said no; they said Christians were good. To this, TP replied that he, himself, was a Christian and asked if he could share with them about Christ. But why didn't they want to hear of Christ that day? Because "Christ is Western God, Christianity is Western religion..."
"We have our own god - Buddha. We have our own religion."
However, when TP asked his next question: "Shall we discuss about the true Buddha?" The resounding answer was 'yes!' Everyone at one such monastery was interested and many accepted Christ that day. Even the monastery head was convinced. "If you believe that Jesus Christ is the true Buddha, should I pray for you?" TP offered. They all requested prayer.
TP began his evangelism work in 1993. "I just shared what I knew," he says in a simple, matter-of-fact way. At the time, he began his studies at the Emmaus (Eastern) Bible Institute (EBI) in Mobi, near Yangon, while his wife and family of three years remained in the northern town of Putao. Previously, TP studied at Myitkyina Regional College (1979-1981) and Mandalay Arts and Science University (1982-1986), where he majored in zoology and was a top student and organization leader within his student body. To continue at EBI, he quit his current job as a state-appointed high school teacher and volunteer middle school teacher, where he taught biology, science, and English. He was supported financially by another family and the help of Myanmar Christian Services, as he no longer had any income and spent the leisure time he had outside of school evangelizing surrounding villages on his bicycle, with the help of a few friends. Within two years, thirty Buddhists had turned from their old ways to accept Christ as Lord and Savior through TP's faithful witness.
However, TP wasn't satisfied. He wanted new ways to reach more people more effectively. "Oh Lord, the way I'm evangelizing is impossible to influence this country," he cried out. Quietly, in his heart, TP prayed for a way to evangelize more than 10,000 times what he was currently capable of with what he had. And some years later - after holding his own teaching post at the Indonesian International School Yangon and EBI, then furthering his biblical study in Ohio at Cincinnati Christian University - God answered the prayer of his heart. The Lord opened a door for TP to partner with a missions organization and head a branch of the organization in SE Asia, providing TP a production studio where he had full access to the creation of the evangelism materials that would indeed reach 10,000 times the eyes and ears of his previous ministry.
TP first met the director of the organization while crossing paths at a missions conference in Thailand. "I believe God chose me," TP shares, reflecting upon his gratitude to be selected by the director. They joined in the shared vision, and via the organization TP has since completed over 100 projects. Most are evangelism tools in the national language - including charts, tracts, and published books - while others involve the testimonies and gospel songs for 29 tribal languages within Myanmar.
"That is the most effective way to spread this [the gospel], and through this this nation will transform," TP explains of the material production and their distribution/training plans. "Through this work, God will transform people. If people hear this personally, the Holy Spirit [will] start working effectively, and they will stop giving food to the monks, they will stop trusting monks...If Myanmar will transform, the other nations will see Myanmar," TP references the fact that Myanmar is the leader among the Theravada Buddhist countries.
Though, as in every work, "There's temptations," TP notes. "God opened the door to move our family to the United States - after 2000," he reflects. An opportunity most would jump at proved a difficult decision for TP. He was "praying and thinking, praying and thinking - should we move or not...?" He knew of the comforts and amazing opportunities that awaited in the States, even very fruitful opportunities for ministry, and he also knew of the benefits for his children. But it came down to the fact that God had entrusted him with the ministry he had prayed for in Myanmar - the one that had burned in his heart. "My heart was [at] peace and convinced - we should not move," he decided. He knew where he needed to stay.
As TP continues the great harvest in the Golden Land, he invites your prayers for continued revival, provision for the necessary resources and funds for his studio work, and for more Christians to join in this task. "God listened to my prayers...God fulfilled my prayers," TP reflects, in gratitude. And the Great God we serve together as laborers in the harvest will surely delight in harkening unto yours.
- Samantha Allgood