In July 2018, I had the privilege of spending three weeks in East Asia on a prayer journey. A team of five of us (two from the UK, two from Singapore and one from Hong Kong/Canada) went to pray with Hannah*, an expatriate believer who lives near an unreached people group. There are about 850,000 people in this group who live in remote mountain villages, with no churches and no Bible in their language.
Nature Stands in the Way
We visited villages where Hannah had previously got to know people. One of these villages could only be reached on foot, by a two-hour climb up a rough, mountain pathway. The other two villages were accessible by rough road tracks, though in one case we had to turn round and travel by a different route as a landslide earlier in the day had blocked the road.
Prayer and Fireworks
We had times of praising God and praying over the area where the people group live. We also climbed a more remote mountain where there were impressive views over a wide area. These times of declaring God’s sovereignty and interceding for his compassion on the people felt particularly important to me.
One morning when we set out to pray over one large town it seemed like firecrackers were being set off continually in different parts of the city. Fireworks are used to drive out spirits when a new shop is opened or new building work started. The noise was so loud and went on through the two hours that we were out on the prayer trip but then amazingly stopped abruptly the moment we finished.
Boldness in Prayer
The second part of my trip was quite different. I spent time seeing people who had visited my church when they came to the UK and also meeting a former colleague. I was particularly keen to visit a friend who came to my church and was baptized in my church a few weeks before she returned to home.
She hadn’t found a church since coming back and I think her husband had been suspicious of her new faith. I spent three days with them. They had kindly arranged a busy sightseeing timetable for me and, as the time went by, I realized there wasn’t going to be an opportunity to pray with her unless I was quite bold. So, I took the only possible opportunity that appeared and we prayed and read the Bible together.
In the second part of my trip, I was entirely with local people and I learnt a lot listening to them telling me about their lives, their plans and hopes for the future. Most people I met had moved to the city from rural villages, where their families had lived for many generations. In general, they worked very long hours with only short holidays, which they often don’t take due to fear of getting behind with their work.
Work Pressures Impacting the Church
Although the church is rapidly expanding in this part of East Asia, it seems hidden in the big cities, with believers I spoke to finding work pressure so great that they even struggle to take time off to go to church. Everywhere in the cities was so busy and I was overwhelmed with a sense of how many people there are who are yet to hear of Jesus. I hadn’t realised so strongly before what a privilege it is to have grown up in a country that still has Christian principles at its core and where there are so many opportunities for hearing and sharing the gospel. It reminded me that we can’t take them for granted.
-UK Serve Asia worker
Will you pray?
- Pray for the translation of Scripture into the heart languages of different people groups of East Asia
- Pray for believers to be strengthened in Christ
- Pray for those experiencing work pressures that they would find strength and endurance in the Lord