And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.” (Mark 16:15)
Diaspora: The dispersion of any people from their original homeland
“Migration is one of the great global realities of our era,” as stated in The Cape Town Commitment II-C-5. Chinese in Kansas, Japanese students in Oxford, and migrant workers in Hong Kong. Whether voluntarily or involuntarily, East Asians are moving across geographic borders, and the global church is reaching out to them. For those who come to faith, there are challenges they need to be prepared for when they return home. They have the potential to be a global, mobile mission force, living for Christ and sharing their faith wherever they live. Pray with us this month for the East Asian Diaspora.
*Note: Names and sometimes locations have been changed to protect privacy.
SUNDAYS • Links in a chain
Before coming to the UK for study, Judith* had never heard the gospel. Now back in East Asia, she’s living as salt and light among her people. Her faith is not the result of one gifted evangelist. God used many different people as links in the chain during her few months in the UK. A former missionary to Asia shared the gospel with her first. Next, one of her fellow students told her about Jesus and introduced her to a Bible study group for internationals. The leaders of that group introduced Judith to someone who could give her more personal, one-on-one Bible studies in her own language. Judith’s heart was open and ready for the gospel, and before long she came to saving faith in the Lord Jesus. Praise God for His work in Judith’s life and pray that she would continue to share the gospel in her home country. Pray that the whole Church would embrace the discipling of all nations, whether through planting seeds, watering, or harvesting.
MONDAYS • Returnees and Refugees
When 22-year-old Janae*, a Chinese medical student in Ukraine, received an update on her smartphone on February 23 about a state of emergency, she joked with her classmates, doubting that Russia would really attack. Later that night, however, she fled the capital with her father. Millions have left Ukraine since the Russian invasion in February. The exodus included thousands of Asians who had settled in Ukraine. While many thousands of East Asians have been repatriated to their home countries, others continue living in Europe. Pray for the millions of Ukrainians and non-Ukrainians like Janae whose lives have been upended by the invasion. Pray for healing from the great trauma facing returnees to Asia and refugees alike. Pray that Christians around them would be able to share the reason for the hope they have in Christ with East Asians on the move.
TUESDAYS • A difficult transition
Mami* came to Bible studies while studying English in the UK, but didn’t seem particularly open to the gospel. After her course ended, she went to volunteer at a children’s home in another part of the UK. During this time she met other Christians, went to church, and was baptized. When she returned to Japan, however, she didn’t go to church or have any Christian friends. “In the UK it had felt natural to become a Christian,” she said, “but back in Japan it seemed natural to return to Buddhist ways.” Pray for Mami and other returnees to connect with Japanese Christians so that they can learn how to be both Japanese and Christian. Pray that Japanese who come to faith overseas would attend returnee retreats to prepare for life as a Christian back home.
WEDNESDAYS • Online harvest
Ming* took part faithfully in Bible discussions, both online and in-person while working on her Ph.D. at an American university. She has since returned to her home country. Recently, during an online Bible study, she shared that she wants to follow Jesus with her whole life! A new religious regulation in her country, however, puts many restrictions on online religious content. Please pray for the Lord to strengthen Dr. Ming in her new faith and relationship with Jesus and that she would connect with a good church in her community. Many are finding Jesus and growing in their faith through online Bible studies across borders. Pray that despite growing legal restrictions in various countries, online ministry would continue to help those seeking Jesus.
THURSDAYS • A common language: prayer
Granny Sun* came to Africa when her son got a job there. She soon became friends with Nelly*, an African Christian. Although separated by language, age, and culture, they both came from farming families with strong traditions of prayer and they bonded. Nelly studied only a year of Chinese and Granny Sun did not speak a word of English, but through simple words, sign language, and rich facial expressions they were able to convey their love for one another. Sometimes, they sat together in silence with eyes closed, heads bowed and hands held while praying for each other. Through prayer, their differences gradually melted away. Their deep affection for Christ (and each other) cut across language, culture, and age differences. Praise God for the power of the gospel to overcome all differences and divisions between people. Pray that the worldwide church would continue to grow in unity and diversity.
FRIDAYS • Generational challenges
Saw Htoo* was three when his family fled from Myanmar to a refugee camp in Thailand and eventually resettled in Chicago where they worship at a church in the Karen language. Many of the youth in the Karen community don’t feel as comfortable in Karen as in English and some have resisted coming. As Saw Htoo began working with the children during a summer camp, they responded to his testimony and God began calling him into full-time ministry. Pray for the generational challenges facing immigrant churches around the world, especially newer and smaller immigrant groups like the Karen and Chin from Myanmar. Pray that pastors and elders of immigrant churches, as well as parents, would have wisdom as they seek to nurture the faith of the younger generation while also connecting them meaningfully with their heritage. Pray for more bicultural workers for the harvest among the second generation of immigrants. Pray for ripple effects of revival in immigrant churches and that Returnees discipled overseas will bring a passion for mission back home.
SATURDAYS • Church in action
When Usman* developed Covid-like symptoms, his employer required him to get a COVID-19 test and he was not allowed to work while awaiting the results. While Usman, his wife, and child were quarantined at home, an American friend picked up groceries for them. That simple offer meant the world to Usman, and he seemed amazed that the Americans would be so kind to ‘foreigners.’ This simple act of kindness opened up a door for meaningful spiritual discussion. Pray that those, like Usman, who come from areas with no visible church, would see the church in action as they study or work abroad and recognize Jesus’ disciples by their love. Pray that through His love in His people, new movements to Christ would begin in unreached areas as new believers return home with the gospel.
Click here to download the September 2022 Prayer Powerlines.