Chi* walked past temples as he ventured through town on his way to the countryside. He wore a bamboo coolie hat to protect himself from the sun and the unpredictable rain that came during the rice-planting season. His goal: to spread the gospel to one person or family. Upon entering a rural village of stilted wooden homes, he prayed, “Lord, please lead me to the right one.”
Answer in the Mud
Members of the community busied themselves with one of the many stages of rice production. Some sorted seeds and planted them in a nursery area. Others placed single green rice shoots in prepared wet paddies, and a few emerald-green fields glistened in the sun. Chi watched one man trudging behind a wooden plow as he coaxed his snorting water buffalo along each row. The plow suddenly went sideways and the man lost his grip and fell.
Chi shook off his shoes and entered the watery realm. As his feet and shins disappeared into the muddy ooze, he reached for the man with one hand and grabbed the reins of his noble beast with the other. Grateful, the man who introduced himself as Bounmy* thanked his rescuer profusely. Chi thanked the Lord for answering his prayer and gave himself to this new relationship.
Bounmy, age 36, came from a Buddhist background. He grew rice and vegetables and raised chickens, pigs, and frogs. Chi, a missionary, possessed these same skills and offered to help Bounmy through the next few months. Chi also shared the gospel and Jesus’s love for all mankind. By dying on the cross, He took our sins upon Himself, so we could have access to God and be truly forgiven. Each day they worked together, Bounmy learned better farming techniques from Chi and more about grace, mercy, and Christ’s blessed salvation. Bounmy finally surrendered his heart to the Lord and grew quickly because of his hunger for the Bible. Discipleship began and it became obvious that Bounmy had the gift of evangelism.
A New Native Missionary
Bounmy decided to relocate his family to another village because of his desire to serve the Lord and make His Name known among those who haven’t heard of Him. He excitedly moved to a small village and reached out to others as Chi had helped him.
The first night, Bounmy played his guitar, and curious neighbors gathered to listen. He told them he wanted to make their lives better. As the village built huts and labored in their fields, Bounmy joined them. All the while, he told them about a God who loved them and offered Bible reading and worship in the evenings.
When people began accepting Christ as Lord and Savior, opposition arose from Communist party members in the community. These leaders claimed the Bible and the gatherings were illegal because they were not approved by the government. They banned believers from the public well, blocked their ability to sell their property, and prohibited their children from attending school.
Despite this persecution, seven families, from two different ethnic groups, now meet twice a week for Bible study. Bounmy’s goal: to multiply believers, churches, and native missionaries to the lost.
And ANM’s goal: to come alongside missionaries like Chi and Bounmy who do their part in making Matthew 24:14 come to pass: “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.”
*Names changed for security reasons
Header image: Stock photo.