Johnson and Esther have a ministry in South Asia to encourage, equip, and help pastors to enlarge their reach in their community. For example, they went to a remote area near the border to hold a pastor’s conference. They were expecting 40 pastors to attend the conference with the hope that the clergy would be trained and uplifted in the ministry. Unfortunately, there had been rioting and persecution in a neighboring village the week before the conference.
Commitment to Hear God’s Word
However, the pastors made a commitment before coming to the conference, “What may come, we will stand for Jesus.” They made this pledge because they knew about the upheaval that had been happening in the area.
Johnson and Esther shared, “There is no safe passage anymore. We have to [go] head-on. This is our responsibility — to stand with the pastors.” All the other attendees and presenters were also committed and ready to face whatever came in order to be able to worship and hear from the Lord.
Johnson talked about one pastor who was attacked recently. The attackers beat his feet so that he could not run and escape them. They did not hurt the church members but beat the pastor in front of them. He realized that they were prepared to come on Sundays and disrupt the services. Therefore, the pastor wisely changed his day of worship to Saturday instead of Sunday.
A Remote Conference
Johnson explained, “Even in spite of all these challenges, the kingdom of God flourishes because of the faithful pastors who are toiling day and night. We came to know the Lord is moving powerfully at the border of Pakistan. So new churches were mushrooming, and things were powerfully happening there. We were requested to come and have the conference to encourage the pastors over there.”
Imagine the surprise that Johnson and Esther felt when 60 pastors came on the first day of the conference, even though the area was so remote that a pastor would have to travel about 6 miles to purchase food. Also, there were no toilet facilities, no electricity, and no fans in the scorching heat. However, the Lord was moving powerfully, and people enjoyed His blessings. On the first day, the attendees phoned acquaintances to share how God was moving. One attendee stated about the pastors who came, “It is amazing how they are passionate for the Word, and they are so committed to the ministry. “