Pastor H leads a Global Disciples partner program in South Asia, training local believers in discipleship-mission and small business. He sent along this story.
This year, as we were conducting our training, the Holy Spirit spoke to us to take the Gospel to the ‘rejected and neglected’. We didn’t understand, but we kept on praying, asking God to guide us to the place He wanted us to take the living Word.”
The Lord answered their prayers and directed them to a community with no witness for the Gospel. As they entered the village, they saw a group of women sitting outside their houses.
‘The Lord led us to share the love of Jesus with them,’ Pastor H said. ‘All were eager to hear the Gospel of Jesus, of His deliverance and acceptance. When we began to pray, several started crying and confessing their sins.’ The disciple-makers learned that twelve of these women were involved in prostitution, with about 14 children between them.
‘The Lord put a burden on us to counsel these women and help them come out from this evil experience,’ Pastor H said. For a month, the disciple-makers counseled and prayed with them, showing them how Jesus offered life and freedom. Finally, all twelve surrendered their lives to Jesus and accepted Him as Lord and Savior! A church was planted in the community and these women are now engaged with the new fellowship, growing spiritually.
As new disciples of Jesus, this group of women knew they needed a different way to support themselves and their children. With help from Pastor H’s church, each was given a sewing machine and a teacher came to teach them.
‘They have learned to sew,’ Pastor H shared, ‘and they are taking care of their families with their daily earnings. Before they start work each day, they have time for prayer and Bible reading. Kindly pray for them, and for the entire village that we can win the lost in this area.’ This is the redemptive mission of Jesus: to seek and save the lost, to set the captives free, to bring hope, dignity and life eternal to those trapped in sin. And a dozen women, with their sewing machines, can tell you how that mission transformed their lives.
Read: Acts 13:2-4
As a disciple of Jesus, do you follow the Spirit’s prompting to share Jesus with others?
To recognize and act on the Spirit’s nudge is part of effective discipleship. In Acts, the Spirit prompted, spoke, directed, and yes, nudged Christ-followers to fulfill the mission. And the same Spirit still prompts us to act in obedience today.
Mazi’s story shows us why this is so critical.
As a young musician, Mazi left his home in Cameroon to work in France, where he became a highly successful music producer. He said, “I had lots of money but no peace. I was so disillusioned that I could see no way out—I planned to kill my wife and then commit suicide.”
The day he planned to kill himself, Mazi went out for a walk when a stranger came up to him and asked if he knew Jesus. Mazi said, yes. The stranger answered, “If you really knew the love of Jesus, you wouldn’t plan to commit suicide.”
Mazi was stunned—how did this man know? Mazi said, “I fell on my knees and began to weep. I confessed everything, and this brother explained the Gospel to me.” And the stranger invited him home and led him to faith in Jesus.
Mazi’s life changed completely! His drive for success disappeared—he wanted to know Jesus and share the Good News with others. Mazi and his wife had no children; now he cried out to God, and the Lord blessed them with three children.
Today, he’s a worship leader in Cameroon, training others to lead worship. His son—a son he would never have known if he’d gone through with his plan—now serves with him in ministry. Mazi has led many people to faith in Jesus, including one of our Global Disciples staff…who now trains disciples and equips church planters!
This chain of influence began when one disciple of Jesus heard and acted on the Spirit’s prompting. It led to Mazi’s spiritual and physical salvation…and multiplied into many more lives introduced to Jesus.
As a disciple of Jesus, do I have His heart for people? Do I see each person I meet through the eyes of a loving, compassionate Savior?
Jesus was a people person. His heart beat for people. You see it across the pages of the Gospels: Jesus talking, teaching, healing, feeding, blessing, reaching out, lifting up, and more. He welcomed the children, calmed the fearful, raised the sick from their beds and the dead from the grave.
As the Son of God, He saw the heart of a person and their deepest need. He knew a lame man needed forgiveness as much as he needed strong legs (Mark 2). That a lonely woman drawing water needed His living water for her thirsty soul (John 4). That a man filled with questions needed to know God loved him to the point of sacrifice (John 3).
Jesus looked beyond appearances, culture, economics, gender, and religiosity to reach out with love, compassion and truth.
We may not have the ability to see a heart in the way Jesus did, but He set the example. He shows us how to touch the untouchables, to speak life to the dying, to refresh the spiritually thirsty, and feed the hungry souls with His life-giving words.
How you love people will show the world that you are Jesus’ disciple (John 3:35). And it’s with the help of the Holy Spirit, and the daily choice to see—and love—as Jesus did, that you’ll develop His heart for people.
Consider this: Think of one person you find it difficult to be kind, compassionate, or loving to. How do you think Jesus sees them? What is one thing you can do today that would reflect Jesus’ love to them?
Prayer: Lord Jesus, loving people is hard. Show me how to see them as you do, and to begin loving them with compassion, truth, and sacrifice. Holy Spirit, cultivate my heart for people to reflect the heart of Jesus, who chose to love me too. Thank you for your work. Amen.
Serving the Body of Christ around the world is a real privilege for Global Disciples as we provide training that helps local churches fulfill the Great Commission of Jesus Christ—to go make disciples. In some places, partnerships are just beginning—as we see in a region of East Asia.
In this region, most Christians belong to ethnic minorities. They face great opposition from their Buddhist or animist neighbors and the Communist authorities.
One group of Christ-followers lost their homes and farms because of their faith in Jesus. Even those who had been members of the Communist Party but switched their allegiance to Christ. Coffee crops were destroyed, livestock was killed, and their food stores were stolen.
At one point, local officials came in with a backhoe and just pushed the believers’ homes into the river!
Undeterred, this small fellowship relocated, setting up in tents. Though they’re now on land that’s poorly suited for farming, God is blessing their hard work and faithfulness. An evangelist in the region visits regularly, and he reported that even with all the difficulties, this small fellowship goes out regularly to share the Good News of Jesus with others.
Discipleship-mission training would be a tremendous help for communities of Christ-followers like this group in East Asia. They’re eager to use the tools that will help multiply the Body of Christ, making and nurturing disciples of Jesus and planting new churches.
Despite hardship, opposition, the limited resources and the many other hurdles, they’re ready to reach 38 people groups which are still without the glorious Good News of Jesus in that region.
We talk about numbers and multiplication in Global Disciples circles. For us, every number has a name. Every name represents a person. Each person has an eternal destiny. And God “desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:3).
Every man, woman, and child is created in the image of God and designed for a loving relationship with their Creator, through Christ.
One of our Global Disciples guiding principles is to nurture what multiplies, measure results, and collaborate. ONE is a big number in God’s economy. Luke 15 reminds us that God has the heart of a shepherd for a lost sheep, the heart of a woman who lost a valuable coin, and the heart of a Father for a lost son. He wants to give us that same heart!
Our world population has been growing by one billion people every 13 years; the most rapid growth is among those least-reached with the Gospel of Jesus. Reaching them requires multiplication: near-culture disciples making disciples who make disciples…
So, we focus on nurturing what multiplies. We assist clusters of churches in 62 nations to equip their people as disciple-makers who go and make disciples among least-reached ethnic groups living nearby. And it’s working—really well!
We know because we measure results—we focus on the number of people who come to Christ and are engaged in a newly-planted fellowship of believers. These numbers are reported by the church planter, verified by the key leader in their church cluster, and confirmed by our Global Disciples Facilitator.
We understand that our vision—to see everyone have an opportunity to choose and follow Jesus—is much bigger than what any one organization can accomplish. So, we collaborate with more than 1,200 clusters of churches near least-reached peoples. They use our training and sending approach to develop locally-sustainable, near-culture missions in just three years. It’s theirs. We stay connected, coaching and encouraging them, and linking them with others doing the same thing.
We seek to live out Jesus’ prayer in John 17:20-24 that we may be one, so the world will know Him!
“I was searching for peace,” Indra said, “but I was looking for it in things that could not provide true peace.”
Indra belongs to a predominantly Hindu people group in North India. His family was devoted to many gods and goddesses. His mother, sisters and others in his family were often visited or influenced by the spirits. And as he said, there was no peace.
“I thought that if I earned money and became rich, I would have peace,” he said. He heard about a man who made a huge sum as a legal advocate, so Indra decided that was the job for him. He did the training, got his license, and went to work. “Even though I was earning a lot of money,” Indra shared, “I felt guilty, like a criminal. I began to drink, and I abused my wife and children and others around me.”
One day, Indra saw a man talking about Jesus Christ. He stopped to listen closely and heard the story of Zacchaeus—a man who needed peace just as Indra did. As he learned that Jesus brought peace to Zacchaeus and not the money, Indra wanted to know more. He started a conversation with the man, Naveen, who was a church planter doing outreach through his Global Disciples partner program.
Naveen gave Indra some literature; Indra read it all and wanted to know more. Naveen gave him a New Testament. Indra began to read and when he got to Matthew 11:28, he found what he was looking for: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Indra said, “That one verse led me to dedicate my life to Jesus and accept Him as my Lord and Saviour. I repented from my sins; I cast all my sins and my worried life onto Jesus Christ as my Saviour.”
Indra’s life began to change; he left his quarrels and abusive language behind. He made peace with his family. His love for Jesus overflowed in his life, and he invited Naveen to share the Gospel with his large, extended family. “My family accepted Jesus as Lord and Saviour, too,” he rejoiced.
While he’s only one person, Indra believes that with God, one is a big number. His desire now is to serve others. He shares the Gospel through his personal testimony and the Word of God with his community, and he has opened his home for a new church fellowship. Already, the one is multiplying. “We meet every Sunday evening with about 20 people eager to know more about the Bible,” Indra said.
The man who searched for peace has found it—along with joy, and a mission in life. Indra said, “My desire is that people would know the truth and get salvation through Jesus. I want to win souls in my area and community for Jesus!”
“Bringing one Muslim to faith in Christ is not easy,” Mamo, an Ethiopian church leader explained. “But nothing is impossible for the Lord!”
Mamo lives and ministers among the communities bordering Somalia, a region that is staunchly Muslim. He has witnessed God doing amazing things to bring people to the light and salvation found in Jesus Christ.
Much of the outreach he’s involved with takes place “underground,” carefully and often in secret to reduce the risks. God has opened a door to meet with the sheiks, leaders of the mosques at the center of the community.
“After they give their lives to Christ,” Mamo said, “we take them to another place for discipleship and baptism. When they come back, they teach what the Koran says about Christ.” And as the people hear this, they also believe!
In a community of five or six thousand people, many are now followers of Christ, because the head leader—from the mosque—has shown them the way of Jesus!
It’s not all smooth sailing. Mamo reported that they planted two churches and within a day or two, both were destroyed. Other Muslim leaders came to a converted sheik, threatened and abused him, then tried to bribe him to come back to the mosque. He replied, “Do whatever you want with me, but I will not go back.”
Another time, local government authorities tried to blame these Christ-following sheiks for chaos and trouble in the community. Boldly, one leader spoke up, “This is what the Koran says about Jesus. I am a follower of al-Masih (Jesus). I will not leave Jesus because I know what He did for me.”
Yes, some have been beaten or thrown in prison because of their faith, Mamo was quick to report, but he sees God working mightily. What seemed impossible has become a wave of new disciples and new churches, even in the shadows of the mosque. Pray for these new believers as they seek to take the Good News of Jesus to those still waiting to hear it in Somalia and beyond.
Life was good for Lucas. A young pastor in Sao Paolo, Brazil, he was gaining influence among the leadership of his church cluster in Brazil. His business as a barber was flourishing, and so was his family. Blessed with a wife and two young children, he seemed to have it all.
Then God broke his heart for an isolated people group living in poverty in a remote region far from schools or healthcare. Even running water is not part of their lives. As Lucas listened to the Lord and absorbed His compassion for these people, he knew a change was in order.
“God was calling me to go and be a church planter among them,” he said.
The leaders of his church thought Lucas was crazy. Why would he give up his business, turn his back on the security and success of his position, and move his family to a place where life would be harder than what they knew? Lucas faced a wave of criticism for his plans. But he wanted to follow God with his whole heart. He knew this was what God was asking of him.
Lucas moved his family to the nearest community with a school for his children—but it was still 170 miles from the people he wanted to reach! So, each week he makes the long trip on rough back roads, stays for several days, and shares the Gospel. He uses his barbering skills to offer inexpensive haircuts and open conversations. He takes along fruit, vegetables and used clothing—things not easily available to this people group—and sells them for a minimal price. This helps to support his efforts and again, gives him an opportunity to talk about Jesus.
It’s hard. He’s away from his family for days at a time and the long journeys add up. Stepping into the isolation and poverty of those he seeks to reach with the Gospel takes its toll.
But Lucas doesn’t see this life as a burden. “I have such joy,” he said. “Making the choice to leave everything of significance is not difficult because of the joy of sharing the Good News with these people.”
About three years ago, Lucas began equipping disciple-makers using the Global Disciples model. So far, 36 have been trained and joined in the outreach, planting 5 new churches, and leading about 75 people to faith in Jesus Christ.
Lucas has dreams for the future; he wants to build a cistern to provide water for the community. And he plans to build a base to continue training the new believers as disciple-makers who can multiply and plant churches throughout the region.
God also opened the heart of Lucas’ home church to catch his vision for reaching those without the Good News. They’re now asking him to help them train more whole-hearted disciples, ready and equipped to follow Jesus, just as Lucas does.
When you know what Jesus has done for you, you can’t keep it to yourself! You want others to experience His transforming work too!
Just ask Eli—a young, dedicated follower of Jesus, sharing the Gospel with his people in Myanmar.
But he wasn’t always like this. Eli grew up with Christian parents but got into trouble as a kid, becoming addicted to drugs and living a life that did not honor God.
Gradually, his life began to turn around, and he decided to go to seminary. But drugs still had a grip on him, and when the seminary found out, Eli was asked to leave.
When Eli finally repented, he was filled with the love of Jesus, and the power of the Holy Spirit. His drug use stopped, and he became a passionate evangelist, going from village to village, sharing the Gospel and discipling new believers.
But Eli doesn’t leave the mission to others. He moves into a village for a time and shares the Gospel, especially with the predominantly Buddhist communities in Myanmar.
God has used him greatly. In several cases, almost the whole village came to know Jesus.
He’s often faced opposition. In one village, when four families gave their lives to follow Jesus, the village elders felt that their Buddhist way of life was being threatened. So, they called Eli to a meeting—and included two local monks, who questioned his influence in their village. The monks and elders decided Eli was no longer welcome and he could expect severe punishment if he ever came back.
Undeterred, Eli moved on to the next village…and the four believing families now go there to be discipled!
Eli has experienced the transforming work of Christ—and he can’t keep it to himself. He’s working faithfully to see as many people as possible have the opportunity to choose and follow Jesus.
God led him and a small team of disciple-makers to a people and community that was fairly hostile to the Gospel.
Despite this hostility, a number of young people—mostly teenagers—heard the message of Jesus, repented of their sin, and accepted Christ as their Savior and Lord!
Mando was excited to see this tiny church begin, but then some personal matters came up that called him away for a time. And he promised to return.
What Mando didn’t count on was the parents of the young people.
Like any good parent, these fathers and mothers were concerned about what influenced their children. They didn’t want their kids to leave their own religious traditions to follow Jesus.
So, they decided to attack Mando on his return, to whip him, beat him, and run him out of town!
Several village elders heard about these plans and they sent Mando a warning. He decided to spend time in prayer, seeking God’s wisdom and direction on how to proceed. And the Lord made it clear that he was to return and carry on with his outreach.
As Mando walked back into the community, expecting the full attack of angry parents, he found instead a surprisingly warm welcome.
What changed their minds? Well, they saw what Jesus had done in their lives of their children.
The spiritual transformation was so evident in each teenager that their parents knew this was from God. Here was an influence to be embraced, not rejected! They were now open to Mando, wanting to hear the Gospel message too. Now the new church is growing beyond the core group of teenage believers.
A life transformed is a powerful witness to the new life Jesus offers.