In July 2017 I spent three weeks in East Asia on a prayer trip. 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.
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 path. The other two villages were accessible by rough road tracks, though once we had to turn round and travel by a different route as a landslide had blocked the road.
We had times of praising God and praying over the area where the people group live. We also climbed a mountain which gave 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 a large town it seemed as if firecrackers were being set off continually across 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 praying but then amazingly stopped the moment we finished.
In the second part of my trip I spent time seeing people who had visited my church when they came to the UK and also meeting a former work colleague. I was particularly keen to visit a friend who came to my church and was baptised there a few weeks before she returned. 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 realised there wasn’t going to be an opportunity to pray with her unless I was quite bold. So I took the opportunity that came up and we prayed and read the Bible together.
In this part of my trip I was entirely with local people and I learnt a lot as they told me about their lives and hopes for the future. Most people I met had moved to the city from villages, where their families had lived for generations. Many work very long hours with only short holidays, which they often don’t take due to fear
of getting behind with their work.
Although the Church is rapidly expanding in this area of East Asia, it seems hidden in the big cities, with believers I spoke to finding work pressure so great that they struggle to take time off to go to church. Everywhere in the cities it 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 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
* name changed for security.