Harvest Bridge Podcast: Ministry Leader Dreams

Below you will find the transcript for the next episode of our podcast! You can listen on Spotify or by searching for Harvest Bridge on Apple Podcasts. You can also click on the Youtube video below and press CC to read the captions while you listen. 

Welcome to the Harvest Bridge podcast. A part of our work here at Harvest Bridge is connecting local leaders in South Asia with people like you, here in the United States. Through our podcast we want to provide a place where you can hear their voices and listen to their stories in their own words. There is a transcription available for those who prefer to read these stories.

In this episode we will hear from six different leaders who work in ministries across South Asia, including Northern India, the Andaman Islands, India, Bhutan and Myanmar. As a part of our interviews to create the most recent Impact Report, these leaders were asked about their hopes for this upcoming year. In 2023, supporters like you made a huge difference in what these leaders were able to accomplish. As we begin this summer’s giving match (which we’ll talk more about later in the podcast), we are excited to share with you what they hope to do next. 

Let’s hear first from Priscilla and Philip in Northern India, when they were asked what they would do with more funding this year.   

Priscilla: And for me like, yeah, for me like most of the funds should be used on leadership training. We are need of that, I think so. Because I have seen people . . . they have the leadership and this training is lacking.

Pastor Philip: We have written that we are excited to see the new souls for Christ. We’re praying for new house churches and all these things – training leadership, training women skills, starting youth ministries, starting the Christian classes also.

Priscilla and Pastor Philip want to train leaders. Ministry in this part of Northern India is difficult, with less than 1% of the population identifying as Christian. Training would help Priscilla and Philip give leaders the tools and support they need to share the gospel. Pastor Philip went on to talk about two different kinds of seminars they could offer with more funding.   

Pastor Philip: We want to do the seminars. ……. one will be there with seekers, seminar. Seekers leadership, the new believers, they will be gathered in one place. They will be training for three days. They will be given food, travel, everything. They will be put in one of the places, we’ll see to that. And we will give them small tools for them, Bibles, toolkits for them. Then another group, there are leaders who are working in the area. They have the needs – some, some needs cycle, bicycles, some needs bikes. Some have that. And we will also gather to them, we will sit with them. Through the Word of God we will make them, for one or two days, a seminar for them. And after that we will provide them what we have, that they can, they can use that tool for their ministry.

A discipleship seminar for new believers with Bibles and toolkits. Bicycles for leaders to travel through the area. These are just some of the goals of the ministry leaders in Northern India that you can make possible through the summer giving match. 

Now let’s hear from Priya*, who leads the GATE ministry in India. If you’ve listened to the podcast before, you will have heard her story of responding to the floods in Chennai. She shared in that podcast how your giving brought critical resources for the gypsy community as their already precarious living areas were decimated by the flood waters. The GATE community is an area of tremendous poverty and need. The pastors who minister in this community are not without their own struggles. 

Kate: As you think about this year, what are you excited about or or what are you praying for, planning for this year? As you think about 2024 and how difficult it was for the pastors, especially with the economics, and with just not having enough money, what do you feel like the best ways to help the pastors would be?

Priya*: The best ways to help pastors is like – actually, the giving only for the stipend is for pastors to come by bus, like that. So what I think, so just to pray, if we provide them bicycles or two wheelers or something, that will be helpful for the pastors to encourage and do more ministry. And financially they are very poor, they don’t have a job. So if in future we can increase the amount for the pastor support, that would be a nice. Because pastors, full time pastors they are. They really want to do some other business, the business the wife can manage. So, like small scale industries like that. So, it will help their family who are not able to pay for the school fees.

In addition to their ministry, the pastors are willing to work, especially in jobs that would allow them to continue their ministry. Many of these pastors receive some support now from Harvest Bridge. But with the increase in costs and the impact of Covid and the flooding, more support and critical items like bicycles are necessary for them to do their work well. 

Priya: So they can have their business. So that is one type of support. We can work for economical [improvement], they will develop. Because the children are suffering, for…[they are] not able to pay, not able to eat properly. As I told you, before, before the pastor was eating like three meals. Now they are shifting to one meal. So, after the COVID it’s totally demolished their lifestyle. And now the floods… totally [destroyed]. So there is no houses, there is no like renting. They have a renting problem also because, you know, nowadays it’s so much of an economical problem.It comes and rises up and the level of like rice, the rice cost goes up, the tomato cost goes up.So, even though for us it’s hard to live, because the cost is getting so much high range.

Priya mentioned here that the pastors are cutting back from three meals to one meal a day, to make sure their own children have food to eat. Housing is difficult to find and costs are increasing for basic necessities. Your giving this summer can help Harvest Bridge support these pastors in India, by increasing their support, increasing the number of pastors we can help, and equipping them to have self-sufficient businesses to care for their families as they care for the GATE communities. 

Let’s listen now to the plans of Pastor Jagan* in Bhutan. Pastor Jagan is passionate about supporting strong family systems in his community. When we recorded his interview earlier this year, this is what he was hoping to do:

Jagan: We are thinking, because this year, we have got already in our calendar, that we want to…last year we missed the marriage enrichment seminar that we could not do. We scheduled it, but due to lack of money we could not do. Because we very strongly feel the family values are really important. Usually like in Bhutan, polygamy is being practiced. So, marriage enrichment seminar is one of the key ministries or trainings every year that we wanted to do. So that the missionary families, as well as believer families will be invited and we will  teach about the morals and spiritual parenting, all those things. So last time you know, like we were exhausted, without funds, so because of that we were not able to do. That we wanted to so. So please pray for that.

Pastor Jagan had big plans for a marriage enrichment seminar, but needed funding to move forward. In an area where polygamy is still practiced, these seminars are especially important since Christian couples coming from Buddhist backgrounds have not seen many examples of healthy monogamous marriages. We are excited to share with you that in May, Harvest Bridge was able to fund the seminar with about $6000, and it was a huge success. 55 couples attended. Pastor Jagan shared that “many couples who were having differences with their spouses were reconciled in the presence of God.” He asks for your prayer for these couples who have attended, that God will strengthen them to live as a Christ-centered family. 

Next, let’s hear from Pastor Pan* in Myanmar. If you are a regular follower of Harvest Bridge, you’ll have seen frequent updates over the past few years about the military coup in Myanmar. The people there are being held captive to unrelenting violence from the Junta. Despite overwhelming obstacles, Pastor Pan*, Pastor Thang* and other ministry leaders have continued to help their communities. Pastor Pan shares more here about a specific need we hope to fund this summer. 

Kate: Are there things like that that you think would be helpful to provide to leaders like kind of like ministry tools?

Pastor Pan: Right now, I saw the needs. If we can provide a motorbike, at least, one missionary is to have one or two motorbikes.This can help them to move faster during this time of crisis. . . especially if one missionary family has at least two or three bikes, they can easily move things, they can easily move faster in that case. So, I think that’s like a motorbike. If we can provide a motorbike it will be very helpful for everyone, especially in this time. Not only for preaching the Gospel, but also for just fleeing when violence comes.

With your help, we can send additional funding for motorbikes to Myanmar. This year we have already supported four leaders with a motorbike, which costs $1300 each. These bikes allow leaders to move quickly in responding to the ongoing crisis. In a time when getting from place to place quickly is imperative, motorbikes are a critical resource. 

Finally, let’s hear from Ram* in the Andaman Islands. As you’ll hear, his request isn’t more funding. It’s for prayer. Let’s listen:

Kate: What types of ministry are you most excited about? Or what would you most like to do in 2024?

Ram: I already told that the breakthrough has to come. Yea, breakthrough among the believers – arise. That is the main thing. Most of the believers are in a, what you call, sleepy mood. That is what apostle Paul explained. Don’t, what you call, sleep. Get away from your sleep. Like that he says. Like that, they are coming to church and going. But there is no involvement in the church activities. Even from the prayers also. On the Sunday they’re coming, and next Sunday they’re coming, and so and so, like that. So, to make the believers as a disciple. Disciple is the one who disciples others also. That’s the main focus. And that breakthrough will come only through prayer only. We have to pray, we have to pray. In all this… So, that’s what we are praying.

The impact of your prayers was so clear over the past year across South Asia, including in the Andaman Islands. We invite you to join us in praying that the believers will wake up and be called to disciple others with the good news they have been given through the gospel. 

These are just a few of the many dreams God has placed on the hearts of the ministry leaders supported by Harvest Bridge. These leaders, like the others we support, are making a tremendous difference for the people in their communities.

This summer, one generous Harvest Bridge donor has pledged a matching grant of $50,000 to fund projects like these. This means $100,000 can be raised between now and end of day, August 11th! Every dollar donated to the Summer Match will be included until our goal of $50,000 is reached. You can learn more about how to give, and see the progress of the summer match campaign at harvestbridge.org/give

Thank you for listening to the Harvest Bridge podcast. Follow us on social media, or subscribe to our email list to learn more about the ministry of leaders throughout South Asia who are doing much, with little.