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Good, Hard Work

Chara* has rescued hundreds of children from human trafficking in Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh, home to nearly 20 million people. 

Chara has raised two strong, smart, Jesus-loving daughters. She and her husband have shared the Gospel with countless people, with many turning to Christ and being discipled. She and her family have experienced God’s work in their lives and ministries in tremendous, sometimes miraculous ways. She is exceptionally strong, loving, and obedient to the Lord.

In December, I held Chara in my arms as she shook from uncontrollable and much-needed sobs.

Bakul*, her husband and one of the missionaries you support, suffered a minor stroke two years ago and a more serious one a few months ago. The once-passionate and friendly man I’ve known for the past four years can hardly speak. He cannot smile, lift his Bible, or hug his family. Chara and their daughters, Nalinda* and Tanhi*, who are both in college, care for him around the clock.

Still, with joy and faith, Chara has continued her work of rescuing children, and has tried to keep up the evangelism and discipleship her husband can no longer do. She loves this work. But she is also exhausted, worried, heartbroken, and fearful.

A week before Christmas, for the better part of an hour, while holding tightly to Bakul’s hand, she shared all of this and we sobbed and cried out in prayer together.

This is the reality of following Jesus and choosing to serve him in the most difficult of circumstances. 

The heart of Harvest Bridge is coming alongside South Asian believers who have done much with little, and helping them reach their people with the Gospel most effectively. 

Oftentimes, the “little” is not simply little money. It’s little encouragement, little rest, little training, little supportive prayer that they’ve done much with. We strive to come alongside them in all these areas, not just financially. 

For decades Chara and Bakul have chosen to do the hard, thankless, and unpublicized work of loving like Jesus. Saving children from horror, sharing the Gospel, and discipling people. They’ve done the long-term work of entering into others’ pain on a daily basis and sharing Jesus’ love while experiencing persecution, putting themselves in danger, living in poverty, and having seasons with little or no visible results of their ministry.

God absolutely gives grace. He has walked through this with them, blessed the work of their hands, and given them peace and joy unmatched. But Chara, Bakul, Nalinda, and Tanhi are not meant to walk alone. None of us are. 

God established the Body of Christ and the institution of the church for a reason.

As Christians, we have a responsibility to our brothers and sisters around the world – to pray for them, to comfort and encourage, to share our talents and our wealth with them. We are meant to be the hands and feet of Jesus to one another, so that we are filled up to bring the love of Jesus to those outside the church.

This year, through you, we will help Chara and her two daughters build a self-sustaining business that can support them long-term. This will allow Chara to do the ministry God has given her a heart for, but also to take a step back for a season and care for Bakul as he continues to heal – as they all heal.

Will you pray for Chara, her family, and all of those choosing to continue ministering in the hardest of circumstances? 

In February, our new monthly prayer calendar will be online. Each day, as you pray and praise God for these men and women, you are being the hands and feet of Jesus to them. Your role is vital. 

View Our February Prayer Calendar

Thank you and Happy New Year!

Kate Therese, 

Executive Director 

*Names changed for safety

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Our Savior and Our Comfort

Miriam*, a widow in northern India, is in her early 70s. Her late husband Benjamin* was one of the first missionaries Harvest Bridge began supporting, nearly 10 years ago. After a life well lived, Benjamin passed away suddenly three years ago. Even in her grief, Miriam has continued her husband’s ministry. 

Already looked down upon for being poor and a Christian, Miriam became all the more ostracized in a society that regularly dehumanizes widows. Not only did society push her away, but, her extended family rejected her, discouraging her from ministry. 

When I was with her earlier this year, she was very honest about the hardship and pain she has experienced while grieving the loss of Benjamin. As we held hands in prayer, crying together, the words of Hebrews 4:14-16 came to mind, as they often do in times like this:

“Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”

As her sister in Christ, I could offer love and sympathy to Miriam, but never could I or anyone else truly step into her shoes and fully bear that burden with her. 

But Jesus, our great High Priest, can. 

Who else could enter and heal this brokenness better? Who else, other than our God who, for a time, walked on earth, fully human and fully God? 

Jesus, who was not only tempted by Satan himself and then separated from God while on the cross, but who was also rejected by much of his family, hated by many, grew up in poverty in a disrespected town, and died a brutally painful and humiliating death. 

Jesus, who while being human, was also fully God, and so was able to see into the depth of sin and pain in the lives of those around Him. 

Jesus, who can sympathize with our weakness and welcomes us to come to Him boldly.

That is the God we pray to, the God that Miriam was able to cry out to when no one else could understand her pain. This is who all of our national missionaries and followers of Jesus around the world cry out to. When they too are rejected by family for their faith, when they are physically stoned because of sharing the Gospel, when they do not know where their next meal will come from, when they are tempted to give up.

In a recent update from Miriam, she wrote, 

“I am doing the ministry in remote villages…there are a lot of ups and downs, and many times I am feeling much discouragement by the situation around me. But the word of God is giving me strength to go forward with more enthusiasm, power, and courage…all my relatives left and were discouraging me to leave the ministry. But I have decided to follow Jesus till the death and do the ministry which my husband left and handed to me…God is helping me in every aspect of my life, especially in this critical situation of my husband’s death. This is my humble desire and vision that even in this situation, I want to become a great godly woman, an example for many families, and be faithful in this hard situation until the last day of my life.”

That is a perspective only possible through knowing our Lord. 

This Christmas season, I am reminded that when our God came to earth as a humble baby to save us for eternity, He also became our greatest source of comfort and strength in this life. 

And I am thankful that as part of the Body of Christ, you are the hands and feet of Jesus in supporting our many South Asian brothers and sisters like Miriam as they serve Him. Thank you! Merry Christmas!

In Christ,

Kate Therese, 

Director of Mobilization 

*Names changed for security

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See a Need and Meet it

“If you can’t help 100 people, then just feed one.” ~ Mother Teresa

In January I spent time with two indigenous missionaries in Dhaka, Bangladesh’s capital of 19 million people and the fastest-growing, most densely populated city in the world. One missionary was a 28-year old single man, Raj*, the other, a middle-aged woman who is married with children, Saroj*. Great things have come from this unlikely pairing.

They were introduced by our Bangladesh director a few years ago, and they realized they both had a God-given burden, willingness, and availability to protect children from trafficking. 

Saroj and Raj saw a need and decided to meet it. 

Simply defined, human trafficking is a form of modern-day slavery in which traffickers use force, fraud, or coercion to control victims for the purpose of engaging in commercial sex acts or labor services against their will.

Together, and with no help except for the modest monthly support they receive from us, Raj and Saroj rescue children, both girls and boys, from train and bus stations where many children are trafficked through. Depending on the situation – why the child was trafficked, their age, if the child knows where they came from, if they have physical injuries – these two help bring them back to their families or settle them in trusted children’s homes.

In the last few years, Saroj and Raj have rescued over 70 children, sometimes with help from the police but mostly on their own. And they continue to have a relationship with many of the children. Raj regularly visits the children, reading to them, playing with them, and advocating for them.

As the eighth most populated country in the world with about 165 million people, and bordering India and Myanmar (Burma) – two other hot spots for trafficking – Bangladesh has both a large supply and large demand for vulnerable women, children, and men. Children are particularly vulnerable; typically, they are kidnapped, or traffickers convince impoverished families to send their children with them with a promise of well-paying work and a better life for the child.

As a 2015 article observes, “In Bangladesh, human trafficking is one of the most money-making forms of illegitimate enterprise. The high profit, as well as the low penalty nature of human trafficking business, has made it more attractive to traffickers (criminal gangs) and as well as very large-scale organized crime in Bangladesh.” 

With trafficking being such a lucrative business, directly rescuing children out of it is highly dangerous and difficult.

This is exactly what Raj and Saroj are doing.

Both bear physical scars of being attacked by pimps and traffickers. 

When I hugged Saroj in January, I could see a fresh wound on her head from being hit with a glass bottle by a trafficker. Traffickers regularly come to threaten Saroj and her family at home, and last month she went to jail for three days because one of the traffickers was a relative of a powerful and corrupt man in Dhaka. 

When I met him, Raj had recently been attacked by a large group, intent on protecting their commodity – children. He has since continued to be beaten regularly. 

Neither Raj nor Saroj has any intention of stopping their work, regardless of the cost. As our Bangladesh director has observed, “Saroj is overlooking this browbeating and she and Raj are still continuing in the name of Jesus.” 

The tears in their voices as they spoke to me about vulnerable children reflected this commitment. As did their humility as they shared, “We saw these children and nothing was being done. So we had to do something. But we want to know how to do it better. We need to be trained to rescue and care for these children better.”

Speaking to them this week, Saroj and Raj shared clear prayer requests. They want to either start or, if one already exists, work with a shelter home specifically for children who have been traumatized by trafficking. Along with this, they want to both educate vulnerable children on the dangers and signs of trafficking, and teach them how to advocate for themselves. 

They are passionate about giving children a voice. 

Harvest Bridge is currently working to partner with other organizations who can help Raj and Saroj with their vision. We would deeply appreciate your prayers in this as well. 

Speaking about human trafficking is disturbing because it shines a light on almost unimaginable suffering. The horrors of trafficking are real. Horrors that many of us are not willing to enter into mentally, let alone physically. Yet there are people addressing these issues, and they are usually locals who don’t stop to broadcast their good work. They just do it. 

As we find these people, let’s celebrate them, emulate them, and join them in any way we can!

As followers of Christ, we have the same Holy Spirit as the disciples, as Paul, as Raj and Saroj. Let us, like them, rely on this power and simply be available to be used by God.

Harvest Bridge’s mission is to come alongside indigenous Christians to holistically advance God’s kingdom. By supporting us, you specifically support Raj and Saroj, but also many other men and women like them. 

Thank you!

In Christ, 

Kate Therese, Director of Mobilization

*Names changed for safety

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On the banks of the Irrawaddy: Lydia’s Story

On the banks of the Irrawaddy, a 24-year old woman looks out on the river she’s grown up on. 

This is the river she worked on with her parents, carrying goods across the water by boat, after stopping her schooling at age seven with only basic reading and writing skills. Lydia* grew up a Burmese Buddhist in Myanmar (Burma), where Buddhism is the majority religion and Burmese is the majority ethnicity. 

But because of where she was born – the slums on the river – Lydia and her whole community are heavily discriminated against in their city.

While in Myanmar in January, I had the absolute privilege of spending time with Lydia, listening to her heart, enjoying her tea and hospitality, laughing and praying together, and hearing her story of how she met and was changed by Jesus.

Three years ago, while traveling out of his state to encourage local pastors in the area, one of our Myanmar ministry leaders went to share the Gospel in a slum he had recently heard of. Pastor Paul*, a natural evangelist, went from hut to hut to ask if people needed prayer, and explaining the Gospel if they were willing to listen. The Holy Spirit drew him to Lydia and he simply shared the Gospel with her. 

She had heard about Jesus before from a friend who had recently become interested in Christianity. But until she met Pastor Paul, Lydia never felt confident enough to ask questions. He listened well, he was kind, and he understood her fear of how her Buddhist family and community would treat her if she believed. 

As Paul left, he challenged her to try praying to Jesus directly: telling Him what she wanted, asking Him her questions. 

Three months later, they met again. 

In that time, she had taken Paul up on his challenge – Lydia had seen Jesus work in her life and answer her prayers, and had decided to follow Him – becoming the first follower of Jesus in her community. 

Three years later, Lydia has seen 16 adults in her community – both men and women – begin following Jesus, including her mother and grandmother. 

With laughter and the biggest smile, she showed me her mother’s container that had held their Buddha statue. After she accepted Christ, Lydia’s mother threw the statue into the Irrawaddy and now the container holds a printed Burmese Christmas hymn. A simple but bold statement.  

Pastor Paul, seeing leadership potential in Lydia, connected her with another local pastor, Maung*. This pastor and his wife began discipling Lydia. Now, with their help, she leads a Bible study for the 16 other believers. 

When first praying to Jesus, one of Lydia’s prayer requests was for a sewing machine and tailoring classes. Through a relative, she was able to get the machine and the training, and she is now working as a seamstress out of her lean-to on the river. Together with other women – both Buddhist and Christian – she has plans to help women gain trade skills or start businesses.

Lydia is uniquely gifted to lead and encourage this community. 

As I sat outside Lydia’s home, I met with several of the people who had come to faith through Lydia’s testimony. She is clearly a natural leader, with both women and men, Christians and Buddhists respecting her opinions and thoughts. I saw a combination of strength, humor, compassion, joy, responsibility, and wisdom in this 24-year old woman. 

Tears filled her eyes, and mine, as she shared the challenges of this young church.

Many never learned to read and so cannot read the Bible for themselves. They work from dawn till dusk, seven days a week, making it difficult to meet regularly. Many are ostracized by their families for their new faith. It was a precious thing to hold hands and pray together over these needs, and to praise God for all He has done in this slum.

These are challenges that Lydia understands intimately, and so, along with Pastor Maung’s guidance and the Holy Spirit, we look forward to seeing this community grow. 

This is why Harvest Bridge exists – to come alongside believers like Pastor Paul and Maung and Lydia, and join them in reaching their communities for Christ. Thank you for partnering with us in this!

In Christ,

Kate Therese, Director of Mobilization 

*Names changed for safety 

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Doing Something with Nothing

“It is true that we may desire much more. But let us use what we have, and God will give us more.” ~ Adoniram Judson; 19th century missionary to Myanmar (Burma)

In December I had the privilege of meeting and worshiping with dozens of pastors, missionaries, and their congregations in Myanmar (Burma). 

As their sister in Christ, it was truly a time to rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep. My days were spent with rural pastors and missionaries who face challenges that I have never faced, but who experience joy that comes only from complete reliance on God.

I struggled with the words to describe both the individual churches and the overall church in Myanmar, but I realized the Apostle Paul had already done it! His description of the churches of Macedonia is shockingly similar to what I found in Myanmar.

“Moreover, brethren, we make known to you the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia: that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded in the riches of their liberality. For I bear witness that according to their ability, yes, and beyond their ability, they were freely willing, imploring us with much urgency that we would receive the gift and the fellowship of the ministering to the saints. And not only as we had hoped, but they first gave themselves to the Lord, and then to us by the will of God.” ~ 2 Corinthians 8:1-5

From church congregations, to families, to individuals, I saw people in the midst of trials – persecution, sickness, personal loss – respond with inexplicable joy and give generously – not only of their finances, but of their lives, despite their poverty. 

Not perfect people, by any means, but people who are undeniably filled with the Holy Spirit. 

Khin* is one of our lead pastors. When I asked where most of his support came from (HB is only able to support these pastors modestly, and not regularly), he paused, then said,

“Well, only Jesus. We have no one else to rely on, so we have to have faith in only Him. I often do not know where I will get food for the day for my family, but so far, God has never made me fast longer than a day! But I am ready when He does. He will be faithful to sustain our ministry.” 

Jia* and Xi* are a young missionary couple. As Jia was about to give birth, Xi was arrested on false charges because of their ministry. Xi was released with help from The Voice of the Martyrs, and both husband and wife continue to minister to the community that persecuted them.

Another pastor, Kyaw*, continues to serve his congregation, and share the Gospel, despite his church being burned to the ground by radical Buddhists.

A single woman, Grace*, is the only Christian in her village, yet has continued to do ministry faithfully on her own for seven years. She is supported by several churches around the country.

Than* was tortured for days in prison, after accepting Christ while in the military. When he was released he decided to become a pastor. He told me,  

“It has been a joy to suffer for Christ, and to serve Him. I want others to know His joy.”

Mya* and Kyi* are two incredible women who started a successful prison ministry despite seemingly impossible barriers, great physical danger, and a financial burden on themselves.

From pastors to children, I met few who were sure of where their next meal would come from. 

Yet, I met dozens of Christians who had given what they could to help with the medical bills of believers they had never met on the other side of the country. 

Several pastors have adopted abandoned and orphaned children, despite the fact they hardly had enough to provide for their families beforehand. 

One family has taken in 32 children whose parents were killed in a nearby civil war, in addition to their own five children. Most of the little ones were found abandoned in their homes, the woods, or on the road; it’s unlikely many would have survived had David* and his wife, Ruth*, not taken them in. 

They’ve done this with no outside help, only with the support of their small village church.

A 70 year-old couple, Cho* and Aung*, have given everything they have – their land and home – to be used for the local church. 

I celebrated Christmas with small churches that came together with what little they had to hold Christmas outreaches in their villages, presenting the Gospel to hundreds.

Like the churches of Macedonia, the churches of Myanmar have learned to support the Body of Christ, despite what little they have. They have given out of an abundance of joy and deep poverty, to support those in even greater need. 

Harvest Bridge comes alongside those who have done something with nothing. This is a key factor in our ministry approach. This is what defines the men and women we seek to support in Myanmar. 

Currently, Myanmar is the only country where our local ministry partners do not receive regular monthly support – yet these believers have taken what little they have and used it all for Christ. They have had no choice but to rely on God for everything, and so have seen great fruit in their ministries. 

The Body of Christ is a part of carrying out God’s faithfulness toward these believers. We have a role to play in supporting them. 

“For I do not mean that others should be eased and you burdened; but by an equality, that now at this time your abundance may supply their lack, that their abundance also may supply your lack—that there may be equality.” ~ 2 Corinthians 8:13-14

Near tears, Pastor Khin, the same one who said he was ready to fast when God called him to, told me,

“We have so many accepting Christ, but we are desperate for training to disciple these new believers.”

The men and women we come alongside in Myanmar have been faithful in what little they have. 

If we followed their example of generosity, how much more could they do with the support of the global church? Not just in finances, but through discipleship resources, prayer, and encouragement from their brothers and sisters in Christ. You can join these men and women by giving below, and through prayer.

In Christ, 

Kate Therese, Director of Mobilization

*Names changed for security

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Nonexistent in India

Imagine having no type of ID, not even a birth certificate. In fact, no one in your family has any kind of identification. Without this ID, you cannot go to school, be hired at a business, open a bank account, receive legal protection, or any number of  other things. And imagine that without outside help you will never be able to get this identification becauseno one trusts your stigmatized caste. 

Just think of trying to break the cycle of poverty in those circumstances!

Priya*, president of GATE, aka Gypsy And Tribal Empowerment, recognizes this need. This strong woman has successfully helped many Gypsy and Tribal communities in Tamil Nadu, South India, secure personal identification. These communities are legitimately the lowest one can possibly be in the Indian Caste system, even below the Untouchable Dalit caste. 

It is an uphill battle, which requires long hours of wading through red tape, standing up to government officials, and helping illiterate families fill out paperwork. However, her success has helped Harvest Bridge establish ways to secure identification for other marginalized communities throughout India, and other South Asian countries. These will be taught to other Harvest Bridge partners who are fighting for the “nonexistent” individuals in their communities.

GATE was one of Harvest Bridge’s earliest supported ministries and has seen encouraging moves forward in over 20 Gypsy and Tribal communities.

 John, an 11 year old boy has been impacted by the education to which he now has access because of GATE’s advocacy.

“After regularly going to school, I have learned to be more disciplined. I have learned to dress and talk better, and to obey my  parents. My friends from the village and other areas help me study and I help them. I am more mature and confident. I will be able to be employed in the future, and that is what I like about school the most. My English teacher is my favorite and it is my favorite class. The teacher encourages me and does not beat me for being a Gypsy. If another boy did not want to go to school I would tell him to go so he could learn more; I would help him learn! Because of school I can talk about more things. I have taught my parents how to read the Bible and newspaper, and how to count money. GATE and Priya encouraged me to go to school. I want to be a doctor when I grow up so I can care for my village.  Please pray for my education”.

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The Lord Has Not Forgotten Me; I Cannot Forget Him

Kani was born in a small village in Southern India into a Hindu family; they were in one of the lowest castes, Dalit, sometimes known as the untouchables. She had an arranged marriage at 16 and by the age of 21 she already had four children. 

Her husband was an alcoholic and died soon after her fourth child was born. When he died nobody helped her, so she had to provide for her four children alone. She found a job gathering bricks to be used for construction. She could not send her children to school, but she was able to keep them fed and clothed.

Eventually her children were all old enough to work as well. It was then, that Kani’s brother in law, Murgan, offered to take the whole family in. This seemed like the best option for them, even though it was apparent he only wanted them now that the children could make money. 

It was also a hard situation for Kani because this brother in law had been asking her to marry him ever since his brother had died. Murgan was already married, but his wife was mentally handicapped, and he wanted Kani. Although it was difficult on her, she decided to stay until the children were older before she moved away.

When her oldest was 20, she was given the chance to move to the large city of Chennai, in Tamil Nadu. Her friend let her travel with her family as they moved, and promised that Kani could stay with them until she found a job. After a day of travel they arrived in Chennai, but it was made clear by her friend’s husband that Kani would not be allowed to stay with them and she was thrown out onto the street. She immediately started looking for a job and searching for food. She had always been a devout Hindu, so she also went to pray to the gods at a local temple. But the gods did not provide her guidance or peace, in fact, they had never given her peace. 

On the third day after reaching Chennai, Kani had still not found a job or even eaten anything. She waslaying on the side of the road, discouraged and weak, when a man stopped and told her about a church down the road that could help her. So he brought her to the church where she met Pastor James and his wife Victoria. They welcomed her and let her eat as much as she wanted and gave her clothes to wear.

Kani had heard as a child that Christians could come to God and ask Him for help. So after being overcome by the love and kindness of this pastor and his wife, she knelt down and prayed to God. She prayed for either a job in Chennai or a way to travel back to her hometown. That same day, Pastor James offered her a job at the church, saying that she could eat and sleep there as well! Kani accepted Christ that day, and realized she had peace in her life for the first time. Soon after, Pastor James also helped arrange a healthy marriage for Kani so that her brother in law would stop harassing her.A new life had begun.

12 years later, Kani has an 11 year old daughter, a good marriage, a job working in a public garden, and strong relationship with Jesus Christ. She also works with the Gypsy and Tribal Empowerment (GATE) ministry, by spreading the gospel to her fellow tribal people, and teaching them how to grow and sell their own food. She is a wonderful gardener, and has passed this on to many communities and families. Physical and spiritual lives have been saved due to her faithfulness and compassion in ministry.

However, living for Christ has not been easy. Her brother in law, Murgan, lied to her children about what kind of woman Kani was. He told them she had gone to Chennai to become a prostitute and that she didn’t really love them. Her children and extended family make fun of her Christian faith and are still unresponsive to the Gospel. They say that Hinduism is an inherited religion so how could she possibly become a Christian.  She tells them that “Jesus is the real God because He touched me when I was hurting. Come to Jesus and He will help you too”.

Five years ago the situation escalated when her brother in law went to the extreme in trying to kill Kani by having a witch doctor put a curse on her. She was attacked by an evil spirit, and the spiritual warfare caused her to lose her mind temporarily. She roamed the streets, treated her daughter badly, and would not eat, but she did drink and smoke. Her husband had to tie her legs to the bed so that she didn’t go out and hurt herself. For a month, Pastor James would come and pray for her, and finally the spirit stopped tormenting her and she regained her mind. This was when Kani dedicated her life to ministry with GATE, as a way to thank the Lord.

When asked how she remains faithful to the Lord, even in her trials, Kani says that “the Lord has not forgotten her, so she cannot forget Him“. She says that when the people curse her for sharing the gospel she is able to remain patient because she knows that one day they will change. 

She asks prayer for her family’s salvation, especially Murgan, as well as the salvation of the Tribal people she works with. She is getting older and so she asks for prayer to stay healthy so she can continue to serve.

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From Child Bride to Mentor: Mia’s Story

Mia* and her husband Puran*, minister in the capital city Bhutan, Thimphu. They work primarily with Nepalese and Sharchop people groups. Read Mia’s story of how she and her husband accepted Jesus Christ after their son was miraculously healed.

“I was born in a Hindu family. My parents were farmers in a remote village in Southern Bhutan. When I was a child, there were no schools, and girls in my area weren’t sent away to other schools, so I didn’t have the opportunity to attend school. Because of this, I got married to a Hindu man when I was 14. We had our first baby when I was 16. 

When our son was only 6 days old, he became very ill. We took every measure and even tried witchcraft, but he was getting worse. At that time, one lady shared with me that Jesus could heal our son. I told this to my husband and we went to a pastor and asked him to pray, and we vowed if our son would get well, we would commit our lives to Jesus. The pastor prayed and our son became well – he is still with us and has his own family with 2 children now. That is how we came to the Lord in 1984.

We came to the capital city of Thimphu in 1985. We were attending a church till 2009. Since the time I became a Christian I had this great desire to tell others about Jesus; those who are helpless and have no way out of their problems. I want to tell others about this great hope, just like the lady who told me about Jesus. After my children grew up I found time to go out and share this hope to others. Then we started a fellowship in our house in 2009. 

I know I am not educated, but God is using me to be a hope to some that I meet and share.

It is my desire to be able to bring 100 families to the Lord in the next 5 years, [by 2016].

I visit the sick and those helpless and discouraged who stay at home without work. I encourage them from the word of God and pray for them. I reach out to young people who are my children’s ages who have already started to work or are coming to Thimpu to find work in hotels and other places. I meet them and counsel them and tell them that Jesus cares for them and loves them. Evenings we meet at different homes for prayer and sharing.

The work began in 2009. We began fellowship and meetings at my house along with a few believers who had grown cold and stopped attending church. Slowly the attendance began to grow, as I visited homes and shared the love of Christ and prayed for the sick and more people came forward and accepted the Lord. By 2011 we were a group of 8 families; approximately 30 people.”

Since mid-2012 when we joined Mia in her work, she and her husband, Puran*, have seen 60 individuals turn to faith in Christ. Many more have heard the Gospel, and have become curious about this couple who cares about them and their children.

Mia and Puran have faced heavy persecution in this Buddhist and Hindu dominated country. Mia has asked for prayer because 

“Our Bhutan Government has announced that there should not be any gatherings on the road with more than two people. This is a major problem for street evangelism…New believers are threatened by the Hindus who say that their conversion will stop the benefits they receive from the Government of Bhutan. This gossip has disturbed the new believers.” 

She also asks prayer over the youth in her community; drugs have devastated many.

Thank you for your prayers and support! You are very much a part of Mia and Puran’s ministry!

*Names changed for safety

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“A prayer started in my heart” | Tabitha’s Story

Tabitha* and her husband  Mamun* are among the most faithful missionaries with whom Harvest Bridge has the privilege of partnering. Not only is their ministry bold in the midst of opposition in Bangladesh, but their marriage is a beautiful example of Christ.They share deep respect for each other and carry out their ministry and parenting hand in hand. Out of our network of indigenous partners, they may also be the most consistently persecuted. We have been blessed by Voice of the Martyrs in responding to some of their persecution. In the following weeks, we will share pieces of their story, both the pain and triumphs in Christ

Here is Tabitha’s testimony:

“I came from a Christian family and my parents lived as true Christians, but I was an indomitable girl. I did not care about the Christian life and or its lessons; nothing could attract me to Christianity, and my parents were very unhappy. I continued my school education where I sometimes did destructive activities in the class so the teachers were often reporting about me to my parents. 

After I passed my secondary school certificate exams, my parents became busy preparing for my marriage. I didn’t care about my parents decision, and I  was still living without Christ, happy not to be under Christian bondage. But I still attended church on occasions likes Christmas, Good Friday, and Easter.

When I was 20, I attended the Good Friday worship service. The pastor was preaching about Christ’s sacrifice for sinners on the cruel cross. This sermon was very long and went through heart breaking sentences for the sinner, and then Luke 23:43: “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise”, which was spoken to the thief. I then saw in my heart that He died on the cross for me and He forgives me with His love

I realized the sinner must turn away from their sins to Jesus. I was thinking very much in my heart and praying with tears and remembering all my sins. The pastor had an interval after the sermon and then we began singing a hymn. 

A prayer started in my heart and it soon broke me with tears and more tears as I repented of my sins. I could not stop my prayer, and as I prayed I felt someone call me by name, Tabitha. They said stand up and go to the pastor and your parents and beg pardon for your sins against them. So with tears I obeyed His voice. I was confessing my sins in front of all the people who come to worship that Good Friday. 

After I acknowledged my sins one by one, the pastor asked each and every person to raise up their right hand toward me; they prayed and gave thanks to the Lord for my faith. From there I felt in my heart that I became a Christian in my heart through His forgiveness. I took holy Baptism a few months later with six others, and so I was born again in the Lord in 1989. And still today I have been continuing my life through His blessings.”

In addition to discipling many women and teens, leading multiple prayer groups, church planting with her husband, and being a mother, Tabitha has led over 100 individuals to Christ in less than three years, since we began supporting her and Mamun. This is all in the midst of severe persecution, which will be the focus of future posts. Next week come back to learn about her husband’s testimony!

Thank you for your prayers!*Names changed for safety