Subcontinent

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Nissa is 75 years old. She has lived in the Maldives her whole life, with no experience of the world beyond these tiny communities in the middle of the ocean. She was born here, she lives here and she is almost certain to die here without ever hearing the gospel. 

Since its introduction in the 12th century, Islam has occupied the entire nation. Right across these many islands it is rare to find a Christian. Like many generations before her, Nissa has never held a Bible and has never been told of the salvation offered through the cross and resurrection of Jesus. 

Maldives Nissa

Nissa lives in the Maldives and may never hear the gospel

Here, it is illegal to openly practise or promote any faith other than Islam. Those found to have deviated often face severe threats and punishment from local extremist groups. 

They may even be arrested, jailed and forcibly converted back to the national faith. With so few Christians, no public churches and no complete Bible in the Maldivian language, how will Nissa ever hear the gospel? 

Our partners are seeking to kickstart gospel work here, supporting and training new evangelists to reach people like Nissa. If you haven’t given already, please do consider supporting this gospel work on the islands by contributing to our Maldives fund (card or PayPal).

Alternatively, see our contact details to give over the phone or by cheque.

North Korea

A recent report has revealed the difficulties of ministry to North Koreans along its border with China.

Dozens of missionaries are working in the border region to reach out to North Koreans. Most are South Koreans, living in China as part of the intentional effort to see the gospel shared in North Korea.

These workers face great opposition to their work. The Chinese government have expelled or imprisoned hundreds amid ongoing efforts to maintain a positive relationship with North Korea. In recent years, ten of these front-line missionaries have died in mysterious circumstances - North Korea is suspected to be behind each of these deaths.

Border missionaries provide North Korean visitors with room and board, and give those escaping a place to hide. In return, they ask them to memorise the Lord’s Prayer, the Apostles’ Creed and other prayers. Those who become Christians are encouraged to return home to share their new-found faith. Some do so, sometimes carrying Bibles. 

Please pray for these border missionaries, who live in danger from both the North Korean and Chinese governments, but have a unique opportunity to minister to North Koreans and send them and the gospel into this closed land.

Source: Associated Press

East Asia

Chinese efforts to restrict the spread of Christianity continued with the closure of a legal loophole which allowed online sales of Bibles.

The government closed the loophole at the beginning of the month and searches for Bibles online no longer brought up any results.  The move is part of a longstanding effort to limit the influence of Christianity in China, whilst the holy texts of Buddhism, Taoism and Islam remain freely available to purchase.

The only holy text that is illegal to obtain through normal commercial means is the Bible. 

As President Xi’s Party continues to seek the decline of Christianity, the estimated number of Christians has grown from approximately 12 million adherents in 1997 to 42 million today.

We must continue to pray for China in this time of increased persecution. May the Lord continue to multiply His church in this part of the world no matter how fierce the opposition.

Source: New York Times

South-East Asia

Wonderful news from our partners at Salt & Light!

We recently received an update from our partners at Salt & Light, who work with victims of human trafficking. Over the past few months they have celebrated 15 people coming to saving faith in Jesus Christ. 

On Valentine’s Day, they organised a two-day outreach among women currently trapped in the sex industry. The team were able to connect with over 50 women and have been following up with them. They also organised an outreach event for those they already work with - a night hearing from God’s Word and enjoying time together.

Salt & Light have also been training new team members to work in different parts of South-East Asia. They plan to keep expanding the team in order to reach more young women in the sex industry for Christ. 

Please continue to pray for the team as they share the gospel and lead women out of painful situations and spiritual darkness.

Central Asia

In Pakistan, four Christians were killed and a young girl injured in a terrorist attack in Quetta on Easter Monday.

One of the Christians killed was a rickshaw driver, who was transporting members of his family through the city when two unidentified men opened fire on them. 

The family members had travelled to Quetta specifically to celebrate Easter with their relative. The young girl, aged 12, was taken to hospital having suffered bullet wounds. She is now recovering from her injuries, but she lost her father in the attack.

Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack despite there being no evidence to support their claim. Authorities suspect a different Islamic extremist group known to operate in the area. 

We are thankful that each of those killed held the hope of Easter Sunday. By the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, we can thank God that these believers are now with the Him.

Pray with us for the young girl who is recovering and mourning for her loss, and for protection for other Christians in this part of the world.

Source: Morning Star News (contains graphic images)