(yan-GONG) - In a village on the outskirts of the city, Pastor Kevin* planted a small church a few years ago. Despite the restrictions that churches across the city have faced due to COVID-19, his church has been given permission to meet throughout most of the pandemic. Through food and water distribution projects, his church was able to share the gospel with everyone in the village many times in 2020. For Christmas, the church was given permission by the local authorities to host a Christmas outreach. Praise God for the hundreds who came and heard a clear gospel presentation! God has been working in this village, and many have decided to put their faith in Jesus. Several have come forward publicly to be baptized. Thanks to Southern Baptists' faithful giving, Pastor Kevin was recently able to build a small water tank and install a water pump so that these new believers could be baptized at the church. Pray that the new believers will be strengthened in their faith this year. Pray that many more will believe, take down their idols, and be baptized in 2021. (*name changed)
A small group of believers meet together weekly to study how to share the gospel. They desire to grow in this practice and desire to have opportunities to share the gospel. Anna,* who has been a believer for many years, feels that she does not have enough knowledge to share the gospel. Pray that she will understand that she has experienced the power of Jesus to save and that she is able to share that with others. Would you pray that God will open doors for Anna and her believing friends to share and give them confidence and boldness to speak the gospel? (*name changed)
(an-uh-TOHL-yuh) - Praise the Lord that after many months of reading the Bible and attending a local fellowship with her believing husband, Zeynep* has professed Christ! This couple has two children. Pray that this family will continue to grow in faith and be a light in their community. (*name changed)
(tih-HAH-mah) - It has been many years since Sarah* heard the gospel message from a friend. She was a teenager when she believed the message, wanted to follow the Son, and learn more about Him. She excitedly told her parents about what she had heard and believed. She asked their permission to study the Word of God with a friend and was devastated when her parents took away her most precious book and told her that everything she had heard was a lie. Pray Psalm 34:18 (NIV) over Sarah and other Tihami Arabs who are crushed by their circumstances: "The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit." Ask that God will pour out His spirit on the brokenhearted among the Tihami people and that He will save them in a mighty and powerful way. (*name changed)
"The rains have been majestic, watering the grounds of the Baptist Theological Seminary of Zimbabwe and allowing for a fruitful harvest for the seminary's chicken and gardening projects and the Zimbabwean people as a whole. Join our Theological Education Team in thanking God for His provision through the obedience of those He leads to invest in these seminary projects! Please pray for wisdom in knowing how best to use these resources that He is so generously giving. Pray that we will be faithful to seek His glory and wisdom in how we steward what He's entrusting to us. 'You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much' (Matthew 25:23 ESV)."
"Brother, I just shared the two-minute gospel filter in 35 minutes with the police!" exclaimed Aquila,* a harvest worker. In December, Aquila sat in a monthly police officers' meeting and shared the gospel. He was invited to share again in January. A small group of police who wanted to know more also met Aquila for a seeker's Bible study. In this developing country, corruption abounds, so many people distrust the police. Yet for the third year, Aquila chose one of the police stations in Tea River City and gifted the 250-300 police officers at that station with a heart-language Bible and an SD card. The SD cards fit in cell phones and hold movies about Jesus, the New Testament in audio form, and more. Pray that police officers will be drawn by the Holy Spirit to the Word of God and read or listen to it and that the materials on the SD cards will cause them reach out to Aquila and other believers in order to learn more. Pray that gospel conversations will result and that many policemen and policewomen will believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and be saved, be discipled, and become part of local churches. (*name changed)
IMB missionaries are partnering with Korean Baptist and Great Commission churches in South Korea in order to reach the estimated 4.8 billion people in the world who are not yet Christians. One way this is being accomplished is through a program called Korean Hands On, which provides a way for Korean Christian young adults to gain mission field experience. Young people are trained and then join IMB teams for a year, during which they are mentored and involved in active ministry. Testimonies from past participants express that it was a life-changing experience. Please pray for three students who were trained in January and went to Zambia. Pray for these students to abide in God as described in John 15:1-8 and do the works He has already prepared for them (Ephesians 2:10). Please pray for good physical, spiritual, and emotional health. Pray for good communication and teamwork. Please pray that God will use this experience to help them to know Him and make Him known in Zambia. And, lastly, please pray that God will raise up more Korean young people to go through the Hands On and Journeymen programs this year and impact lostness for His glory!
Living in an arid, landlocked country with its share of challenges, the Chadian Arabs of Chad need to know that God cares for them and deeply loves them. Praise the Lord that the JESUS film and gospel radio broadcasts are available in Chadian Arabic. The Chadian Arabic Bible was recently published and is available! Pray for the community of 1.7 million Chadian Arabs who are 99.5% Sunni Muslim. Culturally, a community will feast together to celebrate a wedding, a holiday, or the visit of a special guest. Pray that local communities will have access to the Bible, learn from it, and together celebrate God's Word which was written for them.
Thank you for praying for many opportunities for believers to share the gospel over the Christmas season. Many people received portions of Scripture or even whole books of the Bible translated into their heart languages. These people verbally committed to read the Scriptures they received. Please pray that they truly will read, that they truly will understand, and that they truly will repent of their sins and believe in Christ by the power of God's Spirit.
Pray for Baptist church leaders in the central Sahel region to be "of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind." Ask that they will "do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than [themselves]" (Philippians 2:2-3 ESV). Pray that unity of Baptist church leaders will be a testimony to their communities, their countries, and the world.
While 2020 presented many obstacles, your IMB missionaries found ways to overcome as the Lord guided! The hymn, "I'm Going To A City," is one of their prayer requests for 2021. Please join them in praying that the Lord will send many long-term and short-term workers to teams in gateway cities across the Americas to share the gospel with those who have yet to hear while being the hands and feet of Christ. Thank you for loving your missionaries well in 2020 and encouraging them by praying, giving, and going in 2021.