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Stories

Stories of Transformation through Christ!

More than one million villages still have not heard the Gospel. You can help us reach as many as possible. People, just like these, are waiting to be transformed by Christ.

Every village that is reached results in amazing stories of transformation through the power of Jesus Christ. These are real stories of real people.  

 

A Bold Vision

It was a dangerous idea, but Ernielyn knew she wanted to do it. She left her Filipino village years before to seek out an education, and was now returning, married, with a baby, and a Christian. She longed to share Jesus with her tribe. But it wouldn't be easy. Or safe.

Once, the mayor of the region drove into their town across winding, pot-hole peppered mud roads, only to accidentally hit a local man's pig. The owner of the animal heard the news and promptly shot the mayor point blank.

Thankfully, he survived, but others who have been unlucky to cause conflict have not fared so well. The tribe is pegged as dangerous by many because of their frequent attacks on anyone who slights them in the most minor of ways.

Ernielyn knew moving back to her home village wouldn't be easy. Outsiders weren't tolerated, and she was coming home very different than when she left.

"Growing up, I witnessed the killings, hatred and vengeful spirit all too common within my society," she shares. "As a youth, I hoped to escape, so I fled to the city to attend college classes. While there, I met a pastor teaching Bible courses. Hearing about this Jesus quenched the longing I'd felt my whole life for love, acceptance and freedom."

She initially resisted Christianity, but the more she learned and read for herself, she felt the crippling fear and hatred in her own heart recede. The desire to share this newfound love and faith with her family and village strengthened.

Ernielyn returned to her village, a lone Christian in her village. Hungry for more Bible teaching and fellowship, she asked a Reach A Village Bible teacher to come share Christ with people.

"My family and tribal leaders agreed to this, as long as our way of life was never put down," she shares.

The pastor came right away, though it was a long journey and continued to come weekly to lead a Bible study. Slowly, some of Ernielyn's friends and family came to the meetings and more of them began believing in Christ.

The village began to grow in respect of Ernielyn, the Bible study group, and the pastor committed to returning every week to lead them.

Ernielyn also hoped to reach out more specifically to children. She began teaching Bible classes in the local high school with the community's blessing, much to everyone's surprise.

"I was hoping someone would be willing to come and teach spiritual matters here in our school," shared the village school principal. "Please come and teach, especially because it is Ernielyn, because we trust her and know her well."

The Bible classes in the school have exploded. Young people and families are asking questions and filling their spiritual hunger not with killing any longer, but with Jesus Christ.

Ernielyn hardly recognizes the village she grew up in. There is more work to do, but the village bonded by fear and hatred is changing.

"I am so blessed to be part of it. Thank God for what He is doing!"

Never Forsaken

Every year, Sanda performed the same ritual on the same day: a cleansing to atone for her sins. As a Muslim in Myanmar, she tried her best to observe holy days and fast, but every year when Ramadan approached, she would ask for forgiveness again.

"But when a church planter entered our village, she explained there is no need to make sacrifices. Through Jesus Christ, who made a sacrifice, my sins can be forgiven. I can be sure of my standing before God." Sanda soon became a Christ follower and left Islam.

Now, Sanda teaches a small group Bible study with anyone who wants to learn. She says, "I have a great burden now in my heart to serve the Lord and for those people who continually search for forgiveness for their sins. I feel compassion for those who repeat the customs as I did. They work hard to observe the rules of the religion. But now I know Jesus Christ, and I have peace and freedom."

Her faith and commitment to teaching about Jesus has even caused family tension. She experiences persecution from relatives. But Sanda explains, "Jesus never forsakes us. I have peace even though people have rejected me. The Lord is always with me and I have put my faith and trust in Him."

 

A New Hope

In Yupar's young life in Myanmar, she already had little hope. She says, "When I was in third grade, my mother could not afford to care for me because of family problems. I had to work in a nearby restaurant. Even though I was just a child, I did all kinds of heavy labor."

After four years of hard work and long hours, she left her job at the restaurant and returned to her village. Sadly, she found another terrible situation. Her parents had divorced and had since remarried to other people.

At so young an age, she felt all alone, rejected, and that no one loved her.

A church planter ministering in the village saw her terrible situation. She said to Yupar, "You should pray to Jesus. He cares about the poor and the needy and the least of our society - the hopeless." The Christian lady brought Yupar to a church which gave her food, shelter, and love. She has been adopted and accepted into the woman's family.

Yupar has now been able to complete eighth grade. This child that did heavy labor and was discarded from her family now knows the love of Jesus Christ. Yupar is a believer and is a baptized member of her adopted mother's church.

Begging to Be Loved

In a remote village of Myanmar, superstitions are common. Anyone born with a disability or having difficult trials in life is kept at a distance. A beggar can expect a life void of love, friends and basic needs met. This was true of a man born with a physical disability in Yangon.

"The people in this area are very superstitious, so they avoided people with his condition," shares Sue Me, a church planter in Bagan and Bakoku.

"Most people did not treat this poor man as human. He could not walk, so he had to beg from people to meet his needs. He felt deeply discouraged all the time."

Sue Me watched the despair laid to bare daily in the beggar's life, and talked with him when he was in the village. He longed for redemption for this man's life and the villagers who treated him with fear and suspicion.

"At one time, he became so defeated he attempted suicide, but was unsuccessful."

One day, however, this church planter approached the man and shared Christ and His love with him. Thanks to his need and helplessness, he eagerly clung to the hope of the Gospel. He understood and immediately accepted the truth and love of Jesus. Finally, someone who cared and wanted to know him!

"Because this man was born there, everyone knew him – people watched as he changed into a new man on the inside. He enthusiastically shared the Good News with others, witnessing to anyone who would listen."

In another miraculous turn of events, the former beggar has been able to purchase a house and a field. Through him, and his fervent witness, the local church has swelled – with more than 30 individuals who used to claim Buddhism as their religion.

The man who used to be cast aside with no purpose or desire to live, ignored by his fellow villagers, leads the largest Bible study group, and has been enveloped into a family of believers who have become his family.

"He was the first man I helped lead to Jesus Christ," remembers Sue Me, "and the miracles just keep happening."

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