In John Chapter 12, a noteworthy chain of events unfolds when a group of Greeks tries to meet Jesus in person. This enthusiastic faction goes directly to Philip – possibly because he is the only disciple with a Greek name and so a safe choice to approach – and asked, “Sir, we want to see Jesus.” From there Philip consults with Andrew. Then, together they bring this group of seekers to Jesus.
This small linkage of people to Jesus might not seem overly significant, but it is a simple illustration of discipleship. A seeker asking someone who is closer to Jesus for guidance, that person then uses his past connections and knowledge to point the seeker towards Jesus. This model has been duplicated an unknowable amount of times in human history, and at Rosedale International, this is our focus as well – to find and disciple those who are lost and seeking answers, so that they can, in turn, do the same for someone else.
In South Asia, where RI has been working with a team of mission catalysts since the mid-1990s, we are seeing many questions of faith being asked and new connections to Jesus taking shape. Many have arisen during – and because of – the COVID-19 outbreak, and through these trying times God is at work.
One exciting example comes from the student boarding house that the RI team recently started, where Hindu youth can live and study. During the pandemic lockdown, three of the students became followers of Christ. When they were safely able to return to their villages, they began sharing their new faith with their families and friends. They found many interested in Jesus and shared what they could. When they needed help discussing more difficult questions of faith, they turned to their hostel mentor and RI team member, Liton for answers. Liton and fellow RI teammate Elias went to the villages and shared the gospel with them. Now, many new students are interested in coming to live and study at the hostel where Jesus’s teachings are shared daily. They are also asking if a girls’ hostel could be started.
Another account of seeking comes from a young Muslim man named Bandi. He recently learned that Liton was a Christ-follower and started asking him questions about the Bible. After several fruitful meetings, Liton invited Protap, a retired RI team member, to come and give more extensive teaching to Bandi. From these encounters, Bandi is now sharing his knowledge of Jesus with his family and friends and moving towards baptism.
A similar story is also happening with Elias, who was asked to share his knowledge of Jesus with a collection of Hindu and Muslim acquaintances connected to a recently baptized young man. New believers are taking their young faith, sharing it, and then asking their more experienced mentors to help fill in the gaps.
God is also at work in South Asia among the established church. This season of quarantine has forced many to return to their home villages where they are being challenged and invigorated to share their faith and grow in their knowledge of Jesus. Since the beginning of the pandemic, a former RI worker in the region has been leading a weekly Bible study over Zoom. This group includes RI’s team members as well as many young leaders and married couples – all interested in reaching out and sharing their faith. From this study of around 10–14 individuals, there are now six other Bible studies that are happening throughout the week. One group has over 35 people that attend, and this enthusiasm to study the Word of God more actively is spreading to other villages in the area.
This eagerness for knowledge and spiritual growth is encouraging to everyone involved. God is giving a rejuvenated vision for discipleship and preparing them for outreach when they eventually leave the villages and return to their jobs and places of study.
Please pray for all of these developments in South Asia. Pray that a great harvest would come from all of these people who are seeking Jesus.
All names in this piece have been changed for security.