Meeting Challenges with Jesus In Asia
Jesus, Name Above All Names
By Tab Tek
Before I became a Christian, my life was filled with misery. I gambled, drank alcohol, and worshiped idols. I was very judgmental of others and I was always jealous of what others had. I had no happiness at all. I remember hearing once that Jesus defeated the devil, and that He had the power to change lives. Even though I was interested in that message, I did not believe it…yet.
Then one day, I had an experience that I will never forget. I was leading my cows into the field and since it was around noon, I decided to take a nap. I was sleeping in the shade of a tree when suddenly I woke up and sensed a strange dark image approaching me. It was huge and I had never seen anything like it before. To my horror, it began to suffocate me! I started to shout for help, but no one could hear me. Suddenly, the name “Jesus” appeared in my mind. I immediately cried out, “Oh Jesus, please help me!” At once, the image, which I now know was an evil spirit, left me alone. I hurried to find my cows and took them home. When I got home I told my mother what had just happened to me. She explained to me that God is sovereign and that He created the entire universe. Even though I had just experienced God’s power in a mighty way, I still did not believe in Him…yet.
A little while later, I went to Thailand in search of a job. On one particularly hot day, I was taking a walk and there were no clouds in the sky. The name “Jesus” came into my mind again, and I began to ponder Him. I thought about Him as the Creator who made heaven, the earth, and the seas. I decided to call on His name again—not to save me from anything like last time, but to show me who He was. So I looked up at the sky and said, “Oh Jesus, please create a miracle for me to see.” As I was calling out to Jesus and looking at the sky, it was still clear with no clouds in sight. I kept walking, hoping for a sign of His power. Then, the unexpected happened: the sky suddenly turned very cloudy and dark. I was both surprised and very happy to see this. God had answered my prayer and showed me a miracle, and from that moment on, I believed.
Later on, I moved back to Cambodia, where my mother invited me to her church. I eventually got baptized. I began to study the Bible even more seriously. As I got deeper into His Word, I saw His love and it touched my heart. By God’s grace, I was able to give up the besetting sins I had once loved, as my love transferred from worldly pleasures to Jesus, the Name above all names.
Now I work as a literacy teacher in Cambodia. God has really helped my students learn how to read and understand the Bible well. I love having the privilege of sharing the name of Jesus every day. My class keeps growing and it’s because of Him.
Myint’s Biggest Challenge
By Julia O’Carey
Church planter Myint* works to bring freedom in Jesus to the Akha tribe in Burma. Myint, his wife, and four children face many challenges, such as trying to get the supplies they need during rainy season when the roads are slicker than a thousand snails. Every day during the dry season, the family treks an hour down the mountain to the river and another hour-and-a-half back, carrying buckets of water. But that is not their biggest challenge. Finances are tight because they want to send their children to an Adventist school, but Myint’s stipend is too small to cover the costs. This is not their biggest challenge either. Teaching kindergarten and first graders and church planting is difficult, but definitely not their greatest challenge. Soldiers come and raid the village from time to time, but that, too, is not their biggest challenge. Click this site for more details.
Myint’s greatest challenge comes in the form of a beautiful, brightly-colored flower, the poppy. These flowers flourish in the dry, cool climate of this remote, mountainous region. The majority of the impoverished farmers in the village not only grows and sells these flowers, but these seemingly harmless beauties have ended up ruling their lives. Men, women, and children—ten years and older—are addicted to opium that they produce from the sap of the flower pods and then smoke in pipes. The morphine-based drug is their numbing “cure” for all the aches and pains of life. Though the drug brings about an initial feeling of euphoria, it is highly addictive, which leads them into poverty. Opium is destructive to the mind and body and is a hindrance to learning Bible truth and accepting Jesus, the true remedy for their aching hearts.
One day, the village shaman heard that Myint was headed to town. He approached Myint and asked, “Can you sell this jar of honey and buy a big cigar for me with the money?” Myint held the jar of honey up to the light and gazed at it pensively. He looked back at the shaman and asked, “Have you ever noticed that honey is sticky and dark just like how the sap comes out of the poppy pods? Yet the honey has good nutrients in it and is tasty to the tongue but the sap produces opium which is death to the body.” The shaman scowled and walked away. Myint brought back the tobacco as requested. All the animist villagers gathered around in the shaman’s hut to share a little smoke from the new cigar. Myint was about to leave but then the Holy Spirit fell upon him and a powerful sermon poured from his lips.
He held up a jar of honey and taught them how the law of the Lord is perfect and it will change their souls. He shared his pure, beautiful personal testimony of how the Lord transformed his life and gave him victory over his own destructive habits. He said, “It is God who has given me wisdom to teach your children and joy to help you any way I can.” He held up his black book, the Holy Bible and said, “The words in here are sweeter than the honey in this jar.” Then he shared the destructive effects of smoking opium and tobacco and how it is a trick from the devil to numb the mind and mask pain. He shared how the tobacco and the drugs are created by humans and their intelligence will disappear just like the smoke in their pipes. Honey makes the rich man who can afford to buy it healthy. The Word of God works the same way, making those who read it rich with wisdom.
The shaman tossed and turned all night. The words Myint said kept ringing in his head. Early in the morning he visited Myint with a bag of rice. “This rice is my gift to you. Thank you for sharing with us yesterday. I never heard this message before and I want to learn more.” He and his family now attend church every Sabbath, along with 40 other members. Praise God for being the answer to Myint’s biggest challenge ever!
Compiled by Jeanette Yeboah-Amoako. For more information about Adventist Southeast Asia Projects (ASAP), email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Website: asapministries.org.