A Privileged Look Into a Closed Country

Below is an encouraging message from a missionary sent from our church. We will refer to him as CH for security purposes. CH is serving in a closed context, so it can be dangerous for him to have full disclosure on the internet. A closed context is a place where it is nearly impossible to follow Christ or confess new Christian faith because it is not just frowned upon or unpopular — but illegal. Please be careful not to share his full name and location.

A unique demographic of people that I encountered while living in Southeast Asia is the refugee community. Many individuals from countries like Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Myanmar, and Sudan are living as "Asylum seekers" and "refugees" through the UN.

All of those I met are living in motel-style apartments and have been in SE Asia over 3 years. They are waiting and expecting they will be transferred to a "western" country.

Why is this significant? Most of those I encounter are very disillusioned with Islam because they have experienced it in its purer and more developed forms — like Sharia Law — and it was horrible. The young men from Afghanistan who I have talked to have not been to the mosque since arriving in SE Asia and have no intent of going back.

This is good and bad. Good that they are seeing false religions to be damaging and deadly, but it is bad in that there are very few ambassadors of Christ who can meet them and give them the hope they need. So most that I talked with are seeming to float into the all-too-common trend of Moralistic Therapeutic Deism.

I befriended and then began studying the Bible with one young man from Afghanistan. His dad was killed by the Taliban and his people group (the Hazara people) is persecuted religiously and culturally (think genocide).

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After 3 months of meeting and studying the Bible about once a week, he began to understand God's story from Creation, to Fall, to Christ, to Recreation. And he confessed his sin and surrendered his life to Christ.

It is difficult to find a Farsi speaking group of Christians in the middle of SE Asia, but I believe God has provided one, and I am working with my friend to make sure he is in community and growing. I gave him a Bible in Farsi and he is reading regularly. He also asked me for English literature to practice and he is enjoying reading The Chronicles of Narnia.

I have also asked him to write his testimony (more specifically, his journey of faith from childhood until now, and also what exactly he understands about the Christian faith). We are soon going to talk about the obedient step of Baptism.

He is nervous. None of his friends are Followers of Jesus. His application with the UN says "Muslim" and he is rightly worried that his 3-year wait will restart if he changes it to "Christian". And there are other fears.

Please pray for him.

I would ask you, brothers and sisters:

1. Do you know where the refugee communities are in your city? (They have seriously hit the jackpot if they are now living in America. They would love a native English speaker to be friends with!)

2. Can you go and meet one person who has recently immigrated to America and learn their story? You will need patience. But I guarantee God will give you eyes to see exactly how you can bless them and introduce them the Truth that they so desperately need!

Your Fellow Ambassador,

C

Many of you have had the chance to meet CH, as he was involved in many aspects of ministry at The Hallows Church, regularly befriended internationals, and then spent one year training in Mexico before heading out to SE Asia. We are excited to celebrate recent developments in his life, as he is getting married in the coming year. If you would like to hear regular updates from CH, or to support him financially, please contact Jen Foxley.