July 2017

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God has never forgotten them!

by Ernest To

There are 474 minority groups in China with a combined population of more than 100 million. Though they are ignored by people, they have never been forgotten by our God.
One hundred years ago, God sent western missionaries to these areas. These missionaries brought the gospel to these areas where minority tribes lived. The living conditions were not good. Even today, the living conditions are too hard for many of us, but those missionaries stayed there the rest of their lives. Because of their sacrifice, we could potentially see many people come to Christ. Among 217 of the 474 minority groups, there is still no gospel witness.
Does anyone care about their salvation? This summer, I saw those who care when I visited a translation ministry.

BIBLE TRANSLATOR - A
In 1906, a missionary from England began to translate the Bible for this tribe. However, because of political issues, he had to leave…. The local Christian believers started translating the Bible again after the missionary left. They kept this up for generations.
In his old age one of the main translators came to know a graduate student whom we will call “A.” A was challenged many times to continue the translation work. A had a nice job and his family did not accept having him give it up along with his comfortable life. He obeyed his family, yet this unfinished task was always in the translator’s heart. Then the aging servant passed away. His faithfulness and persistence moved A to surrender to what the Lord had told him to do years earlier: translate the Scriptures.
When people started to do their translation work at the dark and tiny room, A told me how important the completed Bible translation will be for the tribe. “Although we have many Christians already, without the Bible in the mother tongue, it is very difficult to embrace the faith.”
I saw a young brother in this translation team who was 16 years old. Starting with his grandfather, his family had been translating the Bible, and it is now in the fourth generation.

Evangelist B
B came from a mountain area where there are no Christians. Because of poverty, the whole family had to move to the city and earn a living by collecting garbage. The whole family became believers in this city, becoming the first Christian family in their tribe.
B’s grandfather was a very famous village shaman. One winter B came back to visitor her grandfather, trying to preach the gospel, but her grandfather refused to believe. For the next three nights, her grandfather kept having the same dream and was told in the dream that he was dirty. It was a nightmare, especially for the grandfather who cared about cleanness so much. B took the opportunity to tell her grandfather that Jesus can make him completely clean, and he was finally willing to accept the Lord.
After accepted Jesus as Savior, grandfather was longing for God, but he could not read the Bible because he had cataracts. Though the family was poor they were willing to spend a lot of money to heal him. Grandpa almost read the Bible every day when his eyes were well. Six months later, he went to be with the Lord.
Grandpa’s death made B realize that she had to preach the gospel to the elderly in the village as soon as possible. It would be too late when they passed away. At first she wanted to play the JESUS Film to introduce Jesus, but later she found that the elderly did not understand. Then she wanted to translate the subtitles into their mother language.
B only finished junior high school. It was almost impossible for her to translate the Bible, but she was eager to share the gospel with the elderly. She had no choice but to learn from the beginning. There were no written words in her dialect, so she had to create a written language for it. Having never used a computer before, she learned her tasks slowly. The whole process was so difficult that she almost gave up many times, but for the gospel’s sake, she had to keep on.
B read the scriptures to the elderly as she was doing the translation work. She led many elders to believe in Christ. She prayed for the sick, cast out demons, just as Jesus did. Signs and miracles followed her. By 2015, she led 400 members of this unreached people to become baptized believers.


C—Looking for the 100th Sheep
For the sake of management, the Chinese government generally consolidates their minorities into 55 groups. In fact, these groups are not related to each other. In order to let every ethnic group hear the gospel in their mother language and to understand the Word of God, we have a responsibility to carefully find every hidden group. They are like the lost sheep that Jesus was searching for. C told me that they have found many unknown groups. Some have less than 100 people. Yes, God will not ignore any small ethnic groups, because in the future all nations and all the people will come to worship God together. (See Rev. 7:9-10).

D—Training Minority Workers
D was Han Chinese. He saw ethnic minorities living in remote places with little opportunity to hear the gospel. Those who believe in the Lord lack shepherding. He was moved by the Holy Spirit and gave up a successful career to devote himself to doing something about it.
There are difficulties for Han Chinese who share the gospel with minority peoples. Because of the cultural gap between them and the superior feelings of the Han, the Chinese have been reluctant to learn minority languages. The Han Chinese often leave in frustration.
D saw training minority believers to evangelize their tribes with their own languages was a
more effective strategy. He first encouraged those minority group who have Christians in their groups to reach out to the unreached. He enabled and equipped them to be witnesses for the Lord among the unreached ethnic groups.

E—Caring for Bible Translators
In China, to be a Bible translator never was a decent job. It is not accepted by family members who believe they have no future and look down on them. In addition, a translator’s income is too low to meet household expenses. Most troublesome is that once the Bible translation is completed, they face unemployment.
God knew the dilemma that His servants had to face, so He prepared E. E was an excellent translator, but what God wanted her to do was to care for and help other translators. She had to put her work down and, obedient to God, go an unknown place to help another translator. How beautiful it is!
E tried various methods, hoping to help translators who could serve while they earned a living. She stumbled, but kept on trying, because she was convinced that God put the burden on her heart, and the most suitable door would certainly open. Last year, we heard the good news that God surely opened a door. Now this Bible translator can do the ministry while earning a living as a tent maker. 


Which piece of the puzzle we are?
I was visiting the Christian workers who worked among minorities, and I can surely witness how difficult it has been. I also saw that God still prepared and called His own people. Some were responsible for seeking and finding the minority group, some translated the Bible, some preached gospel, some train believers. Others mobilized the churches, others cared for the workers. Everyone was doing what God entrusted to them. Gradually we could see the ministry to minorities like a small puzzle piece by itself, but eventually becoming a beautiful picture.
In that afternoon, we opened up to share in D’s house. His eyes moist, with choked voice he said, “Many times I lose my joy. There were too many things to deal with…... ” He paused, then said earnestly, “Honestly, when we are busy, the first thing squeezed out is prayer. I need your intercession!”
Those of us who are relatively less busy must concentrate on prayer. Let us pray faithfully! This is our piece of the puzzle.

From the Editor

by Keith Carey

Dear Praying Friends,
By this time, those of you who get the printed edition of the GPD know that it is being printed in Taiwan with the help of our friends with United Mission of Taiwan (UOMT). The Chinese version of the GPD is by far the largest with a print run of 50,000. We print about 3,000 in English. It is time that we give our Chinese brethren a larger voice in the content of this prayer guide for unreached people groups. They were able to give me two good lists of unreached people groups in the Chinese speaking world that will be useful each July when we cover Northeast Asia. I cut one of the lists down to those whom we have rarely if ever prayed for in the GPD, and tried to include the ones that are least reached, and “unengaged,” meaning they don’t have workers or Christian materials.
One thing that kept coming up in the daily GPD entries was identity. These peoples are trying to cling to their ethnic identity, sometimes as a way to not be swallowed up by larger groups. Like people everywhere, they need to put their identity in Christ. As you pray this month, remember that these same people groups have had very little prayer in the past. Prayer makes things happen, including extending His church to small ethnic groups in China that feel that their identity is being threatened.
Pray on!