MISSION STORIES FROM ASAP MINISTRIES
What’s Inside: THE KEY TO HIS HEART. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 MISSIONS IN THE MARKETPLACE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 GOD, THE PRINCIPAL, AND YOU. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 CAUGHT IN THE CURRENT. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 SAVED FOR A PURPOSE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 AN UNLIKELY APPOINTMENT. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 THE BEST MEDICINE. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 THE MISSIONARY MECHANIC OF MAE RA MOE . . . . . 18 THIRTEEN YEARS IN A CAGE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 THE POWER OF EDUCATION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22 COVER: A farmer harvesting rice in Thailand (photo by Daniel Hosford)
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My Favorite Story and Why The Bible is chock-full of amazing mission stories and though it’s hard to choose a favorite, the story of Joshua and Caleb tops my list. These two Israelite men were among the twelve selected to explore the Promised Land and give a report back to Moses and the people. After a forty-day exploration of Canaan, the men came back and all but two said, “We went into the land to which you sent us, and it does flow with milk and honey! Here is its fruit. But the people who live there are powerful, and the cities are fortified and very large. We saw descendants of Anak there” (Numbers 13:27-28). This report put fear in the hearts of the people. However, Joshua and Caleb offered a unique perspective, which reflected a sincere faith in the Lord. Verse 30 records, “Then Caleb silenced the people before Moses and said, ‘We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it.’” When the people complained that they could not go up to conquer the land, both Caleb and Joshua responded strongly. “Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh . . . tore their clothes and said to the entire Israelite assembly, ‘The land we passed through and explored is exceedingly good. If the Lord is pleased with us, he will lead us into that land, a land flowing with milk and honey, and will give it to us. Only do not rebel against the Lord. And do not be afraid of the people of the land, because we will devour them. Their protection is gone, but the Lord is with us. Do not be afraid of them’” (Numbers 14:6-9). Caleb and Joshua were the only two adults over the age of twenty to see the Promised Land with their own eyes. Why? “Because my servant Caleb has a different spirit and follows me wholeheartedly, I will bring him into the land he went to, and his descendants will inherit it” (Numbers 14:24). Each endeavor we experience offers us an opportunity to focus on the challenges or speak words of faith, trusting in what God will do for us. When we choose to speak and move forward in faith, God honors that and promises to bless us in ways that will extend for generations to come. Each story featured in this eighth volume of “Our Ten Favorites: Mission Stories from ASAP Ministries” focuses on what God is doing amidst a part of the world that is challenging to reach. My prayer is that as you read these stories, you will be inspired to shift your personal focus onto what God can do for you in whatever circumstances you currently find yourself.
Julia O’Carey ASAP Director
The Key to His Heart By Brenda Kis and Angy Plata (from an interview with Kyaw Than*)
Have you ever felt unsure of how to talk about Christianity with someone of a different religion? Kyar Ink* was a Buddhist elder for his community. At 52 years of age, he was very strong in his faith and totally uninterested in learning anything more about Christianity. He had already heard that Jesus had died and that we live under grace, but he didn’t take it seriously. Knowing I was a Christian, he viewed me as he did other Christians he’d known before and it was hard for him to overcome the seeming “cheapness” of Christianity. So how could I, an ASAP medical missionary, find a way to reach him? Then God gave me an idea: I would start learning about Buddhist beliefs! Learning about Buddhism was quite different than anything I had ever learned before. One of the foundational concepts of Buddhism is nirvana, the escape from the cycle of death and rebirth. To reach nirvana one has to follow the eightfold path, which is a combination of meditation and good deeds. Buddha taught people to depend on their own actions for salvation. I knew that this would be a major concept in my interaction with Kyar Ink. As we met to study and talk together, Kyar Ink and I discussed some of the world’s major religions: Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, and Islam. Buddhists usually have no problem learning about other religions. In fact, they are quite open to discussing similarities and differences between Buddhism and Christianity, but conversations like these often end up
REACH THE UNREACHED
“Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.’” John 14:6
You can learn how to bring light to Buddhists. Contact us today for a copy of the book Bridges to Ministry, by Scott Griswold. Suggested donation: $20.00
with the same statement: “It does not matter what religion you choose. All religions teach people to be good and that’s what matters.” This type of mentality makes it difficult to reach Buddhists because they are so willing to accept many different things as ‘truth.’ So, if all religions are seeking something good, what was one difference I could point out between Christianity and these other religions? I realized that it is the Christian’s belief in a different life after death. When I asked Kyar Ink to explain the meaning of reincarnation to me, he could not. I told him that Jesus was coming back and that even though all Christians fail at times, the righteousness of Christ will save those who seek to develop characters like that of Christ. This is so different from the Buddhist belief that we ourselves can gain merit by doing good things. I then asked him what he wanted for his life after he died. I could see that my question was having an effect, and little by little, the seed that God planted in his heart began growing. Kyar Ink started seeing something different about Seventh-day Adventist Christianity and he could not resist the wooing of God’s love. I am happy to tell you that today, Kyar Ink has surrendered his heart to the only true God and is a faithful Seventh-day Adventist. Praise God for a multitude of keys to open the hearts of the unreached! PRAY FOR WISDOM: Dear Jesus, grant me and the ASAP ethnic missionaries the wisdom to know how to talk to people of different religions. Help my words and actions to point them to You, the only Way to Eternal Life. Amen.
Missions in the Marketplace By Julia O’Carey
Have you ever visited a market in Asia or a third-world, tropical country? If you have experienced these markets, you can easily picture the crowded stalls; sweltering heat; pungent smells of raw fish; brightly colored vegetables; and a myriad of clothing, sandals, knick-knacks and anything else you could possibly need stacked up and ready for the choosing. What you may not picture in this scene are DVDs full of sermons that share Christian beliefs. In a closed country, secret missionaries often find the marketplace one of the best spots to meet people and carefully share their precious contraband. Though public evangelism is forbidden, the Holy Spirit leads them to just the right people. Two ladies in their seventies prayed night and day for souls, asking God to help them plant a church in their area. They were tired of walking many miles to the nearest church plant. The district pastor encouraged them to witness wherever they went. However, he said, “In six months, if you do not have a group planted, you will need to walk again!” At the market they met a young man in a wheelchair, Tuan*, who cheerfully accepted their DVD gift after they bought some candy from him. He went home immediately and watched the DVDs. The Lord touched Tuan’s heart and he turned right around and shared the DVDs with the manager of the marketplace, Mrs. Chanh*. Mrs. Chanh also was impressed and they decided to attend church the next Sabbath. Because the two older ladies had spent so much time in prayer, the visitors noticed that their faces glowed with a sweet, loving presence. Hungry for that same heavenly love, they kept coming back week after week and invited their friends. The manager
For just $1.00 you can help missionaries in closed countries share 4 DVDs with seekers in the marketplace.
“In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths.” Proverbs 3:6
of the market started playing the DVDs from her main store and the young man in the wheelchair shared many more at the market and with his friends at the Handicap Association. Sanh, a pastor of a Sunday church, received a DVD at the market about the Seventh-day Sabbath. He was interested and shared this strange, new teaching with his church members. The district pastor of his organization heard what he was doing and threatened to disfellowship him if he kept studying with members about the Sabbath. He decided to fast and pray and asked a few others to join him. “God, please show us clearly if what we are studying is truth. We do not want to be deceived. Please give us a sign.” At this same time, Sanh’s grandmother lay ill in bed with a terminal liver disease. On the second day of fasting and prayer, Sanh’s grandmother stood up and started walking over to him. Sanh couldn’t believe his eyes. “God, my grandmother’s miraculous healing must be a sign from you that we are on the right track with our Bible studies.” God used Sanh to bring fifty of his members to an understanding of the beauty of the Sabbath truth.
IF GOD CAN USE TWO TIRED RETIREES, HE CAN USE YOU AND ME. Lord, I praise you for the witnessing opportunities you give us. Please help us and those in closed countries to stay steadfast in prayer and dependent on you as we seek to win souls. Amen.
God, The Principal, and You! By Brenda Kis
What has your life experience prepared you for? Pham Quoc Khanh exudes warmth and care as a little boy in the Vietnamese Feed and Read School snuggles up to him and receives a fatherly hug. He listens to the childish banter and for a few minutes enters the little one’s world. Later as we chat together, enthusiasm and passion spark from his eyes as he relates his latest dream for these Vietnamese students in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. This is Principal Khanh. Here in tight quarters with inadequate classrooms, Khanh conducts a small orchestra of teachers, creating harmony out of the chaotic lives most of his students lead. Abandoned children, children threatened with violence from enraged or drunken parents, children exposed to the sordid world of drugs, gambling, and prostitution mixing with children from impoverished families who want something better for the next generation. A fourth-generation Seventh-day Adventist, Khanh has lived dangerously himself. He, a young teen, and his father, a Bible worker in the religiously-intolerant country of Vietnam, took risks often. Two or three times a month the duo would set off on a 4-5 day journey to open work in new areas of the country. Driving at night, they would arrive in a new village in the early morning so they could teach Bible truth to the villagers before they set off to work in their fields. Then they would make a hasty escape before the authorities were alerted and could catch up with them. Thus the precious grains of truth were planted both in the minds of the villagers and in the life vision of the young Khanh. His work did not go unnoticed. Expatriates in the U.S. knew about him and decided to help him get more education. In 1995 he was sponsored to Spicer College in India and graduated with a B.A. in theology. From there he went to Phnom Penh, Cambodia to start this Feed and Read school in 1999 when the president of the Cambodian Mission asked him to serve the Vietnamese people of this city. Khanh won’t tell you that he sleeps on the floor in a bare room of the school. He’ll showcase his students whom he has taught to play instruments, whom he has mentored in the vocational training school he set up across the street or the photocopy shop next door. His dreams are big and his excitement contagious. “I’m planning to build a clinic not far away. I want to send two of my students to the Philippines for nurse’s training so they can help their people here.” 8
“I will instruct you and teach you the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you.” Psalm 32:8
Obedient to God’s call on his life, Khanh thrives on the growth of young lives around him. One story demonstrates how he has come alongside two, among many, of his students. Trauma came early for Tran Chi Truong and his sister Tran Thi Chanh. Their family was divided with mom working in a hotel and karaoke bar in Vietnam and dad working in Cambodia. Though they lived with their mother, the young children were left at home most of the time to fend for themselves. Sometimes the family of three went to visit grandma who lived in the Vietnamese neighborhood of Phnom Penh. Providentially, she lived near the Vietnamese Feed and Read school. One day grandma approached Pastor Khanh and asked if her poor grandchildren could attend the school. “Yes,” he responded. “We can help.” And so, with their mother’s agreement, nine-year-old Tran Chi and seven-year-old Tran Thi began a significant journey into a new life. Like all children at this Seventh-day Adventist school, they also learned stories from the Bible. As these lessons began to shape their worldview, they gave their hearts to Jesus. Tran Chi was baptized when he was 16 and his sister followed four years later at age 18. After completing all nine grades offered, Tran Chi got a job installing security cameras for a company. But he couldn’t get Sabbaths off work, so he then started waiting on tables in a restaurant. Again the Sabbath became an issue. Meanwhile, the visionary Pastor Khanh had established a vocational training center across the street from the school where services offered include graphic design, mug and tee-shirt printing, laminating, book binding, and printing in general. In January 2017 Tran Chi, then 22, came to the center to build shelving for the products. In February he became a paid employee and director of the center. He and Pastor Khanh have learned on the spot through YouTube instruction and have set up their equipment and begun to train other students from the school so that they can later find jobs and launch out on their own. Tran Thi herself, now 20, works in the school-owned photocopy shop next door as well as buys and sells tee shirts and other products for the vocational center. Theirs is a success story due to the partnership of God, Principal Khanh, and you - through your support and prayers. What else might God be nudging you to do?
WOULD YOU LIKE TO BRING JOY TO ASAP STUDENTS IN CAMBODIA? Join us on a mission trip! Visit the Take Action section of our website and add your name to the interest list so we can notify you about upcoming adventures! PRAY FOR GOD’S VISION FOR YOUR LIFE. Dear God, continue to lead me to my place and purpose in Your service. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Caught in the Current By Brenda Kis
Are the storms of life threatening to sweep you away? Early morning rain trickled down Lay Mu’s* back as she stood on her bamboo raft and poled across the river. Her twenty-year-old daughter stood beside her as they headed to their farm on the other side. Lay Mu, a new church member and widow with five children and one grandchild, enjoyed the harvest feast celebrated in her Lahu village each September. This year the group had requested some green chilis from her farm for the festivities. For several hours Lay Mu and her daughter harvested the chilis in the rain then walked back towards the river. They were shocked by how the rain had changed the look of the usually calm river to an ominous body of water. They couldn’t postpone their trip, though. The harvest feast wouldn’t be complete without their green chilis. Loading the chilis onto the raft Lay Mu had pulled onto the bank, she carefully stepped onto the sturdy raft herself. But she had failed to tie it down, and now the rushing water shot the raft into the current and began carrying her downstream. Her daughter, still on the bank, ran along the river, struggling to keep up.
“But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them?” Romans 10:14
“Jump into the raft!” Lay Mu yelled to her daughter. She knew this was a dangerous move in this rocky river and after much hesitation, she finally plucked up her courage and made the leap. The rain continued to pour and the current seemed to be gaining more force. Now with only a bamboo pole to direct their path, the two women called out in fear for someone to help them. But no one heard their cries. The river was much more tumultuous than they expected. Filled with worry and fear, they hugged each other and did the only thing they could – pray to God to rescue them. Eventually they came to a whirlpool whose swift current strangely pushed them away towards the shore where they escaped the treacherous river. It was no coincidence that the whirlpool’s current had directed them to safety; they knew it had been a miracle. They thanked Jesus for sending angels to bring them to safety. Like Lay Mu and her daughter, many Southeast Asians are rushing towards a fearful destiny unless someone intervenes. Praise God that Lay Mu and her daughter knew who to turn to in their despair, but what about those who don’t know that they can turn to a loving God for help? You can partner with God to save the lost. About $100 a month will sponsor an ASAP worker in Southeast Asia, someone to hear their cries and rescue lost people from the current of evil.
Faith comes by hearing (Rom. 10:17). Your gift of $65 can provide a durable, solar-powered audio player that contains the Bible and sermons to people who have no electricity, allowing them to hear the Gospel for the first time.
PRAY FOR THE LOST: Dear Father, please be with those that have never heard of You. Send someone to tell them about how You can rescue them. Show me how You would have me partner in reaching the unreached for You. Amen.
Saved for a Purpose By Scott Griswold
What is God’s plan for your life? “You smell funny,” the boys laughed at the new kid. Antoine laughed, too. He had just arrived from Tanzania and didn’t understand they were making fun of him. During his twelve years in the refugee camp Antoine had gotten some schooling, but only in French. Now he threw himself into school and learned English in four months. Things were not going very well at home. Conflict grew under the stress of a new culture and the struggle to raise six children in America. Finally, his parents separated. When Antoine entered high school, he made a new friend who dressed in fancy clothes. “I want to be rich like you,” Antoine said. “What do I need to do?” “You have to join our gang and be brave enough to fight; we’ll teach you everything else.” It sounded simple and fun. Without his family knowing, Antoine’s training began. The gang taught him how to hotwire and steal a car, then how to sell drugs. “You’ll be good at it,” they promised. “You’re friendly.” Then one day he and his best friend were selling drugs when suddenly another gang drove by and began shooting at them. Bullets hit his friend again and again. “Don’t die on me!” Antoine cried. He ran to call the police, but it was too late. At the funeral his friend’s mother took Antoine’s hands and earnestly said, “God saved you for a purpose. Jesus loves you a lot.” Antoine was shaken. Growing up surrounded by many Muslims, he knew who God was, but he was uncertain about Jesus. He began attending church with his mother and considered leaving the gang. Heading with another friend to meet some girls, he saw men in the shadows holding guns. “Close the door!” he shouted and drove away as shots rang out. Immediately he begged the leader of the gang to let him leave. Normally that is never allowed, but amazingly they released him.
“You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain…” John 15:16
At church a friendly man asked Antoine many questions. “You have to tell your story now in church!” Antoine hesitated then stood up to share. His mother started crying. She hadn’t known he was in a gang. God had saved her son for a special reason. Pastor Tom Evans visited and heard about Antoine. “You need to go to the missionary training at Reach the World Next Door (RWND),” he urged, and put him in contact with Pastor Scott Griswold. Antoine was surprised at being interviewed on the phone. “Tell me why you want to come to our training program.” Antoine shared his testimony and desire for a better life. “What are you doing now?” Pastor Scott asked. “Working at a casino.” After selling drugs it was definitely a step toward a better life. Pastor Scott pressed on. “I really think you would benefit from canvassing. Selling Christian books would help you grow spiritually and use your skills productively.” Antoine wasn’t sure he would like it but he took the step of faith. At first, he hated it and would stay back and play on his phone but the group surrounded him with love. The leader gave him the book The Desire of Ages. Antoine read and read some more, concluding that “Jesus really is God. I need to give my life to Him!” Since being baptized and coming to RWND last August, Antoine has knocked on many doors, torn out soggy drywall and insulation from hurricane-battered houses, and studied his Bible deeply. Because of his background, Antoine has a special interest in reaching out to Muslims. He’s met many from Afghanistan, Somalia, and beyond. Weekly he studies the Bible with Ishmael from Pakistan. What especially excites him is meeting people from Rwanda who speak his native Kinyarwanda language. One day another student led him to a family who couldn’t speak English. The lady was hesitant to open the door until Antoine began speaking their common language. “Who are you and what are you doing?” she asked. “We’re Seventh-day Adventists,” they replied. “I am too!” She exclaimed. As they visited, they realized she had almost no furniture in the house. Momma Tony, as Antoine calls her, is a struggling single mother of six. Antoine worked with the missionary team at RWND to gather a rice cooker, toaster, iron, plates and two sets of bunk beds. The children danced around excitedly as the beds were installed.
We invite you to consider
Momma Tony, the only Seventh-day Adventist in the area, knows neighbors in the same apartment complex who also have many children and are in great need. Antoine is so excited and hopes to see a house church started in her home.
reached individuals from
Antoine says, “What’s really changed is my attitude. I used to hate so many people. Now God has given me forgiveness and love for them!”
coming to Houston, Texas to help us serve these leastall over the world. Go to reachtheworldnextdoor.com and fill out an application.
SEEK GOD’S PURPOSE FOR YOUR LIFE. Dear Lord, thank you for redeeming me. From now on, please help me to follow Your plans for my life instead of my own. Amen.
An Unlikely Appointment By Angy Plata
Who is God asking you to share His love with? Most people would not think of a van as being a main vessel to share the Gospel. But Geeha Sriyong* takes every opportunity he gets to tell his passengers about Jesus. On a bright sunny day, Geeha, an ASAP tent maker and part-time church planter, was taking a group of people to a tourist area known for its beautiful caves, mountains, and lagoons. One by one, the passengers were dropped off until only one woman, Anousone*, was left in the van. While they were driving on the highway, she asked Geeha to drop her off by the side of the road. She had said she was going to visit her sister, but this place was known for its nightclubs, drinking, and prostitutes. “Why is she asking to get dropped off at a place like this?” he thought. “Perhaps she is one of them.” He left his contact number with Anousone in case she ever needed to use his transportation services again. Two days later, it was Lao Independence Day. Local law requires that everyone return home, but Anousone was far away from her hometown and she did not know what to do. Remembering Geeha’s business card, she dialed the number on the card, and asked him for help. Geeha decided that he would come to her rescue. It was during this car ride that Geeha felt the Holy Spirit leading him to introduce Anousone to Jesus. As he started telling her about a God who loved her and wanted to give her a life full of hope and peace, Anousone’s heart was stirred. “I’ve done so many bad things in my life. Could it be that God could love someone like me?”
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes…” Romans 1:16
Geeha wanted to tell Anousone more about the story of Jesus, but knowing it was not good for a man and woman to talk alone, he took Anousone to his friend, the Sunday church pastor in the area. â€œThe Sunday church pastor?â€? you may be asking yourself. Yes. You see, the tourist area has no Seventh-day Adventist presence. There are no pastors in the area and Geeha did not know who else to turn to. As Geeha, Anousone, and the Sunday pastor talked, the pastor shared the story of Jesus and Anousone accepted Him as her Savior. Geeha prays that, like the woman at the well, Anousone will keep seeking after the Living Water so that she may never thirst again. I trust that Geeha will follow up with both the Sunday church pastor and Anousone when he returns to that area. Geeha has used his job as an opportunity to share the Truth with them and many others. His one desire is that God would raise up a lay Seventh-day Adventist pastor in this tourist area. Would you join him in praying for more dedicated laborers for the country of Laos?
Pray that ASAP can send out more Missionaries to Fish for Men.
PRAY FOR DIVINE APPOINTMENTS: Dear Father, open my eyes to see the people around me who are thirsting to know You. Give me and the ASAP ethnic missionaries the courage to faithfully share You with others. Amen.
The Best Medicine By Brenda Kis
What would you do in Sister Yu’s situation? “I felt like my life was coming to an end,” Sister Yu sighed as she recalled the months of severe stomach pain. Her problems had persisted until eventually she was placed in a raredisease treatment center for the very sick. Every other week she received treatment, but because of an adverse reaction she was unable to walk during that time. Her weight plummeted from approximately 132 pounds to 88 pounds and she felt extremely weak. In her devastated condition she cried out to God, “If You will heal me, I will work for You.” And God heard her prayer. One day an Adventist health professional from her hometown contacted her. He told her that he was going to visit an ASAP-supported leprosarium for several weeks and asked if she would like to come along. “If you come with me, I can treat you and it will also be an opportunity for you to visit the leprosarium. The lepers are in a worse condition than you are so when you go, don’t think of yourself as a patient.” It was a tempting offer but Sister Yu had already paid for twenty treatments and only completed thirteen of them. What should she do? The health professional encouraged her to go to the leprosarium anyway and said that he wouldn’t charge her for his treatments. That made it much easier for her to decide to go. Sister Yu had helped needy people before by giving financially, but this would be the first time she could use her hands to help others in need. She thought about life for a leper and
“Is not this the fast that I choose…..not to hide yourself from your own flesh? Then shall your light break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up speedily….” Isaiah 58:6-8
Extend a merciful hand to a leper today! This precious brother in Christ discovered God’s love for the first time through the gift of a $6.00 mat, given by an ASAP missionary. That simple gesture opened the doors of this leper’s heart.
imagined that many were confined to their beds, unable to eat by themselves. She pictured their runny noses and unwiped tears and her heart went out to these friends she had not yet met. She determined to do what she could – wash them and clean their rooms. When she arrived at the leprosarium, she saw some without fingers and some without legs. “Things that are easy for us to do are difficult for them. It felt very good to help.” As she worked, she began to experience joy through service and improved health in her own body. Not only physical healing but also emotional healing, which she desperately needed. Her original plan had been to stay at the leprosarium for two weeks, but she extended her stay to four months instead. She is no longer focused on herself and doesn’t want to leave right away just because she is healed. Sister Yu rejoices in her newfound health, and the lepers are grateful for the loving service of volunteers like her. DO SOMETHING TO HELP SOMEONE ELSE. Lord, help me to focus on others rather than myself, to seek to meet their needs as You direct. In Jesus’ name, amen.
The Missionary Mechanic of Mae Ra Moe By John Press
Can God use our trials for the salvation of others? “Hey! What are you doing?” The shop owner’s angry voice jolted Saw Jayn back to reality. “Stop sleeping and get back to work!” With trembling hands, the boy returned to repairing the motorbike engine in front of him, but he struggled to focus. He was so tired. The owner of the repair shop rarely gave him a day off, sometimes even forcing him to work straight through the night. How Saw Jayn wished he could go back to school! Only months before, the soon–to–be fourth grader had been looking forward to the start of a new school year. But then everything changed. Saw Jayn’s auntie told him there was no more money. She could no longer afford his school fees. He would have to start working to help provide for the family. So, at the age of eleven, Saw Jayn ended up alone in a border town in the mountains of the Karen State in Myanmar, working in a small engine-repair shop. Saw Jayn suffered greatly at the hands of the cruel shop owner. Not only did the man deprive him of sleep, he did not pay Saw Jayn fairly for his work or provide for his basic needs. When the weather turned cool in the mountains, the boy shivered through long hours at the shop because he had no warm clothing. Yet Saw Jayn always worked hard and tried to do his best. As the years passed, he became a skilled mechanic. Word spread throughout the region that Saw Jayn could fix anything, and people from miles around brought him their trucks and motorbikes for repairs. Eventually, he decided that he could earn more money in the city, so he made plans to move to Bangkok. On the way, he stopped on the border of Thailand to visit his parents, who lived in the Mae Ra Moe refugee camp. Saw Jayn had never given up his dream of returning to school, and while he was at Mae Ra Moe he realized an opportunity. There were several schools in the camp, and one of them – Karen Adventist Academy (KAA) – had an excellent reputation. But Saw Jayn was nearly twenty–five years old and had only completed the third grade. Would the school accept him? Saw Jayn visited KAA and talked to the principal. He was overjoyed when the school granted him special consideration to start the upcoming school year in the ninth grade. But it would not be easy. While attending school, he must continue working to pay his school fees and help support his parents. Again, his reputation as a skilled mechanic spread throughout the area.
“You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” Genesis 50:20
When supply trucks broke down on the road to the camp, Saw Jayn was called to fix them. On school holidays, when the other students were enjoying a break, he traveled down to the Salween River, where he could earn extra money repairing boat motors. “School was difficult for him at first,” remembers Yo Poe, the current principal at KAA, who was also Saw Jayn’s teacher the first year. “But he tried hard, read a lot, and asked lots of questions. He was hungry to learn.” Not long after arriving in the camp, Saw Jayn was invited to attend mass at the Catholic church. Although he had been raised Buddhist, Saw Jayn accepted the invitation and quickly became interested in this new religion. He continued to attend the church and eventually converted to Catholicism.
HELP REFUGEES OVERCOME TRAUMA. ASAP ministries is partnering with Andrews University professors and students to create Biblically–oriented trauma recovery workshops for refugees like those in the Mae Ra Moe camp. Sponsor an event and help begin the healing process for war–torn hearts. $7,700/event
Saw Jayn was also attending Bible classes at KAA, and he began to notice that there were differences between what he was learning at church and what he was learning at school. After graduating from KAA, he often visited with the staff at the school, and he continued studying the Bible, comparing the various beliefs he’d been taught. He married a young woman he’d met at KAA, and they began studying the Bible with a Seventh-day Adventist missionary living in a village outside the camp. Although they were convicted that what they were learning was true, they faced a difficult decision. Saw Jayn’s wife came from a wealthy Catholic family in Myanmar. Her parents warned the couple that they would disown them if they were baptized into the Seventh-day Adventist church. After a great struggle, Saw Jayn and his wife, along with another friend they’d invited to the Bible studies, decided to be baptized. Today, one year after his baptism, Saw Jayn is still known throughout the region as a skilled mechanic. But he is also gaining a reputation as a passionate missionary for Jesus. He regularly brings neighbors and relatives to church, and he conducts Bible studies in the main room of his simple bamboo hut, which he has transformed into a classroom, complete with a chalkboard and an illustrated timeline of the story of salvation. Now, when customers bring their motorbikes to him for repairs, Saw Jayn also offers them a Bible study. The skills he learned years ago while suffering in the harsh conditions of the repair shop have become the means by which God is leading others to salvation through this young missionary mechanic!
ASK GOD TO MAKE YOU A MISSIONARY TODAY. Dear Lord, please transform the trials in my life into witnessing opportunities. Use me in my present circumstances to share Your love with others. Amen.
Thirteen Years in a Cage By Brenda Kis and Dr. Htwe Lay
What freedom could you bring to people around you as you share Jesus? Far away in Upper Myanmar lives the Zo Tung tribe where a desperate family’s life centered around their one son. Born into a family of influence in the community, Ko Pau* grew up with his parents and five sisters until one day he decided to go work in Malaysia. He stayed for one year but could not find the satisfaction he was looking for. Unable to pass high school, he roamed about seeking something to fill his emptiness. But sleep would not come and for weeks he could not rest at night. His eyes became red and filled with the look of insanity. He became angry and aggressive as his mental condition deteriorated until eventually his father had to build a cage and put his only son behind bars. Heartbroken, the family continued to feed and water this son upon whom they had placed their highest hopes. Some said he was insane; others said he was devil-possessed. Prayers, traditional medicines, nothing they tried was successful. Year after anguished year the family lived in disgrace and despair. One day two ASAP medical missionaries, Philip Soe* and Titus Hung*, arrived in town to live among and evangelize this ethnic group. Unbeknownst to them, they moved two houses away from Ko Pau’s family. Soon they were visiting their neighbors. When they learned of Ko Pau’s condition, they encouraged his father. “God can heal your son,” they said. “We’ve prayed for thirteen years for his healing,” the father replied, “but the Lord has not answered our prayers. We’ve almost given up depending on Him.” After that, the missionaries went regularly to this home and prayed with the family, shared the health message, and gave them some Spirit of Prophecy books, including The Great Controversy. They encouraged them to send Ko Pau to a mental health clinic in Yangon, but the hopeless father turned a deaf ear to their advice. Nevertheless, the missionaries continued praying. And one day the father came to them with a willing spirit. Philip and Titus praised the Lord for answering their prayers as they began preparing for the 17-hour trip. Philip rented a car, injected Ko Pau with a sedative so
“I will give you as a light to the nations, that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth.” Isaiah 49:6
Constant prayers ascended to Heaven for Ko Pau’s healing as they spent time together. that he could remove him from the cage, and began the long journey with Ko Pau and his father. In Yangon they stayed at the Seventh-day Adventist Union headquarters for two months while Ko Pau went to the psychiatrist for regular appointments. Constant prayers ascended to Heaven for Ko Pau’s healing as they spent time together. Gradually Ko Pau’s mental illness improved to the point that they were able to return to their hometown by public bus. The neighbors were amazed to see the transformation and Ko Pau’s father was filled with gratitude to the missionaries who had given so much of themselves to save his son. “Now I know God is really good. He has shown His love through you,” he told them. “I want to be part of your Adventist Church. I’ve been reading the books you shared and I have found the truth!”
Help an ASAP missionary spread the Good News! Your gift of $5 covers the printing of one Spirit of Prophecy book, a set of Bible lessons, a hymn book, or other sharing materials.
Today Ko Pau is 32 years old, a free and happy man.
SHINE THE LIGHT OF TRUTH TO PEOPLE CLOSE BY AND FAR AWAY. Lord, shine Your light through us as we give on behalf of the Zo Tung tribe that has just begun to be penetrated by the Adventist message. In Jesus’ name, amen.
The Power of Education By the Letniak Family
What impacted you most when you went on a short term mission trip? This past March, 2018, our family had the opportunity to return to Cambodia for the fourth time in the last two years to be part of a mission project with ASAP Ministries. It was so amazing to see God work powerfully within our group of over twenty volunteers ranging in ages from 9 to 65 coming from USA, Canada, and Czech Republic. We were so blessed by the revival focus each morning and evening for worships, equipping us to go out and participate in the school building project, to share Christ in the daily VBS programs we led and in the study and discipleship training with the pastors and teachers. Each one of the participants had the opportunity to be part of the worship services each Sabbath with the wonderful Cambodian people as we praised God, prayed together, shared meals, and visited them in their homes. Curtis shares — What continues to convict me each time we go to Cambodia is the tremendous opportunity to impact children and families for eternity through Adventist schools. Not only do these schools provide literacy and skills for each child, they provide the chance to learn about the Savior who loves them and who is coming soon! These schools give each child the ability to read and study for themselves and to keep Sabbath, something that is not possible in the public schools that require Saturday attendance. These schools are one of the most effective ways to impact the young people of Cambodia and their families. This time in Cambodia I also had the chance to spend four days together with some of the pastors, church planters, and teachers. I was very moved by the work that these dedicated people are doing while they have faced such difficult circumstances over the years. It was such a privilege to spend this time with them in prayer, study, and preparation for the discipleship training that will be taking place in August with the majority of the ASAP workers in Cambodia. Please prayerfully consider if God is calling you to join an upcoming ASAP mission trip taking place over the next year.
“Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6
Julie shares — For me, the thing that stood out the most about our time at the Samraong SDA School was the dedication of the teachers and staff. You could tell that they genuinely cared about the students and had a personal interest in each one. Some of them have made great sacrifices to be there. Some are hours away from their home town and families. Some could have higher paying jobs elsewhere. Some are the only Christians in their family and are having a difficult time staying strong against the pressures from home. They are all definitely storing up treasures in heaven! On several occasions one or more of the teachers took us out to visit at the homes of some of the students. We got to meet the parents and listen to what was on their hearts, the concerns they had for their family and their future, and pray with them. Education and success in school for their child was always on the prayer list. I believe this school is such a ministry for the community. They have a good academic program but most importantly, the children are being introduced to Jesus. The seeds that are being planted in the hearts of the students at the school are not only temporary but eternal. Jonathan shares — One of the things that stood out to me from the mission trip to Cambodia was the opportunity to visit the local people in the villages. It was a blessing to see the joy on their faces when we prayed for them or just took time to visit with them while we sipped a fresh coconut. They were so hospitable and generous. When you look around and see the environment that they live in, it shows how much we take for granted. It makes us realize that they have so little but yet they are willing to share as much as they can with happiness. The people in Cambodia are so giving even though they have virtually nothing. It shows us that things of this world don’t give us true happiness. True happiness comes from being willing to share or help someone out with willingness. This trip to Cambodia was a life changing experience. Kaitlyn shares — I think going to Cambodia was a really great experience for me because I got to meet a bunch of amazing kids that go to the different schools that we visited. Despite the language barrier, we still had an awesome time interacting and playing together. I see God working in those kids’ lives as they learn about Jesus through the songs, the Bible stories, and the prayers. It humbles me to see that all those kids are so happy and smiling in spite of the fact that they have next to nothing when it comes to material things but they are always willing to share whatever they have. I really enjoyed going to Cambodia and I can’t wait to go back again!
For only $30 a month, you can give a student in Southeast Asia the gift of education.
INTRODUCE A YOUNG PERSON TO JESUS. Dear Lord, please help me to recognize and reach out to the young people in my life who need to know You and experience Your love. Amen.
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ASAP serves people from the countries of Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, and beyond!
for the safety of God’s workers. The photo of the woman on p. 14 is not the actual woman mentioned in the story.
*Where needed names have been changed and photos blurred
PHOTO CREDITS p. 2, 18, AJ O'Carey; p. 2, Lisa Isensee; p. 4, 6-9 Julia O'Carey; p. 5, 15, Andrew Hosford; p. 7, 19, Darryl Hosford; p. 8, 23, Katie Roddy; p. 12, Gail Coridan; p. 13, Eh K Paw Soe Wah; p. 12, 14, Josiah Griswold; p. 18, Kalu Hser Paul; p. 20-21, Htwe Lay; p. 22 Lukas Lipus
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EXECUTIVE EDITOR/DIRECTOR Julia O’Carey COPY EDITORS Brenda Kiš, Angy Plata and John Press DESIGN/LAYOUT Robert Mason BOARD OF DIRECTORS Chair: Dean Coridan, Judy Aitken, Christopher Carmen, Steve Chang, Shirley Freed, Darryl Hosford, Chan and Esther Hwang, Denzil McNeilus, Mary Ann McNeilus, Carmelo Mercado, Amy Montevilla, Julia O’Carey, Byron and Carol Reynolds, Trudi Starlin
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