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Harvest Bridge Annual Report

2019


One of the pastors you support in Myanmar once told me, “I never want to pray for God to be with me in my work. I want to be with God in His work.”

me to be the answer to that prayer. As a new student, I showed up in his office a few days later and we quickly realized we shared the same vision for this work.

As I write this reflection on 2019, we are in the midst of the storm caused by COVID-19. I am looking back on a year where your support enabled us to grow and deepen our ministry throughout South Asia. As we look towards an uncertain 2020 and beyond, I am grateful that the prayer Harvest Bridge began with was, “Lord, let your will be done.” In every step, in times of growth and times of uncertainty, we have sought to be with God in His work.

This work of coming alongside men and women demonstrating and sharing the Gospel in many of the most impoverished and persecuted places in the world, in South Asia. This work of joining our brothers and sisters who have done much with little – those who are doing the hard, often thankless, unpublicized work of reaching their villages and cities with the love of Jesus. Our vision was to build a bridge between the Body of Christ in the US and the Body of Christ in South Asia. This bridge was needed because wise, effective, experienced missionaries weren’t receiving needed support or training because they didn’t speak English. Or because they served too small a demographic. Or because they weren’t equipped to articulate the importance of their work.

In keeping with this, about nine years ago our founder Tim Mech, still a fulltime college professor at the time, threw up his hands and begged God to bring someone to help him in leading this young organization. Unknown to him, God was working in my heart to prepare

At the end of 2019, after 12 years of faithfully leading Harvest Bridge, Tim stepped into a new chapter and passed the US leadership into my hands. I say “US leadership” because while Tim, Andrew, our Board and I built the bridge, these pastors and missionaries are the leaders of this ministry. I pray that in reading this annual report, you will get to know these leaders more personally. For their security, we can never share all of their faces or their real names–but I pray you will get to know their hearts. Their hearts for those they lead. Their hearts for those who have not yet met Jesus. Their hearts for joining God in His work. I thank and praise God for each of you who support these men and women through prayer, finances, and encouragement. It is a privilege to do this work with you. In Christ, Kate Therese, Executive Director


CONTENTS TIBET PAKISTAN

BHUTAN

NEPAL

INDIA

MYANMAR (Burma)

BANGLADESH

01

Bangladesh

03

Bhutan

05

India

07

Myanmar (Burma)

09

Nepal & Tibet

11

Pakistan

13

Sri Lanka

15

Expenditures

16

Sources of Support

*Partner names changed for safety. SRI LANKA


Bangladesh

Key ministries: Child Protection and Education, Economic Development, Disaster Relief, Human Trafficking Prevention


EDUCATION AND DISCIPLESHIP “Our ministry is physically and holistically impacted by HB… Side by side, through His good Word and your economic support, our ministry is made alive. The duties and responsibilities of our missionaries are not all the same, but they are all accomplishing and bearing His Word among non-believers.” —Country Director, Pastor Darpan*

From remote fishing villages to slums in the most densely populated city in the world, 51 Bangladeshi men and women reach their people for Christ. In their country of 163 million, generations of villagers have never received formal schooling, flooding and cyclones are frequent, human trafficking is lucrative, and persecution against Christians at the local level can be severe. In 2019, these missionaries helped 173 children from

“I am serving with a big risk, rescuing children from traffickers… So, I am always going through danger and threatening, but for the Lord, I am overlooking every fear.” —Mala*

poor families begin attending school and provided holistic support for 20 impoverished families, enabling their children to live at home instead of being forced by poverty into orphanages. These missionaries provided relief for 1,650 people after a cyclone. They rescued over two dozen children from human trafficking. “I am serving with a big risk, rescuing children from traffickers…So, I am always going through danger and threatening, but for the Lord, I am overlooking every fear.” —Mala* In 2019, 545 new believers followed Christ and were discipled, 54 house churches were grown, and another 23 house churches and six churches were planted. Knowing that persecution is common for new believers who

come from Muslim, Hindu, and Animist communities, missionaries are intentional in discipleship and fellowship. Those who turn to Christ are discipled for at least six months before publicly declaring their faith through baptism. Groups of new believers are baptized together, take communion, and receive their first Bible together. Our local leader organizes fellowship and care for the missionaries, equipping them to do their work.

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Bhutan


COUNSELING AND COMFORT

Despite being known for its Gross National Happiness Index, Bhutan has some of the highest suicide and drug addiction rates in the world. The 25 men and women you support focus on counseling and comforting those suffering from mental health problems and substance addiction. In 2019, our partners counseled 50 families and assisted 45 men and women in navigating depression and addiction. This tiny Buddhist Kingdom remains largely untouched by the outside world. But within, God is at work using Bhutanese believers to reach their own people. Looking for peace, many people—including religious leaders—

“This year of ministry went very well, with many new achievements of reaching new places to preach, starting 15 house churches, and seeing 45 men and women accept Christ and be baptized. Our plans are to continue to reach out to new areas, and particularly develop ministry among districts where no witnessing is taking place.” —Country Director, Pastor Jagan* come secretly to the Bhutanese Christians you support for answers, much like Nicodemus did in the Gospels. Even as Christians face increased pressure from the government, local community leaders are being drawn to Christ.

the police families are eagerly hearing the miracles of Jesus and are slowly coming to faith. We are praying and planning to start a Bible study as well as short term courses for the new believers there.” —Kiba*

“We prayed for one man who was a witch doctor. He was completely healed, but the village Buddhist committee came and threatened both him and us. They did many rituals and forced him to act Buddhist again. Please pray for this man. We meet with him secretly.” —Norbu* “God has opened doors to share the gospel at the Police Quarters. One house fellowship was started there, and a few of

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India

Key ministries: Child Protection and Education, Economic Development, Women’s Empowerment, Pastor Training, Disaster Relief


A NETWORK OF FAITH

The believers we come alongside in India share Christ’s love in many of the most unreached areas of their country, and by extension, the world. In 2019, as a radical Hindu government fueled increased persecution of Christians, our partners met the practical needs of over 100 persecuted believers. Nearly 50 pastors and missionaries received monthly ministry support. Several hundred more were equipped to serve more effectively through training programs and receiving outreach tools like backpacks, rain coats, and bicycles. Together, these men and women helped more than 24 individuals and families at the bottom of India’s caste hierarchy to

“I oversee a network of missionaries and various ministries in Kashmir…I have been jailed three times due to being falsely accused of giving pig’s blood in communion and putting cross tattoos on converts...I have received many threats to my life, but I am prepared to face the consequences with boldness.” — Pastor Pranav* learn marketable skills, find dependable work and increase their incomes. Our partners responded to flooding in overlooked villages by distributing crucial relief packets to over 1,000 people. A neglected community of 300 people received a clean water well through their efforts. Several thousand children who otherwise would not have received an education attended their schools and tutoring programs. Through these ministries, over 400 men and women came to Christ and chose to be publicly baptized to reflect their faith. 90 new Bible studies and home fellowships were started. 1,000 believers and their families received Bibles.

“We still cannot go to the streets and proclaim the Gospel openly, but the biggest answer to our prayers in the year 2019 is that slowly, anti-Christians became our friends.” —Pastor Jairaj*

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Myanmar (Burma)

Key ministries: Pastor Training, Child Protection and Education, Women’s Empowerment, Economic Development, Disaster Relief


ESTABLISHING COMMUNITY “By the grace of God, I shared the love of God in a civil war area with active fighting. The entire village was afraid— they thought we were the army and closed their doors and windows. I told them I was a Christian and would do no harm, and that I brought good news. We had a wonderful day and night of sharing the love of God. Now some of their lives have changed through accepting Jesus Christ.” —Hong*

It would be easier to do ministry in peace, but many of the men and women we partner with choose to serve in active war zones and other difficult places. In 2019, despite such dangers, our missionaries ran two life-saving homes for vulnerable children. They provided flood relief necessities to 50 families and drilled two wells, supplying 200

It would be easier to do ministry in peace, but many of the men and women we partner with choose to serve in active war zones and other difficult places. people with clean water. They carried out several projects promoting women’s economic empowerment. Their efforts bring about holistic, long-term impact.

“I am from a Buddhist background and am burdened for my people. I have a home church of 35 members, and focus on another three villages. For support, I work in a motorcycle repair shop four days a Lun*, a woman in western Myanmar, week; the other days I spend in ministry. received a $540 grant to start a weaving At the shop I share the good news to business in 2017. By 2019 her business those who come in, including Burma was thriving; she has helped train dozens Army men. It is amazing the Lord is using of women in her trade, free of charge. my shop to reach people with the pure She says, “I just want other women to Gospel. With your support I purchased the have the chance we have had.” shop, and it is our family’s prayer that the Lord will help us so that we can also help 17 missionaries received monthly the poor, the widows, and orphans. Again support, and 12 one-time grants allowed and again, I say thank you.” —Moe* others to meet emergency needs and sustainably develop their ministries. Ministry tools equipped dozens in their work. Together, our partners led to the Lord and discipled over 140 men and women, planting five new churches and house churches. 8


Nepal & Tibet

Key ministries: Pastor Training, Disaster Relief and Preparedness


THE GROWING CHURCH “I met Badri*, a young yak herdsman, while I was traveling. I was looking for a place to stay and there was only one place lit with fire. It was his little hut where he lives 16,000 feet above sea level, where there are no real houses. I shared the Gospel with him and told him about Jesus. He was very interested and asked me for more. I told him that Jesus is a Good Shepherd and we are like His yaks. He confessed his faith in Christ and accepted Jesus as his Lord and Savior. I go to give him fellowship every two weeks. He is very happy in the Lord.” —Rohan*

Rohan is not alone in his commitment to reach those even in the most remote of places. In 2019, regular monthly support for 39 lay leaders and pastors, along with ministry tools for dozens more, allowed these missionaries to go further and

“In my ministry, the parameter to measure success is not always the number of people who are led to the Lord, but how they are discipled.” —Country Director, Pastor Shalva*

more often to reach the unreached and disciple believers. They introduced 350 new believers to Christ, discipled them, and in the process planted 90 Bible studies, house fellowships, and churches. Nepal has one of the fastest-growing churches in the world, despite the threat of an anti-conversion law decreeing up to five years in prison for anyone charged with converting someone to Christianity. New believers face greater societal and legal pressure to abandon their faith. The greatest need is for them to know the Word of God well, experience fellowship, and know how to share their faith with others. Our Country Director, Pastor Shalva*, explains, “In my ministry, the parameter to measure success is not always the number of people who are led to the Lord,

but how they are discipled. Are their lives transformed? Are they well established in society with a Christian testimony? How are they serving the Lord as they carry on their own profession? These are the things that matter to me as I think of success in the ministry.”

Tibet

Nepal

10


Pakistan

Key ministries: Child Protection and Education, Disaster Relief and Preparedness


MINISTRY TO MUSLIMS Between blasphemy laws, neighborhoods segregated according to religion, and general violence against Christians, ministry to Muslims is hard in Pakistan. It is much easier to only share the Gospel with other minorities—Hindus, Animists, or nominal Christians. Through running a school, Christians in eastern Pakistan have found a way to open the door of the Gospel to their Muslim neighbors. The school currently enrolls over 60 children; it is openly Christian, while employing both Christian and Muslim teachers. 90% of the children are Muslim, and the other 10% are a mix of Christian and Hindu. Zeba, one of the women you support who works at the school, shares, “I am able to share the love of Christ with these precious kids on a daily basis— Muslim and Christian. It gives me great

“I am able to share the love of Christ with these precious kids on a daily basis—Muslim and Christian. It gives me great joy to bless them.” —Zeba*

joy to bless them. Through these kids, I established a good relationship with their families as well. Recently I went to visit a home to inform them about a program. When I entered the house, the Muslim family greeted me very well and respected me because I was their child’s teacher. They offered me tea and snacks. I sat down for a while and started asking questions about daily life. As I was talking to the mom, she said that she really likes Christians. She said that she admires Christians because they contribute a lot in the field of education. There was a time when Muslims hated Christians here, but with what our school is doing, this has changed. Now when I go to a Muslim house, I am respected and welcomed because I am serving their kids. This will open doors for the Gospel in their homes.”

12


Sri Lanka


SUPPORT AMIDST TRAUMA The 37 men and women you support in Sri Lanka serve primarily in the country’s north, which was the region most devastated by the 26-year Sri Lankan Civil War—a war in which at least 150,000 people died, the majority being civilians. The bullets stopped in 2009, but 11 years later the scars remain deep. Since 2011, our Sri Lankan missionaries have prioritized ministry to the many women and children who were widowed and orphaned by the war. Emotional and mental health counseling go hand in hand with sharing the Gospel and discipling new believers. On Easter Sunday 2019, a local extremist group bombed three churches and three luxury hotels, taking the lives of 259 people. These attacks re-ignited trauma in a nation still healing, and raised fear in Christians about growing

“We as a church and family take this opportunity to thank Harvest Bridge and your sponsors for the financial contribution given to help the Easter bomb blast Christians in a very quick way.” —Country Director, Pastor Suhas* persecution. Having counseled many through trauma, our missionaries were well equipped to help. Through your support, they were swiftly able to travel south to one of the churches and pay the medical costs of 14 survivors. “We as a church and family take this opportunity to thank Harvest Bridge and your sponsors for the financial contribution given to help the Easter bomb blast Christians in a very quick way. It was a great help for these suffering people. We thank you with all of our hearts and prayers. With this money we were able to help 14 families. May God bless this seed you have sown to these poor affected believers.” —Country Director, Pastor Suhas* Pastor Suhas and the other missionaries did not just bring money—they brought

encouragement, prayer, and fellowship. They brought the kind of understanding that only comes from having endured trauma themselves. Through your support and their hard work, 13 year-old Lashith* recovered from his extensive shrapnel wounds. 55 year-old Mandari* received treatment after losing her eye. Ravima* healed from extensive burns, a broken leg and partial deafness, and 11 others received the medical care they desperately needed.

Sri Lanka 14


2019 Expenditures

Total Direct and Indirect Expenditures: $471,928*

Fundraising & Awareness Administration Church Planting & Evangelism Disaster Relief & Rehabilitation Children’s Ministries Poverty Alleviation Project Monitoring Trips by Staff Pastor Education & Training

15

Partner Organizations:

*Minor adjustments may occur in the course of our annual financial review. Financial data includes HB-facilitated grants, which are sent from grantors directly to our Asian partner ministries but depend on HB’s guidance in project planning, implementation, and reporting.


2019 Sources of Support

Total Direct and Indirect Support: $505,133*

Individuals 4% Businesses

39%

Christian Nonprofits Churches

43%

14%

*Minor adjustments may occur in the course of our annual financial review. Financial data includes HB-facilitated grants, which are sent from grantors directly to our Asian partner ministries but depend on HB’s guidance in project planning, implementation, and reporting.

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Harvest Bridge equips South Asian Christians to serve their communities

Harvest Bridge P.O. Box 284 Grove City, PA 16127

more effectively. With our assistance, people and communities in South Asia

harvestbridge.org

are transformed by the love of Christ. @harvest_bridge @HBmissions Harvest Bridge

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Harvest Bridge 2019 Annual Report  

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