God is at work in the nations and in the lives of Christians in Access-Restricted Nations in Asia (ARNA).
Here are their stories.
A prisoner's vision and a "drowned" Bible
"... and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power." Ephesians 1:19
It all began under the banyan tree. I was waiting to catch birds for a meal when a man from a nearby village sat beside me. We began to talk about our lives and I told him about my sick wife and mother. Evil spirits troubled them and even sacrificing twelve buffaloes had not helped.The man told me the story of Sipak, a man in his village who had seen healing through a new god called Jesus.
A few days later my wife and mother died. I decided to visit Sipak to find out about this Jesus. He told me how Christ had come to set us free from the bondage of evil spirits. He also told me of the creator God who loved me so much He sent His own Son as a sacrifice for us. Seeing that I was still afraid and confused, Sipak introduced me to another Christian who convinced me to follow the Lord. Immediately Jesus brought peace and joy to my life and I began to share this joy with others. Soon, four other families became Christians.
A short time later our new faith was put to the test when two new believers and I were arrested in 2004 and thrown into jail. The authorities tried to force us to sign an affidavit denying our faith. Forced labor took place in the day and at night our legs were fastened painfully into wooden stocks. Even so we refused to give up our faith. I talked about Jesus with the other inmates telling them Jesus was not a religion but a way of life. I also encouraged imprisoned Christians from four other villages.
One night I had a vision. A man from my village came to the prison and hugged me, encouraging me not to sign but to stand firmly in the Lord. He told me that in three days I would be released. The following day the other Christians were greatly encouraged when I shared my vision. They were about to renounce their faith because of their distress. On the third day the twelve Christian prisoners were called forward. "We have seen that you really are Christians," said the chief guard. "Because of this, you can go home. But I warn you. Do not preach the gospel to others!"
When we arrived home, we saw that God had been at work encouraging the believers who were left behind. The authorities had come to the village asking Christians to sign a paper denying their faith. One timid and weak man was afraid and signed. Late one night, he tied his Lao New Testament to a large stone and threw it in the river, hoping to destroy any evidence that he was a Christian. Three days, later some villagers went to fish and caught the Bible in one of their nets. They were astonished to find it was completely dry. As a result of this miracle, many Bru families came to the Lord.
Our God is still the God of miracles. And because of this, the harvest among the Bru people in Laos continues to increase.