Article source: www.harvestersministries.com

Across Eurasia, where challenges abound, Harvesters persists in the mission to spread the Gospel. The region, rife with conflicts, wars and opposition, poses dangers and we cannot be specific about where we are working. But we can say how encouraged we are by the dedication of local leaders who choose to take a God perspective– viewing challenges not as hindrances but as opportunities to make a profound impact.

Taking a God Perspective on War

Ukrainian refugees.

There is a well-publicised war currently raging in Eastern Europe that is affecting most of the Eurasia region. In addition, there are further conflicts that the rest of the world knows little about. Our Regional Director in the area explains that this poses “big challenges” for local leaders.

However, with remarkable faith, she goes on to express that instead of seeing the dangers, she is choosing to see it as an “adventure with the Lord to go wherever He sends, even if it’s difficult and dark,” because there are numerous opportunities created for the Gospel during times of war.

“It’s horrible to go through conflict,” she continues. “It’s horrible to see people die. But it’s amazing if you look at it from a perspective that God is giving the church an opportunity to actually be the light, to be the salt, and to reach out to others in the midst of this. People are hopeless and we have the answer… And when we come from that perspective, it’s no more a challenge, it becomes an opportunity. And we have seen churches use this opportunity and have grown tremendously.”

Taking a God Perspective on Persecution

Orthodox Church.

Persecution for spreading the Gospel is a stark reality in this vast and diverse region. The extent and nature of persecution varies country-to-country from legal restrictions to ostracisation and even violence from communities.

In this spectrum of religious freedom, the Lord provides creative opportunities for sharing the Gospel. In some nations, you are free to share your testimony – but only if asked. Sharing personal faith journeys is a powerful tool which can lead to further discussions and, hopefully, provide the chance to introduce someone to Jesus.

Evangelists in Eurasia know that it’s the Holy Spirit who works in the hearts of people, and the Lord will make the right connections for them. They are not alone. “You have to really trust the Lord,” shares one of Harvesters’ key leaders in the region. “But He wants them to hear and so He always creates the opportunities for them.”

“We will continue to preach the Gospel because that’s the Commission,” the Regional Director adds. “So, we enjoy every minute of it.”

Taking a God Perspective on Belonging

Worship during training. Harvesters Ministries

Whichever legal restrictions exist, persecution still often comes from families, communities, and other religions. Even individuals themselves face challenges from within, such as a fear of rejection or a conflict of identity.

Local leaders in Eurasia explain how people tie their identity to their culture, their ethnicity, their religion. This connection is so profound that adopting a faith in Jesus is not merely a change in religion but is perceived as abandoning one’s ethnicity and culture, and can result in family members becoming ashamed or angry. Our leaders in the region sadly recount times when fathers have beaten or stoned their sons for becoming Christians.

That’s why the focus is not on changing someone from Orthodox, Buddhism or Islam to Christianity. The message of Jesus is to take people from sin to life; to become a member of His family, a citizen of heaven, possessing Kingdom culture. It’s not about conversion to a Western religion, it’s about moving from death to life – and this transcends cultural boundaries and results in true freedom.

It’s not an easy decision, there is a cost to following Jesus as He told us there would be (Mt 10:16-22). But, in choosing to see God’s perspective, “it’s a privilege to see people say that Jesus is worth it,” says the Regional Director for Eurasia. “And that gives [us] the courage to continue and to conquer these challenges and think that if they can do it, I can do it too.”

God’s Mission

Training in Eurasia. Harvesters Ministries

In Eurasia, where conflicts abound, the mission of Harvesters remains to lead people from sin to Jesus. We have a deep love for the lost people within these nations. The resilience of leaders ministering on the ground, choosing to see God’s perspective of the obstacles they face, is inspiring. Harvesters is training pastors and mobilising churches to reach the unreached, and in the words of one passionate leader, “We trust the Lord that this will really bring the greater harvest that we desire to see.”

Harvesters Ministries

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Date published: 14/03/2024

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