This post is from a pair of Brook Hills men teaching in South Asia. Due to security concerns, names have been changed and locations undisclosed. These men are teaching pastors of underground churches the Old Testament and then next week another pair of men will follow up with teaching the New Testament. Please pray for these men as they disciple pastors and equip them with the Word. Pray the Lord will produce great fruit for the advancement of the gospel in South Asia.


Let me tell you what the Lord has done.

First: the context. We were given the opportunity to come to a country in South Asia to teach underground house church pastors the Old Testament. We have 4 and half days to walk through 39 books, so needless to say, we have a lot to cover! But since arriving Wednesday night, we have been gathering with about 20 men, studying God’s Word, for 8 hours a day. It has truly been a joy.

But let me tell you what the Lord has done in these men. We were asked to lead a devotion each morning before the teaching began. This is an excellent idea for past teams that came to teach Theology or Worship, but considering we were going to be in the Word for 8 hours a day, we thought we should mix it up a bit for our particular stay. So we decided to ask the men to share the story of how God saved them during the devotion time each morning. This was the first man’s story:

This man is probably in his fifties. He recalled that after his country had been ravaged with war some forty years ago, he was forced with his family to evacuate to a nearby country. It was there, in a refugee camp, that this man first heard the gospel. Now his first inclination was that if he simply said he believed, he would get to go to America. However, after several years of being in the church, he realized that going to America was not going to be an option. It was then that he decided to go back to his home country with his family. When he returned, he continued to read the bible that he had been given for several years. However, after some time, he decided that he still didn’t believe any of it. He decided that the right thing to do was to return the bible to a local church and that he should even bring a financial offering as reparation for having faked his belief over the years. So, as he and his wife traveled with the bible to the church, they ran into a man that they had met in the refugee camp so many years ago. When they explained to the man what they were about to do, he pleaded with them to reconsider. He re-shared the gospel with them and begged them to repent of their sin and return to Christ. By God’s grace, their hearts were finally opened, and they responded. They went into the church together to celebrate. However, on that very day, authorities came to the church and arrested all who were worshipping. Their first day as Christians they spent in a jail cell.

The man went on to explain that he and his wife have since been arrested over 60 times for being followers of Christ. This is the man’s life. Christ and prison. Now this is a story that many of us have heard versions of time and time again. We know very well that persecution is not unique for our brothers and sisters around the world. But to see this man standing in front of me, smiling from ear to ear in humble joy, speaking of the joys of being persecuted for the sake of Christ, was nearly overwhelming. It is amazing to me that, though we are brothers in Christ, we can live so completely different experiences of Him. This man is arrested every year for following His Lord. I will likely never even see the inside of a jail cell. He speaks of the joy of suffering for Christ; I wonder what he is even talking about. And then somehow, I am supposed to stand up and teach him about suffering in the book of Job!? No. It’s almost unacceptable.

As we continue with the week, I look to my Lord in wonder. I long for the day when I will know Him more fully. I long for the day when I will stand with these brothers, palm branches in hand, giving the Lamb the glory He is due. I wonder if I will ever be given to privilege to suffer as they have for the Christ we worship together. Today the final song we sang was “I have decided to follow Jesus.” I realized for the first time that I have no idea what I mean when I am singing that song. “No turning back?” Why would I turn back? I have been singing this song for years and I never had any idea of the weight of the lyrics. “I have decided to follow Jesus. No turning back, no turning back.” The song is so simple. Yet if I were living his life I would understand that no greater complexity is needed in the lyrics. That statement alone suffices to ignite worship in his heart. Those words carry a whole new meaning when 60 arrests await you for following Him. So I sang with a new fervor, barely able to voice the words. I have decided the follow Jesus. I can only hope and pray that if I am ever given a reason to turn back that I will say with my dear brother, “no turning back…no turning back.”