Prayer opens doors in South East Asia
Posted on: 15th October 2018
CMS workers N & R served in hospital leadership in Tanzania and now teach medical students in South East Asia. Read how the gospel is breaking down barriers as they seek to glorify God in every situation.
“People will not say this to your face, but the community had lost confidence in the diocese and the church. But now they see that God is working in the hospital, and it is once again returning to be a Christian place. It is showing God’s love. Because of what is happening in the hospital, people have confidence in the church again—they are going back to church.”
This was said to us when we were working in north-west Tanzania as health professionals. In our last year in that location, we were placed in positions of hospital leadership, as the local caretakers were found to be embezzling money and turning patients away. The hospital was under the diocese and so as the situation became worse—including open conflict between church leaders and the involvement of witch doctors—people stopped going to church. During our time there, we were able to introduce the Bible to the daily hospital handover and management meetings, ensure a good health service and see miracles of healing that had people praising God.
We are now ministering in a country where proselytising is illegal, however being a Christian is not. We are in a privileged position of seeing God’s gracious gift of love being poured out into the community through better health services, but we are also in a privileged position of being ‘shining stars’ amongst those who don’t know Jesus, and mentors to those who do know Jesus.
An opportunity to offer peace
One week, our medical students had been preparing diligently for their final exams, but as they waited to enter the exam hall, they sat anxiously fingering their meditation beads. Given their anxiety, R asked if she could pray for them. At this stage, they were happy for any extra help, so agreed. The following day, as they waited for their next exam, R told them she would pray for them again, however as we were in a more public environment, she didn’t offer to do this out loud—nationalistic feelings were high and this included anti-Christian sentiments. But as she was leaving, the students stopped her and asked her to pray out loud, like yesterday. Trusting God, she did. Two days later, R asked one of her students why they had asked her to pray out loud.
“Teacher, during the first exam we were all filled with a peace we have not known; it was not normal. We knew it was from your prayers and we wanted to feel that again. Your prayers are different to ours and when you prayed, it was as if you were talking to your Father.”
R was then able to speak of where that peace came from and that indeed God was her Father.
Many people we meet in Australia often focus on the nature of our roles overseas rather than the opportunities our roles have given us in reaching the unreached. These opportunities allow us to be present amongst local Christians to encourage and disciple them, as they reach the unreached and care for their community. For us, we believe that people need to understand that they are Christian first and that whatever we do, in word and deed, is done with the desire to see a world that knows Jesus.
There are certain skills that allow those who want to convey Jesus’ love to serve in places where gospel workers are not normally encouraged to serve. Could God be challenging you to take up some specific opportunities that use those skills? See cms.org.au/opportunities/professional.