The last few weeks I had the privilege of seeing the powerful fruit of Asian Access: leaders being developed who are making disciples, planting churches, helping street children, working in the garbage dumps, establishing orphanages, and working with those suffering from human trafficking.
It was a powerful week seeing their ministries and hearing their stories of how A2 was making a difference in their lives. They shared how the A2 faculty were so much better than other programs they have participated in over the last 20-30 years in ministry. They said the teaching was second to none from the A2 faculty and that the faculty were simple, practical, profound and reproducible.
As you can imagine, my heart soared time after time. However, while speaking at one of the graduation events, I learned that one of the graduates wasn’t able to come because of a raid on their bible institute. The authorities broke into their training center in the middle of the night and beat several of the bible students and took many to jail. The night prior to our graduation, the institute’s director was beaten once again and not allowed to go to the hospital which they badly needed. The A2 national director lobbied to free them from their house arrest so they could get the care they needed.
He wasn’t even sure if it would be wise for me to share during the graduation as the authorities made their presence known. He cancelled having me preach in his church a few days later because of the constant calls and threats from them.
At the same time, another call I received reported of religious extremists threatening and beating pastors in another country. It was painful to hear this bad news.
Even with all this, one key pastor said to me:
“Joe, we praise God when we are persecuted. When we are persecuted, it makes people more curious about the kingdom and many come to Christ. The authorities don’t realize the power of what they are doing. So, we thank God that we are able, even in persecuted scenarios, to see the kingdom grow.”
God is doing great works throughout Asia and even when things look the darkest, there are good things happening. He turns all things into good, even the bad.
Are you facing a troubled season? Lean into Him and see what He has in store for you… I’d love to hear from you and what you have learned from challenging seasons. Some of my most profound lessons in life came from walking through challenging seasons.