"I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” - John 16:33

Most of you know that many of the countries Asian Access works in the leaders face trials, tribulations and persecution. My colleague Jim, who serves in partnership with us through Sunrise International Ministries, shared this powerful story from one of our alumns:

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Sometimes the stories of others give us perspective on our own situation. I will also share the testimony of our good friend R. Recently R. shared his story with us and we were very touched.

"I was born in 1982. I was born as the second son in a village in in my country. My village is a Buddhist village, which is rare in our land. In our Buddhist tradition, when a second son becomes 3-1/2 years old the family gives him to the temple to become a priest. In exchange, the temple gives the family land. So ever since I was 3-1/2 years old I lived in the temple in our village and only visited my family once in a while."

"When I was 14 years old my cousin came to me at the Temple and shared with me about Jesus. He had gone to the capital city and believed in Jesus Christ. At first I couldn't believe in Jesus right, but I started attending a church once in a while. After a few months I really wanted to believe in Jesus and was very frustrated with the life at the Temple."

"When the monks found out about my involvement with church they warned me not to go to this church again. They also told my family about my involvement with Christianity and my family was very upset. I finally shared my frustrations with a monk telling him that I believe that Jesus is the answer and that I no longer belonged to the temple and could not continue to live here."

"I packed up and went home, but my father and mother were FURIOUS!  They didn't feed me and tried to run me out of their house by throwing things at me and being very violent to me. My mother ran after me and threw a very big rock at me, which gave me a swollen face and head for 2 months! Even my Grandma was upset with me and she wouldn't feed me or keep me at her place after I ran to her house."

"Finally decided to go to the capital city of my country, even though I didn't know anybody there. I was 15 years old then. I went there with less than $1 dollar. When I reached the capital, I went to a Bible school and there they helped me and gave me education. I am now 31 years old and have been serving Jesus ever since. My mother, father and family members have not spoken to me since I became a follower of Jesus and have never allowed me to return home."

We cried as R. told us his story. He has gone through so much pain and rejection, but is always smiling and full of joy in Christ. Stories like this have given us new perspective and have taught us to be much more grateful for the many blessings God has given us despite whatever minor difficulties we may be facing.

R. practices the truth of James 1:2...

"Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds...”

I don’t know about you, but these stories always challenge me. It is a privilege to serve leaders like R. and partner with leaders like Jim.

May the Lord encourage you as you face trials in life.

How do you face challenges? What life lessons do you have to share with us?

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Joe Handley