Thanks to all who covered us in prayer on our recent trip into Asia. We can’t tell you where we went but by God’s grace we arrived safely to a remote little bible college tucked away in a sleepy village high in the mountains of Asia. As this bible college is operating in a very restrictive part of the world it stands as a beautiful testimony to the faithfulness of God. He is able to overcome any obstacle in order to supply His spiritually hungry children with the riches of His Word. We were so honored to spend fivedays teaching the treasures of His Word with these brave students!
The trip in was quite an adventure! After hours of driving over twisting steep mountain roads we were flagged down by students on the side of the road. Quickly we jumped out of the truck into the dark of night. They grabbed our packs, handed us a flashlight and led us by foot down a winding steep path, over a rickety bridge and into the warmth of a "welcoming room" where we were greeted by friendly Believers.
They shared with us the story of how their church was started by early missionaries intrepid heroes of the faith in the 1930’s. We had read their stories and couldn’t believe now we were meeting their spiritaul children and grand-children face to face! The Believers said the missionaries left in 1948 and we were the first ones to visit since that time. We were refreshed by their fellowship and their gifts of oranges, apples, nuts, honey, candy and green tea! They begged us for Bible teaching, Bibles, literature and support! Regrettably we could not remain with them as our plans were to minister to the bible college further down the road. After a short visit we were urged to move on as our next "pick up" was waiting for us. Gene encouraged them with a short passage of Scripture and we returned to the narrow little path which led us through a sleeping village, across a rickety suspension bridge (with no sides- sometimes its a blessing to not be able to see where you are going!) up some steep hills to the waiting vehicle. Soon after we arrived at the bible college and settled in for four wonderful days of teaching God’s Word!
How can we describe those days! We spent all day, every day, teaching The Bible to humble believers struggling to minister to others without much biblical understanding of thier own! They sat for hours feasting on grace and truth with hungry hearts, taking notes, asking questions and glowing with the joy of new found understanding! But there is so much more to tell about- sweet fellowship around the fire with a cup of tea, the humble hearts of those who cooked and served, beautiful hymns they sang in their own language (we sang along to the familar melodies in English while they sang in thier language- what a beautiful blend of voices it must be to the Lord!), their prayers, their smiles and their friendship!
Gene taught from 1 John on the importance of fellowship. After a few days of teaching he was approached by one of the students who pastors a little church 3 hours by mule into the mountains. He invited us to visit his church next time we were in the country. He said, "When I go back to my church I will be teaching them everything I have learned here, and it will be as if you are standing there with me!" Another thankful student said, "There is no place in our country where we could get teaching like this. And even if we could there is no way we could ever pay for it." A few days after we had left the Bible College our translator called back to the school to see how the students were doing. The instructor there said after we left the students were very sad, it was as if their parents had left and they were orphans! But we know their Heavenly Father’s love is embracing them and will carry them safely back to their villages and their little homes high in the mountains.
After leaving the bible college we were able to spend a day and night with the first group we met and then visit some churches on Sunday. One church was in the village where the gospel first came to the these people. We loved hearing from the older men and women about the days of the early missionaries. One man with a big toothless grin explained to us, "the missionaries taught us to read and write, and they taught us some English, but I was only five and so all I learned was A B C D!" The early missionaries no doubt suffered and sacrificed much to bring the gospel to these people. But we were amazed at how they as a people had remained in the faith (though they greatly need refreshed from the teaching of God’s Word). In those villages we saw what Jesus promised his disciples in John 15 – those that abide in Him will bring forth "fruit that remains".
Every day we were strongly aware of the prayers and support from faithful family and friends at home. We were teaching the people face to face- but it was as if each of you were standing there with us! Hope you enjoyed the trip!
Thank you for your prayers! Continue to pray for the persecuted church!
By Grace alone,
Gene and Nan Cunningham