From the Mountains of South Asia
We have returned from an amazing journey into the mountain villages of southern Asia, where India, Burma, and China crowd together. These are tribal people—still headhunters up until the 1960s. As recent events show, they have not lost their skills!
Tribal fighting, prior to our arrival, took 32 lives, causing the flight of 10,000 people of one tribe to flee their hometown. Many homes and businesses in the area were destroyed. When we arrived at our base, from which we would head into the mountains, we found the whole shopping area shut down. We did not learn the reason until our return from the mountain villages a week later.
Apparently there was an attack and rape of a tribal woman by a Muslim. The accused attacker was taken in by police and held in the local prison. Then, over 50 tribal warriors attacked the prison, overpowered the police, took the captive, and—from last reports—beheaded him. This incident was being reported widely across India and Asia.
While we saw no fighting during our visit, there was much evidence of the turmoil resulting from these events. Over thirty men attended the pastors’ conference. When we had first been warned by our contact, Throngji, that it might be best not to come at this time, these pastors contacted him and said, “Even if we are killed, we need to meet for the conference.” Although we were originally to go into the area by helicopter, due to the troubles, we had to avoid the town where the helicopter flew and, instead, took a 12-hour drive on rugged and winding mountain roads.
We met in a village perched high on the rugged mountaintop. In this village, there were hundreds of refugees who had fled homes with just the clothes on their backs. Families, friends, and neighbors are trying hard to meet the needs of these displaced people. We were told that supplies of rice and clothing are desperately needed. Many of the pastors who gathered, as well as the children who came to the classes, were refugees.
What a joy it was to gather with these precious believers and to go through the study of the Tabernacle, showing how each of the seven articles of furniture spoke of Jesus Christ and His work on our behalf! Blair Buselli, from Pennsylvania, joined me in the teaching. While the pastors were meeting, Nan and Aurora (Blair’s wife) were teaching some 600–700 children. It was a special joy to see the provisions that had been made for feeding and caring for these dear people. Watching these children gathered around the church, happily eating their rice, meat and curry, made us laugh with pleasure.
We stayed at the home of Pastor Allen, and his dear wife Akeang. Their hospitality was wonderful, as they provided tasty meals and great times of fellowship around the kitchen fire (mornings and evenings were cold). Each day, we would take walks along the mountain track, looking down into the deep valleys through the bamboo groves, at the terraced rice fields far below—then looking across at the villages on the far mountains. We felt like eagles perched on the peaks.
From this area, we also were able to address a Christian school, the hundreds of children coming out onto the playing field, and lining up sharply in front of us. Many were obviously among the displaced. We were told there were over 300! Then, we were able to teach adults, a youth group, and children at a nearby church, which sat just under the police post higher up the hill. Again, we were received with great kindness and hospitality.
From the mountain village, we moved on to one of my favorite places that we had visited on our previous journey. This was a theological college which, again, was perched on a steep mountainside, where over 70 students are receiving training in theology, music, Bible study skills, apologetics, and basic Greek. Here, we spent three days teaching and enjoying the fellowship of the students and staff. Though the need for textbooks is great, the staff does an excellent job of preparing young men and women for ministry. We were blessed by a presentation by the school choir, and their singing is like a company of angels! We hope to post some of it online so you can hear it.
Many of these students come from even more remote areas and are very poor. They struggle to raise money for their training and are in need of sponsors. I encourage our supporters to consider making a commitment to help in the education of these young servants of Christ. I’ll give more information in the following section. Nan and I have committed to one of the young women, who will graduate April 9, and is going on for further training for at least two years. We hope to also take on another student, as God supplies.
We ask that you pray diligently for these dear tribal people. This part of the globe was closed to foreigners until 2012. I tried to penetrate this locale back in the late 1990s, but the government would not allow me to enter. Interestingly, it was through members of our church in Australia, Ossie and Beth Amato, that we gained an invitation. They have pioneered the work thus far. The native population is strongly Christian but in great need of sound teaching and good training materials. Even Bibles in their native tongue are hard to come by. In the future, we hope to help in this area as well.
From this rugged, mountainous area, we flew south to a very large metropolitan area for a pastors/wives’ conference. We were able to rent facilities in an OM campus where 50 village pastors and their wives could stay for a three-day conference. These faithful men and their wives work in remote and poor areas, often facing hardship and persecution. This was a special time for them to gather together for Bible teaching, fellowship, rest, and encouragement.
We taught through the book of Ruth with Gene teaching the parts relating to Boaz, and Nan teaching the parts relating to Ruth. Teaching this precious book of the Bible enabled us to encourage and instruct them in areas of ministry, service, faith, and marriage. In addition, Gene and Blair had some men’s classes, while Nan and Aurora were able to encourage the women in their faith and ministries. In the past, we have worked many times with this group of people so we have many friends and fellow servants among those in attendance. It was encouraging for us, as well, to renew our friendships with these dear souls.
Needs Around the World
As most of you know, we at Basic Training never make financial requests. We trust that God will supply according to His plan and purpose. However, supporters have often chastised me for not sharing needs. Therefore, I want to let you some needs from around the world.
Just to clarify our policy—unlike many mission organizations—Basic Training Bible Ministries actually supports many other ministries. We financially support the American Center for Law and Justice, because they not only fight legally around the world for just causes, but also defend persecuted Christians worldwide. We also support Walid Shoebat’s Christian rescue organization, and I encourage everyone to consider doing the same.
We financially support theological training centers in Africa, India, Burma, Peru, Pakistan, and Papua New Guinea. We currently send regular aid to pastors and churches in each of these places. We also have new works about to begin in places like Ecuador and Nepal.
Gifts to Basic Training Bible Ministries go into supporting all these many ministries. But what I want to make clear is that when funds are sent to us designated for specific ministries, 100% of that money goes to its intended target. We do not—as do many ministries—take our “cut” of the offering. So, with this issue clarified, here are some needs around the world that we ask you to pray for and consider joining us in supporting:
- In Zimbabwe, we are helping Pastor Mawire to build a training center in a rural area.
- In Lusaka, Zambia, we are helping Pastor Mwashamputa finish the central Church of Redemption ministries. So far, 6,000 dollars have been sent, and another 5,000 dollars will complete the project. This will be a local church, as well as a conference and training center.
- A beautiful new church/training center has been offered to our contact, Julio Cesar, in Chulucanas, Peru. This could become both a local church and a training center for Basic Training Peru. The cost is around 30,000 dollars.
- Bible students around the world are in need of sponsors. In full-time schools, the cost of tuition, lodging, meals, and incidentals runs between 500 and 1,000 dollars per year. Why not “adopt” a student?
- Bibles are in short supply all around the world, while most of us in America and Australia own many. Help us supply believers with the Word of God in their own language.
- Refugees in South Asia are right now in great need of Bibles, food, clothing, and other necessities. Many of the children we saw were in rags, and the mountains are cold.
- We are being requested to publish our books in the native tongue in all these places, but simply do not have the funds to do so.
These and many other needs—in addition to the normal running of the ministry—press on us daily. Nan and I give a healthy percentage of our own support to alleviate necessities where we are able. So, for those who have written asking, “How is money donated to Basic Training used?” or who have taken me to task for not sharing “specific needs,” I hope this will help you to more fully understand the needs of the ministry.
Thank you for your prayers and support, we consider you all co-workers in the faith and sharers in the open doors of ministry God has granted to BTBM. We will send out a prayer letter soon so you can keep up to date with specific needs around the world.
In the compelling love of Christ,
Gene and Nan
Report from Blair and Aurora
“Therefore, pray to the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest.” Mat 9:38 HCSB
The terrain is rugged, rural, and beautiful. Mighty mountains did not stop the early missionaries from reaching the villages with the Gospel of Christ, and their work definitely was anything but in vain. The people of N___ today are living examples of what rich and fertile soil looks like. Since those early missionaries laid a solid foundation, outsiders have been restricted from entering the land, until just recently—around 2012.
Our opportunity to visit these brothers and sisters was so inspiring. Talking with the pastors and their families, we could see this firm foundation in the purity of the Gospel seemed to be unaffected over the course of time. In so many instances, we come to a place where Satan has crept in and built haphazardly on the initial groundwork with false teachings. This does not appear so with these men. They have been faithful to the original truths from the labors of the initial missionaries. The leaders have protected their people from so many of the gimmicks and lies that rob Christians from bearing fruit. The soil there is so rich. They are already bearing fruit, yet they strongly desire to learn more.
They are desperate to continue to grow in the Word. Their hunger and thirst is a burden to our souls, and this is what we wish to convey to you. We feel that the open door of 2012 is an answer to many of the prayers of the native people to have a means to grow deeper roots into the Word of God. We are so thankful that God has allowed us to be a part of the cultivating—what a privilege!
Leaving the quiet, slower pace of the mountains, we ventured to a large city. Although quite a change in environment, we saw the same love for our Lord pouring out of the smiles of the Christians there. Security is the word that continued to shuffle its way to the forefront of our minds amidst the bustling chaos of the city life. These Christians are secure even in the face of persecution. Their security lies in Jesus Christ, and they have no fear of death because they trust in Him who has conquered death for all of us. This firm foundation allows them not to worry about their own welfare, but to focus on God’s intended use of their lives. We felt honored to be called alongside these brethren and to be a part of the work being accomplished there. These pastors and their wives absorbed the Word and were excited to take the teachings and use them in their own lives, as well as their church body. What an inspiring and uplifting trip. We thank all of you for your continued prayers throughout the trip!
HIS will be done,
Blair and Aurora