By Dawson Lewis
Reprinted from the South African Forerunner
TODAY THE TRUE MESSAGE OF THE GOSPEL IS liberating people from every tribe and every tongue and every people group around the world. Here are a few of the many examples:
SAUDI ARABIA – 13-year-old Riyadh International Charismatic Christian Fellowship (RICCF) now has several thousand members from 12 nations, including Pakistan, India and at least 500 Saudis. This, in a country that publicly beheaded a Saudi evangelist in 1992.
IRAN – Despite 14 years of war and Islamic Fundamentalist revolution, or perhaps because of it, there has been an 800 percent increase in the number of converts to Christianity.
ALGERIA – Hundreds of Kabyle Berbers living in and around the Atlas mountains came to Christ in 1992 and an indigenous missions agency was established.
INDIA – Among the Gamit people in Guyurat, India, Church membership has grown from zero in 1980 to 60,000 today. In Bihar province, once known as the “graveyard of missions,” one church baptizes 600 converts per month.
NEPAL – Nepal is a Hindu kingdom with harsh laws against the spread of Christianity. Converting to Jesus is punishable with 5 years in jail. Yet since the mid-1950’s the number of Nepalese Christians has grown from near zero to around 150,000. Last Easter, 4,500 Nepalese Christians gathered in front of the National palace for a prayer and praise rally. At the April 1992 conference of the “Nepal Christian Fellowship” plans were laid to increase churches from 200 to 8,000 by the year 2000.
LAOS – Local pastor Khan Ohou Keohavong reports that church membership has increased from 5,000 to 20,000 in the last five years.
VIETNAM – So many highland tribes are converting to Christianity that in early 1992 a Vietnamese newspaper article concluded: “We don’t know what is happening, but it is something called the ‘Good News’ religion.”
CHINA – Officials in Henan Province declared in 1992, “It was you Christians who brought down the regimes in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union, but here in China we will stop you now!” In the last 10 years the number of Christians in Henan Province grew from 260,000 to about 600,000. In Szechuan Province, home to one out of every 40 people on earth, 2,000 new churches have been planted in the last three years despite government opposition.
MONGOLIA – A team of German missionaries saw 1,500 residents of the western town of Olgiy convert to Christ in less than two months.
AFRICA – The Assemblies of God, which had only 2,000 churches in 1970, grew to almost 14,000 churches in Africa by 1991. Some missions experts estimate that as many as 20,000 Africans are coming to Christ every day. One example is Bursino Faso, where Assembly of God membership has gone from 25,000 to 350,000 since 1970.
There are many other examples from North and South America, Europe, the former Communist Bloc, Australia and Oceania. But they all have one thing in common. From every race and economic class, from the Arctic Ocean to the Sahara, from Zaire’s rain forest to the board rooms of Wall Street, men and women are serving Jesus with their whole lives. Christianity is the most wide spread ethnically diverse faith in the world.