The people of this closed Asian nation experience more surveillance of their daily lives than anyone else on earth. It has been estimated that 54% of the world’s CCTV cameras are here. The government especially monitors any online activity related to Christianity and believers are suffering harassment and persecution.
Amazingly, despite these challenges, there is a revival happening! Thanks to the support of friends like you, Harvesters Ministries has planted 11,000 house churches over the last 3 years alone.
Operating Outside of Government Control
The rapidly expanding network of underground house churches operates outside of government control. The churches are considered illegal and local authorities conduct raids, make arrests and even imprison the pastors.
Furthermore, local friends informed us that two years ago the government introduced financial rewards to anyone who reported a house-church as a method of cracking down and dealing with the uncontrollable revival. It brought anxiety and distrust to the community of faith.
Overcoming Covid-19 Restrictions
Not only are believers watched wherever they go, but Covid-19 brought even more restrictions. Christians couldn’t gather and lost that all-important community which is necessary for encouragement and support in a persecuted country. It also meant that Harvesters’ training was paused.
But since December 2022, restrictions have relaxed, new Streams of church plants have started, and believers can once again gather to pray, study, worship and encourage one another. They have even begun planting churches in nearby countries!
A Growing Revival
One leader confessed that after Covid-19 he was worried many of the churches he hadn’t visited during the lockdowns would be closed. Instead, he found many of them are alive and well… and have new believers!
“It’s like a fishpond,” explained the pastor. “In the winter you can’t see a single fish, but when spring comes you see thousands of them.”
One prayer request he emphasised was for the financial rewards and reporting of house churches to stop. If they are reported, churches must close and pastors face prison. And once the government knows someone is a Christian pastor, not only do they suffer but their children – and their children’s children – will struggle even to get a job.
“But pastors are dedicated and have given their lives to the Lord,” he says.
He is thankful to believers like you who cover him in prayer as he ministers in the face of these challenges.
Our fellow brothers and sisters in Asia face many challenges, but their faith is strong and they continue to grow and thrive. Once local Christian summed it up best: “Nothing can stop real believers from gathering to worship.”