The Silk Road
Our heart is to see the whole of the Silk Road redeemed. We have teams of people walking, riding, driving and throughout Asia and the Indian Subcontinent. We pray through the land, proclaim scripture and repent on behalf of those who have used these roads and this land to transport Opium and trafficked people.
On one of our recent prayer walks through a country in the Indian Subcontinent, we sent two teams out in different directions. When we met up that evening, we all talked about having met the same man. We knew that God was at work.
A few days later, some other members of our team met him again. They told him about Jesus, he believed and received the power of the Holy Spirit.
“Now I understand!” he said.
He pulled a crumpled piece of paper out of his pocket and opened it up to reveal a picture of Jesus on the cross.
“Five months ago, a foreigner left this in my rickshaw. I didn’t know what it was or what it meant, but I was sure that it was important. So since then, I’ve kept it with me, waiting to meet someone who can explain it to me. And today, you have.”
Through Myint Thein’s conversion, many members of his family have become Christians.
We have learnt that our job is to go to places, ask the Holy Spirit what He’s already doing there and then join in.
Mel came to us as a skinny 15 year old, living on the street, a second-generation sex-worker. Her life story is too awful to tell. But amazingly, when we met Mel, she somehow had an unshakeable belief that God had a plan for her life and that this wasn’t it. She was thrilled to come and live with us. Mel began to bloom; wearing pretty skirts and laughing loudly, beginning to look and act like a teenager. She hugs us all multiple times each day, because, she says, she’s never been hugged before.
Her relationship with Jesus has begun to grow, too. A few weeks after moving in with us, we were having a time of listening to the Holy Spirit.
Mel said she could see a picture of a waterfall that became a river of very clear water. There were fruit trees, she said, on either side of the river. Streams of people came to the trees, put the leaves on their wounds, and were healed.
You can imagine Mel’s surprise when we turned to Revelation 22:1-2:Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.
Our little girl had been given the same revelation as the apostle John! We were so grateful to the Holy Spirit for His great kindness. We believe that Mel’s life will be one which brings healing to many wounded in her own nation and in others too.
We recently celebrated Mel’s 16th birthday – her first party ever. When we presented her with a homemade cake, iced in her favourite colour, she broke down sobbing. After 16 years of abandonment, neglect and abuse, God has finally brought her home. Home to a place where she is loved and cared for, and where, we hope, she can experience some of what she missed growing up.
Both of Lyn’s parents died when she was young, and her four siblings were split between relatives on different islands.
Lyn’s new family treated her as the household slave, and at the age of 11, she decided she’d rather live on the street.
Our congregation’s outreach teams got to know Lyn through the communal meals they do twice a week on the streets. Lyn would often come to eat and worship and read the Bible before trailing off after her gang-leader boyfriend, back into the dark streets.
When she was 16, Lyn gave birth to a beautiful little girl. They lived together on the street for the first 7 months of the baby’s life, during which time she steadily lost weight. At our Easter celebration, we finally convinced Lyn to take the severely malnourished baby to hospital. She was immediately admitted and treated for advanced pneumonia. Upon discharge, one of our families took her into their house, setting up a bed in their living room for Lyn and her baby.
But the baby wasn’t putting on weight. Doctors finally discovered that she had cerebral palsy, and was unable to swallow milk. After a time of feeding through a gastronasal tube, she slowly began to look less emaciated. I still remember the first time she had enough strength to cry out loud. We fed her around the clock through her tube, delighting in little victories like the appearance of eyebrows and the slow deposits of fat appearing on her body.
Soon after, Lyn and her baby came to live with us. For a whole year, Lyn woke every 3 hours to begin the long process of tube feeding her baby. She travelled with her baby to physiotherapy three times a week, went back and forth to our amazing paediatrician. For a 16- year-old just off the streets, she did amazingly well. But eventually the constant, exhausting care pushed her way beyond her limits. There were times when she seemed to lose all hope.
The worst happened in February, 2013, when our gorgeous little one succumbed to all her illnesses, and stopped breathing in her sleep. Her death was devastating, but Lyn came through it stunningly. She grieved and wept and talked, but never showed a hint of bitterness or anger. We were all amazed.
She also began to see and believe – probably for the first time – how much we all loved her. As we walked with her through the funeral and burial and aftermath of the life of this baby that we all loved, she began to feel part of a family.
Today, Lyn is a laughing, energetic young woman. She is able to express her feelings in a group and even to cry in front of others. She worships with her whole heart, and has a mean volleyball spike. She gets excited about the Bible and is studying in the our home-schooling programme.
Lyn has also developed a love for India, and she wants to go there and share Jesus with the poor. But right now are stuck as to how to obtain a birth certificate for her, let alone a passport! More miracles are needed.
In the meantime, Lyn is preparing by learning all the Bollywood songs she can. There’s a line in her current favourite which says, “Give me another chance, I want to grow up once again”. When we hear her laugh filling the house and see her blossoming into a beautiful young woman, we can only shake our heads and worship at the kindness and love of a God who is allowing her to do just that.
The lame are healed
On one of our prayer walking trips in the mountains, we came across a young boy begging at the gate of a village. After dramatic surgery on his leg, he couldn’t walk. He was 13-years-old but looked far younger. We later found out that his parents encouraged him to beg.
We stopped and prayed for him. Immediately, we felt God say that he wanted to heal him, but on that day we had no translator. All we had was a story book about Jesus healing the paralytic after his four friends lower him from the roof. As we showed him the book, he was filled with excitement and started smiling. As we continued to pray, one of our group had a word of knowledge about washing his feet. As we did, his shame was washed away, and he looked totally different.
We laid hands on his legs and asked God to heal him. We lifted him up to help him walk, but initially he was very weak. We encouraged him to pray the only words we knew in his dialogue: ‘Thank you, Jesus.’
As he said it, his legs slowly started to strengthen. We prayed for him for over an hour, and as we did he gradually began to walk with the help of a stick. We gave him the stick to practice and he kept going. As the villagers passed by, they couldn’t believe it – no one had ever seen him stand up.
Sadly, the story didn’t end there. A couple of months later, we met him again, and his family had forced him to go back to begging at at the village gate. But as we approached him, he stood up and gave us a huge smile.
On one of our outreach trips our guide, Sarah, was so compelled by what we were doing that she received Jesus. Very soon her husband and two daughters also became Christians.
It was a tough time for them. They had to keep quiet about their new found faith, as if the rest of their village found out, they would be in great danger. Not only this, but during this time, Sarah’s sister was trafficked to China – a common occurrence for the poor villagers in this country. Sarah and her family were trying to find her, but knew that this was almost impossible. Every year, thousands of women were trafficked into China and never seen again.
So, we decided to pray.
One month later, miraculously, Sarah’s sister returned.
She told us that she had escaped from her captors and hid in a forest. Amazingly, there she met a woman who gave her 100RMB which she hid in her shoe. She was taken to the police station where the police held her in custody in order to check her information. They sent her back to the border of her home country, but no further.
If she didn’t have the money in her shoe, there is no way she would have made it home.
When we met Sarah’s sister and explained that we had been praying, she believed in Jesus and the whole family were baptised.
We met Hanna and her 80% blind husband while they were living on the street; she had a childlike sweetness and naivety.
She was pregnant and told us that two of her babies had died before, inside her and she couldn’t really remember any details. We offered to lay hands on her current baby and pray for her. From that day on, she would not allow us to pass by without saying a prayer with her for her unborn child.
Hanna was rightly labelled as a very high-risk pregnancy; as well as her history, she contracted malaria and another severe infection during her pregnancy. We spent many hours visiting her in the hospital, praying for her speedy recovery and the safety for the baby.
Some friends of ours offered to pay for Hanna to give birth in a private hospital – a miracle of provision, as the government hospitals where we live are lacking in facilities.
When the time came, Hanna gave birth to a baby boy by Caesarean, (recommended by the doctor at the private hospital). She is so grateful to God for her baby’s life, for our care and for a good place to give birth.
Alan had been watching us for while.
He had a medical file an inch thick detailing his incurable diseases. He was desperate; not sleeping, and in pain a lot of the time. One doctor told him he had only a few months to live.
Alan approached two of our guys while they were going to visit some friends. He said; “I’ve been watching you and I need your God”. He gave his life to Jesus on the spot, received the power of the Holy Spirit and spoke in tongues. Alan agreed to ask Jesus to help him sleep. We explained that he could just talk to Him, like a friend.
A few days later, we bumped into Alan. With great excitement, he told us that the night after we met him, when his body was in great pain, he started talking to Jesus. And before he could finish his prayer, he had drifted off to sleep. He woke up the next morning after the longest sleep he’d had in years. He was convinced that Jesus was real and that He had heard him.
Alan is still alive to tell of all of the good things God is doing in his life, and reaching out to others to share what he has received.
Laura was the first girl who came to live with us. Abandoned by her mother as an infant and then passed around by relatives of her drug-dealing father, she grew up uncared for and vulnerable to abuse. She came to live with us after she had been deceived and sold for sex by her neighbours.
When Laura first arrived, she was deeply traumatized. Hours of catatonic silence alternated with times of weeping. She would hide under her bed, refusing to come out or talk to anyone.
Right from the beginning Laura has been a worshipper. She immediately found comfort in the embrace of her Heavenly Father, and in the sweet words He spoke to her.
Over the past three years, we’ve been prayer walking through a South East Asian country. We have a special heart for the mountainous rural areas, where the villagers live in severe poverty and haven’t yet met Jesus. Gradually over time, as we’ve walked from village to village, we’ve met many families who have come to know Jesus. We don’t yet have a permanent base in this country, so we go back as often as we can to disciple them.
On one of our trips, we decided to make dinner for one of the families we’ve met whom we had already led to Jesus. So, we went to market to buy enough food for us all. There were eight of them, and four of us, so 12 in total.
We made sure we bought meat from the market, as the family had told us that they might only eat meat once or twice a year.
At the market we bumped into a couple of girls who we’d met on previous trips who’d also become Christians. So, they came with us. On our way to the village, we bumped into another family that we knew! So, we sat with them and read aloud the story of Jesus feeding the 5000. They were amazed, as were the girls who we bumped into at the market. They loved the story but said ‘surely it’s impossible – there’s no way Jesus could feed so many people with so little. He must have gone to the shops to buy food.’ We explained that the story happened in a remote rural region, like the one we were in. There were no shops. After reading the story, the family decided to come with us to the village for dinner. We were slightly worried as we knew we only had enough food for 12, but we welcomed them to join us anyway. On we went. But as we approached the village, we bumped into another family that we knew, so they came with us too.
When we arrived at the village and the home of the family we were cooking dinner for, it caused quite a stir. Children from around the village started joining our party, intrigued by what was going on. Soon, there were about 50 people gathered and it was chaos! There were children running around, and not enough room for everyone to sit down. We started to cook, but knew that there wasn’t enough. So we prayed and asked Jesus to multiply what we had.
I told my team not to eat too much and to let the guests eat as they so rarely had meat. When we’d finished, we served up the food. There was one small bowl of meat, one of vegetables, one of rice. Just enough for 12 people – certainly no more.
But as we served the food, very cautiously at first, the bowls of food didn’t get any smaller. As we continued to dish it up, the piles remained that same size. So we served more, and more. In the end, everyone ate until we were completely full. All of this, from just one handful of meat. We couldn’t believe it. The two girls who came with us to the market finally understood what happened in the gospel story, because it had happened to us.
Most remarkably of all, the leftover food fed the family for a whole week.
Man with TB healed
Last year, we set up a new house for addicts in the Indian Sub-continent.
One of the men who came to live with us had multi drug-resistant TB. So we got friends and family in other countries praying for him around the clock. He started crying out to God and the Holy Spirit showed him that he needed to forgive his family. So he did.
Six months later and his sputum test was completely clear: he has been declared ‘clean’ of TB by the government.
And there have been many more physical healing miracles: a painful arm healed in an instant of worship, and a man who previously could not walk to the end of the road able to do a two hour steep climb up a mountain!
It is not only our bodies that God has been healing but also our land. Our garden is bringing forth wonderful vegetables where the previous occupants had said nothing would grow.
Our prayer is always that our Father would give us enough to give away.