“The law from your mouth is more precious to me than thousands of pieces of silver and gold.” – Psalm 119:72 (NIV)
Paul* observed the dingy apartment block in the capital city of a country in Asia. The OM literature distributor followed a local believer inside to deliver Christian publications to her mother, Lily*. The poorly clad woman welcomed her daughter and the foreign guest into her home, where the old furniture revealed further signs of hardship. After giving the titles he had brought, Paul offered Lily money to help pay for her needs. Her unexpected response has had a lasting impact on Paul.
“Don’t bring us money,” Lily replied. “Bring us Christian books.”
“It was very humbling,” said Paul. “What an example. There she was with almost nothing, and she didn’t want money. It also showed me that our western solution of: ‘if someone is in poverty, we can help financially’ wasn’t her solution at all.”
Since this encounter ten years ago when Paul went to meet OM EAST partners in Asia, he continues to support brothers and sisters in Christ to receive God’s truth in their heart language.
“When you look at the quantity of Christian publications in the West and look at the quantity [believers in parts of Asia] have, it’s pitiful,” he stated. “Why should we have these resources and they don’t?”
Paul coordinates media publishing, copyright and distribution and has pioneered the training of a few believers to print books themselves. Once trained, Mina* printed her first book as Paul looked on. “You could see in her eyes her desire to go out and give it to her neighbours and know she never could,” he described. Paul saw Mina's joy in what she held, accompanied by the disappointment of not being able to share them freely. Jesus followers must be wise in communicating the gospel, therefore the copies are mainly for circulation among churches.
For the past decade, Paul has been working with a local church. This year when he supplied SD cards containing Christian media, he noticed a difference compared to his first visit. “Because of what they now have access to, they know what they don’t have,” explained Paul. “Today, the need is just as great, but they are now able to voice their needs and ask for specific titles and topics.” Believers are currently asking for resources to print more books in-country and requesting material on discipleship to help individuals grow in faith.
While visiting the region, Paul again witnessed how hard life is. Financial pressures increase as prices rise, and those experiencing health issues suffer due to poor medical care. During the pandemic, congregations faced loss as church members died of COVID-19. God’s people need His daily provision and protection as they seek to live out their faith in challenging environments.
The stories of people like Lily, who wanted spiritual nourishment more than financial help, or the special moment as Mina printed her first book, spur Paul on. “If the brothers and sisters are willing to keep pressing on and paying the price, I am willing to press on too as long as I have health and strength,” said Paul, who is past retirement age yet still working. He is looking for someone to take up the baton and continue providing biblical media and encouraging believers in Asia. Could you play a role in equipping the church in Asia with media in their heart language?
Photo: Melanie Wilson