How do you explain Christmas to someone who has never celebrated the holiday? Gospel for Asia-supported missionaries and staff start by sharing the story of Christ. Each year during the weeks leading up to Christmas, missionaries, Bridge of Hope workers and office staff fan out and share the Good News about the Savior who was born in a stable.
Each group of GFA workers creates their own program and chooses their own venue for sharing the Christmas story.
Singing and Praying
In one area, staff and missionaries visited a hospital and sang Christmas carols for the patients, doctors and nurses.
“When you were singing, I felt heaven coming down and the presence of the Lord covering this place,” one of the patients told the missionaries.
They also took time to share the story of Jesus and to pray for the patients. One man, who had been bedridden for 10 years, was brought to tears by the prayers.
“Now I have peace and joy in my life. I thought no one loves me, but now I understand that Jesus loves me,” he said.
Seeing Answered Prayer
This same group also sang carols and prayed for the people at a local military base, where they had sung and handed out Gospel tracts the year before. Many remembered them from their previous year’s visit and warmly welcomed them back. Team members were blessed to hear about answers to their prayers from the previous year.
They met a baby whom they had prayed for while he was still in his mother’s womb. They had also prayed for the mother after discovering her husband had been paralyzed in an accident. The team rejoiced on this return visit when they saw the husband up walking around again.
“I was waiting for you to come this year so that I could testify of God’s miracle to you,” the new mother told the team.
Another family at the military base thanked the team for praying for their 10-year-old son the previous year. The boy had a mental problem that made it impossible for him to perform even the most basic functions, like standing up. The team praised the Lord after seeing the boy standing up and joyfully clapping along to their songs.
After visiting the hospital and the military base, the team turned its attention to the marketplace. They went out to the bustling streets in their community and sang songs, which always attracts a crowd. The people who gathered to hear the concert received Gospel tracts and New Testaments.
Another street party was held on December 23 in front of the GFA administrative office in that area. The GFA team worked with Christians from other organizations, and together, they led a candlelight Christmas worship service and shared the Gospel with those who gathered to participate.
On Christmas Day, the believers gathered for worship, and after the service, the Women’s Fellowship teams distributed food packets to beggars and homeless people in the busy railway station. They also handed out Gospel tracts and New Testaments to the people in the station.
The First Official Christmas in Nepal
Gospel for Asia-supported missionaries had the unique opportunity to share the Gospel on the first-ever publicly recognized Christmas holiday in Nepal. That’s because 2009 was the first year the Nepali government declared Christmas as an official holiday.
Believers and the missionaries who serve as their pastors had worship services to mark the holiday and invited people from the local communities. The pastors clearly presented the Gospel and gave Bibles to visitors. In one area, 12 people chose to follow Christ after hearing about Him at church that day.
GFA-supported workers joined with the local churches to produce a Christmas program that runs on Nepali television stations throughout the country. Missionary leaders were also guests on several radio programs during which they had the opportunity to share about Christ and His role in the Christmas celebration.
While it is obvious that all of this reaching out in love during Christmas goes a long way toward showing the love of Jesus to those who have never heard, it serves another purpose as well, according to one GFA leader.
“Christmas becomes real when we are truly able to express the love of God and the Gospel of Jesus Christ with others,” he said.
Be part of expressing the love of God in a very tangible way this Christmas. Find items, both small and large, in our Christmas Gift Catalog that will help a family in Asia celebrate Christmas for the first time.
First published: December 2010
*Names of people and places may have been changed for privacy and security reasons. Images are GFA stock photos used for representation purposes and are not the actual person/location, unless otherwise noted.