People living in a remote South Asian village gathered around a roll-up screen projector to watch a video about the rise and fall of mankind and the hope for humanity.
International Mission Board missionary Pierce Bennett, his national partner and a Western Christian gave them the option of watching a shorter video or a longer version. The villagers opted to watch the shorter to see if they wanted to commit to watching a lengthier one.
Pierce and his wife, Casey, serve in South Asia. The Bennetts and their teammates are responsible for ministering to 27 different unreached people groups living in remote regions.
“This is a true story that has spread throughout the whole world. It’s not just from America or from South Asia. It has gone all over the world. This is a story of God — God’s love and how we can have a relationship with Him,” Bennett and his national partners shared with the gathered group.
One woman in the crowd piped up, “And now, you’ve come here to our village to tell us this story.”
The video began with the creation of the world and traveled through history to Jesus’ coming.
After watching the first video, the villagers were all in for watching the longer video about Jesus’ life and sacrifice. When the second video ended, Pierce and his national partner asked if there were any questions and what they understood from the videos.
“Jesus came to die for our sins,” one person said.
Another said, “He came back to life.”
On the way back to the city where they live, Pierce and his national partner battled leeches and skirted landslides. To get to this village, they had to drive and then hike for nearly two hours. Getting to the village takes determination.
Their multiple visits testify to the importance of the stories they shared. Casey and their 1-year-old son have also made treks to the remote village. Short-term volunteer teams previously visited this people group’s village to share and conduct research.
On Pierce’s first visit, he and his national partners and three short-term missionaries met the woman who acted as a gateway to the community. When she heard the Americans were interested in learning about her people, she went door-to-door.
“Come, come,” she called, summoning her neighbors.
The weather was too hot that day to work outside, so everyone lounged inside — creating a perfect opportunity to share with more people.
They gathered on a long, covered porch. Pierce and his national partners asked about their village and community. They shared the gospel, contextualizing the message to fit what they learned about their culture.
Several weeks later, Pierce, another Western Christian and a national Christian returned to share the faith-based videos. While sin and darkness are depicted in the videos, hope and salvation are the victors — a certainty not known or guaranteed in their community.
Hinduism is the predominant religion in South Asia, but in many places, their beliefs are mixed with animism.
In addition to worshiping Shiva and Krishna, some South Asians revere smaller deities and shrines pay homage to them. One god this village adheres to is never consulted at night. They fear it will attack them in the dark. One woman the Bennetts met spreads manure around her house to protect it from evil spirits.
How to pray
These are the kinds of beliefs that build barriers to the truth. The Bennetts and other missionaries around the world face these challenges daily.
Pierce and Casey pray these villagers will choose to call on the God who will always answer and who is not governed by the rising or the setting of the sun.
Join the Bennetts in praying for a person or family in the village to commit their life to Christ, and through that person’s decision, others will choose to follow.
Pray for a church to start in this community.
Pray for perseverance because frequent visits take time and endurance.
Interested in learning how you can join a short-term team? Click here to learn more: https://www.imb.org/trips/
EDITOR’S NOTE — This story was written by Caroline Anderson and originally published by the International Mission Board.