In South Asia, many of the churches we partner with minister in areas where Christians are a minority. The Christ-followers in these communities are committed to love, serve and bring light to their neighbours. Your support allows us to partner with these local churches, allowing them to reach their God-given potential.

“When I first started as a pastor, I didn’t think it possible to work amongst the [religious] majority community in our village,” says Taposh,* a pastor of one of our church partners in South Asia. “When Compassion came to our village, things looked different. Everybody in the community saw hope in the goals and commitment in the efforts made by the church to work with the poor who were most neglected in the broader society.”

In Pastor Taposh’s community, the number of children attending school has dramatically increased since his church started partnering with Compassion. The parents are learning that there are opportunities for their children’s futures other than subsistence farming, which is helping to reshape their mindsets.

Christians in these contexts must first build trust and strong relationships before finding nuanced ways to share their faith with others.

“We want people from other religions to see our acts and be influenced through it,” says Pastor Taposh.

These Christians still face discrimination and persecution. In another country in South Asia, Pastor Lidurshan* has been ministering for 22 years and still receives death threats. Three pastors have previously been killed in the area. The local merchants won’t sell to him, so he has to go to a larger city to buy items for the Compassion centre.

Yet, Pastor Lidurshan has unshakeable faith. He says, “We see God’s mercy in all of the things.”

Since the church and Compassion centre began in his area, this community has seen change. Suicide, child marriage and sexual assault are serious issues here. But the number of incidents has begun to decline, thanks to the intervention of the church and centre.

We at Compassion and all of our church partners are so thankful for our supporters who choose to sponsor a child in these highly challenging contexts.

“I would like the Christians in Canada to understand that churches working in a non-Christian community may face an uphill climb,” says Pastor Taposh. “But at the end of the day when I look back at how I have been able to exhibit Jesus-like actions amongst those who do not know Him, I feel rewarded for reaching out to those who need God in their lives the most.”

*Pseudonyms have been used to protect the identity of the pastors.

A picture, shoulder down, of a man standing outside wearing a blue shirt and holding a gray bag with a Bible in it.

Prayer prompts

“Each and every one of us involved in the church and Compassion centre had to face harsh times… But prayers kept us strong,” says Pastor Taposh.

Would you join us in praying for the Christians and churches who are ministering in these challenging communities?

Pray for the persecuted

Pray for churches, pastors and believers who are discriminated against, attacked or receive threats of violence. Uphold local authorities in prayer who are actively fighting persecution and safeguarding freedom of religion for all.

Pray: Heavenly Father, please grant strength to our brothers and sisters who are persecuted. Help them stand firm in perseverance. Ignite joy and settle peace into their hearts as they trust in You.

“Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5:10

Pray for favour

Pray that our church partners and Compassion will find favour in the eyes of local authorities so that ministry to children in poverty can continue.

Pray: Lord, please bestow your favour to these churches who seek to serve you. Establish the work of their hands, and bring favour to them in the eyes of authorities, leaders and communities.

“May the favour of the Lord our God rest on us; establish the work of our hands for us—yes, establish the work of our hands.” Psalm 90:17

Pray for God’s presence

Pray that Christians facing hardship would experience the presence of God and turn to Him as their source.

Pray: Dear Lord, please help these believers to remain in You. Help them continue to trust You and turn to You for all their needs. Help them sense and respond to the presence of the Holy Spirit in their lives.

“Remain in me, as I also remain in you.” Romans 15:4

Field reporting and photos by J. Sangma

Written by: Amber Van Schooneveld

Amber Van Schooneveld is the Managing Editor of Compassion International's blog.