June 15, 2017

Outlaw Grace: Spreading the Gospel through Hospitality


In Southeast Asia, Pastor Hansh* hears a knock at his door. He approaches cautiously, not sure who might be on the other side. He knows that at any time, the local authorities might arrive to remove him from his home.

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“Who’s there?” He asks. A woman’s voice comes through the door. “I am Bua, the one Brother Raul told you about. I was baptized last month and lost my job. I’ve come to learn the loom.” Pastor Hansh presses his eye to a small crack in the door and sees a woman, near middle age, with a young boy. Probably her son. “OK. I will let you in,” he says at last. “But please be careful. My house is being watched.”

Hansh opens the door and shows Bua to the corner, where there stands a weaving loom. His mind roams back over the past two weeks…the back-breaking effort it took to raise the money for this simple loom. Tomorrow, he will have to go out and begin raising money for another one. But for now, Bua, a new believer, will be able to eat and feed her son.

Hansh pastors in a rural village on the water, where Christianity is under attack. The local authorities have started identifying believers and kicking them out of their jobs and homes. At one time, Pastor Hansh was leading secret church services in a nearby chicken coop he had purchased—until the police raided it. Now the congregation of 135 believers meets in his home…in small groups at rare and unusual times. Mainly, Hansh works to provide these exiled villagers with supplies and job skills so they can continue to survive.

But it’s exactly this work of hospitality that’s causing the Gospel to grow in this village, in spite of the persecution. The church’s good deeds are a testimony of God’s power in a culture where many believe one good deed can outweigh 100 bad ones.

Recently, Pastor Hansh answered another knock at his door: that of an ICM staff member who came to discuss building a permanent church for the believers in this community. His sense of joy was overwhelming. Although Pastor Hansh must always be on watch, move locations, and sometimes wait patiently for chaos to end, he knows that God will honor His word and make a way for His people to worship Him freely.

Even where there seems to be no way.

*Name changed and location withheld for security reasons.

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