Alliance News Feed – Christmas Comes to a Tiny, Forgotten Village
By B, an Alliance worker who serves with her husband, JS, in the North and Central Asia Region. Their team’s ministry to an unreached people group includes medical assistance for the ill and a cottage industry enabling impoverished village women to earn an income.
In June 2016, my husband and I entered a new village. In this economically and a spiritually oppressed area, there were no known Christians or churches.
We wanted to see if any of the village women would join our fair-trade cottage business, doing cross-stitch embroidery. Just a few older ladies were willing to leave their homes to look at the work.
When the younger wives tried to join us, their husbands told them to stay in their homes. We realized this village was quite fearful of strangers.
By the end of our first visit, just three older women had agreed to work on the cross-stitching. We told them that in a month and a half we would return to pick up their work and pay them.
The time arrived for us to return to the village, collect the embroidery, and pay the workers. This time more women agreed to do the cross-stitching, since they saw that we are true to our word.
Each time we returned to the village in the months that followed, more and more women agreed to do the cross-stitch work. As the numbers grew, we asked the women if they would like to listen to songs in their language. Many were interested, so we began giving them Christian music CDs and DVDs.
On a later visit, we asked if they wanted to watch a movie in their language. Again, they were interested. So we gave them the JESUS film DVD.
We wondered if the villagers watched or listened to the multimedia materials we’d handed out since no one talked about them. But we continued to pass out more Christian music CDs and the JESUS film.
After about a year of visiting the village, the women and their families were so comfortable with us that whenever we returned, many came out of their homes to visit with us. Even the villagers who didn’t do the cross-stitching joined in.
Celebration of a Holy Birth
In December 2017, my husband and I hosted a Christmas celebration with the village workers and their families. I asked the women, “What do you think Christmas is about?” Everyone thought it was the West’s New Year’s celebration.
When I told them that in their national language Christmas means “the celebration of a holy birth,” they realized what they had been listening to was true.
“But whose birth is it?” they asked.
I explained that Christmas is a celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, our Savior. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him will not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).
Immediately some of the ladies exclaimed, “Oh, in the movie you gave us, we saw Jesus being born, and He was laid in a manager. We saw it, and we remember—it is true!”
When I heard those words, I was elated. They had watched the JESUS film, and they had made the connection.
After our sharing time together and then giving a gift to each of the workers, I thanked the women for doing the cross-stitch work. Then I said, “I am a Christian. Can I pray for you?”
They all agreed. But it was very foreign to them. (This was the first time I had openly declared myself a believer to the villagers and prayed publicly—it was a risk.)
Why Are You Serving Us?
After I prayed, my husband and I served them a meal of cut-up fruit, homemade chicken noodle soup, and zucchini bread.
“We have never had such delicious food like this before!” they said. “And why would you serve us when we should be serving you? You are the boss.”
Where we work, we can’t openly share the gospel of Jesus Christ. But God makes a way for His light to enter—even into an insignificant, tiny village in the remotest corner of the world. Into this village the truth of Christ’s birth has pierced the hearts of the lost.
This is a treasured, Christ-centered Christmas memory for us. And we praise God for it!
Read the author’s recent article, “Hospitality: A Key to Conversion,” to learn how a gospel-resistant community has responded to visits in her home.
Source: Alliance News Feed – Christmas Comes to a Tiny, Forgotten Village