South Asia church planter gets nurture for his vision

SOUTH ASIA (BP) -- Sampson* grew up in a Christian home where his father was the pastor of a large traditional church in South Asia. When Sampson got married, God began to stir his heart for a new work in one of South Asia's largest cities, more than 250 miles from his home and family.

Amid South Asia's 1.7 billion people, IMB workers are helping local leaders plant healthy churches.
IMB photo
The first few years of ministry there were difficult. Sampson and his wife lost their newborn baby shortly after birth. Then, one day as they gathered for worship and fellowship with friends, their house caught fire and they lost all their belongings.

Finally, their ministry partners made the abrupt decision to go separate ways after five years working together. Sampson and his wife were struggling financially and emotionally but they continued to believe that God had called them to live in this city.

A few weeks after Sampson and his wife were on their own, he met Cal*, a worker with the IMB (International Mission Board), and confided to Cal his deep desire to see healthy churches planted. Many of the 20 different groups Sampson was teaching each month had no baptized believers at all, but he had been told he was unqualified to administer the Lord's Supper or baptism without a seminary education.

Sampson and Cal subsequently spent hours together in the early mornings and evenings studying theology and comparing Sampson's traditional beliefs to the Bible. Sampson was convicted to rely on Scripture for authority, not tradition.

Sampson and his wife were soon baptized and began baptizing other believers in their groups. As Sampson grew in his faith, he committed to seeing all his groups become healthy, reproducing churches based on scriptural authority.

Today, Sampson's network has grown to more than 70 churches amid South Asia's cacophony of sounds and kaleidoscope of colors -- a region of 1.7 billion people searching for hope, even though it is the birthplace of four world religions.

Gifts through the Cooperative Program and the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering support Southern Baptists like Cal who provide theologically sound training to national believers as they grow toward becoming Christian leaders and disciple-makers.

To learn more about South Asian peoples, click here.

*Names changed.

Reported by the staff of the International Mission Board.
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