2016 Special Report

Persevering Together for the Faith

Gospel for Asia and its partnerships worldwide seek to share Christ's love and transform communities in more than 18 nations.

KP Yohannan Portrait

Letter from K.P. Yohannan

Hello, my dear friends,

How I wish I could sit with you, share some chai and tell you about all the amazing things God did in 2016 through your partnership and through the lives of our brothers and sisters on the field. If I think about all the good things that happened just last year in 2016, I'm amazed once again by how great our God is!

Men, women and children in Asia are living new lives in Christ Jesus. We've seen people healed from life-threatening diseases, the poor freed from poverty, discrimination against women reduced, congregations strengthened by God's Word—and that is only the beginning. We've also seen our brothers and sisters on the field endure a tremendous amount of opposition for the sake of Christ.

In the U.S., we too have had our share of struggles and difficulties, as you likely are aware. Yet in the midst of it all, we have seen the Lord faithfully sustain us and go before us day after day.

By God's grace, in 2016 we've seen amazing accomplishments in the field. This report shows only a small part of what God is doing on the mission field. I wish we had the means to share with you every story of all that has taken place this past year, but my prayer is that even through this brief report, you will get a glimpse of the miraculous ways the Lord is moving throughout Asia.

I want you to know that if you have ever prayed, if you have ever supported, if you have ever given of your time or resources so people in Asia may know our Lord, you have not done it in vain. One thing is certain: We are striving together for the faith.

Our hearts at GFA are gripped more than ever by the passion the Lord first gave us 38 years ago: to take His love, in word and deed, to the untold millions who've never experienced hope in this life—but who may experience it in the life to come. God is answering our prayers, and you are part of seeing that fulfilled.

I thank you, my brother, my sister, for joining us on this journey. Your sacrifice is not in vain. I hope this special report encourages you.

May our Lord bless you and keep you.

Your servant for Christ,

K.P. Yohannan, Founder of GFA

Read the rest of the letter from K.P. Yohannan

National Missionaries

The Lord God has consecrated men and women throughout Asia to be His servants in ministering His Word to those who are perishing without having heard His name. These are GFA-supported workers. They are the hands of Love, giving Christmas gifts to poor and destitute families; they are the mouth of Comfort, speaking words of freedom to fathers trapped in addiction and to mothers desperate for help; they are the feet of Peace, bringing messages of hope amid adversity and hardships.

Missionary and Bicycle

When No One Wanted to Hear

Pastor Gobi knelt on the ground while the sound of his prayers filled the air. Soon he would begin his ministry and pray for the sick and needy. On his knees he would find victory. Gobi didn't know it then, but a long journey of faith and endurance awaited him.

Village Opposes Christ's Love

Early in the morning, GFA-supported pastor Gobi felt the Lord's prompting to share God's love in one particular village, so he made his way there. But when he arrived, the pastor faced utter rejection. The villagers were worshiping their traditional deities, trying to find joy and peace in their hearts. They offered sacrifices to them, hoping to receive blessings, and they had no room for Pastor Gobi's message of hope in Christ.

With threatening words, they told him to leave and not return.

A Heart Committed to Prayer

Even though it was difficult, Pastor Gobi prayed and sought God's face, asking Him to prepare the soil of the villagers' hearts and minds to know the Lord's grace. Because this matter burdened his heart, he began to fast and pray every Friday for the village—something he would do for three years.

As time went by, Pastor Gobi felt full of the Lord's courage, so he once again visited the village that had harshly rejected the Good News. Gobi spoke with the villagers and shared God's love. At the end of the day, he met a man named Tosa.

Even though it was difficult, Pastor Gobi prayed and sought God's face, asking Him to prepare the soil of the villagers' hearts and minds to know the Lord's grace.

Meeting a Troubled Man

Tosa was known as the poorest man in his village. Though Tosa and his wife both worked as much as they could, they were barely scraping by. If they couldn't work, they didn't eat that day.

Tosa knew that if he could get to the city, he would find better work and be able to feed his family. But there was a problem: His family owned only one bicycle, and his children needed it to get to school each day. There were no other means of transportation he could afford. So he stayed in his village—sometimes walking by foot to nearby villages—looking for work so his family could live.

Doors Begin to Open

Whenever Pastor Gobi visited the village, he made it a point to check in with Tosa and his family. As they saw the genuine love and care Gobi shared with them, they decided to learn about Jesus by attending church.

When Pastor Gobi organized a Christmas gift distribution, he requested that Tosa be added to the list of recipients. Two months later, Tosa was presented with a bicycle. With this useful gift, Tosa traveled to the city and began to earn a better living. Soon his family could enjoy three meals a day, and he was even able to purchase more clothing for his family, including school uniforms for his children.

Breakthroughs in the Village

As Tosa and his family's lives began to transform, the villagers watched them closely. Slowly others' hearts began to soften. Their ideas about Pastor Gobi and God began to change. The villagers began to take the literature Pastor Gobi offered, and they read it with curiosity. They have begun to ask Pastor Gobi for prayer when they are sick or in need of peace.

As Pastor Gobi faithfully prayed, the Lord listened and answered the cries of his heart. Now Christ's love is freely shared in a village that once rejected it.

Learn more about National Missionaries »

Church
Thousands of worship communities were established throughout Asia
Believer Worshipping
Tens of thousands throughout Asia experienced the love of Christ
Film Ministry
321 film teams presented the message of Love through movies
Film Showing

Preparing for Suicide

It was September 4, 2016, and Kaamila prepared dinner for herself and her daughter. Grabbing the poison off the shelf, she mixed the only relief she could imagine into their meal. Kaamila's life was miserable.

Her husband stayed away from her. Her daughter never obeyed her. Kaamila felt it was better to end her life than to live it. After she finished mixing in the poison, she went looking for her daughter so they could die together. She found her next door with a crowd of people watching a movie hosted by a GFA-supported film team.

Kaamila became engrossed in the movie, which was about a family so entrenched in debt they had planned suicide. Tears streamed down Kaamila's cheeks as she watched.

One of the film-team missionaries approached the grieving woman and discovered her situation. She comforted Kaamila and shared more about God's love. Then the film team went to Kaamila's house, threw out the poisoned food and prayed. A friendship soon developed, and Kaamila began seeing miracles in her family. Her husband became attentive to her. Her daughter was obedient—thanks to a children's club the missionaries had started. The Lord replaced Kaamila's sorrow with peace.

"The Lord Jesus changed my family's fate," she says. "I will be a witness for Him throughout my life."

Learn more about Film Ministry »

Church Building

The Beauty that Drew Him In

The people in Birbal's village looked down on the Christians. Those followers of Jesus worshiped their God in a small mud house that always leaked on them during the rainy season.

For years, the believers prayed, and on September 12, 2015, their new place of worship was completed. After six months, in March 2016, Birbal's curiosity about the beautiful building in his village overcame him, and he began attending the worship services held there.

"Really, we did not know much about Jesus Christ," he shared a few months later. "The church building motivated us to know the Lord. Today, we are so happy to go to church and worship Him."

Birbal and his wife, along with several others in their village—including those who once looked down on the Christians—have come to know Jesus as the faithful God.

Learn more about Church Buildings »

Learn more about National Missionaries

Children's Ministry

When a child knows they are loved by their father, it changes who they are and the way they live their life. Through GFA's children's ministry, many lives are being transformed as children throughout Asia discover the love of the Heavenly Father. Whether it's through GFA-supported Bridge of Hope centers, Vacation Bible School, Sunday School, or the specialized help found in our homes for abandoned and runaway children, young boys and girls are encountering the grace and love of God, enabling them to excel and live out abundant and joyful lives.
Bridge of Hope

Dreaming of Food and Schoolbooks

Angry shouts filled the room. The smell of alcohol clung to Kuwar as he yelled at his family. Kuwar's youngest son, Bijay, hunkered down amidst the familiar scene. His schoolbooks lay abandoned—how could he study while his father was enraged?

Food was scarce in Bijay's house, but the supply of his father's strong drink never ran short. Although Kuwar had a job as a laborer in paddy fields, he relinquished very little of his income to provide for his family. His wife struggled to make ends meet, and her difficulty to provide food only worsened over time.

Living in the Wake of Destruction

Bijay's family lived in a village riddled with poverty. Civil war had ravaged the region, and many lives remained shattered.

While some families were financially stable, other families were unable to give their children proper food or opportunities to continue their education. Some children labored alongside their parents to help earn money instead of attending school. Their futures uncertain, they did all they could just to buy food for the day.

Bijay watched his parents struggle—one trapped in an addiction and the other caught in its wake—and worried about his family. Many other children in his village were poor, but Bijay saw some of his friends eating good food, wearing new clothes to school and studying with new school materials. The sharp contrast between his family and these other families made Bijay wonder when he would be the boy happily going to school with a full stomach and nice clothes.

With so many children in need of assistance, Bridge of Hope staff members pray for wisdom and carefully interview families to determine which children need help first.

Bridge of Hope Turns Dream into Reality

Then one day, some GFA-supported Bridge of Hope staff members visited Bijay's home, conducting a survey to invite additional children to join the Bridge of Hope center in the area. With so many children in need of assistance, Bridge of Hope staff members pray for wisdom and carefully interview families to determine which children need help first.

After the staff members talked with Bijay's family and learned of his plight, they decided to enroll him in Bridge of Hope.

The day Bijay had always dreamed of finally came! Knowing the young boy's need, the Bridge of Hope staff gave Bijay new shoes, school uniforms, school supplies and even a new backpack for carrying his precious books. Bijay also received a nutritious meal each school day and regular medical checkups, which enabled him to grow stronger physically.

Prayer, Counseling Transform Alcoholic Father

Yet even with these joys, the problems in Bijay's family still burdened his heart. Worry held Bijay back in his studies, preventing him from being able to concentrate well.

When the Bridge of Hope staff understood what was troubling Bijay, they helped him. They visited Bijay's father often and encouraged him to leave his drinking habit. The young boy learned that his teachers truly cared about his family and, even better, that Jesus cared about his family, too. Bijay faithfully prayed for his father, asking Jesus to help Kuwar overcome his alcohol addiction.

Gradually, Kuwar stopped drinking and his love for his family grew stronger. The money Kuwar would have used to buy his alcohol now went to meet the needs of his family, which made a substantial impact on their financial situation.

As Bijay's worries faded away, he diligently applied himself to his studies, thankful for the help he received at the Bridge of Hope center.

"I thank Jesus for blessing my family," Bijay shared.

God worked through Bridge of Hope to shine joy into the life of young Bijay and to also bring peace to his entire family.

Learn more about Bridge of Hope »

Bridge of Hope
82,000 children are now enrolled in Bridge of Hope throughout Asia
Vacation Bible School
More than 300,000 children attended a VBS program
Vacation Bible School

Learning to Respect, Obey Her Parents

Thirteen-year-old Sachika was unruly. She hung out with bad company and quit school. She rebelled against her parents' discipline and would shout at them. Her behavior hurt her mother and father, but there was nothing they could do to help her.

One day, Sachika's former classmate Pranja found her playing with her friends. She told Sachika all about the lessons and activities she participated in that day during a GFA-supported Vacation Bible School. After listening, Sachika was curious to know more about this VBS, and so the very next day she joined Pranja.

As Sachika sat and listened to the Bible story, which was about Zaccheus, the Spirit touched her heart. She realized how terribly she had treated her parents, and her heart ached at how disrespectful she had been toward them. Just like the wee little tax collector, Sachika realized she too had been unfaithful to others—but for once she felt sorry for it.

From that day on, Sachika's life began to change. She made up her mind to obey her parents and go back to school. Sachika's parents saw her sudden, beautiful transformation and were amazed. Today she and her parents love and walk with Jesus.

Learn more about Vacation Bible School »

Sunday School

No Longer Living for the World's Pleasures

Taksheel's mother had no idea her 15-year-old son was drinking and getting into trouble. Being the oldest boy of the family, Taksheel's parents pampered him, but this only led to him becoming spoiled and rambunctious.

And because his mother was busy caring for the family and his father was often away, Taksheel did as he pleased, engaging in bad habits with his friends. Taksheel's neighbor, who was a Sunday School teacher at a church led by a GFA-supported pastor, noticed Taksheel's destructive course and began to speak into Taksheel's life. Although Taksheel did not want to listen, his neighbor remained faithful to guide the young man. Soon their friendship thrived, and Taksheel began to respect and listen to him—he even started going to Sunday School.

As Taksheel sat in on the classes, he learned more about Jesus and found there is no peace apart from Him. God's Word took root in Taksheel's life and opened his eyes. He thought deeply about the lessons he learned, and slowly, as he tasted God's goodness, the world's pleasures faded away.

In February 2016, Taksheel asked God to forgive him and began living a different life. His mother praised God for his transformation.

Learn more about Sunday School Ministry »

Devoted to One Another in Brotherly Love

I sat on the deck of the boat, my skin sticky from the humidity while a warm breeze brushed the hair off my face. As I looked past the murky brown river, I could see a group of almost-naked children on the far shore playing and laughing in the water. Behind them in the distance were thatched huts nestled by the trees. Closer to me, coming from the deck below, I heard happy, quick voices speaking words I could not understand. One by one, the faces of the missionaries below came up the ladder, smiles beaming and eyes sparkling.

Before I visited Asia to see the work GFA supports, I had anticipated my heart being burdened for the desperate people I would see. I was prepared to be impacted by the transformed lives I would meet inside the churches. What I didn't foresee was the deep connection I would experience with the men and women missionaries I would walk alongside. Their infectious joy and dedication to the Lord called me to something deeper.

These men and women were exactly whom I imagined them to be yet completely different.

I have read the amazing stories coming out of Asia: miraculous healing, supernatural protection in the face of persecution, and hundreds experiencing the love of Jesus personally through the humble service of Sisters of Compassion. When I was in Asia, I met a Sister of Compassion. I met a missionary whom escaped persecution. I met a pastor whom God used to bring miraculous healing. And when I met them, I met my brother and my sister, my co-laborer, my friend. I felt a deep attachment and camaraderie to these precious servants of the Lord.

I am one of them, and they are one of us.

Now that I'm home from my trip, I often think of the brothers and sisters I met in Asia. My joy and dedication to the Lord has multiplied with each individual I met oversees.

Romans 12 verses 5 and 10 now have flesh and blood for me. When I read these verses, I am back on that boat, floating on a river, seeing the smiling faces and laughing eyes of my friends as they serve in the remote islands of Asia.

"So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another. Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them . . . "
—Romans 12:5-6a

Women's Ministry

Many women across the Asian nations have been abused, oppressed and are living dejected lives, but GFA-supported workers are offering them hope and dignity. Women are discovering how much value they have in the eyes of the One who loves them so much that He gave Himself for them. And they are being given the chance to live new lives—lives they didn't even know they could dream about. GFA's ministry to women is vast, encompassing many aspects for the holistic development of women. Through it women are learning how to read and write, a skill that will protect them from signing bad contracts or from being cheated in the marketplace; widows are cared for and shown love when all they've known before is rejection; mothers are taught health care practices, which will enable them to better care for their children and families—even saving lives.
Learning How to Save Her Baby

Learning How to Save Her Baby

Not a single nurse or doctor could be found among the 1,500 people in Kinjal's village, yet the lack of medical help hardly concerned the general population. Along the dirt roads that wove through the thatched-roof homes in the village lived superstitions and misunderstandings about health care, especially concerning pregnancies.

Some people thought visiting the doctor would result in worse health after taking all the medicine, while others were simply afraid of receiving shots or swallowing pills. Some women feared that iron supplements taken during pregnancy would cause the baby to grow faster and hurt the mother in the process.

A lack of knowledge about general health and hygiene also caused many people to get sick. Some worked outside all day in the intense humidity and wore the same sweat-drenched clothes for several days at a time—without taking baths. In the homes, surroundings were often dirty, and food could be found uncovered, inviting insects and other critters to a feast.

In light of their neighbors' living situations, Kinjal and her husband, a GFA-supported pastor named Rahas, recognized the crucial need to conduct a health care training seminar for the women in their village. One of those women was Sarasi.

Unawareness Causes Tragedy

Sarasi (pictured) and her husband, Cholan, were both believers and were married for five years before they had their first daughter. A few years later, Sarasi became pregnant again. Like many women in her village, Sarasi didn't know how to take care of her body while expecting a child—nobody taught her how.

"I was very sad when I learned that our baby died in my wife's womb. I regretted the situation we lived in because none of us had the knowledge or information about how to take care of a pregnant lady."

Visiting the doctor for a pregnancy checkup was unheard of in her family. Being a hard worker, Sarasi often carried heavy loads that strained her body, and she knew little about the importance of day-to-day cleanliness in the home, including the simple act of hand washing. Sadly, unawareness led to Sarasi's eventual miscarriage during her second pregnancy.

"I was very sad when I learned that our baby died in my wife's womb," Cholan remembers. "I regretted the situation we lived in because none of us had the knowledge or information about how to take care of a pregnant lady."

Yet in their time of grief, Sarasi and Cholan found comfort in the encouragement of their neighbors, Kinjal and Pastor Rahas—and in the presence of the Lord.

Seminar Inspires a New Lifestyle

Sometime later, Kinjal invited Sarasi to attend a health care training seminar in the village, led by the local Women's Fellowship. During the training, approximately 30 women learned how to take care of themselves and their families, including little ones growing in the womb.

Sarasi and the other women were taught how important it is for women to visit the doctor and take prescribed medicines and to put fewer, less physical demands on their bodies when they are pregnant. They also learned simple ways to keep a household clean and free of dangerous bacteria.

A Precious Gift

Sarasi's family is healthy now, and it's growing: The Lord blessed Sarasi and Cholan with a baby boy not long after the seminar. The proud parents know their son is a gift from God.

"I will teach my child to trust and believe in God," Cholan says. "[I will tell him], ‘It is our trust and faith in Jesus that you were born healthy and sound, so you are actually a gift and an answer from our God.' "

Learn more about Women's Ministry »

Women's Literacy
21,000 adult women learned how to read and write
Health Care Training
381,412 women received free health care training
Women's Fellowships
206 new Women's Fellowships were started throughout Asia
Women's Fellowships

Candles Lead to Security

GFA-supported worker Shila could see the dire need of the women in her village. Some of their husbands were drunkards who didn't care for their families. Many of the women felt abandoned. To help them, Shila and the ladies in the Women's Fellowship decided they would bring value and purpose to these women's lives by teaching them a new skill: candle making.

For one lady, learning this new skill meant she could spend more time with her children and provide for their education. Manitha had labored as a servant in people's homes to make up for her husband's lack of provision. Consumed by the bottle, he spent his earnings drinking. However, Manitha's and her husband's lives drastically changed when they met Shila and her husband, a GFA-supported pastor, a couple years ago. Although her husband quit drinking, Manitha still worked hard for their family's survival.

But by March 2016, Manitha had acquired a new job: making and selling her own candles. Her husband even began helping her by selling her candles to shopkeepers. Manitha hopes that with her new earnings, she can meet her children's educational needs and save for future expenses.

Find out how you can pray for Women's Fellowships »

Women's Literacy

She Cannot be Deceived

As a child Baasima labored so her family could survive. Her parents didn't send her to school; there was no need for knowledge when labor brought you money, which brought you food. Work—not school—kept you alive.

"I knew nothing. I did not know even the . . . alphabet," Baasima, 40, recalled.

When GFA-supported Sisters of Compassion began ministering in the area where she lived, Baasima finally had the chance to learn.

"I became literate at the age of 40," she said. "I have been deceived many times because of my illiteracy. When I used to go for shopping, bad shopkeepers deceived me, taking more money and not returning the balance amount. But now I can calculate myself. They cannot deceive me. I am very happy now. I am very thankful to Sisters of Compassion . . . for teaching us."

Learn more about Literacy Ministry »

Community Development

One of the most beautiful ways we see the GFA world striving together is through community development. People like you work alongside GFA-supported workers to help provide for those in most need. Families trapped in poverty receive income-generating gifts such as barnyard animals, rickshaws or sewing machines. Communities in dire need of clean water receive Jesus Wells, which also offer a message of the free gift of Living Water. Individuals in need of tools to improve their quality of life receive gifts such as mosquito nets, blankets and toilets. Through GFA-supported community development projects, men, women and children are finally able to overcome years of challenges and experience the love of Christ in tangible ways.
Water Buffalo

Blessings Beyond Full Tummies

Tavleen (pictured) tearfully took the rope from the pastor's hand, overwhelmed at the gift staring back at her from the other end of the leash. Was this water buffalo really hers? Who would give her, a lonely widow, such a valuable gift?

Living in Death's Shadow

Tavleen had lived a difficult life in a small, unfinished house with her husband, Bhavin, and their two young children. Bhavin was the sole breadwinner for the family, and although money was scarce, they managed to provide scanty meals for their children.

Then one day, Bhavin had a heart attack and collapsed. He was gone. The family's financial situation was already precarious, and the death of Tavleen's husband brought further devastation.

Tavleen, 55, quickly stepped into the role of provider, but the cleaning jobs she found couldn't fully support her family. Her seventh-grade son realized their desperate situation and decided to drop out of school to work as a daily laborer, hoping to help his mother. Soon, his younger sister followed his example and began taking care of the home instead of going to school.

For two years, Tavleen's family struggled alone—until God brought a stranger to Tavleen's doorstep.

An Opportunity to Show Love

Pastor Chintan, a GFA-supported pastor in Tavleen's village, happened to visit her home while he was meeting families in the community. Although many people in Asia believe widows carry a curse that caused their husbands' deaths, Pastor Chintan understood how much God loves widows. Pastor Chintan couldn't solve Tavleen's financial problems, but he gave her what he did have to give: the knowledge of Someone who could carry her burdens and give her hope.

Later, on International Widows Day, Pastor Chintan honored the hurting women in his community by organizing a gift distribution. By distributing gifts provided through GFA's Christmas Gift Catalog, he could bless widows with income-generating gifts—something he couldn't have done on his own.

The generosity of the Church touched her heart and filled her with excitement for the future—this gift would completely transform her family!

He arranged for Tavleen to receive a water buffalo, knowing it would provide nutritious milk for her and her children to sell and drink.

Tears ran down Tavleen's face when she joyfully received her water buffalo. The generosity of the Church touched her heart and filled her with excitement for the future—this gift would completely transform her family!

Source of Income, Food and Joy

Tavleen and her children patiently waited for their pregnant buffalo to have a calf and start producing milk. Then, after a few months, the water buffalo surprised Tavleen by giving birth to two calves instead of one!

Milk vendors began buying buffalo milk from Tavleen, giving her a steady income of $22–$30 every month. With her new earnings, Tavleen repaired her damaged house and even began saving up for the future.

Water Buffalo Helps Make Eternal Impact

The kindness Pastor Chintan showed to Tavleen through his concern for her and the gift of the water buffalo warmed this widow's heart. She began attending worship services with his congregation, where she heard more about the One who truly cares about widows and orphans. The truth of Christ's great love and mercy resonated within Tavleen and her children, and each one decided to receive the Greatest Gift ever given.

Their hearts overflow with gratitude toward those who provided for their needs and toward the Lord, who saw them in their time of struggle.

Learn more about life-changing Christmas gifts »

Jesus Wells
6,822 Jesus Wells were drilled in communities needing clean water
BioSand Water Filters
14,886 BioSand water filters were given to families and individuals
Toilet
10,512 toilets were installed in needy communities
Christmas Gifts
600,989 families throughout Asia were helped through Christmas gifts
Blankets
170,000+ blankets were distributed
Mosquito Nets
Around 600,000 mosquito nets were given out

Water Well Shows the Kindness of God's People

On August 14, 2016, a crowd gathered around GFA-supported workers who stood beside a newly inaugurated water well.

"Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the water," one worker recited from Isaiah 55:1.

And they had come—excited that finally they had a well that belonged to the entire village, a well they could take from freely. There would be no one to judge them by their social status, no one to keep them from drinking. That's how it had been. The poor in the village had no source of water because those of a higher social status barred them from using their hand pumps. But no longer.

While passing through the area, a man named Gandhar noticed the excitement of the villagers who were celebrating the Jesus Well's completion. He heard God's Word being spoken and wondered at the Christians' kindness.

When Gandhar had the chance, he approached the pastor and asked, "Why are Christian people doing this charitable work for people they do not know?"

The GFA-supported pastor shared from 2 Corinthians 5:14, saying "for God's love compels us." Gandhar asked if the pastor could visit with him and his family and regularly share the message of Jesus and His love with them. Today, they are ready to testify of their life in Christ.

Learn more about Jesus Wells »

Family Suffers with Malaria

Every time GFA-supported pastor Suvan had visited Birbal and his family, he noticed that at least one family member was sick with malaria. Birbal knew having a mosquito net would keep him, his wife and two children from getting sick so frequently, but he couldn't afford the life-saving gift with the meager wages he earned. He had to save his income to provide for his family's most basic needs to survive.

Seeing this family's health struggles, Pastor Suvan—through the help of people around the world who had given to GFA—provided three mosquito nets to Birbal and his family in July 2016. Now Birbal's family is healthy, and they've come to realize how much Christ and His people care for even their smallest needs.

Learn more about Mosquito Nets »

Prayers to Build His Kingdom

In 2016 I had the privilege of visiting Asia with my husband and another GFA staff member. This trip was a huge answer to prayer for me. I had been praying for more than three years for the opportunity to see the work on the field that my life is part of as I serve in the U.S. administrative headquarters—and for even longer than that I have had the desire to travel to Asia.

It was such a joy for me to witness firsthand what I had previously only heard about in other people's testimonies or read about in the field reports we receive on a regular basis.

But I was also surprised by some of the things I learned and experienced.

One of these surprises came up on multiple occasions throughout the time we were visiting the various areas of ministry. When our guides would finish telling us about the work the Lord is doing in specific areas, some would end their commentary with the statement, "This is the result of your prayers."

It shouldn't have surprised me, but it did—especially when that refrain kept getting repeated. Although I know we are engaged in spiritual warfare and our greatest weapon is prayer, the pragmatic side of me wants to say it's the work I do in the office (what I can see) that makes a difference for the work we're supporting in Asia. But none of the people we met said, "Thank you for what you do in the U.S. office to support our work here."

This is not to downplay the important role we as believers in the West have in supporting our brothers and sisters who are working on the "front lines" of the ministry— whether the Lord has called us to pray, to serve behind the scenes, to give, or some combination of all those. But it was good for me to realign my focus with God's perspective. I need to remember on a consistent basis that it's not ultimately the tasks I complete in a day that make an eternal difference in people's lives.

Regardless of our job title, skill, talents or physical capabilities, when we serve the Lord from a heart of worship, He takes our feeble efforts and uses them for the building of His kingdom. What a tremendous honor He gives us to be part of this glorious work.

"Stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith . . . "
—Philippians 1:27

Compassion Services

When natural disasters strike, when children are left to fend for themselves in squalid slums or when people must fight the disfiguring disease of leprosy alone, the GFA world comes together to help those in need overcome with hope and love. Compassion Services workers are active year-round, bringing aid and love to the most disadvantaged in Asia. God is faithfully using their lives to minister His grace, and together, we're seeing God touch and change countless lives through Compassion Services.
A Slum Child's Return

A Slum Child's Return

The faintest hints of the sun's rays begin to streak across the sky and bounce off the plastic-tarp rooftops as one man makes his way along the narrow alleyways of the slum. Some people recognize him and smile; others take little notice. Many have known him since childhood. The man steps around dirty puddles and piles of garbage; he ducks under low-hanging wash lines, strung between houses and laden with wet clothes. Every morning, Pastor Martin (pictured) walks this route with purpose and prayer.

Eating from the Garbage Bin

Martin, also known as Marty, lives and ministers in the same Asian slum he was born and raised in. As a young boy in a poor family, he often dug for food in the bottom of dirty garbage bins to fill his empty stomach. He and his mother were left alone when his father died of alcoholism, and in sixth grade, Marty suddenly found himself shouldering the responsibilities as the new head of the family. The daily struggles and addictions each day holds for a child living in the slum had been his own.

Living Today with No Hope for Tomorrow

Life in the slums is a vicious, generational cycle. Alcoholic husbands provide families with little money and even less leadership. Wives, many uneducated, take up daily labor jobs to try to stay afloat. Children drop out of school as early as second grade to help earn money. Some kids never step foot inside a school at all—their families are unable to pay for water or electricity, let alone their kids' education.

"He does what Jesus would have done. Helping the poor and needy and also loving people."

Garbage litters the streets. Dirty drinking water and the absence of simple hygienic practices like hand-washing cause disease rates to soar. Prostitution, sex trafficking and other crimes hold countless people in bondage with no escape.

"I went through what these children are going through," Marty says. "That gave me a burden . . . and pain in my heart."

Pastor Returns to Where He Started

In 2006, the Lord led Pastor Marty to start what would become the first ministry in the slum where he grew up: a GFA-supported Bridge of Hope center. Now, 10 years later, there is a second Bridge of Hope center and three churches led by GFA-supported pastors. God has blessed Marty's efforts amidst the hopelessness of the slum.

"[He] is a great example for us as he represents Jesus," one believer says of Pastor Marty. "He does what Jesus would have done. Helping the poor and needy and also loving people. . . . He is always willing to help people."

Pain for a Purpose

Because Pastor Marty has lived in the slums his whole life, locals relate well to him. They feel at ease and are willing to open up and share their lives with him.

"He knows the situation, experienced the situation and [grew up] in the same situation," one believer explains about Marty. "He understands [the slum life] better than anyone else."

Marty is reminded of his difficult past on a continual basis. Yet he knows every hurt, every trial and every tear has an eternal purpose.

"Ever since my childhood, the pain and difficult situations and poverty—all those things," Pastor Marty says, "when I look back, [they] were tools in the Lord's hands to make me strong and to trust and [have] faith in Him, so I would, in the future, do ministry."

Watch a video about Pastor Marty »

Medical Ministry
829 medical camps were conducted in 2016
Leprosy Ministry
Leprosy patients living in 44 colonies receive love and medical attention
Slum Ministry
GFA-supported workers serve in 865 slums throughout Asia
Leprosy Ministry

Hands to Touch the Wounded

On January 28, 2016, a group of GFA-supported Sisters of Compassion, specialized women missionaries, visited a leprosy colony to minister to those affected by this disease. They shared from God's Word, prayed for the patients, and gave them gifts of food and soap as a token of love.

One woman, 71-year-old Charvi, said, "Since our legs were amputated, no one loves us or touches us, and we are in a hopeless condition. But when [these sisters] started the ministry in our colony, almost every day they come to our home and help us, like cleaning our wounds, houses and clothes. Moreover, they touch and hug us lovingly. We feel like we are not lepers anymore."

Learn more about Leprosy Ministry »

Flood Relief

Tangible Grace in Time of Need

It was July 2016, and Jaideep stood with 500 other flood victims outside a GFA-supported Bridge of Hope center not far from the wreckage of his home. GFA-supported Compassion Services workers distributed food and tarps to help the people rebuild.

"I was struggling to feed my daughters and son in such a situation," Jaideep recalls. "I was hoping [someone] would give us something. . . . I got good gifts from the believers. Now I understand that Jesus is . . . very compassionate for the poor and needy people."

After the distribution, Jaideep talked with one of the Compassion Services team members to see about enrolling his daughter in Bridge of Hope. The GFA-supported worker prayed for Jaideep, and he felt encouraged to trust Jesus for everything.

Learn more about Disaster and Flood Relief »

Learn more about Compassion Services

To all those who have ever prayed for people
to be touched by the love of Jesus in word and deed:

To those who give of their time

and their resources so others may know the Lord Jesus Christ:

To those who have persevered with us

through hardships:

Your labor, your sacrifice, your tears, your prayers, your support have not been in vain. Men, women and children are living new lives in Christ because of you—and the testimonies you read in this special report gives evidence to that truth.

As we continue to move forward, pressing on to the end, it is our prayer that even more men and women will experience the all-surpassing love of Christ through the ministry of GFA.

Please know that what you do matters, and the GFA world would not be the same without you.

Let us continue to persevere and to remember the faithfulness of our Lord.

—Your friends at GFA