Winning members of the world’s unreached people groups to Christ often requires years of searching for cultural keys, plus relationship building and prayer. But sometimes a breakthrough can begin with a miracle. That is just what happened recently in a remote corner of China among an unreached people group known as the A-Che (pronounced “ah-chay”).
Along with some other fellow missionaries to China, I began preaching the gospel among the A-Che almost ten years ago. It has not been easy, to say it mildly. The A-Che’s superstitious nature, coupled with their anti-Christian regional government, have kept the number of A-Che believers to a tiny minority. So strong is the resistance that I was arrested briefly in 2007 for sharing the gospel in their territory. After that, we shifted our strategy to discipling our few existing A-Che converts.
Late last year, however, God did something that we could never have done ourselves. It was a breakthrough for which we’ve prayed. He touched an A-Che woman named Yang Mei Pan.
Chronically ill for ten years, Yang suffered extreme tiredness and stomach pain, and she often had difficulty breathing, feeling as if she was being choked. She tried everything she thought might help—superstitious rituals, witchdoctors, and medical doctors. Thousands of dollars later, she was no better off—in fact, her suffering had increased.
Yang remembered a distant relative who had recently believed in Jesus. She had heard stories of people being healed. Maybe this Jesus can heal me, she thought.
Yang’s husband agreed to drive her to her relative’s church that was three hours away (and the closest church to their village). That drive turned out to be a three-hour spiritual battle.
Turn around and go home! Yang found herself repeatedly telling her husband. She knew, however, that they were not her words, but those of something inside her. As the two got closer to their destination, the voices became more frantic, and even threatening. Yang’s husband, although not a believer, was so desperate to help his suffering wife that he ignored the voices and pressed on.
That night Yang repented and believed in Jesus, and she was delivered from her demons. Her health improved almost immediately, and now most of her symptoms are gone.
Yang is a living testimony of Jesus’ love and power. She and several others from among the A-Che are now being discipled by our co-laborers in China, and Yang is excited about reaching her own people. Pray with me that the A-Che will one day no longer be considered an unreached people group, but one that is reached with the gospel—by the power of God.