God’s Open Ears and Ready Replies
Do you and your church come together for united prayer? If so, you undoubtedly see answers from God and can relate to Lay Pastor Terad Banjam’s* amazing experience.
Terad Banjam, of the Hmong people, has planted four churches in the Vientiane province of Laos. These four churches already have 107 members and are still growing. One day, while on his way home from attending an Adventist Southeast Asia Projects (ASAP) training meeting, which focused on united prayer and the Holy Spirit, his heart was burdened. He thought, “I’m working hard for God to bring people to Him, yet I still have many relatives of my own who do not worship God!” He knelt down right there in the pathway and cried, “God, if you are willing, please save my many relatives who do not know you yet. As you know, many of them are controlled by Satan and they need to believe in You. Please convict their hearts through the work of your Holy Spirit.” This simple prayer was followed by many more persistent pleas.
Pastor Banjan had been teaching his church members about prayer and praying unitedly and they were learning quickly. He told them that he did not have the answers to all their problems because they were too big for him to solve, but that their problems were not too big for God. They could bring them to God in prayer. Every morning from five to six and every evening from six to seven, believers came to the church to pray. They praised God and confessed their sins. They asked Him and they thanked Him, day after day. What happened? God came down and worked on their behalf. One by one, members went to those they had offended and apologized. Forgiveness was the outcome and a sweet unity developed. Members started asking Pastor Banjam, “We want to learn how to witness!” As the church members grow in their relationship with Christ, they are also learning how to give Bible studies and share their faith.
Not long after prayer became an integral part of Pastor Banjam’s life, he saw God begin to answer his prayers for his family. One late afternoon as he walked home from the rice fields with two of his brothers-in-law, he felt a strong impression to ask, “Would you like to know more about the God who made the heavens and the earth?” They looked at him and said, “Yes, we would like to know about your God.” This made Pastor Banjam’s heart leap with joy. He shared a little more right then and set up time to begin Bible studies with them. Finally, they started attending church and continue to attend each week.
He had another opportunity to share God with his family after he was miraculously healed from a cancerous tumor in his neck. His family saw the tumor growing and fear grew in their hearts as Banjam steadily lost weight and strength. It looked like Satan had the upper hand and was winning the battle for his health. This experience tested his faith but he kept praying. Finally, Pastor Banjam totally surrendered his health over to God. At that moment, God took over and he started down the road to recovery. Through prayer, natural remedies, and a change in his lifestyle, the tumor completely disappeared. This not only impressed the doctors who planned to operate, but it touched the hearts of his family members and opened their minds to consider a healthy, plant-based diet and Banjam’s “healer God.”
Word spread beyond Pastor Banjam’s village of his powerful God. On the other side of the mountain, the parents of a 15-year-old demon- possessed boy contacted Pastor Banjam. He heard the desperation in the father’s voice. “We brought Sxengveu to the shaman, to doctors, the temple, and fortune tellers to heal him but they could not help him. Can you?” Pastor Banjam pitied them because they had spent $10,000 with no cure. A young believer from his church accompanied him and they set off on a day-long, 100 kilometer trek to the village, in the middle of rainy season.
Before they arrived at the village they knelt down and prayed. This village was anti-Christian and quite hostile. The village chief allowed them to visit the boy but instructed them that they could not stay long or he would call the police. Laos is still a communist country where proselytizing is forbidden. Pastor Banjam went to the home and saw an emaciated boy. He prayed for Sxengveu, offered a few words of encouragement to the family, and headed back home.
After two months, Pastor Banjam went back to visit this little village a second time. Sxengveu’s father shared the exciting news that every day after his visit his son grew stronger and now was healed. These animists saw God at work with their very own eyes. Pastor Banjam told him that it was God, not he, that fought off the devil. Because of this special healing, many families have invited Pastor Banjam to their homes, wanting to hear about his powerful God that heals.
The village chief now tells his people to decide for themselves who they will believe in and apologized for his hostility. He told Pastor Banjam, “If you see anything good that should be done for the people, do not hesitate to do it.” Twenty-three people in the village decided to get baptized and worship together each Sabbath.
Pray that many more people throughout Southeast Asia will come to God and unite in prayer.
“If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways; then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14.
By Jeanette Yeboah-Amoako of Adventist Southeast Asia Projects (ASAP). firstname.lastname@example.org.
www.asapministries.org. PO Box 84, Berrien Springs, MI 49103.