Monday, 09 January 2017 21:37

Unexpected Works of God in Central Asia

Unexpected Works of God in Central Asia

God’s work often takes paths that we would never expect. Bailey had thought that she would serve God in Spain, but she soon realized that was not the right place for her.

She wanted to do international ministry in a region where Christianity was scarce, so when God showed her an opportunity to teach English to university students in a place with little gospel presence, Bailey bought a one-way ticket to Central Asia.

Meanwhile, Starr grew up in a region where young women had no choice but to marry. She was a Christian, but there were very few Christian men in her area, so though she would have preferred to marry someone who shared her faith, she instead married Dusty, who cared nothing for Christ. Dusty was an alcoholic, and after their marriage, he became abusive and hostile, constantly harping on Starr’s faith.

Starr had been a believer for 16 years when she met Bailey. While they worked together on a dictionary that translated English and the native language, their friendship grew. Starr taught Bailey about the culture and language of her country. Soon a shared love for Jesus started them on the path of a new ministry together.

Bailey had noticed that children with special needs were terribly neglected in the region. Their culture disavowed them, typically issuing badges of shame or evil, which broke Bailey’s heart. Starr and Bailey knew that God loved these children, and they were determined to help better their lives physically and spiritually.

Their first step was to meet with the Director of the Social Services department in the city. He was a Muslim and was skeptical at first. Bailey explained how Jesus, a prophet many Muslims respect, said in John 9 that those with special needs are not cursed but are loved by God and able to bring him glory. She and Starr proposed their plan to work alongside the Social Services department. By the grace of God, the Director was won over. He gave them a list of 200 special needs cases in 17 different villages, saying, “If you get into any trouble, let me know, and I will back you up.”

Buoyed by this unexpected blessing, Bailey and Starr began visiting each child on the list and telling them about how God loves them. They were a good team, but they needed help with this huge task. That was when God worked his next miracle.

Starr’s husband, Dusty, had been watching how sacrificially his wife and her friend were giving their lives for the needy. The Holy Spirit softened his heart as he saw their love for Jesus worked out in real life. Dusty decided to become a Christian.

As he embraced his new faith, Dusty joined Bailey and Starr in helping the kids with special needs. He drove them through the rough terrain on their visits and helped with all the labor-intensive work, while Bailey told the people of God’s love. Dusty enjoyed serving the community.

After several of these trips, Dusty spoke up about something that was bothering him. “I am sorry,” he said to Bailey, “that you had to come all this way to help us when we should be helping ourselves. We should be taking the lead, not you.” He asked Bailey if he could be the one to present the message of God’s love and to explain to the people why they were doing this service.

At first, Bailey hesitated, but then she realized that this was exactly why she had come to this country; to see others take charge for the sake of Christ. Dusty was transformed from an enemy of Jesus to a believer who wanted to take leadership in spreading the gospel alongside his wife. She needed to get out of the way of what the Holy Spirit was doing in him. Joyfully, Bailey stepped aside and marveled to see God’s transforming power do things she could never have predicted. This man and the special needs ministry were both unexpected works of God.

**Names and locations have been altered or generalized in this story for the sake of sensitivity**