Sending the Han Chinese to Minority People

"Why not just send local Han Chinese Christians into the Dong areas?" That is a good question, and has indeed been tried in many different ways. Like all of our methods and plans, it has its advantages and disadvantages. And regardless, it is going to happen and is something which we should keep in prayer.

The first thing to remember is that it is easy for those of us on the other side of the world from China to think of Han Chinese as "local". Yet, to the Dong people, the Han are not local. The Han are either "those people who live in the county seat and own all the businesses" or, further still from the Dong farming communities, "those people who come from the big city hours away".


Already White for Harvest

Lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest (John 4:35). Jesus spoke these words into a context where the Jews had been prepared for centuries for the Word of God, and now, so many were waiting to find the Messiah, as evidenced by the thousands coming to Christ in just a few months after his resurrection. But how does this verse apply to the Dong?

Today, the Dong celebrate "ghost day" (the festival day of spirits or ghosts). For far too long, they have lived under the deception of the evil spirits they serve. The spirits are not something to like; they are something to fear. That in itself is an indicator of the evil nature of the spirits and that there may be a good natured One. The spirits are appeased so that they would leave us alone. Does not that ever bring up the thought that there might be One Good God or at the very least, the One who has authority over these oppressors?

Many Dong people, immediately upon hearing of a good God who loves them and has the authority and power to protect them, believe in and desire such a God. The hearts of the Dong people are indeed fields white for harvest. Feel free to download DongTeam's new prayer reminder background (on the media page) to keep the Dong people in mind. Pray that on this day especially, the Holy Spirit would fill their minds with a longing for the Truth of God, which is Christ himself.


The Life Giving Power

The signs of harvest season are spreading across the Dong areas: scorching work days out in the fields cutting and threshing rice, news of harvest festivals, and a general sigh of relief that the crops came in again this year. The Dong people spend their lives in tune with the seasons, yet fail to perceive the organizing, life-sustaining Power behind those seasons. They sweat and toil in the shadow of mountains and clean their implements in the streams, but do not seem to question the Origin of all things.

Recently, in a worship service mixed with Christians from the village and those from the town, the thanks given brought out this realization. The town folk were thankful for an opportunity to spend a day out in the village, where they felt so much closer to nature and the Creator. The village folks, laughing, said they were thankful for the opportunity to come into town and get away from the unceasing labor of the village.

Let us pray that the millions of Dong out in their fields this harvest season will see the Order behind all things. Pray they be able to cease their labors, even is only for a moment, long enough to be touched by the Creator who is everywhere present and speaking to them through his creation.


How Dong People View the Solar Eclipse

All of the Dong areas would have been able to view the solar eclipse today (morning for them). The northern parts of the Dong areas would likely have seen a total or very close to a total eclipse, and even in the southernmost areas, an obvious partial eclipse, including a darkening of the sky, would have been visible.

In an e-mail yesterday from a reader living in the Dong areas, a Dong person was quoted as sceptically saying, "We will just see if the sky goes dark tomorrow," as if it were not a mathematical certainty. To them, though, this is not about astronomy or mathematics; the Dong worldview would not divide this occurrence into some scientific category in order to explain it, but would lump it together with their spiritual understanding of the world.

That is not to say they believe "a spirit hid the sun" or any such interpretation, but rather to say that from a Dong mindset, this is something that completely does not fit within how they understand, and no amount of talk on the national news will make it any different.

In reality, though, this is indeed a spiritual occurrence (not just scientific as our Western-trained minds might suppose), for One, holy, all-powerful Creator holds all this in his hands, and he can and does use it for his glory.

Pray the Creator of the heavens and earth would work through this strange happening, something beyond the understanding of the Dong people, to reveal to them that there is One who is beyond their understanding, One who put the sun, moon, planets, and stars into motion, and One who loves them enough to reveal himself to them even though they are sinners.


Bringing the Churches Together

A couple years ago, Chinese Religious Affairs officials surveyed counties in one area, including some Dong counties, to determine if an open church (Chinese Three Self) would be established in the county seats. If they found enough Christians in the county seat, a church could be opened. Sadly, the Dong counties did not obtain permission.

Most efforts to share the gospel with the Dong people have been aimed at villages, and that certainly makes sense, but in an effort to hit the heart of the Dong people out in the villages, these efforts have bypassed the county seats. The problem we now have is that the gatherings of Dong believers have very little connection to one another. They may know each other, but there is no practical tie between them that would allow them to have regular contact and fellowship with one another.

Pray that churches could be established in the county seats, central locations to help hold together the fellowship of all the believers in each of the Dong counties. For the counties which do have a church in the county seat (very few, but some), pray the believers would grow strong in Christ and strive to serve and love those believers isolated in small towns and villages.


How to Establish Authority and Unity

For most of us, we do not sit around trying to figure out how to establish more authority in our churches. Unity maybe, but not authority. Either our churches have it or they do not. And for some, the word "authority" is even seen as a negative, because it is taken to mean building a hierarchical church structure, which is a big negative in many Protestant churches. Whether the answer is hierarchical structures or not, the Dong church does need some spiritual authority to tie them together.

Sure, they may have Jesus as their high priest, and those passages from Hebrews are in their chronological story set which is now starting to be used in churches, but they do not have anyone else. They do not have elder, experienced, Christ-like examples who can help them walk the way of Jesus. Individual churches do not even have leaders who could identify weak areas that need growth or even shepherd the flock in general.

Most Dong churches (we cannot speak for all, because we do not even know all) are groups of believers with no mutually-accepted leadership. And besides those, probably half of the known Dong Christians are individual believers with no gathering at all. It is not impossible for them to grow in Christ, but certainly close to impossible.

Let us pray for the Lord to raise up people and structures in the Dong churches which can provide the basic needs for spiritual growth. That will require unity: unity in the decision of who should lead local churches and unity if those churches are to be bonded together in any way. Please pray for authority and unity in the Dong church.


Praying for a Spiritual Exodus

The Kingdom of Priests prayer guide has been out for quite some time, and the first half of the guides have already been distributed to Dong prayer partners...probably some of you reading this. The prayer guide prays through seven moments in the Exodus of the Hebrew people from Egypt, praying for a spiritual exodus of the Dong people from spiritual bondage into the freedom of Christ.

If you have not seen or heard of this guide before, you can download the PDF version from our media page (just click on the image to the right). However, because few of us enjoy using a computer during our prayer times, we have also had these guides printed up into small booklets, which all include eight postcards which themselves serve as excellent prayer reminders. If you would like to order some for your church or prayer group, just contact us for more information.

We want these prayer guides to build up and strengthen the prayer for the Dong people. It is often hard to know what to pray, and these contain directed prayers, straight from scripture, for the Dong. We know this prayer update is really a non-request. So, we suggest you go, download the PDF, and pick one day to pray for the Dong people's spiritual exodus.