Many picture Asia as hot and humid, with residents sweating rather than shivering. While that is true of some areas, particularly during summer, many other regions experience extreme winters with snow and ice.
In the shadow of the Himalayas, where Balaark, a Gospel For Asia-supported national worker, ministers, winter temperatures often drop below freezing.
Kirpal, another GFA-supported missionary serving in a cold place, explains the impact of winter temperatures.
“The winter is severe in my ministry place since it is surrounded by mountains,” shared Kirpal. “The cold wave affects our health. Visiting believers and doing [ministry is] difficult during winter without the proper warm clothes.”
In these bracing winter conditions, it is common to see national workers like Kirpal and Balaark sharing God’s love with people huddled around outdoor communal fires.
Gospel For Asia says Balaark is not a stranger to the harsh winters experienced in the area where he serves the Lord; he grew up in a village nearby. Nor is he a stranger to difficulty; Balaark grew up poor and marginalized.
Neighbors looked down on young Balaark’s family because of their heritage. But when Balaark suffered from a mysterious illness, the neighbors were convinced evil spirits tormented the boy. Rumors spread and malicious talk drove the family further into isolation.
Poverty stalked the harassed family. It was not long before school was a forgotten childhood memory for Balaark. He worked day-labor jobs to help his family survive.
Trapped in a hopeless situation, Balaark’s parents reached out to a pastor with their troubles. The pastor shared from God’s Word, and the family found peace in the hope of Christ. Jesus became the anchor that secured them through the storms of life.
Balaark gradually felt the Lord calling him to serve in ministry full time. After equipping himself at seminary, Balaark began his ministry in a village near his home. The wounds of rejection Balaark received as a child were healed by the love of the Lord, who accepted him unconditionally. But one childhood difficulty continued to hound Balaark: poverty.
Despite Balaark’s adequate support, life continued to throw unexpected financial burdens across his path. Balaark’s mother suffered from several health complications and couldn’t work, and his father could not afford her treatments. Balaark paid for his mother’s medical expenses out of his own pocket, often neglecting his own needs. The stress of family concerns and their lack of resources frequently inhabited Balaark’s prayer.
“During the winter season, I was going through tension because my mother was also very sick,” Balaark shares. “Day by day, the cold wave was increasing. I had no sufficient amount to buy a new jacket.”
Unable to purchase warm clothes for the looming winter months, Balaark made do with what he had.
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SOURCE: Assist News