We have completed the first quarter of 2021 and I am happy to report that our ministry registered almost 700 people who made professions of faith in Christ and at least 214 of those have followed Christ in baptism.
Baptism is a major step of obedience in the life of someone who lives in a restricted access nation. It is often the one event that brings persecution to the life of a new believer. It can mean being shunned, banished from the family, beaten, or even killed in extreme cases.
Already in 2021 I have heard from people in places such as Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, Bangladesh, Egypt, Pakistan, and other countries where new converts are being persecuted for their faith in Christ.
The Covid-inspired shutdowns have given the devil an open door to not only stop soul winning and church services, but also to increase the poverty and despair that most of the world was already facing.
Our people almost exclusively meet in small group house church type settings. All of a sudden those formats are monitored more closely than ever making it easier to shut down churches and imprison pastors. Just this week I heard of 7 of our men that were visited by the police in 2 different communist countries.
Most countries do not have welfare, stimulus checks or unemployment benefits to provide help for those who were barely getting by even before the shutdowns. The sad truth is that our brothers and sisters in Christ around the world are struggling in ways we have no concept of in America.
I am thankful that God is raising up individual churches, missionaries and ministries such as my co-worker Johnny Esposito to provide both physical and spiritual help to those who need it most. If you are looking for a source to help provide food, medicine and basic needs for the poor, along with a gospel presentation, I recommend Operation Samaritans Compassion through Brother Esposito and the Pacific Baptist Church of Long Beach, CA. This is an excellent place where churches and individuals can send love offerings to help during this very real crisis. Please let me know if you would like his contact information.
As a reminder that God and His work are not subject to governmental restrictions, I am happy to report that we are seeing one of our greatest ministry growth spurts. I have been praying that God would enable us to support at least 100 church planters and it looks as if we will reach that goal within the next few weeks.
I am in the process of vetting new men in Vietnam, Bangladesh, Uganda, Mali and Myanmar at the moment. I anticipate adding as many as 20 men to our Barnabas1040 family next month.
Please pray with me that the Lord will keep the momentum going as He opens more doors and gives us the ability to walk through those open doors. I am more excited about what God is doing today than at any time in my ministry.
In the words of the great Missionary William Cary, “The future is as bright as the promises of God.”
In closing, I want to request your help in praying for some urgent requests.
As always, I want to say a heartfelt thank you to all of those who pray and give to make this ministry possible. I am not exaggerating when I say that together we have seen God do much more than I could have ever imagined in these brief 6 years since launching this faith ministry.
We will not fully understand this side of Heaven all the lives that we have had a part in touching by God’s amazing grace. Thank you for standing with us. We know that we could not do what we do without you!
Dwight & Gayle Tomlinson
USA Cell: (949) 880-9415
In the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom’s 2020 report, they named some of the most dangerous countries to be a follower of Jesus Christ. The report labeled 12 countries as “Countries of Particular Concern.”
Of the 12 countries named, Barnabas1040 has the privilege of supporting church planters, children’s homes and Bible Colleges in 5 of them.
The countries listed as being of particular concern are Burma, China, Eritrea, India, Iran, Nigeria, North Korea, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Syria, and Vietnam.
Barnabas1040 supports almost 80 national pastors and missionaries as well as 2 children’s homes and several ministry training centers in 19 countries. I could not possibly report on all of them in one letter but I thought it would be helpful to focus on the ones listed in this report.
A few weeks ago on February 1st the military seized full control of the country’s government and imprisoned the very popular democratically elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi along with hundreds of members of her cabinet. The result has been an explosion of protest and destruction.
I have had the privilege of personally teaching and preaching in Burma and the Lord has allowed our ministry to be involved in several church plants throughout the country.
Our primary focus has been in and around the city of Yangon which is the largest city in the country with a population of over 5 million people. There we not only are supporting national pastors, but a large Bible College and in 2019 we financed the construction of a spacious and beautiful children’s home.
My contacts in Yangon tell me that peaceful protesters are being killed and imprisoned daily. Food and water are in increasingly short supply as the banks and most stores have been closed. At this point the children have food and supplies, but the situation is deteriorating daily.
They are begging us to pray for protection and for the duly elected government to be restored. They desire to see people saved and for God to receive the glory.
China began a national crack down on churches in 2019 while my wife and I were living in one of the largest cities which has a population of 14 million precious souls. We saw first hand the closing of house churches and registered churches alike. Many pastors were arrested and several missionaries were forced to leave the country.
The city we were living in at the time even offered a reward of US $1,500.00 for anyone turning in foreigners who were holding religious services in their home.
The crackdown was not limited to the mainland but also extended to Hong Kong where the Chinese government is working hard to insure total and absolute compliance from the former British colony. A few days ago Xia Baolong, head of the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office, said this in a speech published by his office:
“The most vital and pressing task to enforce rule by patriots is to improve the relevant systems, particularly the relevant electoral system. Being patriotic means loving the People’s Republic of China.”
Again, my contacts in China are asking for fervent prayer for revival. They are praying for boldness to stand for Christ in these difficult times.
I have had the privilege of preaching and teaching in India and have seen firsthand the tremendous spiritual darkness in that great Hindu country.
We are supporting a few good and godly men in this ancient land of almost 1.4 billion souls. We are also currently financing the construction of a children’s home in Northern India. Our people report encouraging numbers of those being saved but there is an almost incomprehensible need for more workers.
Please pray for more workers, and God’s protection and power on the ones that are there. It is not uncommon for Christians to be targeted, harassed and even killed by Hindu militants.
Vietnam is a country filled with beautiful scenery and even more beautiful people. Unfortunately it is also a place of false religion, idolatry and communism. God is doing great things there but as always with blessings come trials.
Please pray for our missionaries and national pastors serving faithfully in Vietnam.
Perhaps the 4 requests I hear the most from my contacts in Vietnam are:
1. boldness to witness
2. souls to be saved
3. protection from the police
4. more workers to join them
Pakistan is a very challenging place as it has strict blasphemy laws which restrict any insults against the Islamic prophet Muhammad and makes the crime punishable by death.
In spite of the challenges our national pastors report salvations and baptisms regularly in Pakistan. Barnabas1040 supports several church planters and one Bible College in Pakistan. Our brethren there are requesting prayer for their safety and God’s blessing upon the work they are doing for Jesus Christ.
In conclusion, would you pray not only for these 5 countries but also those around the world that are persecuted and martyred for Christ? One of the pastors we support has been in prison for almost a year without a hearing or charges being filed. That particular man is not even in one of the 12 countries listed as being of particular concern in the above mentioned report.
There are other places too numerous to mention that lay heavy on my heart as I write this prayer letter. Persecution is a serious problem all over the world. If there was ever a time for God’s people to pray, give, and go, it is today!
As always, I want to sincerely thank all those who pray for and support this ministry. We could not do what we do without you. Gayle and I are ever mindful that it is your partnering with us that makes Barnabas1040 possible.
God Bless You!
Dwight & Gayle Tomlinson
USA Cell: (949) 880-9415