After many months of teaching online classes and holding zoom meetings, we were thrilled to return to South Asia last month. We knew much had changed since the pandemic, but we are overjoyed to share all the Lord is doing. We visited several churches, the bible college, outreach ministries, sat with each of the pastors, met with those who desire to plant churches and began making plans to see the ministry expand. God is doing exceedingly abundantly and we want to share with you!
Graduated and Sent Out
We landed and Bond jumped into teaching the last classes of the semester in-person. There were 15 graduates that were first semester students when we were last in S. Asia before the pandemic so they are dear to us. They perserved to study the Word during the campus lockdown, campus closure for a season, reopening and throughout the changing restrictions. They studied, served, pressed into the Lord and overcame fear during difficult times. What a preparation for ministry, since there is much persecution in the country for those who are Christians and opposition is most certain for those in ministry.
We were not sure if a large gathering would be possible, but God made a way to celebrate 15 graduates from CC Pastors Training Center & School of Ministry. We were proud of the staff as they remained faithful when every other school was closed. Their obedience to God and leadership ensured everyone remained healthy and safe as God was gracious. We had 125+ people attend our best graduation ceremony yet! The most exciting part is that during the breaks, several of the men had already started teaching bible studies in their hometowns and villages. Please pray for the students as they have specific new works on their heart as we seek to have new churches planted throughout S. Asia.
Women Come Flocking
We returned to our home in S. Asia and opened it to the women from the various churches within the ministry. Previously, we would have had 15 – 20 ladies join but Heather was overwhelmed when more than 30 ladies flooded in. It was a little nerve racking as there are still limits on how many people can gather in homes, so we prayed that our neighbors would somehow not see all the ladies that came. Testimonies were shared of those who lost family members to covid, those who had suffered with loss of work, many who had instantly become teachers to their kids when schools closed but all shared how God has sustained them and has been faithful. Heather taught the ladies from Colossians 2:6-7which says, “So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.”
Experiencing Isolation On A Whole New Level
The leper colony is one of the places that the Lord has led us to invest in for many years now. The 200 families expereienced a new level of isolation, but we are thankful for an open door to visit and share. As we arrived, the Director got on the loudspeaker to annouce, “My best friend has returned.” Heather has built a sweet friendship with her over the years and upon seeing us, she immediately grabbed Heather and began kissing her leaving her mark in red lipstick. It was the best reunion as she has opened her heart and many seeds have been planted. To fully embrace and see her reaction shows how God’s Word never returns void no matter how much time has passed.
One of our village pastors who has a withered hand, returned to attend graduation and a pastors conference we held. He shared a message at the Leper Colony that despite his physical limitations, God uses him spiritually to share the Word and impact lives for eternity. With winter quickly approaching, we were able to provide warm jackets through a generous donation and see smiles and happy dances from our friends who call the Leper Colony home.
Fill the Church With Children
We were thrilled to be able to host a children’s outreach day with funds raised by the kids at Breanna’s school. Invites went out and 100 kids came inside the church and brought their parents. Of those who came 70 were families from the community who have never stepped foot in the church. We had opportunity to share the good news with the children and how kids on the other side of the world had been praying for them. It was a joyous celebration with snacks, school supplies and backpacks that Breanna was able to personally give out. What a joy to be apart of linking the community with the local church and seeing the small offerings of kids stateside make such a huge impression on others.
Thank You & 2022 Looking Ahead
We want to share our thanks for the many prayers for Bond’s brother Joe. He was ushered into heaven after several months in ICU. Joe’s celebration of life was the most joy filled gathering that we have been apart and a sweet reunion with many friends and family who came from near and far.
We also want to thank you for your continued prayers, financial support and partnership! We have taken on roles that now include Pakistan and we are thrilled to continue to be apart of growing ministries in Asia and Africa. May the Lord bless you as you generously give to see the good news go forth to the ends of the earth. Our family is extremely grateful to serve Jesus with you and make disciples of all nations!
We are finalizing our travel plans for 2022 to include a handful of countries. We are making plans, but we trust God to direct our steps in this crazy world!
Bond, Heather and Breanna Gaona