Through our regional center in southeast Asia, GNPI is using strategic evangelism to share the Gospel with Buddhists. Our friend, Timothy P., is leading the charge and plays a key role in developing effective tools and strategies for reaching Buddhist nations. Through the initiatives he oversees, which we call The Timothy Project, GNPI is helping Buddhists in Asia discover that life is found in the one true God, Jesus Christ.
Timothy was born in a remote village in southeast Asia, the youngest of five children. His parents were elders in the local non-denominational church, and at the age of 8, Timothy decided to follow Jesus, too. At university, he studied zoology and after graduation, he worked as a state-appointed high school science teacher. But Timothy’s heart was in evangelism, and more than any other subject, he wanted to teach people about Jesus and his kingdom. He quit his job, and enrolled at a Bible college.
Eventually, Timothy was offered a teaching position at the college. In his free time, he walked or rode his bicycle to surrounding villages to preach the Gospel. Friends and students came along, and within two years, they saw 30 Buddhists leave their former religion and follow Jesus.
During these early years, Timothy remembers going from village to village, talking with the pagoda elders and heads of Buddhist monasteries. Many people told him that while they liked Christians, they weren’t interested in hearing about Christianity because it was a western religion. “We have our own god,” they told him. “We have our own religion."
Despite these cultural barriers, Timothy was seeing some success. But going from village to village on foot seemed like an inefficient way to share the good news. Millions of people in his country needed to hear about Jesus, and he began to ask God for methods that would multiply his efforts. Timothy remembers praying, “Lord, show me a way to penetrate this nation that is 10,000 times faster.”
Several years later, in the late 90s, Timothy immigrated to the US to further his theological training at Cincinnati Christian University. While there, he met Ziden Nutt, the founder of GNPI, and heard about how we were using media to accelerate evangelism and discipleship. Timothy realized God was answering his prayer through this connection, and he became the director of our Southeast Asia regional center.
Timothy and his team began producing a variety of media aimed at communicating the Gospel to Buddhists. They began with printed books, tracts, and charts in local languages that evangelists could use to explain who Jesus is. The content addressed specific questions Buddhists have and values they hold, helping them realize that it was Jesus they’d been seeking all along.
"Every Buddhist wants to worship the true god, but they don't know how," Timothy explains. He believes that the key to Buddhist evangelism is leading people to question who the "true Buddha"- the true God - really is and pointing them to Jesus instead.
Timothy and our team in southeast Asia also produce audio and video recordings of Bible teaching, testimonies, hymns, music videos, and children’s programs for churches, along with engaging in evangelism through social media. To date, they’ve completed over 100 projects in 29 different tribal languages. Through strategic evangelism, they’re engaging the minds, hearts, eyes, and ears of their nation and pointing people toward Jesus.
Timothy prays big prayers and sets big goals, so our plans for the future are ambitious. Currently, we’re working to equip key leaders in each of the seven regions and seven states where Timothy lives to be effective evangelists. In November 2017, Timothy and his team began hosting rigorous, month-long training programs. Over 30 days, students learn together from 7 AM - 8:30 PM daily. They spend time praying for the Gospel to bear fruit in their nation, memorizing Scripture, and receiving practical training. Topics include personal evangelism, discipleship, and sharing the Gospel through social media.
So far, they’ve held eight training programs for a total of 96 leaders, with more scheduled in the near future. Timothy believes that if Buddhists in the nation where he lives recognized Jesus as the one true God, then Buddhists all over southeast Asia would follow their lead. Training more Christian leaders and equipping them with relevant, effective media is key, and the Timothy Project is committed to making that happen.
Timothy is praying for more evangelists, more resources, and more partners in his work. "God listened to my prayers, and God fulfilled my prayers," he says. “And the Great God we serve together as laborers in the harvest will surely delight in harkening unto yours.”
Check out all the places we’re working around the world these days, and if you’d like to partner with The Timothy Project and other GNPI initiatives financially, you can find more details about how to do that here.