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“Why are you all singing?” the neighbors asked Ms. Holly (not her real name). Ms. Holly is a cross-cultural worker living in Country-VN. It is illegal to share the gospel with others. The neighbors are suspicious of the group’s singing and wary of the foreigner. They suspect this is a gathering of Christians and may call the authorities to report the illegal activities. This could be the end of the gathering.

Ms. Holly is a Filipina working as an English teacher. She tutors university students and occasionally teaches at nearby elementary schools or language learning centers. In the eyes of the immigration officials, Ms. Holly is an English teacher. To her friends in the Philippines, she is a cross-cultural worker, a missionary sent by the Free Methodist Church to share the gospel in this restricted country.

God prepared Ms. Holly in many ways. She received her calling at a young age. Later, time at Bible college and missionary training centers confirmed her passion. In the 1990s, she taught kindergarten in central Mindanao, an area with Muslims. There she learned to be prudent in her methods of sharing the gospel. She says, “I learned many things, especially how to share the truth without objections and violent reactions, [to witness] in a friendly way.” In 2007, she served in Cambodia among the boat people. God taught her to be obedient, even amid hardships and failures. In 2013, God opened the door, allowing her to work in Country- VN as an English teacher. She began an “underground place” ministry in church planting and discipleship.

At present, Ms. Holly leads local fellowships in two locations. God is helping Ms. Holly disciple others through one-onone
teaching and online meetings. The members of these fellowships are sharing Jesus with their friends and family. God is answering prayers in this “underground place” ministry.

When Ms. Holly was accosted by the neighbors from the apartment complex, they asked her, “Why are you all singing?” Ms. Holly’s response was, “The singing is an integral part of the students’ language learning.” Even so, the group was reported, and the authorities came. They interrogated every group member. Everyone had the same answer, “Room number two; to study English.” The local officials ruled in the group’s favor. Ms. Holly and her friends continue to meet for English lessons and a time of learning more about Jesus. God answers the prayers of His people, and they keep singing!

Photo Credit: Samantha Nguyen