17 Nations rising in Prayer: Asia'16 GatheringTandia Hughes - 30 Jun 2016
“so much more is happening in asia than i ever imagined...”
Tandia is part of the 24-7 Prayer International team supporting our prayer rooms all over the world, and was part of our 2016 Asia gathering in Singapore.
People ask what I was expecting when I went to the 2016 Asia gathering; but I didn’t go with any expectations. That was a bonus, because I found that with an open mind, I was filled by the love, stories and passion of the conference. And, I discovered that so much more is happening in Asia than I even imagined…
I arrived into a very humid Singapore, and on the first night I met with leaders from the city who wanted to learn more about 24-7 Prayer. Worried I’d feel like an outsider in this incredibly foreign culture - I quickly discovered how welcoming and unassuming Asian culture can be to a stranger. However I had my hand shaken so many times; hugs and kisses all round. Immediately, it felt like family.
The conference flew by with main meetings, breakout sessions and lots of tasty food! Throughout, we heard from different nations and what they’re doing in their community. A highlight was discovering that one of the nations had put together a video detailing their mission; how they live 24-7 Prayer through everything they do – and realising we had absolutely no idea about any of it, until that moment.
It's so incredible to know that all over the world, God is at work.
17 nations were represented at the 24-7 Prayer Asia gathering and I learnt from each and every one of them...
I discovered that Asia is alive; I imagine it as small fires in hot and humid nations. These little fires are slowly burning and spreading bit-by-bit - not too fast, but safely fed by the Holy Spirit.
Before I travelled, Asia was just a group of nations in the East, somewhere. So frequently, the only news we hear from Asia is when something goes wrong. My awareness has so often been focused on the Western World: the UK, USA and Europe – and it’s so easy to forget the places that don’t make our headlines.
However, being at the Asia gathering opened my eyes to a people who don’t have it easy; many are in countries where there is persecution for being Christian.
Yet, they’re passionate about God; passionate about prayer; they want to see God rise up in their nations.
I left realising my passion needs to sit deeper. It needs to be stronger and I need to stand firm in it. 17 nations were represented at the 24-7 Prayer Asia gathering and I learnt from each and every one of them, whether it was proclaiming "Dark is Beautiful", or learning a song in a new language. Each nation has a future ahead of it and has a great support network to encourage them in it.
A particular highlight of the conference for me was when we were encouraged to pray in our own languages. Hearing the voices of 145 people, rising up in so many languages, to one God who understands and loves each one of them was enough to bring goosebumps and tears.
Across Asia, nations are rising up in prayer; and we’re supporting them each step of the way.
Main photo credit: Johan Ocampo