An unreached people group in Southeast Asia gave their lives to Christ when their leader apparently dropped dead and came back to life after a group of believers prayed.
David Platt, president of the Southern Baptist International Mission Board, recounted the "modern-day resurrection" story during the Southern Baptist Convention's Executive Committee meeting on Sept. 19.
A local Southeast Asian Christian who was brought to faith by some Southern Baptist missionaries took a group of friends and began evangelizing in the remote village, Baptist Press reports.
Villagers responded by bringing idols, necklaces, and amulets associated with their occult worship to be burned, Platt said, relaying the account of an IBM worker.
It is reported that shortly after the burning ceremony, the village leader was found dead.
The villagers said they believed they angered the local spirits by giving up their possessions. They asked for their ritual objects to be returned to them.
The Christians, discouraged by the request and the news of the leader's death, traveled to where the leader was laid and prayed over his body "that God would show His mercy to the people in the village, that God would show His glory and His love to that people who were so close," said Platt.
"This Asian believer tells our missionary," Platt said, "that as they were praying there over the man, all of a sudden the man coughed. Everybody in the house got really still. And the man coughed again. People came rushing over, and the village leader started breathing. People started helping him up. Everybody's looking at these Asian believers like, 'What happened?'
"They decided this was as good a time as any to share the Gospel," Platt stated. "So they shared the Gospel, and in the days to come, people started coming to faith in Christ and that village starting burning their idols."
Platt acknowledged that he is not entirely sure if the man was really dead but said the episode illustrated the spiritual fruit that has come as IMB missionaries share the Gospel with "biblical clarity, precision and consistency."
"There are some things I don't know, but here's what I do know: we have the Good News of a God who has conquered death, who has power to say to the dead, 'Come to life.' So brothers and sisters, let's work together to see thousands upon thousands of Southern Baptists proclaiming that Good News to the ends of the earth," he added.