I returned from India on Saturday evening and have been incredibly busy ever since. The trip was incredible and all of our goals were accomplished. I'll briefly share what happened and elaborate more later:
- In conjunction with a Christian hospital high in the mountains of Northern India, we established the beginnings of the Himalayan Clean Water Project. We are financing the building of water tanks and toilet systems in three villages along with a plan for implementing the systems. We are looking at this from a development perspective and there will be a community group established to discuss the uses of clean water and a study conducted to find out how their water supply has been used in the past. A local pastor connected to a ministry that we are working with will work alongside the project as a basis for building relationships and sharing the gospel. We are praying that this becomes a platform for evangelism and church planting, as well as to help the people with clean water.
- We met with the leaders of 6 indigenous ministries that are combining evangelism, church planting, schools for orphans and mistreated children, and development projects to talk with them about working together. We met with them in March on our previous trip and we had a follow up meeting to discuss the topics of spiritual transformation, the power of unity, and the economic affect of the gospel on the poor. They were very receptive and are interested in forming a coalition/network of ministries that are impacting their state in both word and deed to bring the gospel into the unreached mountain regions of Northern India. Here is the teaching that we shared with them: Working Together to Bring Spiritual, Social, and Economic Transformation
- We explored and moved forward on several microfinancing projects. We are wanting to infuse capital into the hands of believers who are entrepenurial in both a financial and Kingdom perspective. These leaders are starting businesses to provide income for people that they are leading to Christ to improve their standard of living and also to give them a broader platform for ministry. Basically, they are stepping forward in the concept of business as mission and we are helping them to do that by providing low interest loans instead of handouts. In some cases, we are just giving to ministries, but in others, we are trying to set up a system where they can become sustainable themselves. We worked with another non-profit in this called Isaiah's Legacy, led by Bill Hurley, who went with myself and another minister named Carmen Falcione on the trip.
- At the end of the trip, we went back to Delhi and attended the semi-annual meeting of the workers connected with Truthseekers International, a ministry that is working amongst the politicians and educators of India to bring a Christian worldview to the nation. This ministry is also made up of indigenous Indians and is led by Sunil Sardar. We heard the testimony of what God is doing through this ministry in India, heard from several Indian MP's (ministers of parliament) who had become believers, and also heard about the great church planting effort that is going on. I met one man who has helped plant hundreds of churches and has the gift of healing. He has seen many people healed and even saw a girl raised from the dead. This was attested to by many in the meeting as an established fact. He gave all the credit to God. Actually, the meeting lasted 7 hours and we sat on the floor the whole time!
- We connected with ministries who were impacting lostness in Northern India and were penetrating unreached people groups for the first time. Some of the areas were seeing the first Christian converts ever. We met a woman who went into a village near Hardiwar, the second most holy city for the Hindus, and led 31 people to the Lord, many were her family members. A church was quickly planted and a day care was established to minister to the children through an afterschool program. The church planter assigned to that area is using the day care as a platform to minister to the families of the children who are coming. All of this is being organized and led by Indians who are devoted to Christ.
We have learned many things through our travels to India. We are working in an area that is the seat of Hinduism, boasting the most holy cities for the Hindus on the Ganges River and many mountain shrines and temples. If Northern India comes to Christ, the whole nation will follow. We are working with indigenous Indians who are doing incredible work and are far outpacing the Westerners that are there. Did you know that an Indian church planter only needs $1500 per year to live and do ministry? Western missionaries need tens of thousands of dollars to do the same work, although they are hampered by language and cultural barriers. There is a growing church in India that is serious about taking responsibility for the evangelization of their own nation. Of the 1.3 billion in India, only 2% are Christian, but many are mobilized and are working diligently to see the Kingdom come. We are going to help them directly.
Here are a few more pictures from the trip. I'll be writing more on this over the next few weeks.
"Beautiful Feet" - This is a picture of the shoes of little children left outside a church on Sunday morning as they go inside to worship. I could not help but think of the verse in Romans that says, "How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news."