Western Pastor's Perspective on the Church in India
Greetings faithful soldiers in the service of our Heavenly Father. We pray this blog post finds you and your family healthy and content in Him from whom we learn the secret of being content in all things. As the effects of Covid 19 continue to bring change and upset to our daily lives we pray that you would look to our Jehovah Jireh, the Lord who will provide. We thank you for your continued support of the church in India. We know that God’s Word does not return void. Thanks to faithful supporters like you, Go Give Hope is continually able to share His Word with those who need to hear it most.
One of the main focuses of Go Give Hope is to prepare and equip national church planters in India to preach the Gospel. Pastor Jeff Johnson of Calvary Chapel Grand Junction was able to accompany Imli on his last trip to India and brought home some fresh insight into how God is moving in India through Go Give Hope. I asked Pastor Jeff a few questions about his recent experience. It was exciting to learn of the different ways God is bringing growth to the people of India, and humbling to realize just how blessed the church in America truly is.
My first question for Pastor Jeff was how this trip was different than his first:
“This was my 4th trip to NE India. For me, the biggest difference is that I am much more comfortable than my first trip. Becoming more familiar with the needs of the different tribal groups that we minister to has been the most important difference for me. In India, one size does not fit all. Some groups are more mature and can handle the meat of the Word of God, while others are just learning to drink milk.”
How have you seen Go Give Hope grow in India?
“Go Give Hope is definitely growing in NE India. We've seen more Church Planters raised up, which is vital for the ministry to grow. More Church Planters means more unreached villages can hear the life changing message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We were able to train more Church Planters than any previous time I've been there. And it's exciting to see how hungry they are for the Word of God.
We've also seen GGH growing in other areas as well. We were able to participate in the first graduation of Hope Trade Center, where young people are learning various skills in construction. This will genuinely help them rise above the poverty level that some of them now live in.
I was also able to see the property that was donated by the Garo Tribe villagers for a much-needed elementary school. Up to 200 children will be able to get an education that they currently do not receive. We are excited to see what the Lord does as we move forward in this opportunity He has given us”.
What was the highlight of this trip, and what did God show you?
“The highlight for me was teaching the Book of Revelation at two different conferences. The Church Planters that were able to attend were very engaged as I taught verse by verse through the entire book. They had many questions about the Last Days and the importance of proclaiming the Gospel while we still have an open door. God once again showed me the importance of simply teaching the Word of God simply. Most of the people we work with have very few Biblical resources. But it's a thrill to see them so excited about the Bible, and then to share what they learn with others.”
In your opinion, what are some of the biggest needs of the church in India?
“I think the biggest need in NE India is for prayer. We need to pray that the Lord continues to keep the Church Planters safe. They face real persecution that we have a hard time relating to. They need prayer for open doors. The government opposition will continue to try and hinder the spread of the Gospel. We need to pray that the Lord will raise up more and more Church Planters in these last days. As always, the harvest is great but the laborers are few. We were able to leave India just before the Covid-19 outbreak closed the country down. So please pray for the health and safety of our Go Give Hope partners who are facing very difficult times in a country that is already faced with extreme shortages already.”
What do you see is the biggest difference between the church in India and the church in America?
“The difference between the two countries churches are extreme in some ways and very similar in other ways. The biggest difference is in the villages that we minister in. Their church buildings are very simple; metal roof, woven bamboo walls, dirt or cow dung floors, maybe a bare lightbulb hanging from the ceiling, and wooden benches for seating. If they have one or two Bibles, they are fortunate. Obviously, our churches in America have so much more as it pertains to non-essential items. For example; we have nice air conditioning and heating systems, comfortable chairs and carpeting, sound systems for worship and for proclaiming the Gospel, and most everyone has a Bible or two. But what we do have in common is what knits our hearts together as the Body of Christ: salvation by faith alone in Christ alone...love for Jesus and for our brothers and sisters in Christ...a hunger for the Word of God...a desire to worship the Lord in Spirit and truth...a desire to see our family and neighbors saved.
My hope and prayer for those reading this is that the Lord Jesus Christ will continue to bless you and use you for His glory. May you experience the peace of God in a powerful way during this crazy time in the battle against the coronavirus. But always remember, greater is He, Jesus, who is in you than he that is in the world.”
Since India has been on lock down due to the coronavirus pandemic food has been harder to come by for those in the rural villages. One way Go Give Hope has been trying to help with this is by setting up a ministry called Feed the Families. People can donate to this ministry which in turn helps buy food for those in need. Recently one of the workers who is important in sourcing and buying rice to distribute was getting food to deliver when local police seized his motorcycle. He had permission to be out and about buying food for those in need, but the police still wanted him to pay a five-thousand-rupee bribe (about sixty-five dollars) to get his motorcycle back. He was able to work out a deal with them where they would accept two thousand rupees’ but would keep his motorcycle overnight.
Please continue to pray for our brothers and sisters in India as the lockdown was extended. Events like this are one of the many circumstances those in India who work with Go Give Hope deal with. Please continue to keep them lifted up in your prayers.
Go Give Hope team