Out of India

It is a typical weekday afternoon in the northern India Bible College.

Scores of young men and women have just completed a time of prayer and are loading into vans (women) and trucks (men) to travel to one of the local villages. They are involved in gospel outreach in a way that would be considered unique in most evangelical groups in the USA.

As these evangelists in training approach the houses, it is not typically with gospel material or the standard questions relating to the salvation of the occupants. They approach with such questions as "do you have sick members in this home that we can pray for?" Or "is there a need for food or medical supplies here?" These are not just words but represent a sincere concern that is followed up when the need is there.

These young servants of God are learning the importance of servant hood and credibility in ministry. They are bridging the gap between Hinduism and the many misperceptions of the villagers concerning Christianity.

One of the graduates of the college was ministering in the area of south India later hit by the Tsunami in 2005. As he was calling on people in the village, a group of Hindu men grabbed him and severely beat him so that he had to be hospitalized. He was warned never to return to that village. After he had recovered sufficiently to leave the hospital and following the devastating tsunami, he returned to the village and the people who had beaten and threatened him with food and other supplies for them.

It was my privilege to take with me a group of preachers and minister to this college student body as well as many of the pastoral graduates and families. As we reflected on many of the incidents that were shared with us and became involved in the school and some of the churches, we concluded as one that we had done very little ministering but had received much of the same.

The student body of this Bible college consists of students from at least 42 cultural and linguistic people groups. Several different countries are represented. When many of the evangelists and pastors graduate and return to their home area to serve, it will be at great risk.Their target areas will include Hindu, Muslim and Sikh adherents.

When we arrived for our twelve day stay, we prepared to minister over the two weekends in several of the churches in the Delhi area. Translators were on hand as several of the believers and other attending did not speak English. This meant that at least four languages were translated for the hearers in different locations.
The intensity of attention to the word and worship seemed much different from my stateside experiences.

These local church opportunities were only matched in spiritual blessing by the school chapel meetings. The student body and many of the older guests would assemble in the auditorium as early as five AM
for an hour and half of prayer followed by praise and worship of God in singing. By the time we arrived on the platform at eight oclock, the presence of the Spirit of God was powerful. These sessions continued all day and the evening throughout the week.

Fifty or more young men had applied for ordination to the gospel ministry and fifteen of these had been approved for this session. It was our privilege as ordained men to pray over these candidates as they received their certificates of ordination. This was a solemn and blessed time. The men understand what they face as they go out beyond the gates of this refuge to preach and evangelize. We had already been apprised of the fact that, statistically, an average of two graduates per year (from some previous graduating class) would be martyred for their faith and service.

We were also told that one of the recent graduates pastoring in south India had been murdered on the day of the birth of his first
child because of the work he was doing in building a church.One of the veteran pastors who attended the sessions all week returned to the church he pastored in northern India for the Sunday services. As the service was in process, a group of men broke in, and demanded that he throw down his Bible, step on it and deny his faith. He refused and was severely beaten for his refusal as his family and those attending looked on. Christianity is serious business in India.

This writer had been given the high privilege of delivering the commencement address to the 272 college and seminary graduates. As the proceedings of this holy time unfolded, I sat and reflected on the occasion many years earlier when I was one of the graduates. I further reflected on the eternal significance of what was taking place and marveling that I should be granted a role in this event. The grace of God is wonderous beyond my understanding.

There is a adjunct ministry of the college in sheltering and caring for over a thousand orphans on the same campus.Wonderful facilities, a good education and spiritual nurturing are all a part of this great service for the Lord. One of our dear men who had experience from our sending church working with children, was just what was needed for the week. His labors were blessed!

I cannot reflect on this unique opportunity and experience without remembering that is was started very simply by an Indian national and his wife by beginning to evangelize and build a church in one of the local villages. Truly, "the path of the just is as a shining light, shining more and more unto the perfect day."

Forty years later this man and his wife still live in an apartment in
Delhi and share the apartment with the church use for three different
groups to meet. His reports are sent out being prepared on a 50' era typewriter. No, he does not have a computer or word processor and probably would put the money given to him for such into the school.
It is almost unfathomable when one considers that by count over 5000 local churches have begun in northern India through the efforts of graduates of the school.

I certainly it will surprise no one reading this report that those of us who traveled to India to bring blessing through the word of God to these dear ones, clearly came away with far more spiritual energy and blessing than we possibly could have carried to our hearers.

The Alleys count it a unique privilege to be the representatives in areas such as India of you who support us with your prayer, words of encouragement and gifts. Thank you for partnering with us in these endeavors.