Thousands of ways to reach out and share God’s love

January 30th, 2015 Comments off

According to the Scriptures, the apostles were the first volunteers. Their service gained them nothing in this world but the satisfaction of serving Jesus by serving others. They gladly heeded Jesus Christ’s invitation to join His ministry and fulfill the Great Commission. Until the end of their lives, they wholeheartedly shared God’s love in word and deed, and recruited more “volunteers” to stand with them.

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It is through God’s anointing on their work and the work of their disciples’ after them that Christianity has reached so far. After Jesus’ death, the Apostle Paul encouraged his disciple Timothy, ”Fan into flame the gift of God which is in you” and “Do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord.” It seems Timothy was initially reluctant and fraught with fear, but eventually stepped up and carried out the mission with all his strength.

Timothy’s initial attitude toward his responsibility as a disciple reflects the same attitude of millions of Christians nowadays. While they recognize the need to serve, many of them lack the discipline and confidence to step out in faith and do so. Many more do not know how or where to start.

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But the need for modern-day stewards of Christ to share His love in word and deed is more pressing than ever. Centuries after Jesus died on the cross, there are still millions who have yet to hear of the God who came down “not to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (see Matthew 20:28). It is important for Christians to take up the mission of sharing the message of God’s gift with men and women over the world through ministries such as Gospel for Asia.

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All year round, there are tens of thousands of ways for Christians to help others. Some volunteer in soup kitchens or food banks—many need help, especially outside of the holiday season. Other Christians visit the elderly, pray with them and do simple tasks like washing their dishes or mowing their lawns. Some feel called to join long or short-term missions, while others support missionaries who are already sharing their faith in other nations. Other Christians use their skills and talents for the glory of God by leading worship sessions and other events. Websites like ChristianVolunteering.org list opportunities of one’s choosing. Just like God’s love never ends, the possibilities of giving are endless.

Gospel for Asia gives numerous opportunities for impacting the lives of men and women in South Asia by sharing the ministry at conferences, in churches and at small groups; through creating unique MyGFA campaigns to give practical gifts to the needy; or by volunteering your time and energy in the home office. As you volunteer with GFA, you’re also a part of reaching out to South Asian countries and helping men and women learn more about the love of Jesus, the love which has been compelling and inspiring volunteers for thousands of years. Visit this website to know more about how you can help the group’s causes.

Rural Convention Draws 5,000 Tribals

December 27th, 2013 Comments off

Why would people travel through forests and across rice paddies just to spend time in a primitive church building with no electricity or air conditioning? Just ask the 5,000 people who crowded into a church building in Maharashtra, India, recently.

M.A. Lalachan, Gospel for Asia’s leader in central India, said the answer was Christian fellowship and worship.

“It was indeed a unique experience to see believers travel by foot, bullock cart and on the tops of jeeps,” Lalachan wrote. “The convention venue was in the middle of a forest, and it was 30 kilometers (19 miles) from the nearest town. We had no electricity or nearby roads, so generators provided power, and we had to cross through a rice paddy to reach it!”

The two-day conference was organized by 24 GFA native missionaries.

The rural location of the convention site posed difficulties, but it enabled Christians to come from tribal areas where transportation to the cities is often unavailable.

And what looked like a disastrous start to the convention ended up being a miracle.

“The convention started with a note of disappointment because it was raining heavily and there were high winds,” Lalachan reported. “However, we prayed and God stopped the rain miraculously just before the convention started.

“In spite of the downpour, 2,500 people came the first night. The second day started with a Bible study session from 8:30 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. The evening meeting saw a gathering of about 5,000 people.

“During the evening meeting, different churches presented worship songs in their own tribal languages. This went on until midnight.”

The attendees also brought food and worked together to cook meals. Mealtimes became a time of sweet fellowship, as everyone ate together.

At the end of the two days, the believers were encouraging each other and sharing how they were growing in their walks with the Lord. They were also looking forward to making a difference in their own communities.

“The conference concluded with a prayer and pledge that in the days to come, many more people should hear the Gospel in those areas,” Lalachan wrote. “We also prayed for a permanent building to hold these conventions every year.”

 

This article was originally published by Gospel for Asia. To learn more about Gospel for Asia, click here.

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Dalits Welcome in Church

December 13th, 2013 Comments off

 

Church Service

At churches where GFA missionaries serve as pastors, Dalits are able to freely worship alongside all members of society.

“The Dalits are so appreciative of the Christian community, because we don’t show any kind of partiality or discrimination against them,” explained Gospel for Asia field leader Janu Madhu. “And when they come into our churches, we welcome them with open arms.”

In Uttar Pradesh, India, Dalits (“Untouchables”) have lived as outcastes in society for thousands of years. Now, GFA missionaries are reaching out in Christ’s love and accepting them as equals—something the Dalits have never experienced before.

Janu and other GFA missionaries have a burning desire to see the Dalits come to a true understanding of their worth in Jesus’ eyes. Dalits are enslaved to a rigid caste system, and many of them have no hope for a future.

“Not only are we sharing the Gospel message and giving them Bibles, but we are also helping meet their physical and educational needs,” Janu said.

“Jesus never said anything about a caste system, and we want the Dalits to know that Christianity respects everyone,” Janu shared.

The churches where GFA missionaries serve as pastors welcome people from all caste backgrounds. And they especially want the Dalits to know that there is a Savior who values and loves them.

GFA missionaries in Uttar Pradesh also strive to change the Dalits’ extreme social disadvantage through various practical ministries. These programs demonstrate the Lord’s care for their well-being.

Because most Dalits in the state are illiterate, they have no way of earning even meager wages. High-caste field owners often force them to work long hours of back-breaking labor for just a few cents a day. But through GFA’s Bridge of Hope program, their children can escape this awful fate.

More than 5,500 Dalit children in Uttar Pradesh joyfully bound into BOH classrooms each day. They are receiving an education that will enable them to break through the bondage of poverty when they grow up.

Their parents’ lives are also changing dramatically. Several times a month, they meet at the center for literacy and hygiene classes led by GFA workers.

“We are also helping to meet their physical needs through Jesus Well projects, community outreach and the Women’s Fellowship,” Janu shared.

Along with Bridge of Hope, Women’s Fellowship plays a vital role in ministry to the Dalits. Several women’s fellowships have started literacy classes and citizenship training for Dalit women. Every hour, three Dalit women are raped, and GFA missionaries want that statistic to dramatically change.

“We inform the women about their rights as citizens. Most of them have no idea what rights they have, because they are illiterate and have no way of informing themselves,” Janu said.

All across Uttar Pradesh, Dalits are learning that they are valuable: As they walk into church buildings and are treated as equals. As they become educated. As their needs are met. And as they hear of a God who loves them more than anything.

Janu requests prayer that the Uttar Pradesh government will continue to expand the Dalits’ civil rights. He also asks for prayer that the Dalits will come to fully understand the love of Christ.

 

This article was originally published by Gospel for Asia. To learn more about Gospel for Asia, click here.

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GFA Relief Shipment Received in Yangon

November 29th, 2013 Comments off
Myanmar Congregation

This is one of the many congregations pastored by GFA missionaries in Myanmar that will now become centers for cyclone relief efforts.

 

Gospel for Asia’s first shipment of cyclone relief supplies has arrived in Myanmar (Burma) and has been received by GFA officials.

“Because of our previous service to the nation in times of such need, our national leader has a good reputation among government leaders, and the local churches are held in high regard,” explained GFA President and Founder K.P. Yohannan. “As a result, the government has agreed to allow GFA Church to not only bring in supplies, but also to make sure they reach the people who are in such desperate need.”

Even though there have been several reports in the international media of aid materials being diverted, GFA has been assured that these will get to those in need.

In addition to the medical supplies that were flown into the Yangon (Rangoon) airport, GFA Church is also shipping food to the disaster-struck nation.

“Please pray that all of these supplies will get into the hands of the people who need them the most,” Yohannan pleaded. “I also ask that Christians offer prayer that the government leaders will give greater freedom to help the hurting in remote areas.”

In what he described as a near-miracle, the Myanmar government has also given special permission to GFA Church to open medical clinics in its church compounds.

“This is a very unusual situation,” Yohannan said, “and it is good because we have 400 churches in Burma, and many are in the most affected areas. Of course we cannot minister to everyone who is suffering as a result of this disaster, but we will do everything we can to help everyone we can.”

Yohannan said the most pressing need at these clinics is for trained medical personnel.

GFA Bible College in Yangon

These students were welcoming a guest to the GFA Bible college in Yangon. The Bible college is now a shelter for cyclone survivors.

“I am asking people to pray that God would lead us to Burmese doctors and nurses who are already in the country, since so far the government has not allowed outsiders to come in and work,” Yohannan said.

Yohannan also revealed that the GFA Church leader in Myanmar has asked to open an orphanage to care for more than 90 children now in his church’s temporary care.

“Could you please allow us to pick up the pitiful children who have lost their parents in the cyclone,” he pleaded. “They have no families and are completely alone.”

Yohannan said permission had been granted and that the children will be cared for.

GFA workers have been actively involved in the relief effort since a few hours after Cyclone Nargis hit Myanmar in the predawn hours of May 3. The work started in the GFA Bible college in Rangoon, where people sought shelter in the badly damaged, but still usable, buildings. A few days later, GFA workers spread their efforts to other parts of the storm-ravaged country.

The Bible college is still being utilized as a shelter. A portable generator there has made it possible to draw clean, fresh water out of the campus well. The water is being bottled and distributed to those who so desperately need it. At night, the missionaries are using portable projectors to show an Indian-made film about Jesus.

Buddhist

More than 80 percent of Myanmar’s 46 million residents adhere to the Buddhist religion.

Missionaries are focusing their attention on the two major needs of the people.

“The people are asking for water to drink and rice to eat. Starvation is the major problem right now,” Yohannan said.

GFA Church has additional medical and food shipments on the way to the country, and more than 300 students from GFA’s Bible colleges, along with missionaries and volunteers, are mobilized to get food and clothing to the storm survivors.

News reports from inside Myanmar put the death toll at 38,491. The United Nations estimates that more than 60,000 people perished because of the storm.

The International Red Cross says the dead could number as high as 127,900.

“No matter what the official number is, we must remember that each of these people was a soul precious to God. In the same manner, we must continue to help the millions of survivors. They need to hear that they are beautiful in God’s eyes,” Yohannan said.

Weather-related troubles may not be over for the people of Myanmar. Heavy rains have been falling on the country for several days and the annual monsoon season is just a few weeks away.

The foul weather may complicate the distribution of some emergency supplies, but it will not be cause for the relief efforts to stop. GFA’s 500 native missionaries in Myanmar will continue to serve their fellow countrymen, long after the crisis disappears from the headlines.

“Rebuilding Myanmar could take years. And since our missionaries, churches and Bible college students are indigenous, they are there for the long haul,” Yohannan said.

 

This article was originally published by Gospel for Asia. To learn more about Gospel for Asia, click here.

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Bombs Blast Jaipur

November 15th, 2013 Comments off

 

Jaipur

Jaipur, Rajasthan, is often called the “pink city” due to its many salmon-colored palaces and buildings.

On May 14, seven bombs blasted a busy market area just a few miles from a Gospel for Asia Bible college and a Bridge of Hope center in Jaipur, Rajasthan. The attack killed more than 80 people and injured more than 200 others. The explosions did not harm any Bible college or Bridge or Hope staff members or students.

Authorities say a terrorist group tied the bombs to bicycles and placed them in a heavily populated market place. The bombs detonated within a 20 minute period starting at 7:20 p.m. An eighth bomb did not detonate.

Although no one has officially taken responsibility for the attacks, police suspect that Islamic extremists are to blame. Tensions have been high between the Hindu and Muslim communities in the area, and the bombings happened near a popular Hindu temple in Jaipur.

GFA leaders in Rajasthan request prayer for the victims and their families. They also ask for prayer that the terrorists will receive the love of Christ.

 

This article was originally published by Gospel for Asia. To learn more about Gospel for Asia, click here.

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Forced to Marry Unbeliever

November 8th, 2013 Comments off

 

Weddings where Tamarai lived were several-day affairs filled with color, tradition and family. For Tamarai, though, her wedding was just a countdown to the day she was banished to the home of someone she was desperate not to marry. She had grown up knowing a forced marriage was possible, but this man didn’t even follow the same religion.

Tamarai felt helpless when her parents forced her to marry a man who, in turn, expected her to convert to his religion.

As if their faith meant nothing, Tamarai’s Christian parents expected her to give up Jesus for this man’s gods. Feeling like she had no other choice, that’s exactly what she did.

Parents Give Daughter to Unbelieving Man

Despite living in a part of the world where being a Christian carries heavy risks, Tamarai’s parents still claimed the Christian faith as their own—even though they never took it seriously. They were safe in their own community, so they attended church and said they followed Christ. When it came to making decisions, however, God was far from their minds.

In South Asia, families have a variety of reasons to ignore their daughter’s input on whom she marries. A well-connected husband can bring status and honor to a family. Lesser husbands at least rid families of “extra mouths to feed.”

Tamarai’s parents should have known better, but marrying their daughter to this man would help solve their problems. Unfortunately, it was only the beginning of Tamarai’s.

New Gods Bring Hardship

After Tamarai married Paandu, she dutifully began following his religious traditions and worshiped his gods. She had never received much from her parents’ nominal faith, but these new gods seemed bent on making her miserable.

Her new husband wasn’t home much. He worked all day and spent his nights drinking alcohol. Meanwhile, Tamarai began suffering dizzy spells and pain throughout her body. Her doctor didn’t know what was wrong, and her health worsened every day.

Still, Tamarai told herself she couldn’t simply trade in these new gods for another. As the years passed, she had two children, whose care added to the problems of her alcoholic husband and unexplained illness. Who had time to switch religions a second time? Besides, how would Paandu react?

Even if another god could heal her, she was stuck—unless someone could show her a way out.

After she began worshiping her husband’s gods, Tamarai suffered an illness her doctors couldn’t cure.

Woman Seeks Answers in Secret

Wahab, a recent Bible college graduate, and Ibraheem, a Bible college intern, were new to full-time ministry, but they didn’t hesitate when a local believer asked them to visit a woman named Tamarai who had been sick for more than a decade.

“We are serving the Lord, and we came to know that you have not been well for a long time,” they said when they arrived at her door. “We would love to pray for you.”

After they prayed, Tamarai began pouring out her life’s story to them.

“I was born and brought up in a Christian family, but my parents had no fear of God in their lives,” she began. “They were living a worldly life. Due to that, there was no blessing in our family.”

As Tamarai told her story, the men listened thoughtfully, and then told her to put her faith in the Lord and not lose heart.

“Our God will make all of this right in His time,” they said.

Tamarai was encouraged and asked them to come back. When Paandu found out, he forbid any more visits, but Tamarai continued inviting her friends in secret and began attending fellowship meetings.

The men gave her a Bible, which Paandu also forbid her to read, but Tamarai couldn’t be dissuaded. As Wahab and Ibraheem continued to pray for Tamarai to have true faith in Jesus, she began to change—and her pain began subsiding, too.

Still, the young men wanted to see God do more in Tamarai’s life—to know she wouldn’t revert to the nominal faith of her parents or give it up completely when more pressure came. This time, they wanted her to have faith that couldn’t be shaken.

A Bible college student and a recent graduate encouraged Tamarai to trust Jesus despite her husband’s opposition.

Woman Stands Firm in Faith

Wahab and Ibraheem had equipment to show a film about the life of Jesus, and they began fasting and praying for the opportunity to show it in Tamarai’s home. One day, while Paandu was out, they got their chance.

As Tamarai and 15 others watched, she felt the Lord speaking to her heart, calling her to love Him. From that day on, there was no question: Her faith would encompass her entire life.

Tamarai began spending time in prayer and rejoiced as Jesus brought her complete spiritual and physical healing.

Seeing his wife healed after a decade of suffering, Paandu stopped voicing his objections to her new faith, and he even came to church a couple of times.

Tamarai prays that one day he will embrace Jesus, too, but even if he doesn’t, she’s ready to stand firm in her faith. Because of two young men’s efforts, she knows truly serving Jesus is greater than a Sunday-morning ritual.

“If I had to forget my husband,” she says, “I would do it for my Jesus.”

Whatever she may face, Tamarai is completely devoted to following Christ now.

 

This article was originally published by Gospel for Asia. To learn more about Gospel for Asia, click here.

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Stitching Her Garments with a Grateful Heart

November 1st, 2013 Comments off

 

Sewing Machine

Through the gift of a sewing machine from GFA’s Christmas Gift Catalog, women like the one pictured here are able to earn much-needed income for their families and are experiencing a tangible expression of the love of Christ.

With a grateful heart, Nandita stitches busily away at her sewing machine, creating garments that provide a steady income to help meet her household’s needs. For this hard-working woman in Andhra Pradesh, India, the gift of a sewing machine came just when she needed it most.

Before receiving the machine, Nandita and her husband, Arjun, lived out a meager existence of extreme poverty. They worked as day laborers to put food on the table for them and their two young children. Then Nandita began having health problems, which forced her to stop working. The family had to live on the limited income they received from Arjun’s job.

The problems only grew worse as Arjun began drowning his problems in alcohol. Many months went by with the family in the same awful predicament.

Then Gospel for Asia missionary Narendar began visiting the family, telling them about Jesus. At first, they were not very receptive because they were strong followers of the traditional religion of their village. But Narendar continued visiting the family and praying for them. As time went by, Nandita gradually opened up, relating her family’s struggles to survive and her husband’s consuming addiction. The pastor offered a kind, listening ear and continued to share the Gospel with them. Eventually, Nandita chose to put her trust in Jesus.

Nandita started attending the local church to learn more about her Savior. Arjun, on the other hand, showed no interest in the Christian faith—and even voiced his objections to his wife’s church attendance. But Nandita bravely continued, feeling drawn by the fulfilling joy and peace she found in the Lord’s presence as she worshipped Him with other believers.

Then a Gospel for Asia Bridge of Hope center opened in Nandita’s village, and she enrolled their two children. It gave her joy to see them cared for and nurtured at the center. The Bridge of Hope staff visited the family often, too.

While Nandita continued to experience a wonderful, abiding peace in Jesus, her family’s struggling finances remained a concern. By this time her husband was providing only sporadic income to run the household. It was not nearly enough to adequately feed them.

Then, through the caring generosity of GFA friends across the globe who responded to GFA’s 2006 Christmas Gift Catalog, struggling families in Nandita’s village began receiving special gifts to help them earn a livelihood. Nandita received a sewing machine.

Nandita could sew garments, even with her health problems. Assisted by her new sewing machine, Nandita began stitching clothes—and selling them to earn money to meet her family’s needs. Today, more than a year later, she is still industriously working away at her sewing machine, earning a steady income to help her family. She is joyful in the Lord and continues to grow in her Christian walk as she faithfully attends her local church.

And now, Nandita can see God working in her husband’s heart as well. Arjun desires to receive Jesus as his Savior but is afraid of the response of his relatives and neighbors. Nandita requests prayer that the Lord will give Arjun the courage to make this important decision.

 

This article was originally published by Gospel for Asia. To learn more about Gospel for Asia, click here.

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One Dream Not Worth Following

October 25th, 2013 Comments off

 

The village just a couple miles away struck fear in Minati’s heart. She knew all previous attempts to share the Gospel with the residents had been met with staunch opposition. An anti-Christian group had warned the villagers to stay away from any new religion, and local missionaries and pastors had given up trying to reach them.

Minati’s heart ached to share Christ with these people, but all doors appeared closed.

But one desperate woman eagerly waited for the hope Minati’s words would bring.

Jayanti was a priestess and gave six years of her life in service to the gods and goddesses of her faith.

Jayanti was a priestess and gave six years of her life in service to the gods and goddesses of her faith.

One Dream Changes Everything

Jayanti was 15 when she had an unusual dream.

Brought up in a family that worshiped many gods and goddesses, she wasn’t alarmed when one appeared to her while she slept. The goddess told Jayanti to perform rituals to please her, and from that day forward, Jayanti served as a priestess in her village. The role required that she abandon hopes of marriage, but she faithfully offered sacrifices and performed the prescribed rituals. Still, something felt wrong.

A Priestess with a Problem

Jayanti wept as she thought about her life. Now 21, six years had been spent in service to the gods, and all she had to show for it was family sicknesses, a brother in prison for murder and little hope for change.

Jayanti tried to fix it. She offered sacrifices in many temples and called on different gods and goddesses she knew. But no one seemed to hear her prayers. Finally she gave up. If the gods refused to help her, she determined to stop trying to please them.

The villagers were upset when she no longer offered her services as a priestess, but Jayanti’s decision was made. Now, if only she could find a solution for her family’s struggles.

A Year-Long Commitment

One by one, Minati and the women entered the room, each taking a spot on the floor. As a small circle formed, they began to lift their voices up to God. They needed a breakthrough.

Minati’s Women’s Fellowship group had been meeting together for a year, often fasting and praying. Their simple request was that God would open a door to share His love in a nearby village where people hadn’t heard the Good News.

A dominant political party had made a firm announcement that no one should listen to the words of the believers, but the women in the group knew God had the power to change hearts. When news that a man from the unreached village they prayed and fasted over had made his way to their church and begun following the Lord, Minati realized God was opening a door.

Minati's Women's Fellowship group met often for fasting and prayer to reach Jayanti's village. All across Asia, thousands of women gather to study the Bible, pray, do outreach and raise money for missions.

Minati’s Women’s Fellowship group met often for fasting and prayer to reach Jayanti’s village. All across Asia, thousands of women gather to study the Bible, pray, do outreach and raise money for missions.

She Saw a Difference

As the former priestess watched Aadit and his family, she noticed something different. He was just an average man from her village, but now he and his family followed a new God. As Jayanti watched the positive changes in their lives, she wondered if this God could change her life too.

One day as Jayanti sat at home crying out for answers, a group of women stopped in for a visit.

“What happened to you, sister?” one asked. “Why are you crying and sitting alone?” Overwhelmed, Jayanti started sobbing again. A few moments passed before she was composed enough to share her story with them.

Minati’s Women’s Fellowship group listened closely to Jayanti’s story and then began to tell her about the love of Jesus. They told of His miraculous power and then prayed earnestly for her. Before they left, they invited Jayanti and her family to church, where she could learn more about Jesus.

Minati's love and concern for Jayanti opened a door for her to share about Jesus.

Minati’s love and concern for Jayanti opened a door for her to share about Jesus.

A Life of Hope

Curious, Jayanti and her brothers showed up at church, where they listened to Pastor Gunin preach from the Word of God. Something began to stir in Jayanti’s heart, and when the service ended, she asked the pastor to pray for her and her family. After he prayed, Gunin invited her to come again.

Jayanti went home different. She knew the Lord was speaking to her heart, so she shared with her family what was going on. They all decided to join her at church the following week, and from then on, she followed the Lord.

Now Jayanti works in a tea garden as a daily laborer and attends church and Women’s Fellowship regularly. She even finds time to help keep the church building organized and clean. She also goes out with the same group of women who remained faithful in prayer to reach her village, and tells others about Jesus—the One who gave her a hope to live for.

 

This article was originally published by Gospel for Asia. To learn more about Gospel for Asia, click here.

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The Church Near Bollywood in Mumbai

October 18th, 2013 Comments off

 

Church in Mumbai

This church building in Mumbai is the result of many prayers.

In India’s city famous for both slums and movie-making, Gospel for Asia missionary Prisan Pinak received a miracle for his congregation. His church was the first in Mumbai (Bombay) planted by a GFA missionary to construct its own building.

About 350 people came to witness Prisan dedicate the church building on this special day. Besides being the first in its area, it was an answer to the believers’ prayers for the Lord to provide money and land, both of which are difficult to obtain in the growing city.

Although the building provided relief from the cramped home the congregation previously met in, it will not have extra space for long.

“The presence of the Lord was felt throughout the dedication service,” GFA’s correspondent wrote. “The Lord opened the hearts of the people and many received Jesus into their lives on that day.”

Miraculously, a local political leader who had previously opposed Prisan’s ministry came to the dedication. Far from the intimidation the politician had shown earlier, he came happily, grateful to have been invited. He didn’t know Prisan had spent time fasting and praying for him. But the Christians knew his presence was another miracle in the service.

Woman with baby

This woman is one of nearly 7 million who live in the Mumbai slums.

Prisan came to Mumbai to start his ministry four years ago. The city of nearly 13 million people has many outstanding characteristics that seem to contradict themselves. Millions, in fact almost half the city’s population, end up in the massive slums that spread over huge portions of Mumbai. Yet this city is also the center of India’s financial stock trading.

The railway area attracts homeless people and abandoned children, and was the location of a political bombing. Mumbai is also home to some of India’s many celebrities who work in Bollywood, the Mumbai moviemaking center that dwarfs Hollywood, California.

Practically, the size of the city means it is hard for Prisan and missionaries like him to find space for church buildings. But the overwhelming number of people needing the Gospel in this city drives these missionaries to minister in far-from-ideal locations. Prisan and his congregation rejoice that God has provided them with their building to continue and minister in their city.

 

This article was originally published by Gospel for Asia. To learn more about Gospel for Asia, click here.

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GFA Missionaries Seeking Cyclone Survivors

October 11th, 2013 Comments off

Gospel for Asia missionaries and local church leaders moved out from Yangon (Rangoon) Thursday morning to go into Myanmar’s cyclone-devastated villages and search for survivors, according to a GFA correspondent inside the ravaged country.

Five teams were sent out to survey the damage and begin assessing the needs of the traumatized survivors. The teams included students from GFA’s Bible college in Yangon, which has become a center of ministry to survivors in Myanmar’s largest city.

One of the teams is being led by the school’s dean of students. The GFA country leader is directing the relief efforts at the college, which includes providing desperately needed food and water to survivors staying on and near the campus.

The campus itself was badly damaged, but some buildings were strong enough to house survivors on a temporary basis.

GFA President K.P. Yohannan has issued an urgent plea for focused prayer as the situation has continued to grow ever more critical.

“The number of dead will probably be over 100,000,” K.P. said from India, where he is working to get GFA relief materials into the beleaguered country. “Vast areas were completely drowned under the water. Now, with dead bodies littering the countryside and food and water running out, we must pray that the government will allow these much-needed supplies into the country.

“I am also asking Christians around the world to pray for our 500 missionaries in Burma, and for our 250 Bible college students.”

K.P. also called for prayer for the thousands of believers who worship in more than 400 churches and 250 mission stations.

“Please pray that God will protect their health,” he emphasized, noting that disease is expected to sweep the southern part of the country, where 120-mile-per-hour winds and a 12-foot storm surge swept away villages, farmland, animals and people early Saturday morning.

“The suffering of the people is unimaginable,” K.P. reported. “Hundreds of thousands—perhaps millions—are homeless. Food and clean water are quickly running out. Electricity may be out for months. People have lost literally everything.”

A few U.N. aid flights have been allowed to land in Rangoon, but only a handful of outside aid workers have been granted visas.

“For us, the issue is not as much visas as it is getting supplies into the affected areas,” K.P. explained. “Our people are already on the ground. Our national leader is organizing the relief efforts. And he is trying to arrange for our materials to get in. But they need much more—and they need much prayer.

“We are working to get some of our workers into Burma from India,” he noted, “but right now we are relying on our Burmese workers and church members who are helping every way they can to alleviate the suffering.

“Most importantly, they are bringing the hope of Jesus Christ into the situation. One of the things we learned in the wake of the Asian tsunami was that even when we bring physical aid, the emotional and spiritual needs are even greater.

“I still remember when one of our missionaries read Scripture to a woman who was about to walk into the ocean and drown herself because she had lost everything in the tsunami,” he recounted. “She had received food and clothing and shelter—but she had lost her entire family and didn’t want to live anymore. It was only the Good News of the Gospel that saved her.

“Even as we minister in the wake of this cyclone, we must never forget what man’s deepest needs are.”

 

This article was originally published by Gospel for Asia. To learn more about Gospel for Asia, click here.

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