My relationship with the Good Shepherd community churches in India began in 2013 when I brought a team to the city of Pune. Our team of 11 simultaneously held a pastors conference and pastors wives conference. We were also able to preach in 8 different churches and work in the slums with kids and student ministries. It was eyeopening to see the odds that were stacked against them as they sought obedience to the call of God.
The vast amount of poverty and oppression of the Dalit people cannot be understood by reading a book or blog. But as we spent time with these people that may earn $75 a year, there is much we can learn. Although we don’t hear much about it in the mainstream media, the Hindu extremist have a goal to remove all Christians from India by 2020. This goal is pursued by destroying both church buildings and the Church. The political climate continues to add challenging opposition to ministry in India as well.
The more God does, the more attacks we see from the enemy. When I contacted them early this year, they felt it was too dangerous for us to bring a team. I’ve been accused of being hard headed…I guess for good reason. When God lays something on my heart, I don’t take “no” for an answer. When I heard this news, my first thought was, “That’s exactly why we need to be there.” When the fire is blazing some run away from it, but when God calls us to go into it, we have to go.
As I prayed, I let them know that we could bring a smaller team and work more discretely. They agreed to relocate the pastors conference to a more secure city and venue. In 2013, I wrote a book on Acts; taking a look at what the new testament church should look like. The book was translated and published in India. I was told that within 3 weeks of our teams departure, It had already been taught to over 30,000 people. Whoa.
In praying about what to teach, God laid the book of Ephesians on my heart. Looking at the riches we have in Christ and our responsibility to live and love as Christ. With the hard work and editing help of my administrative assistant, we got it written and sent off to India a week before the due date.
Knowing this would be a more difficult trip, I began praying about who God wanted to go on the trip. He laid 3 solid men of God on my heart and after praying about it, they felt God calling them to go as well. As we began meeting and preparing for the trip, one of the men couldn’t find peace about the trip. He decided not to join the team and I appreciated him telling me…before we got there. When we began applying for visas, we ran into another issue. Another team member had been rejected…twice! Our team of 4 became a team of 2! Discouraged? Yes. Gonna’ cancel the conference? No way.
This is the journey that has led us to this point. As I sit on this airplane on our first leg of a 24 hour travel day, I know that God has great things in store. “Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” Ephesians 3:20-21 ESV
Please pray for us as we follow Gods call to teach the Word of God to 25 Indian pastors in desperate need of solid doctrine, encouragement, and prayer. May God’s Word continue to change lives.