A Leper, a Demon Possessed Woman, and a Village
I want to share with you a wonderful story that our friend Manova shared with us. This week, we did a show in a village street, one of 8 villages that all come to a single church. Many walk very far to attend, the little church has 70 believers.
All of the members came from Hindu families, and none grew up in Christian homes. All of their stories began with one man’s story. The man was from a high Hindu caste, but he was a leper, and he lived in the village. One day an evangelist visited and the leper put his trust in Jesus Christ.
In India, you are born into a certain social, political, and economic class which they refer to a as a caste. Many years ago, the system was dissolved by the government, but the truth is that it still exists. This man’s position was something that everyone in the village would have understood.
None of the leper’s family would help him, but once he became a Christian, he was introduced to other people who loved Jesus. They cared for him, took him to a hospital, and in time, to the surprise of even the doctors, he was totally healed. All agreed that God had divinely healed him. This made a tremendous impact on the watching villagers.
A second miracle happened in their midst. There was a crazy woman in the village, possessed by demons, driven like the man described in the New Testament. She put her trust in Jesus and was freed. Everyone saw the change and knew only the one true God healed her.
God used these two miracles to call many in the village to Himself. They formed a church, first meeting in a house. They are today a strong church. And the former leperÂtoday he is a very old man who spent his life boldly telling people about Jesus Christ in a culture that severely discourages these conversations. Manova said, "He could not keep quiet about what Jesus did for him. He carried tracts with him always and would pass them out on buses."
I thought that I was hearing a story straight from the New Testament. I want to be like this leper. I don’t want to keep quiet about Jesus! Please pray for strength, protection, and growth for this dear little church.
Home, Family, and Asian Christian Academy
Each one of these trips makes me long for the time that there are no more good byes. It is hard to describe the bond, the love, the way when you serve together that you become family in the truest sense of the word.
Our dear friends at The Asian Christian Academy, Joy and Leila George, and the wonderful young men and young women who study there are family. With full hearts, we recommend to you this ministry and ask that you consider them for support. If you are interested in impacting Asia for Jesus Christ, then send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Ask Dr. Joy George how you may help. Presently, they really need help constructing classrooms, but there are many ways to help. Please pray for these dear friends!
Old Church History
One day, we shared with almost a thousand children, teenagers, and adults, at an old British built church. Missionaries finished the church in the early 1900’s. In 1965, they were forced out of the country, and there were hardly any national pastors. The church that we worked with survived 15 years without a pastor, relying only on believers in the church for leadership. Finally, their pastor finished school and began shepherding this flock in the early 1980’s. He is still there.
This dear pastor and his family live so simply. Their entire house has only four small rooms and a very minimal bathroom. He has chosen to live like this because all of the people that he serves live in these same kind of homes. He did not want them to feel disconnected from their pastor because he had comforts that they did not have. He is a very wise man, but I must tell you the truth, this house is so simple that no American that I have ever met would be happy living in it. He had a radiant countenance!
He was so thrilled that we had come and done the program for his children, but we learned so much more from him than we were able to give. This dear man is our translator’s father (Manova’s father) and a great man of God. Please pray for him and for his church. All of the rest of the schools and churches in the area that the British missionaries planted have not survived. However, this church grows strong and has planted other churches. These are very special people.
You may have been wondering as you have been reading these emails why we never mention the names of towns or villages or the full names of the people that we are writing about. The answer is very simple. It would not be wise and in some instances, it would be dangerous to give you this information. Others might read it that would cause our friends difficulty.
For example, in one village church where we worked, they began meeting in a believer’s house. The local authorities in the village did not like this and threatened the family and forced them to stop the church from using their home. This same group of believers have had to move three times within the last year. They are in danger of having to move a fifth time. Please think about our brothers and sisters in India when you go to church every Sunday and never have to worry about where you are going to meet next Sunday.
In some places, we had to do the program inside a building that was too small to hold the crowd because it was not safe to do the show outside in the village. Everyone that we met expects to be persecuted for their faith, and many have already been persecuted. It is not something that they discuss as a future possibility like Christians in America, but it is a present reality.
Some of the best stories are yet to come, but you will have to wait a day or two and watch for the next email.
Linda for the team,
Sam Shaw, Assistant Director
Anna McIlwaine, French Director