India: Day Ten
Our journey is over! I can't believe it!
Justin has become such a wonderful friend and I want to share a little something about him.
This guy works tirelessly for the sake of the Gospel! Justin travels all over India to check in with church planters and Mission India ministry partners, even going into some of India's most remote places!
Justin does this because he is dedicated to seeing churches planted in every community in India. Amazing.
I already miss my Indian friends - each one with a distinct personality. Justin is so unassuming, John is so loving and kind, and our cameraman Jeremy is so driven.
Over this week, spending so much time together, I've grown to love these guys! So has my wife. As we said goodbye to them, my wife Beth began crying. It wasn't about leaving India as much as it was leaving loved ones; and that's what these people have become - true loved ones.
I might be leaving friends behind, but I am also taking something home with me. I am taking home an incredible feeling - a realization - that I can be a part of God's Plan for India! There is much I can do to encourage and equip India's believers to carry out the Great Commission. And you can too! Even from halfway across the world - we can give our prayers ... money ... talents ... the people of India are worth it!
I may be leaving India - but this nation has completely captured my heart.
I feel connected to the body of Christ here in a way that I couldn't have imagined when I first stepped foot off that airplane 10 days ago. God is doing something amazing in India! This journey has opened my eyes to how I can be a part of His work - both today and in the months and years to come.
I can't wait to share with everyone at home about what I have seen and experienced! What about you?
Bringing in the Harvest
Today's memory verse: "I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest." (John 4:35b)
In some parts of the world, when the leaves begin to change color, you know winter is coming.
The color of the trees is beautiful, but it is also a sign that the season is changing. You must be prepared for what is going to happen next. There is work to do! What do people do to prepare for winter?
If you live near an area of farms, you can see a change in the color of the fields. Rice and wheat change from green to golden; the beans go brilliant yellow before turning brown.
For the farmer, this is a wonderful sign that the harvest is coming, but it is also a reminder that there is a lot of work that must be done now ... quickly!
Have you watched farmers in the field bringing in the harvest? It is one of the busiest times of the year.
- Make a list of all of the things a farmer needs to bring in the harvest.
Jesus used this common experience of farmers to talk about how the Gospel spreads to other places and people. Read the Parable of the Sower in Luke 8:1-15 and talk as a family about Jesus' description of the planting process. How does He compare it to the work of planting spiritual seeds?
There are many reasons why the Gospel does not grow in the hearts of people who hear about Jesus, but in some places and at some times, the response to the Good News of Jesus is HUGE. Whole kingdoms and entire people groups have accepted Christ as their Savior.
Have you seen any signs in your travels with Chris that a huge movement of Christ is happening in India today? Children are learning about Jesus, illiterate people are learning to read the Bible, and new churches are being planted.
Now is a time of harvest in India ... a time to work hard ... to bring in the harvest.
Talk about it: How are you helping bring in the harvest in India? Why do you think God is choosing children - choosing you! - to bring the Good News to India?
Each $1 you give for a Children's Bible Club will reach another boy or girl in India with the Gospel. And in India, God multiplies your $1 to impact even more people, as this story from India shows. First, check out "The Chicken and the Egg" on the left, then read Prabhu's story...
The Chicken and the Egg
How do you reach a nation of over 1 billion people with the Gospel?
By planting new churches that ... plant new churches! And you equip new believers to share the Good News with their family and friends.
Ron, a Mission India staff member who works closely with our ministry staff in India, shares this great story that illustrates how God multiplies our efforts "immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine..." (Ephesians 3:20).
"Last visit to India, we ran over a chicken. We were not driving particularly fast, but the chicken just picked the wrong time to cross the road.
Because it was a rural area, and because chickens make a really loud noise when hit, we stopped to settle accounts.
I know that in the marketplace, a plucked and dressed chicken costs about 150 rupees - around $3. So I asked the gathering crowd how I could find and compensate the owner. They formed a little circle around the still flopping bird, and shook their heads...
"Oh, the eggs," one said. "Yes, all the eggs," said another. "And some of them would have hatched," said a third.
Apparently I was not going to get away with paying only for one dead hen, but had to consider all the eggs and future chicks this bird would have produced.
The same spiritual multiplication is taking place in India. New churches do not rest, they reproduce. New believers share Christ with their neighbors. "Yes, all the eggs..."
New churches plant a "daughter churches" in a neighboring village. "And some of them would have hatched..."
God has opened a window of opportunity in India. People who do not know Christ are more open than at any time in modern history. National Christians want to be trained to plant churches in every one of the 600,000 towns and villages of this nation of 1.1 billion people.
To make this happen, we need to start the multiplication process in as many villages as possible, as soon as possible. The cost of holding back is not one missed opportunity, but all the future workers and churches that could be produced.
Oh, about that dead chicken... the only solution was to go into the market and buy another live bird."
It all starts with one: Prabhu's story
Prabhu grew up in north India, a comfortable life, the son of landowners. Following in the footsteps of his parents, he worshipped a variety of idols.
In 2001, Prabhu moved to New Delhi to go to college. It was there that he tagged along with a friend to a Children's Bible Club (CBC).
This skinny, 19-year-old kid stood in the back and watched all these kids worshipping God. A week later, Prabhu gave his heart to Jesus.
When his parents found out, they disowned him. They stopped sending him money for school. He had to drop out of college. His landlord evicted him and confiscated his possessions. But this didn't stop him.
So he began volunteering as a Bible Club leader, and did it again the next year. And the next.
Don't look now, but we've found ourselves a chicken.
In 2004, Prabhu started his own ministry in his neighborhood. He found himself with a pool of 20 or 30 leaders ... they all came out of CBCs...and so he took on 80 clubs. He reached 3,000 children that year. Then he took on 5 Adult Literacy classes. 150 students!
Our chicken is laying eggs.
This went on for the next few years... hundreds more CBCs, dozens of literacy classes. Before long, Prabhu counted 85 Club children that had now gone on to LEAD their own Clubs. And his literacy classes were turning into churches. His ministry was multiplying.
Look at all the eggs!
Into one of those literacy classes came a young girl, Nayana.
God's multiplication continues: Nayana's story
Nayana had failed out of school, so when her parents discovered that a free literacy class was starting in their neighborhood, they enrolled her.
Nayana graduated from the program a year later, a new believer, and used her certificate to rejoin a formal school and eventually go to college.
Over the next several years, Nayana began leading Children's Bible Clubs and even went on to teach an Adult Literacy Class.
Some of the eggs just hatched.
We've seen the impact of one young man, the hundreds of new Christian leaders he has trained, and we've even met one of these new leaders. But if this is a story of multiplication, it doesn't stop there.
Prabhu started training other CBC leaders...working on behalf of Mission India as one of our "Master Trainers"...training Bible Club leaders for other ministry partners! And through his own ministry more than 50 churches have been planted. Hundreds of new young Christian leaders have been raised up. We're talking about incredible spiritual impact across thousands of lives. And Prabhu is just 28 years old.
The chicken's chickens are laying eggs.
And the multiplication keeps going: Asmita's story
Asmita is 17. Two years ago, she found herself standing outside one of Nayana's Bible Clubs. Nayana noticed her in the doorway and invited her to join in. In time, Asmita gave her life to Christ in that club. She brought her brother and several friends to Jesus.
Last year, Asmita was baptized. A short time later, she began leading her own CBC. This year, she started teaching one of Mission India's literacy classes.
All of this started with one improbable young man - a 19-year-old Hindu boy disowned by his family - and God has turned it into something so big we can hardly get our heads around it.
Prabhu, and Nayana, and Asmita... They understand how multiplication works. In fact, Asmita's favorite Bible passage is the story of the Widow's oil from 2 Kings 4. That's a story of multiplication, too.
And this story isn't finished. In fact, it's just getting started! Do you wonder which of the children your $1 sends to a Children's Bible Club will go on to be the next Asmita? The next Nayana? The next Prabhu?
How will India be Transformed by Christ? You've just seen it!
One chicken ... and the eggs ... and the chickens ... and the eggs ... at a time.
You've been filling your suitcase with dollars and coins - money that represents your creativity, ambition, and most of all, your love and care for the people of India!
Today, it's time to empty that suitcase!
Add up the coins and dollars your family has collected during My Passport to India, and make a gift in that amount:
- Give instantly and securely online now with your credit/debit card
- Give over the phone by calling Mission India at 1-877-644-6342
- Give through the mail (check or credit/debit card) with the pre-paid envelope included in your Welcome Kit
- Don't have a prepaid envelope? You can mail a check to:
PO Box 141312
Grand Rapids, MI 49514-1312
(Please write "Passport" on the memo
Each $1 you give will send an Indian boy or girl to Children's Bible Club!
Then remember to stamp the very last page of your passport!
Please don't send us your loose change! The suitcase is yours to keep.