MODERN-DAY ACTS IN INDIA
Do you remember the startling account in Acts 16: “About midnight, Paul and Silas were at prayer and singing a robust hymn. The other prisoners couldn’t believe their ears!” When they started praising God in chains in their dank prison cell, little did Paul and Silas know how far reaching their witness of the resurrected Christ would fall. Just hours later, their jailer’s entire household was also praising God! What an amazing story. What an amazing God we serve who still writes similar stories like these in Acts. Because of you, your prayers, and your generosity, Ian and I met men and women like Paul and Silas serving throughout North India. We are so grateful for you, and I’m excited to share some highlights.
Invited by Reaching Indians Ministries International (RIMI), we traversed through five cities across four states in North India. We both have a new appreciation for “snowbirding” as we were thrust into temperatures well into the 90s throughout our trip. These temporary discomforts were put into perspective when I heard stories like “Ranjeet’s.” He had spent two years in jail for preaching the gospel. When I asked him what his takeaway was from his experience, he replied, “God has made me bolder still.” Or Raju, once a successful banker, who left his lucrative position to study theology and now serves as a pastor. Raju shared with us his experience of being arrested, beaten, jailed and tried in an Indian court for preaching the Gospel. He witnessed to his jailer and gave a Bible to the judge before his release. A modern-day Acts story.
Being a Christian in India often comes at a cost. Non-conversion laws are strictly enforced by the government or by radicalized para-military groups. In the midst of severe opposition, RIMI is doing amazing work of training and equipping men and women to serve across the Indian sub-continent. We shared in the dedication of property to be used for churches, new Bible colleges, and preparation for the next generation of Christian leaders. We were also invited to give the Commencement Address at the Graduation ceremonies for 80 seminary and Bible-College graduates. Part of the ceremony included a foot-washing service where we participated and prayed over each graduate. It was a moving and tear-filled moment for all of us.
I am especially grateful for my friendship with Ian Lawson, who puts the “flex in flexibility.” Little did we know after meeting 40 years ago at seminary, that we’d be teaching courageous Indian seminary students together. We are pictured here in our gifted Kurtas and Modi jackets from our kind host, Saji.
Ian and I taught on leadership, prayer, mission and preaching. We traveled on planes, trains, and automobiles to the far northern states of Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan. I enjoyed delivering several messages to graduating seminarians throughout our journey. We were delighted to participate in land and building dedications. None of this is possible without you, your generosity, and your prayers. Thank you! Your continued support is vital, and we are deeply grateful for your investment.
Friends, I hope these glimpses of India encourage you, not just because the book of Acts is alive and well in the ends of the earth. But I hope this encourages you to keep hoping against hope in our resurrected Lord. He loves you and holds you so very close. We do too.