Please read this wrap up from third time India missionary, Ray.
I think the word I would use to describe the trip would be overwhelming. Overwhelmed by several things.
First of all, I am overwhelmed by the spiritual darkness. Hindu temples are everywhere and images of Hindu gods are ubiquitous as well. They dominate the skyline of every town, village and city we passed through. The current ruling party in India has made their agenda clear; to make the entire nation a Hindu nation. Our Christian brothers and sisters are praying for a change in regime at the next election cycle (India is the world’s largest democracy) and we join them in that prayer. Persecution against Christians has broken out in India, especially in the southern regions, (we were in the north) but there are signs that it is traveling northward. I was told that while the government does not take an active role in the persecution, they turn a blind eye to it unless somehow forced to address it. Pray for our brothers and sisters.
One of the churches of Everlasting Life Ministries is in the city of Hoshiarpur. Hoshiarpur is an area where Hindu extremists are based, and the church and its members have been attacked on occasion. Yet these brave Christians (virtually all of them converts from Hinduism) still gather to sing His praises and hear His word. The “church” is a building that was fairly recently built after they outgrew the home churches they were meeting in. It is simply a rectangular brick building with a dirt floor. They spread carpets over the floor and sit on the floor and worship Him with an enthusiasm that is remarkable. Their worship can be heard throughout the neighborhood, which can be dangerous, but they want others to hear His message, even if they are afraid to come through the doors.
As you travel through the country (it’s a 12-14 hour bus ride from the airport to Dasuya) it’s easy to be overwhelmed by the poverty and the living conditions a large percentage of the population live in.
Even those that live in homes and buildings have very little and make do with what they have. Yes, we have the poor in our country, but the scale and degree of poverty you see there is staggering.
Despite this, they are a friendly, welcoming people. The church members were especially open to us, but even strangers passing in the street were happy to welcome a group of Americans.
But mostly, I am overwhelmed by what God is doing in this place. Even with the difficulties of resistance from the culture and the government, God is moving His kingdom forward through His chosen people in India. The church in Dasuya continues to grow, and the influence of Everlasting Life Ministries is spreading throughout Northern India. Pastor Daniel trains and mentors pastors throughout the region and they are founding churches and through the Holy Spirit bringing people to faith. We happened to be there the week of a pastor’s conference. These are some of the dedicated souls that God has called to do his work. Pray for them.