This Friday we depart Tucson at 12:35pm and will arrive in Trivandrum, India late on Saturday after over 21 hours in the air. This will be my first time to India and I can’t wait to see what God has in store for us as learners and teachers.
India is one of the most populated countries in the world (its population is a third of the land mass of the United States and yet has more than four times the US population!) and is a predominantly Hindu nation (80%) with another 13% of its population Muslim.[i] The country has been highly resistant to the gospel with a mere 2% of the population claiming to be Christian.[ii] 80% of India’s population lives in rural villages. It has been estimated there are 700,000 villages in India and that there is no church in 600,000 of those villages.
New Life forged a relationship with Pastor Vijayan (an Indian pastor) about six years ago. At that time Pastor Vijayan had been instrumental in discipling and organizing support for 78 Indian pastors in the state of Tamil Nadu, located in southern India. Most of those pastors are converts out of Hinduism with little formal training who now are leading house churches. Theirs is an uphill struggle against persistent poverty and persecution.
Six years later, by the grace of God, Pastor Vijayan’s work has exploded. He now supports a network of 1,000 pastors throughout southern India. It’s mind-boggling how God has used Pastor Vijayan and humbling that he reached out to us asking if we would be able to help with their biggest need: providing these pastors and their wives biblical training.
Eight of us, including Angel and I, have been preparing for these two weeks for the past four months and our hearts are excited for what God has in store for us. Over those two weeks we will travel across the state of Tamil Nadu and host three conferences with 300 pastors and their wives at each conference.
Angel is looking forward to the opportunity to teach the pastors’ wives about our identity in Christ, a topic that God has had burning in her heart for quite a while. She will be teamed up with four other women, three of whom will be teaching with her. I will team up with Pastor Greg and one of our elders to teach the pastors about how to read the Bible well. We will be teaching about how each biblical genre shapes the way we read and understand (and then preach) texts.
I can’t wait to see what God does in our lives and in the lives of the pastors and their lives that we will serving. I promise to share about what God does when we return.
We are aware that we are susceptible to spiritual attack before, during, and after the trip and covet your prayers. Please pray that God would use this trip for our sanctification, that our perspective would be broadened, and that we would learn from these godly pastors and their wives. Please pray also that we would be prepared to teach and that we would speak with wisdom and grace.
Below, Pastor Vijayan shares more about his ministry, Mission Voice Networks: