January 16, 2012

The Elijah Challenge in India

Perhaps six years ago when we were in India teaching The Elijah Challenge with our Indian co-worker Simon Haqq, the huge Hindu Festival called Kumbh Mela was approaching on the calendar. Below is what Wikipedia says about Kumbh Mela:

“Kumbh Mela is a mass Hindu pilgrimage in which Hindus gather at the Ganges, river Godavari and river Kshipra, where bathing for purification from sin is considered especially efficacious. The festival is billed as the biggest religious gathering in the world. In 2001, more than 40 million people gathered on the main bathing day at Allahabad, breaking a world record for the biggest human gathering. The Ardh (half) Kumbh Mela is celebrated every six years at Haridwar…”

At that time I suggested to Simon that Elijah Challenge-trained workers can be stationed at the Ganges River to heal the sick among the multitudes of Hindus who will be coming to bath there for purification from their sins. After they are healed, they can be told about Jesus Christ who can forgive their sins through his death on the cross. Thus they would not need to bathe in the Ganges, but instead put their faith in Christ as Lord and Savior.

Recently—about six years afterwards—I received an email from Elijah Challenge Coordinator Hanok Masih, Simon’s right-hand man. Hanok wrote:

“Our Kumbh Mela preparations are going on. We have started a new Elijah Challenge training centre near the Haridwar border. We will be having a team of 1,000 Elijah Challenge-trained workers who are now learning how to share the gospel. The good news is many churches and ministries are partnering with us as 12 lakhs people (1,200,000 people) are expected to come. Today I read in the newspapers many Bollywood stars are also coming. Last year we trained 22 churches of all denominations to be a part of this event. If you have any instructions or leadings for us, please let us know. Our need is for tracts to distribute and New Testaments. Thank you for your love and support without which it was not possible to prepare for this event. Thank you very much.”