Hyderabad, Andra Pradesh
The Elijah Challenge was taught to pastors and evangelists in Hyderabad, a city in the state of Andra Pradesh which is only 6% Christian, 40% Muslim and the rest Hindu. Many international Christian organizations in India have their national headquarters located in this city. In Hyderabad many pastors are busy simply trying to keep their sheep from wandering to another church or another servant of God.
They have unwittingly settled into a traditional role which unfortunately some pastors—likely not just a few—have been given by the “teaching of the Nicolaitans” which is quite prevalent in the Church. They are doing little to reach the lost and for the Great Commission, but instead mostly protecting their “turf.”
The Elijah Challenge Training on the authority and power given by the Lord to His disciples to heal the sick as confirmation of the gospel to the Hindus was therefore new and refreshing for them. During the Training the Lord was gracious to confirm the teaching for them by healing various infirmities as they came forward to apply what they had learned.
The final and climactic meeting was to be held at a public function facility holding 1,500 people. There we would preach the gospel and the newly-trained pastors would heal the sick miraculously to demonstrate to the Hindus that Jesus Christ is the only Lord and Savior. The facility, however, was an area of Hyderabad where the Hindu BJP Party and Fundamentalist Hindus were strong. When they heard about the possibility of Hindus being “converted to Christianity” at the event, they were furious and made known to the authorities their intention to disrupt the event. The night before the evangelistic event, host Pastor William Cary Ramakuri received calls from the Chief Inspector of the Hyderabad Police warning him of possible trouble at the event.
The next morning while he was visiting the public facility, Pastor Ramakuri was unnerved to see 30 police officers show up—led by the Police Commissioner of the city of Hyderabad himself. The Commissioner advised Pastor Ramakuri of the possibility of violence later that evening if the public meeting were to be held. Not only that, his ministry could continue to experience problems from the Hindus well after the event and after the Elijah Challenge team had left India.
Never before in his 20 years of ministry in Hyderabad had he encountered such a threat before. It was an alarming surprise to him.
Wisely, Pastor Ramakuri decided to move the evangelistic event to the much smaller meeting room in their church headquarters located in a different area of town where the area pastors had just trained with The Elijah Challenge. To further reduce the possibility of violence, it was agreed that The Elijah Challenge team from the USA would not preach or minister. Rather, Pastor Ramakuri would preach and the newly-trained pastors would heal the sick among the Hindus who would come. The USA team, though present, would simply sit and watch what the Lord would do.
The kingdom of darkness is threatened when God’s people can heal the sick effectively to confirm the truth of the gospel to the lost. Satan will seek to stop them. But he will not succeed. Moreover, we have learned that it’s not necessary to preach the gospel in large public venues. When disciples are properly trained, they will be able to reach the lost themselves one-on-one and in small undetectable groups. The era of the superstar, one-man-show preacher is coming to a close and the era of the body of Christ consisting of nameless, faceless believers is at hand.
What happened that evening?
The meeting room was packed visiting Hindus sitting on the floor with the trained servants of God sitting on chairs against the side walls. Outside forty police officers were stationed to keep the Fundamentalists from disrupting the meeting. Pastor Ramakuri shared briefly, and then invited people with infirmities to stand up to receive healing. The servants of God sprang into action, laying hands on them and ministering healing to them in the name of Jesus Christ. One after another, precious Hindus were healed and came forward to testify. We had the pleasure of seeing those whom we had just trained healing the sick effectively.
Pastor William Carey Ramakuri ministering during evening evangelistic meeting for Hindus
Overflow people (foreground) sitting outside the meeting room
But as the pastor was receiving testimony after testimony from the Hindus, one of his leaders came to him and whispered into his ear. Hindus had gathered outside the church office grounds and were threatening. Immediately we were whisked away from the meeting into a waiting car and driven back to our hotel. The meeting went on without us with more and more Hindus being healed by the servants of God. Each miraculous healing was proof that the gospel of Jesus Christ is the absolute truth.
The next morning we met with Pastor Ramakuri and his wife in our hotel. He shared with us what had taken place after we left the meeting the night before. The miraculous healings had continued until very late that evening. In that crammed meeting room 35 Hindus had decided to follow Jesus Christ after hearing the gospel and witnessing the miracles.
In the videos and photos below the trained pastors are ministering healing to the infirm, and some of the many Hindus who were healed are giving public testimony of what the Lord has done for them.
The pastors had never before witnessed such a thing. Never before had they heard that they had power and authority from Jesus Christ to heal the sick and cast out demons for confirming the gospel of Jesus Christ to the lost. That evening they saw it all in living color, just not quite in the scale that had been hoped for because of the last-minute change to a much smaller venue.
The pastors are now encouraged to teach their congregations and to raise up armies of believers who can preach the gospel to the Hindus with power. Instead of the pastors doing all the ministry, they can now train their people to do the work of ministry. Instead of the gospel being preached and the sick being healed at mass meetings where superstar preachers do all the ministry, “ordinary” disciples can do the same one-on-one and in the homes of the lost. And together they will do it more effectively then the one-man-show evangelist. And the target being presented to the enemy by these nameless believers will be far, far smaller and much more difficult for him to bring down.
Pastor Ramakuri was impressed by what he has witnessed for the first time—both by what the Lord did through the pastors and by the unprecedented reaction of the Fundamentalist Hindus to the event.
He wants to organize a future Elijah Challenge Training Event where up to 2,000 pastors can come together. It will be a Pastors’ Conference held in a large government-owned auditorium in the center of the city, and not open to the public. Therefore the Fundamentalists will leave us alone. Training pastors on this scale should have impact on the Great Commission in the state of Andra Pradesh as they train and equip their believers to reach the Hindus.
The Feeding Event immediately afterwards with people holding plates
Host pastor William Ramakuri wrote the following week: “We had very good fruitful ministry after you left. Many new people came to church on Sunday. Also some our church leaders trained during the event ministered to the sick and saw miracles.”
“Praise the Lord, Uncle. Good news..! By using AUTHORITY IN JESUS’ NAME, I was able to cast out 4 demons out of a woman. But it took nearly 30 minutes to see the miracle.
Secondly, during the training time I fell down and fractured my ankle. But I don’t know how I was able to attend the class. On the 1st day when you called me to come to the front for the demonstration of healing, I had slight pain. From the 1st day I started commanding [my ankle to be healed]. Throughout the days of the training, I didn’t have any pain. Later it started, and continuously I was commanding. Miraculously, without any fracture I was healed, Uncle…!”
Email from host Pastor William Cary – January 22, 2014
“Our people are so much impressed by your teachings; many were asking for more teachings on healing in the days to come. We will have one conference for pastors, we have already started praying for it.
I have a plan, please pray. We have 28 districts, so in each district we will have one programme like this Feeding Event. We will teach 50 more leaders and pastors for 3 days how to heal people. Then on the last day we will invite many Hindus and these trained people will minister to them. May Hindus will be saved.
So prayerfully plan by the next time you come, you will have a greater harvest with many trained leaders. You can meet them also and we will give certificates for them to go to districts and train the leaders for Feeding Events. So we need some needs to be met, please pray…
We are so impressed by your teachings. In South India no one has this teaching. Slowly we want to reach other states, please pray…”