Some of the Theology students trained standing in front of the College
(The sister near the right is our non-Indian friend)
Note: In the vast foreign mission fields of the world where you will encounter billions of gospel-resistant Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, and idol-worshipers, the Lord Jesus can perform miraculous healings in response to prayer. Just as He did in the gospels and Acts, the Lord demonstrates to them through such miracles that He is the only way to the Father (John 14:6, 11). When resistant people groups witness the miracles that their gods or religions cannot do, their hearts are open to believing on Christ as only Lord and Savior. They are not unlike the Jews of the gospels about whom Jesus said, “Unless you people see signs and wonders,” Jesus told him, “you will never believe” (John 4:48).
Dimapur, State of Nagaland, India
In an open undeveloped area away from the unbearably incessant smoke pollution of the city of Dimapur has sprouted ACT College of Theology. Still growing and expanding from its inception a few months ago, the College campus consists of a handful of village structures serving as its classroom, chapel, and housing for some of its students.
We came to know Aito Siwu, the founder of the College, back in 2007 when he was still a student at Harvest Bible College in Trivandrum, South India. We had taught The Elijah Challenge to the students and apparently had left a favorable impression on Aito. Eventually Aito returned to his native state of Nagaland where with the Lord’s help he founded ACT College of Theology, located in Lotovi Village a half hour’s drive over difficult roads outside the city of Dimapur, Nagaland’s capital.
The bamboo bridge on the way to the College was impassable that day, so we decided to drive though the river at low tide to the right of the bridge
Approaching the river we approach & pass by some four-legged traffic
With the bamboo bridge in the distance, we plow into the deep…
…and arrive safely at the other side!
At the first session of The Elijah Challenge students, faculty, and staff gathered together for the training in the classroom. We informed them that we were looking to train committed servants of God who were willing to lay down their lives to leave 90% Christian Nagaland for gospel-resistant states of India where darkness reigns in the form of Hinduism and Islam. Our job was to train them to proclaim the kingdom of God in India with power as the disciples did in Acts—who eventually turned the known world upside down for the gospel.
The teaching, although following closely the ministry of Jesus Christ in the gospels, was very new for them. A Registrar from another College asked questions. But as we produced scripture after scripture within the context of evangelism and the Great Commission, their doubts slowly evaporated. The verses presented showed the essential role of miraculous healings in the accounts of the gospels and Acts as evidence that Jesus Christ was in fact the promised Messiah and the only way to the Father (John 14:11).
During the course of the Training there were demonstrations applying what we had learned. We prayed over people who had infirmities according to the principles gleaned from the ministry of Jesus and his disciples. One student stepped forward gingerly with a back problem from which she had suffered since she was a child. Because of it she was unable of course to run, and even as she stepped forward she did so carefully with some pain. We had two other female students come forward to lay hands on her and pray over her in Jesus’ name following his example we saw in the gospels.
She began to weep, turning around and covering her face with her hands. After several moments we asked her how she felt. She moved and twisted her body back and forth, and smiled. There was no more pain. Then we asked her to step outside and to run. She strode out the door. Through the classroom windows we could see her running and jumping up and down with a delighted grin on her face.
The Lord was showing these future leaders and missionaries how to present the gospel to resistant Hindus and Muslims as Jesus and his disciples did 2,000 years ago in the world of the New Testament.
Acts 9:32 As Peter traveled about the country, he went to visit the Lord’s people who lived in Lydda. 33 There he found a man named Aeneas, who was paralyzed and had been bedridden for eight years. 34 “Aeneas,” Peter said to him, “Jesus Christ heals you. Get up and roll up your mat.” Immediately Aeneas got up. 35 All those who lived in Lydda and Sharon saw him and turned to the Lord.
After the morning and afternoon sessions, the students went out to apply what they had just been taught. With Nagaland overwhelmingly Christian, there’s a freedom for believers to share the gospel within the borders of the state. It happened that within walking distance of the College there are kiln factories where bricks are manufactured and where thousands of migrants from out-of-state, mostly Muslims, do the manual labor. Because the majority Christians are the “landlords” there (unlike in most other states in India), the Muslims show them polite deference.
Above: a kiln where bricks (below) are made by mostly Muslim laborers
And so the students had the freedom to visit the Muslim laborers, asking if they needed physical healing and if so they would pray over them in the name of Isa Almasih—the name of Jesus Christ in the Arabic language. (Muslims do acknowledge Jesus, but only as a prophet.) The Lord was very gracious to bless their efforts. On the first day of outreach, a group of students visited a bedridden Muslim woman who had suffered from persistent bleeding for a month, reducing her to a thin shell of her former portly self. They prayed over her, and the Lord miraculously strengthened her. She got up out of bed and was able to look after the students, now her most welcome guests. She thanked them, and asked if they required payment for what they had done for her. (Witchdoctors do, but not disciples of Christ.) When it was time for them to leave, she gratefully saw them off at the door. The next day they heard the news that her bleeding had completely stopped.
She shared about what the Lord Jesus had done for her with a neighboring Muslim woman who had also been suffering from a physical infirmity. Hearing this the sick woman rushed over to the College asking to be prayed over. The trained students ministered to her in Jesus’ name as they had been taught, and the Lord was gracious to heal her as well.
There were other testimonies of physical healing as well over the next two days.
At the Sunday service of Lotovi Village Baptist Church about 15 people testified of being healed by the Lord as the trained students prayed over them
In such a way, the Christian students can demonstrate both the love and the power of Isa Almasih to the Muslim laborers. Over time as the students persevere in ministering to them with both necessary ingredients the Muslims will accept Isa Almasih not only as their prophet, but as their Lord and Savior. They will not “convert” to the western religion imported by their former colonial masters, but will become disciples of our Lord. When they return to their home state after their six-month contract is over, they can share Jesus with other Muslims. Another batch of new arrivals to replace them can hear the gospel from the trained students, and so on.
We also see this as an ideal situation for training disciples and missionaries to reach Muslims and Hindus in the rest of India which is overwhelmingly resistant to the gospel. Within the friendly state of Nagaland they have the freedom to reach out to the Muslims. They will witness the power of Jesus Christ as they pray over the sick. They will grow in faith and confidence in what the Lord has entrusted to them. Then they will be ready to be sent out to the extremely dark regions of India where Hinduism and Islam reign supreme over the souls of men and women.
Painting at the Dimapur airport
Nagaland (shaded grayish-blue) is along the eastern border of Northeast India