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The circle contains India, China, and Southeast Asia
When I was training servants of God in Hyderabad, India in January 2014, I brought up the question of which came to India first—the gospel, or Islam? With one voice they replied that the gospel had been brought to India by the apostle Thomas in the first century—some 600 years before even the birth of Islam in the Middle East. Yet despite this impressive headstart of the gospel in India, I was told that while Christians comprise only 6% of Hyderabad’s ten million residents, Islam claims 40% of the population. The remainder are Hindus.
There is something seriously wrong with this picture.
It would appear that the Church has historically been failing to fulfill the Great Commission in India after 2,000 years. It has rather been losing ground instead to the dominion of darkness. Why is this the case?
In Acts we read of the Church growing explosively as the disciples took the gospel to the known world in the power of great miraculous signs. But in India we have not been seeing such miracles as the gospel is preached to Hindus who have been born into a culture which worships a huge array of Hindu gods. Why should they worship only one God named Jesus when they can worship and get help from many gods? We give them no cogent reason to give up these familiar gods with whom they have grown up, and to turn and worship a foreign God named Jesus Christ.
In Acts, we see gentile idol-worshippers turning to Jesus Christ when the gospel was confirmed most convincingly by powerful miraculous healings. Today in India for the most part, such miracles are no longer performed when the gospel is preached to the Hindus. There is no proof that Jesus Christ is greater than their Hindus gods. There is no evidence that Jesus Christ can protect them from the terrible wrath of their gods should they renounce them and turn to the foreign God Jesus. To a large extent this can explain the failure of the gospel in India.
“If this teaching had come to India 50 years ago, today India would be at least 50% Christian”
A void in India
Decades ago Baptist Pastor John Osteen (father of current pastor Joel Osteen) of Lakewood Church in the USA began to hold very large conferences for pastors in India each year—reportedly up to 15,000 in attendance. These huge gatherings, paid entirely by John Osteen and his church, were a historic blessing to the pastors and fondly recalled by them. Our host pastor in Hyderabad William Cary Ramakuri had led worship during one of Osteen’s events. Our host Simon Haqq when we were earlier in Delhi had translated for him during a meeting. But years ago after Osteen had to stop coming to India each year, it was said that a great void was left.
We believe the Lord can and will use us to fill that void in part. We know what He has called us to do, and we are confident that we are able to fulfill our calling with His enablement.
On our recent trip to Orissa (Odisha)—a Fundamentalist Hindu gospel-resistant state where Australian missionary Graham Staines and his two young sons were burnt alive in 1999—we trained over 50 Indian pastors and evangelists how to heal the sick and cast out demons. At the following evangelistic healing event held near a large Hindu temple and an area where 20,000 animals are beheaded and sacrificed to Hindu gods every October, the gospel was preached and trained disciples healed the sick as they were trained to do. Many Hindus with infirmities were healed by the Lord in this way and testified. Seeing the miracles Hindus came streaming forward to accept Christ as their only Lord and Savior. Our host pastor said it was an historic event for the gospel in that area. Click here for the report on this event in Orissa.
The ministry of Subodh Kumar Jena
Following our event in Orissa we proceeded to the city of Hyderabad where we trained 100 pastors and servants of God how to heal the sick. There with the prospect of Hindus converting to Christ, the Fundamentalists threatened to disrupt our evangelistic event at a public function facility which would climax the training. We were forced to retreat and hold a much smaller event for the Hindus in our host pastor’s church. Even though we were on church grounds, forty policemen were dispatched to keep the Fundamentalists from causing trouble. For the sake of our physical safety, we as foreigners were not allowed to preach; instead our host pastor preached the gospel. After that the trained servants of God ministered healing to infirm Hindus as we had trained them to do. Many of them were healed and testified publicly. As a result, thirty-five Hindus accepted Jesus Christ as their only Lord an Savior. All this took place with us seated out of sight just watching the Indian servants of God minister. Click here for the report on this event in Hyderabad.
Our Hyderabad host later told us, “Our people are so much impressed by your teachings; many were asking for more teachings on healing in the days to come. In South India no one has this teaching.” He has invited us to return to Hyderabad for a three-day conference where we will train 2,000 pastors and servants of God.
Simon Haqq: an Elijah Challenge-trained Pastor & Co-Worker in India
Bible Mission Guntur 2014 in India
Simon was given the opportunity to preach the gospel before a crowd of about 2,000,000 mostly Hindus in a sprawling tent spanning many acres of land. After he preached he invited the people to accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Simon estimated that approximately 1,000,000 people responded to his call. That figure is based on the number people who stood close enough to the stage which he could see, with the assumption that the percentage of people responding remained fairly consistent all the way to the back of the tent which he could not see since it was so vast.
Afterwards he prayed over the sick at a distance from the stage, and multitudes in the crowd of 2,000,000 raised their hands to testify that the Lord had healed them miraculously from their infirmities. This was a most powerful confirmation to the people that the gospel of Jesus Christ is the truth—that our Father is the only true God and that Jesus Christ is the only way to Him.
Photos of this extraordinary gathering
Filling the void
We are confident that we can help fill the void left behind by John Osteen. The Lord has already made us very fruitful by training just two servants of God in India: Pastor Simon Haqq and his team in North India and Pastor Subodh Jena in Orissa. (Click here to read their reports.) We can multiply such fruit many times over by training tens of thousands of such servants of God in the future. This will be for the fulfillment of the Great Commission in India. This is what the Lord has called us to do—for a time such as this.
What is needed to accomplish this are financial resources. John Osteen was backed by the resources of the huge congregation at Lakewood Church to fund the historic annual conferences in India costing (in today’s dollars) hundreds of thousands of dollars each year. We do not lead a congregation as such. But the Lord will provide.
A single three-day conference for 2,000 pastors can cost $100,000. We ask that you pray for the Lord’s abundant provision.
Very Fruitful Elijah Challenge Feeding Events
In addition to Conferences for servants of God, we also want to multiply and broaden our current Feeding Events held in mostly unreached villages where Hindus come to hear the gospel of Jesus Christ and to be fed a meal. As confirmation of the truth of the gospel the sick are miraculously healed in the name of Jesus Christ. In this way many thousands of Hindus have already confessed Christ as their only Lord and Savior. These Feeding Events are currently led by Simon Haqq in North India and Subodh Kumar Jena in Orissa.
We want to hold more and more such Events by Simon and Subodh and by other servants of God we will train, and to support pastors called to shepherd the newly-planted churches resulting from the Feeding Events.
Please consider partnering with us for the sake of the Great Commission in India!
We invite you to read the reports on our work in India by clicking on:
The Elijah Challenge Training & Feeding Events in India
The Elijah Challenge Orphanage in India
India Facts & Statistics and our Mission