Thursday, November 15, 2018
Dear Prayer Partners & Friends of The Elijah Challenge,
Seventy-eight years ago Canadian Baptist missionaries arrived in the district of Gajapati, Orissa, and over the decades succeeded in planting many churches. Approximately 20 plus years ago these missionary brethren were no longer, having either passed on to the Father’s house on the field or forced out of India by the government. Evangelism then ceased completely. Since then church growth among these Baptists was through biological increase alone. They dared not reach out to the Hindus and Buddhists in their midst.
For two days we trained the pastors and leaders of this Baptist denomination with The Elijah Challenge. We taught them that our Lord Jesus Christ has left with his disciples powerful weapons—supernatural authority and power over infirmities and demons—for demonstrating to the Hindus and Buddhists that our God is the only true God and that Jesus is the only way to Him. The Baptists enthusiastically embraced the teaching since it followed the gospels closely, and was actually confirmed to them by the Lord as we had them come forward to apply the Lord’s power and authority over those present who had physical infirmities.
At the end of the second day, we asked people with infirmities to come forward to healed by the newly-trained servants of God. A woman blinded by sugar diabetes was led forward. Several men also stood up and streamed to the front to be healed by the Lord of various infirmities. Then we had others come forward to lay hands on them and exercise authority in the name of Jesus Christ. Sisters came forward and laid hands on the eyes of the blind woman.
Suddenly the blind woman began to scream. She could see! Her friend who had brought her forward took the microphone and testified before the astonished Baptists. Then one by one the men who had come forward testified that the Lord had miraculously healed them of their respective infirmities as hands were laid on them. God is so good.
- Please pray that the Lord will now give these Baptist leaders the boldness to reach out to the Hindus and Buddhists in their midst—just as Jesus commanded the 72 disciples: “Heal the sick who are there and tell them, ‘the kingdom of God has come near to you'” (Luke 10:9).
Then, the sudden shock ending to our India Mission Trip
After completing the training, we and our Orissa Coordinator Pastor Subodh Jena drove several hours back to Bhubaneswar the capital of Orissa to prepare to fly to our next venue, Punjab in North India. There we were to train the students of a Bible School with The Elijah Challenge.
But after arriving back in Bhubaneswar we received an urgent message from the Canada-based pastor who oversees the Bible School in Punjab. Someone had informed the Central Bureau of Investigation (the CBI, the equivalent of the American FBI) that an American on a Visitors’ Visa was coming to Punjab to engage in “religious activity”—which is unlawful. We were told that the CBI had done an investigation, and would be waiting for us in Punjab. Our host pastor advised us to consider canceling our trip. Later in the evening one of the leaders at the Bible School spoke with Brother Subodh over the phone and advised us to leave India as soon as possible.
We’ve decided to heed their advice, and are canceling the remainder of our mission trip here—including subsequent Training Events in Himachal Pradesh and Haryana after Punjab.
Brother Subodh who was to accompany us to Punjab told us that it’s quite possible someone on the inside like a disgruntled servant of God with something against us tipped off the CBI to our plans in Punjab. Otherwise there would be no way they could have had such specific information about us and our plans. They even knew at which hotel we had made reservations for our stay in Punjab.
The situation reminds us a bit of what we experienced in Vietnam back in 2003 immediately following an historic campaign there—when we narrowly escaped the clutches of the communist police. But that was far, far more harrowing and nerve-racking than what we’re now experiencing here.
Brethren, please pray that the Lord will take us back home safely and smoothly, and soon.
-William & Lucille
Reports on the two Training Events on this mission trip just prior to the one above (use password India2018 to view page):