Getting off the plane in Delhi – nothing can prepare you for what you will experience in India. Exhausting humidity, extreme heat, curry with every single meal, bright colours everywhere, people struggling and suffering, entire families living on the street, children running and playing, cars moving at high speed and bumper to bumper traffic. India is a wonderful, but also heart-breaking country.
India has a population of more than 1 billion people and more than 800 million of these people live in extreme poverty. The Hindu followers serve more than 330 million gods. The sad reality is that none of these gods can save them and give them eternal life – they are doomed forever.
It is a country of contrasts. On the one hand you will experience bustling cities, overcrowded spaces, and be completely aware of the extreme poverty of this precious nation. On the other hand, you will experience the unparalleled beauty of India’s wildlife.
Children Suffer the Most
To this day more than 25% of India’s children do not attend school and it is estimated that at least 12,5 million children between the ages of 5 and 14 are working in order to help their families to survive. These are heart-breaking statistics.
The most devastating statistic of all however is the fact that nearly 45% of Indian girls are forced to marry before they are the legal age. Parents force their daughters to marry in the hopes of a better future. Millions of children in India do not have the privilege of experiencing a care-free and innocent childhood.
Communities need to Change
Harvesters Ministries aims to change communities by winning souls for Jesus. When someone loves Jesus and lives according to God’s Word their whole life changes – they have a new set of values and strive to live holy.
The only way to ensure that communities change is to plant a church in the community, train a pastor for the church and ensure that the community has access to a Bible in their home language. The latter can be quite challenging since India has 22 official languages and an additional 122 dialects which are spoken by the Indian population. This certainly complicates discipleship and evangelism.
One needs to ensure that the pastor will be able to speak the dialect of the specific village where he will be sharing the Gospel and helping the community. Never underestimate the importance of a church. A church is an agent for change.
The Devastating Reality of Christian Persecution
Less than 5% of the Indian population are Christians. More than 2,000 ethnic groups are still unreached and have no access to the Good News of the Gospel.
Many believers put their lives on the line to evangelise the lost. Christians face horrific levels of violence at the hands of Hindu extremists. Violent attacks against believers have increased in the past couple of years and the Hindu radicals face no consequences for their actions.
Despite the fact that they may lose their lives, believers do not hide their faith and are willing to die for the Gospel.
Testimonies that Melt your Heart
A pastor in training, *Maha, desperately had to reach one of her congregations during the hard lockdown as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. She planted a church in a neighbouring village just before the lockdown was implemented.
Under normal circumstances a congregation will be able to read Bible and stay connected to God’s promises during a lockdown or period where no contact is possible. Unfortunately, this was not the case for *Rajesh and his family, because they are illiterate and need Maha to read Scriptures to them.
One morning Maha decided to take the chance, break the lockdown law and travel to Rajesh and his family. She had to travel in the dark, before the police would be on duty.
Upon arrival Rajesh and his entire family were overjoyed. They were going through a difficult time as they had no way of earning an income and needed someone to encourage them. Maha reminded them that the church is not a building and was able to encourage them with the words of Matthew 18: 19 – 20 “Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”
By God’s grace no-one saw Maha travelling and she returned home safely. Afterwards Maha said, “The enemy might have closed the doors (of the church), but God made every home a church.”
Your gifts are Opening the way for Harvesters in India
Thank you for making stories, like this one of Maha possible with your generous gifts. Click on the link below to watch a video and see how Harvesters Ministries is making an impact in this vast country.