India has been hit hard with a devastating new wave of Covid-19 cases. Reports claim there are around 25 million cases with the death toll now over a quarter of a million. But locals believe the reality is far worse. As the case numbers appear to drop, many explain that the true reason is because the tests are running out. It is a desperate situation – yet in the midst of the darkness, our 400 Harvesters pastors are striving to be a beacon of light.
Bringing Hope to the Nation
The Harvesters Regional Director for South Asia has been in daily contact with the stream leaders in India. “They’re in the eye of the storm seeing all these horrific things happening,” he observed, “but there’s a sense of hope that they are the answer. If anybody is going to provide an answer for this situation it’s going to be the Church. They’re there to stir hope, create hope and bring hope to the nation.”
The challenges are tangible. One church planter has reported the deaths of four Harvesters pastors in his rural region of Andhra Pradesh. Another leader, who lives in a 13-story building, is surrounded by danger – 12 floors have Covid cases. He praises God that the Covid-free floor is his one.
Amid the fear, hope is shining through. The Church is at work in India.
The stream leader for the western region of Maharashtra mobilised the 70-plus pastors to volunteer at the local hospitals. Overwhelmed and under-resourced, the health services are crying out for help in India’s worst-hit province. The church leaders were given a crash course in administering vaccinations and put to work. The pastors were willing to help wherever they could – from providing water and medication, to helping weak patients to the toilet. In addition to being the hands of Jesus, the pastors took every opportunity to share the Gospel. They reported that no one stopped them because their help at the hospital was so desperately needed.
Phone Call for Prayer
Not everyone is fortunate to get a bed in the overcrowded hospitals. One Harvesters leader, who had recently had a plumber do some work in his home, recalled an unexpected phone call. The plumber had become very unwell with Covid-19 and tried to get help from his local hospital – but they had no space or resources for him. He had then been rejected from the next hospital he travelled to. Weak, scared and disheartened he decided to phone the Christian he had met recently. The pastor had made a mark because he showed the worker unprecedented kindness. He had offered snacks and tea to the plumber, who is usually ignored and seen as dirty due to the type of work he does. On the phone, the Harvesters pastor prayed in the name of Jesus and thankfully, the man went on to receive treatment.
New Life in Christ
One church planter, Nizammaudin, used to be a Muslim and now spreads the Gospel of Jesus Christ. His son, Juber – who is not a Jesus follower – has seen many family friends die of Covid-19 in recent weeks. “He battled with a few questions about life after death,” said Nizammaudin, “the fear of death haunted him.” Being faced with so much tragedy caused Juber to open up to praying with his parents one evening. “As we were praying, my son started weeping and crying out to God to forgive his sins. After the prayer, he said that he accepted Jesus Christ as his personal Saviour and wanted to serve the Lord,” Nizammaudin rejoiced. “The Covid-19 second wave has taken away lives of many people… but my son Juber has new life in Christ.”
These are a few of the testimonies coming out of the darkness in India. Although pain and loss are rampant, we praise God for the faithful believers bringing Hope to a broken world.
Pray for India
- Pray for those who are hearing the Gospel in the hospitals throughout the region of Maharashtra thanks to the selfless volunteer work of the Harvesters pastors there.
- Pray for the plumber who reached out for help – that he cannot ignore the true and living God who helped him.
- Pray for the church leaders all over India who are passionate about bringing hope into a seemingly hopeless situation. Pray that they will be encouraged and uplifted during this crisis.
- Pray for the Lord’s merciful intervention and for the numbers of Covid-19 cases to decrease.
- There is a severe oxygen shortage in India Some must wait days before they are even cared for. For many, that is too long. Pray that they Lord will open doors for sufficient oxygen to be provided.
- Thank God for the salvation of Juber. Cover him in prayer as he begins his new life with Christ. Pray for the ministry of Nizammaudin, who shares the Gospel to the Muslim community.
I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people. 1 Tim 2:1
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