Monday, 16 March 2015

Brokenness



God has called us to take the Gospel to broken and unreached of South Asia. It is a beautiful thing to see Jesus heal, restore and redeem this broken world.



Sharing the Good News and then careful discipleship is one of our central ministries. And, one of the ways of evangelism is the village gospel festival.


A village gospel festival is a small scale, relationship based, intelligent presentation of the message of the Gospel. 

The festival begins when a ‘man of peace’ in the village invites us to present the Gospel to his friends and family. We work with him to organise an event in his courtyard where his friends and family gather. Here we present a culturally relevant presentation of the message of Jesus Christ on subsequent nights. 


ONE SUCH FESTIVAL

Brother Sam shares this with us:

I was invited by a family in Village S to share the Gospel with their friends and family. So, I organised a village gospel festival in his courtyard. On the first night I sang songs, shared
stories from the Gospel and prayed with people. It was an amazing time in the presence of God. “I have never heard anything like this,” remarked a young lady, “I want to bring my parents, too, tomorrow night.” Several echoed the same thing.

I realised that we would have a larger crowd the second night, so I invited a group of believers and fellow missionaries to join me that night. I wanted us to be able to pray with people individually and build relationships for continuing follow up visits.

Well, as expected, a larger crowd had assembled that second night to hear the life giving message of the Gospel. But, unknown to us, a group of fanatics had also made a plan to attack us.

ATTACKED

I began the meeting with prayer. The believers who had accompanied me also joined in this prayer. However, before the prayers had ended, a group of 40 young men arrived from outside and began to threaten us. They then proceeded to destroy chairs, our song-books and the Indian musical instruments we had with us. Some ripped the small cloth-tent we had put up in the courtyard and pulled out the supporting bamboo poles. We continued to pray.

These attackers then began to taunt us. They had wanted us to talk back or defend ourselves so that they could escalate the attack. However, we stood still and kept on praying. When they realized that we would remain non-violent, 
they picked me out as the leader of the group. I was dragged out and then one of them began to beat me with the large wooden club.  I held my head with my hands, in protection, and stood praying as they showered blows upon me.

Meanwhile, someone had gone to the nearby town when the attackers had arrived and informed the police. The police did come when the attack on me was going on. But they joined the attackers and laughed at me. Soon, blood was flowing from my head and body. As the physical attack on me increased, a group of brave believing sisters encircled me. They felt that the attackers would not beat them, since they were females. However, the attackers broke through them and kept on attacking me. Finally, the police realised that I would be clubbed to death. So, they broke up the attack. However, to my surprise, instead of arresting the attackers they arrested me and took me to the jail.

In the jail I was still bleeding profusely. The attackers had also arrived at the police station by now. I was not provided any medical attention. But the attackers were given tea to drink. Finally, as I kept bleeding, I lost consciousness.”  


LIVE FOR HIM

The level of persecution in the fields has increased multifold in recent months. It is scary when the police and state become part of the mob. However, our strength continues to be in the Lord and in remaining faithful to Him. 


As Brother Sam says, thumbing his chest, “Christ lives in here. I will live for Him and I will die for Him.”

PRAY FOR

 1. The persecuted in South Asia.
 2. The new believers. May they remain strong & grow 
      in the Lord.
 3. For the advancement of the Gospel.
 4. For God to move the heart of the attackers, so that 
     they may experience His love.
 5. For Brother Sam. He is out of jail and is recovering.




Friday, 13 March 2015

Ya Rab, Ya Yasoo


The killing of the twenty one Coptic Christians by ISIS was pure evil. In the video of the beheading put up by ISIS, these Christians can be heard saying, “Ya Rab Ya Yasoo” (my God, Jesus). I wept as I heard those words. ISIS described them as the people of the cross. And, that is what we are. 

The icon above belongs to the Egyptian Coptic Church and was made by Tony Rezk, a Coptic Christian, to honor the twenty-one martyrs. In the photo and video of the killing, the world sees hooded men with knives in their hand standing behind the Christians in orange jumpsuits ready to be killed. But, we, like the iconographer, should see the truth beyond the clutter—Ya Rab Ya Yasoo (my God, Lord Jesus Christ) standing there in the midst of evil. 


My reading today (Isaiah 53):

Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed?

For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.

All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.

He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth. He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken.

And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth. Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand.


Thursday, 8 January 2015

Compassion on the sick

Prasant serves in a remote village. He would travel from one village to another to share the love of Jesus Christ. One day when he returned home a man was waiting for him. He said, "My only son is not well. For the last three days he has been suffering terribly with a stomach ache. He cannot even breathe well because of the pain. Please come and pray to your God for him."  Prasant agreed to go.

It took Prasant two hours walk thorugh mountains to reach this man's village. The man asked, "Sir, tribal priests have looked at my son. And, they say, 'It is a strong demon spirit. We cannot drive it out -- it will not go. You must have committed a serious transgression and this is your punishment. In one week your son surely will die.' "

The man then spoke in a low voice, "Sir, I am very afraid. You must do something quickly. Because I know your God is a good God."
   

Prasant sat down and invited the man, his family and friends. He then began to narrate the story of the paralytic man healed by Jesus in the Gospels. At the end he asked,  "Do you believe the story?" They said, "Yes, sir, yes we do. We believe in Jesus and we believe in this story." Prasant asked for a little bit of oil, and as he had read in James 5:14 he prayed, "Dear Father in heaven, I pray for this child. Please bless this oil and make it a medicine to heal this boy. In Jesus' name, amen!" The boy's father then applied the oil over the boy's stomach.

By now it was dark. It was dangerous for him to walk back through the forest.  So, the villagers asked him to stay and Prasanth slept there that night. He continued to pray for the boy as he lay on the mat.


Early next morning the sick boy's father came running to Prasant. The boy had been completely healed by morning. He looked at the smiling boy and praised God at His mercy upon the sick and oppressed. Today, a regular prayer meeting happens in that village.