I was in India June-2012 with an Idlewild short term mission team. Part of the trip was to help our host missionaries with their VBS. Most of the kids that attended were bused in from area slums and it was typical that they had never heard about Jesus. A class I taught was comprised of 25 Hindu students aged 13-20 and only one had heard the name of Jesus. After teaching about Samson and delivering the gospel message on the first day, there was no response to the invitation. There was also no response on the second day. My translator told me that the students might be nervous raising their hands in front of everyone because of their Hinduism. So I told them through her that I would be there for the rest of the morning and, if they had any questions about salvation, to please find me
My translator and I were about 30 feet from the classroom when a 14 year old girl named Subhadra ran up behind us. She was the one in the class who had heard the name of Christ before this week and she spoke excellent English. She stopped me and urgently asked, “Why did they kill Jesus!?!” I had used the “Share Jesus Without Fear” series of verses during my gospel presentation and the teaching had been on Samson so I felt I needed to provide additional background information. I explained the difference between the Old and New Testaments of the Bible, that one points to our need for a Savior and the other to our redemption through Christ while teaching Christians how they ought to live. I told her about Adam and Eve and the origination of Sin and our broken relationship with God and how it is God’s desire to repair that relationship with us individually. I told Subhadra that God had sent Jesus as the solution to our Sin problem, as a necessary sacrifice and that He had used the complicity of the Romans and Israelites to hang Jesus on the cross to die. At this point, she burst into tears and accepted Christ.
Two men were instrumental in my Christian growth when I was first saved 14 years ago. One of these was Dana Hardee, the leader on this trip. I introduced Subhadra to him and he made the connection that she is like his granddaughter in the faith. It was a special moment.
June 11-13, 2012 was a very successful week for our India Signature Partners in India “COI” as they worked with a team from Idlewild Baptist Church. Below is the recent article found in the COI June newsletter.
During this week, 700 youth attended VBS, at the Butler’s School of Delhi. For this week, children as old as 20 years attended. For these three days, a team from Idlewild Baptist Church, under the leadership of Dana Hardee, was in Delhi to assist with the program. Within each classroom, they shared the good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. For many of the children, this was the first time they had ever heard someone explain Christ’s sacrificial death and saving grace. These youth enjoyed the time to come together regardless of the heat, which reached 115 degrees
The most important part about VBS is how it impacts every individual involved. We have compiled two stories of children who attended the program. Each one is a testimony to how God worked through the program and obedient efforts of the Cooperative Outreach of India.
The Story Of Mohsad
Mohd. Ehsan is a 14 year old boy from a conservative Muslim background where he does not have any opportunity to learn about the true and a Loving God. He is studying in a government school in 9th grade.It was his first time that he attended any of the Vacation Bible School. He is thrilled to know that Jesus Christ died on the Cross of Calvary to pay for the sins of mankind. He is extremely happy that he had an opportunity to make a decision to follow Christ as his savior.
The Story Of Rajesh
“I am Rajesh and I am very happy that I had this privilege of attending the VBS. These funfilled 10 days with all these children and good teachers have changed my life completely. In this VBS I have thoroughly enjoyed and learnt a lot about the Love of God. I want to follow Christ as my savior all my life. Now I will be praying daily to Jesus Christ.”
We are grateful to Idlewild Church for partnering in this endeavour to reach out to thousands of children and their families. Each child was given a book on the story of Jesus and a compilation of stories from the Bible as a follow up. We are drawing a plan to disciple these children in the coming days. Please pray that the Lord will continue to minister to these young children and raise them up as a strong witness.
Article from Cooperative Outreach June ’12 Newsletter
Phil. 1:20, “as it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death.”
Back in February of this year, I read this article on ICC website:
-International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that an Iranian pastor received a court order to be executed by hanging earlier this week for leaving Islam and converting to Christianity.
Youcef Nadarkhani, a church leader in Rasht, Iran, was arrested in October 2009 for denouncing Iran’s educational practice that requires children to read the Quran in public schools. In September 2010, Nadarkhani was orally issued the death sentence for converting to Christianity from Islam in the province of Gilan. A formal verdict was handed down on November 13, 2010, announcing that Nadarkhani would be executed by hanging.
Nadarkhani appealed the sentence and was summoned to an appellate court in October 2011, where he was told to renounce his Christian faith at three separate hearings. “I cannot,” Nadarkhani said.
The words “I cannot” remind us of the words used by Martin Luther when he to was asked to renounce his Christian beliefs. I admire the courage of these men and, at the same time, I ask myself, “Would I have the courage to do the same?” What fuels these men to “stand tall,” to not allow the world to “move them” away from their beliefs? Maybe we can find some answers from Paul in Philippians 1:18-19.
“18 “What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed, and in that I rejoice. To Live Is Christ Yes, and I will rejoice, 19 for I know that through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ this will turn out for my deliverance,”
In these verses, Paul is in Rome under house arrest and waiting for the Roman tribunal to give a verdict on his case. They were going to decide if he was to die or to live. Paul’s biggest worry in these verses is not dying, but being ashamed. His desire was to have the courage to magnify Christ with his actions if the verdict was guilty. Paul reveals to us two sources from which he draws his courage to face death:
1-The Prayers of The Believers: We read, (vs. 19) “for I know that through your prayers.” Have you ever wondered if your prayers for others matter or make a difference, if you think you don’t need to pray, because whatever is going to happen will happen? Paul did not think this way; he believed that the prayers of the saints contributed to his courage.
2- The Spirit of The Lord: (vs. 19) “the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ.” The Holy Spirit provided him all the power to finish strong. He knew that apart from Christ he could do nothing. Paul knew, even with all his great learning and all his great skills as a missionary, that he needed to be filled and walk in the fullness and power of the Holy Spirit
Let us pray that as representatives of Jesus Christ on earth, we realize the strength we get from the prayers of believers and from the Holy Spirit that is within us.
Pray also for the “Persecuted Church” all over the world and, specifically, for Pastor Youcef, who is believed to still be alive and awaiting his execution.
To learn more about the persecuted church all over the world visit www.persecutedchurch.org.
God has been working in an incredible way through our members. The “Thirst No More” well building project is off to an amazing start. The church has responded in a mighty way, to the challenge of building “100 Wells” in India.
On June 10th. we will give a video update during our morning worship services. But I would like to share one of many testimonies we have received from India.
Well Testimony 5/12:
Among many Hand pumps which were installed in the Villages in the state of Uttar Pradesh (North India), one specific mention has to be made with regard to Hand Pumps provided to Dharapur Village (15 km from Farukhabad). This has a population of approx 2000 people, In the middle of this village there is a small open well, which was contaminated as a result of birds, rats or dry leaves falling into it. The people of this village had no other drinking water source nearby, and invariably they had no option but to drink this contaminated water.
During my visit an old women shared her frustration at the red tape and the delays in getting approval for provision of clean water. She is deeply grateful to COI for the gift of the Hand Pump which provides the village with clean drinking water. COI wishes to place on record its deep appreciation and gratitude to Idlewild Baptist Church for their generous contribution towards donating the hand pumps across different villages and provide relief to many.-VJ
We still have many wells to build, so be a part of God’s work in India. You can buy a well by: personally donating $1,200.00 to purchase a well; buy our very own “Great Coffee For The Great Commission” ($5 of every bag purchased goes to building wells) or make a donation to “Thirst No More” through the offering envelope.
Visit our Mission Cafe to see the wells that have been built.