I wanted to let you know about my recent trip to India. I know so many of you were praying and some of you contribute financially so that we can take the Gospel into other countries.
My first stop was Bangalore, home to 8.5 million people. I arrived on a Saturday. On Sunday I preached in two different churches and also spoke to a group of leaders in the evening.
On Monday, we kicked off a three day conference. Several churches participated and we had over a hundred delegates, many of them pastors and leaders. The theme for the three days was “Discipleship.” The hunger for God’s Word was evident and we had a great conference. One of the great things about a conference is the opportunity to make friends. I was able to connect with so many great people and to hear their stories of what God is doing in their lives.
After this conference concluded, my next stop was on the other side of Bangalore at the South Asia Institute for Advanced Christian Studies or SAIACS. This seminary is one of the leading schools in India for training Christian leaders. My good friend, Dr. Ravi David is an adjunct professor there and invited me to participate in a training course that he was running.
This particular program was a two-week, intensive opportunity for almost 40 Indian missionaries to be refreshed and to sharpen their tools. Each of these missionaries is serving in a remote area where persecution is becoming more prevalent. Most of them also oversee a network of other ministers and are influential leaders.
I spoke during the morning devotions and taught a session on the “The Lifestyle of a Cross-Cultural Witness.” I also had the opportunity to pray for a number of the students and to get to know several of them. One young man told me that he was a convert from Islam. God is now using him in inner-city Bangalore. He is only 30 years old but has started 100 house churches and has a team of 35 leaders who pastor these Christian communities. My new friend’s team also feeds almost 1000 children a week.
My second week started with a flight to Hyderabad, a city of almost 7 million people. My friends, Swaroop and Aruna Victory, lead C3 Eden Garden Church. This is a growing church in the heart of the city. Pastor Swaroop has just added a Sunday night service because the morning service is packed. What is even more remarkable is how young his team is. Most of the people helping Swaroop and Aruna lead the church are in their early twenties.
C3 Eden Garden Church is a breath of fresh air. This vibrant community embodies C3 Church culture that you can experience at any of our churches around the world. There is a sense of true relationships, a sense of freedom and liberty, and a genuine presence of the Holy Spirit. People are finding Christ at Eden Garden and then are getting a vision for their lives.
Because of people’s generosity, I was able to give a financial gift to one of the pastors who organized the first conference that I spoke at in Bangalore. He pastors a church in a small village about six hours away. He had told me last year when I visited that he was praying for the funds to build a restroom at his church. This is something that we don’t even think about in America, but the 100+ church members have to use the restroom in the pastor’s house every Sunday.
The pastor had told me that his congregation was very poor and it would be several years before enough offerings came in to build a restroom. On this trip, I was able to give him enough cash and the pictures below show the result. I was also able to give this pastor and another one some money to help support their families and their churches.
Thank you to everyone who prays for us, encourages us, and supports our work financially. If you would like to join our team, please click here to get involved. All gifts are tax-deductible. Thanks so much!