For the past week Dave Stewart and John-Mark Romans have been visiting with our partners in India. Dave writes about an incredible experience he was part of as God continues to demonstrate how it is He who will open up doors to the hard places.
I wasn’t fully prepared for what I encountered this past Tuesday night. We’ve been traveling in India for a few days and meeting with some engaging, passionate believers. Encouraged to see the work which is happening here in this country to spread the Gospel message through CICM.
But Tuesday was different. That evening we met with five leaders of the church in Afghanistan. Five men who have come to India as refugees because of the chaos and persecution experienced in their home country.
We met in a quiet room, in an inconspicuous location to maintain a low profile. The stories were intriguing. The leader of the group is a former Taliban member. He described how, in an act of defiance against his father, he joined the movement and was soon engulfed in violence and destruction. He even mentioned, “The things that ISIS is doing now are nothing compared to what we did.”
A bad guy.
But eventually he grew weary of all the hatred and could see no end to it. He began to seek truth and meaning. And his search took him outside of Islam.
Our God can use the most unpredictable methods of bringing people to Himself. In this case, our friend was introduced to the internet by another man with one intention – to watch pornography. But through the internet he found a website describing the world’s religions and before long he had been exposed to the truth of Christianity- To Jesus and the cross.
He came to India and was educated and trained as a pastor. To date he and his team have planted three churches in New Delhi among Afghani refugees and have a strong desire to reach as many people as they can in Afghanistan.
Two members of his team were just released from a New Delhi jail after serving five months for handing out tracts to people. The stories of their time inside were terrifying but they talked of the freedom in Christ they found while being physically detained in such an inhumane place. Amazing!
For the last several weeks I have been participating in the Kairos course, an engaging look at the global purpose for every follower of Jesus. Before I left Savannah we discussed the need for strategic purpose in reaching those who live in the toughest places. The need to go to the hard places because people matter to the Lord there, too.
But sometimes opportunities are dropped in your lap.
It may seem like a church planting movement among Pashto speaking people of Afghanistan is a stretch but we are called to go where the Lord is leading. And an open door is an open door.
Our church is investing in these Afghani leaders to provide training, resources and Bibles which will first be used among the refugee population living in India and also taken back to the war ravaged country of their people.
. . . So much more effective than sending Western missionaries.
Our calling in situations like this and one of the stated high values of SCC Global Outreach is “to equip national leaders with the resources needed for significant Kingdom growth.”
As missiologist Shane Bennett says, “We should go where the glow is low.” The glow of the gospel, with only roughly one thousand believers in a country of 34 million people, is low. But our God has opened the door and we want to help those who would step through it.
If you would like to know more about how to get involved in God’s Kingdom mission, go on a short-term mission trip or, like Dave, learn about the global purpose for every follower of Jesus in the Kairos course fill out and submit the contact form and we will get back with you very soon.