From the Field
Leaders of War become Church Planters
For years, the Jehabad district and surrounding areas in the state of BIhar have seen tribal strife and caste warfare. Here are two example of this caste warfare:
•In 1992, the MCC (Low-caste war group) brutally killed 35 members of the Bhumihar Brahmin caste at Bara Village near Gaya District of Bihar, India. The MCC's armed group brought the 35 men of Bara village to the bank of a nearby canal, tied their hands and slit their throats.
•In 1997, at Lakshmanpur Bathe in the Jehanabad district, 58 Dalits were killed by the upper-caste Ranvir Sena. This village was targeted because Ranvir Sena members believed the village's Dalits, mostly poor and landless, were sympathizers of the Maoists behind the killing of 35 upper caste men in Bara in Gaya district in 1992. Ranvir Sena, a militia of upper caste landlords, was created by Bhumihars to take on the Naxalites, who had several Dalits as foot soldiers. It was a well-planned and coordinated attack. About 100 Ranvir Sena activists carrying firearms entered the village of Lakshmanpur Bathe at around 11 pm. They forced their way into huts by breaking down doors, and shot people while they were sleeping. The entire village was virtually decimated in the attack that lasted more than three hours. The youngest victim was an infant, less than a year old.
In 1998, API hosted the first Bhojpuri leaders conference in Patna. Attending were 500 leaders of the new CPM which had only started to multiply and flourish in UP and Bihar – North India. In 1999-2000, 2 area commanders of these warring groups in the district of Jenanabad accepted Christ, and were completely transformed. Instead of leading raids and killing sprees, they were leading the way to plant churches. This transformation has continued to this day, as 16 of these former area commanders of
militia groups have now accepted Christ, and 2 of the 16 have been trained as CLC leaders.
Praise God that His grace can turn leaders of war and hate into church planters and vessels of mercy!
Gospel Spreading through Delhi's Urban Youth
March 4, 2014
India is home to the largest youth population on earth. Of the 1.3 billion people that live in India, 58% are less than 30 years of age. Since 2009, we have made great efforts to reach what believe is the most strategic unreached people with the Gospel. God is moving powerfully; and written below is one of many ministries that God is using to turn the Urban Youth of India back to Himself.
Last year we saw a large number or youth come to our counseling centers throughout Delhi, seeking help and restoration. These youth have found freedom and resolution from depression, anxiety, addictions, marital problems, childhood trauma, anger, and many other issues. Over 10,000 youth were counseled last year, with 60 drug addicts being completely healed and set free! Many of the young mean and women that sought counseling in these centers found hope in Christ and received Him as their Savior. Through discipling and training these new believers 260 churches were planted among the urban youth last year in various parts of Delhi! We praise God for the work He is doing through the transformed lives of these young men and women! Here is a short testimony on a young man who had his life transformed by the power of Christ...
Deepak was a drug addict and a local criminal in his area of Delhi. His life was spiraling downward. He felt hopeless in overcoming his addiction. The Deepak entered an API counseling center and met one of our leaders. After lots of prayer and counseling Deepak gave his life to Christ. Today, after being discipled by our leaders in India, Deepak has started one church among his family and friends. He has become a powerful witness to other drug addicts and criminals in his neighborhood.
Please continue to pray for Deepak and the urban youth ministries in Delhi!
Son of Hindu Priest is Healed and Becomes Church Planter
February 17, 2014
Abishek comes from a Hindu background and his father was a Hindu priest. He recently gave his life to Christ after being healed. Since then God as used him to bring his entire family to Chirst and plant a church among his friends. Listen to his testimony...
"I grew up worshiping idols. Therefore, I have this thinking that I’m very righteous. However, I was diagnosed with cancer and my life shattered completely. All my hope and dreams for my future were doomed. I was sure that death is certain in my life and no one can save me from that. During that I experienced miraculous work of Jesus Christ. After prayer I felt enormous peace and hope grew inside me that one day I will be completely healed. After one month I was healed and cancer has left my body completely. I accepted Christ as my personal Saviour and later my family members and relatives also accepted Christ in their lives. Pradip, a leader of API encouraged and trained me in reaching youth. He introduced urban youth ministry through CLC approach, I have applied CLC strategy in my own ministry among youth and within no time one house church started with 25 youth."
God is performing miracles and using bringing His children to himself everyday, even among som of the most unreached peoples of the world. Priase God for His faithfullness and the work He is doing through ordinary men! Please continue to pray for Abishek and his ministry.
The Transforming Power of the Gospel
February 4, 2014
One of our leaders from Kolkata recently visited a Community Learning Center and 2 house churches started through the ministry of API. Here is one story he shared with us after his visit:
"I spent time in prayer and fellowship with CLC leaders and new believers. I had the privilege of meeting and talking with a 19 year old girl who was studying to get a Bachelors degree in a local college. She told me her testimony of how she came to know the Lord in 2013 through one of our CLC leaders. After she received Christ she began to share the Good News with her family; and not long after, her family and 6 other people received Christ as their Savior. She now leads a House Church with more than 25 people, and has started a free tuition center to help students with their studies. Through this center she is spreading the Gospel through her love and generosity."
In Matthew 5:16 Jesus says, "...let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven."
It's simply amazing how powerful the Gospel is when we allow our light to shine through the good works we do. God's Kingdom is near; and through simple obedience to His Word we can see our world transformed just like this 19 year old college student in Kolkata!
Fellowship with Grassroot Leaders in Haryana
January 27, 2014
Last year in September we wrote about how God is expanding the Gospel's reach into Haryana; one of the least evangelized states in India. The Gospel is still expanding rapidly among the unreached peoples there; and we praise God for the work He is doing through API and the grassroots leaders. Churches are being planted and leaders are being trained to go forth with the Gospel in villages and cities that have never heard the Good News of Christ.
Just last week some of our staff met with grassroots leaders to encourage, pray and share stories about how God is working. It was a deeply enriching and uplifting time. (See picture) I can only imagine the stories that were being shared about the Grace of God and the miracles He is performing among them. We want to say thank you for you prayers and support of this ministry.
Please continue to pray for Haryana and the local leaders paving the way for the Gospel. Less that 1% of the 25 million people claim to be followers of Christ. The need is great, but God is moving...and we believe He will finish the work He has begun!
What would it look like if we believed and acted the way they did?
January 6, 2014
(This article was written by Stan Park who together with Steve Smith & Daniel Kothi visited ASSI mission field from Nov 26-Dec 4, 2013. Everything described in this article are observation made during their visit and talking with leaders in the field. –Victor John)
I have often wondered what it would have been like to be alive during the days of the early church. Recently, I got a taste of this in North India among the Bhojpuri speakers. This area of India helped birth Hinduism and Buddhism and also has many Muslims. It was referred to as the “graveyard of modern missions” for 200 years. A small team trying to reach 90+ million Bhojpuri speakers faced an impossible task. Hundreds and thousands of years of Hinduism, Buddhism and Islam had an iron grip on the Bhojpuri people. Western colonialism had created a deep distrust of this western religion of Christianity.
But this was not an impossible task for God. 25 years ago God began to do a new thing beyond what we could ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20). Desperate for God to work, these gospel workers prayed more than they ever had. Forced to cast aside human wisdom and tradition, God began to bring them back to purely Biblical approaches (see Luke 10) for reaching new communities. Having a vision to reach the whole 90+ million and having so very few workers, they realized they would have to go back to the New Testament pattern of new believers leading the churches and new apostles rising up to start the new churches within their own language group and in neighboring groups.
Anybody who says this Bhojpuri movement is not happening (and some still do) just needs to come see what we have seen. All sorts of ordinary people just doing what they see in the Bible.
We met a 12th grade high schooler who has started two churches. A young woman in university who has started 3 churches. A young man who barely spoke in the past who saw his sister exorcised of many demons and has started 10 churches. An eight year old girl who was dead and the raised back to life after a group prayed for her. A man healed of blindness. Too many amazing stories to repeat them all.
This movement is deeply holistic in every way – addressing physical, spiritual, emotional, societal and most importantly eternal needs. We visited with their ministry to railway children which the movement has started in multiple cities. Abandoned children by the millions live at railway stations across India. They usually sleep 2-3 hours a day due to fear of robbery, rape, beatings. The movement has started homes for these children. They bring them in and most children are so exhausted they spend the first week literally doing nothing except eating and sleeping. They help the children learn to trust and recover from trauma and then reunite them with family and help their families get healthy enough to care for them or find they foster homes with families they know – they have a constant stream of children coming through so they can help rescue more children.
We met a low caste woman who started a church in her home and then also started churches among the high caste people nearby – other Indians were shocked she could do that. It was explained that if God’s power is in her why could she not do this? God’s truth and power can break down any walls.
We spent a day with a man who was a drunkard and a murderer who had killed two men. God powerfully saved him and he and his leaders have seen three people come back to life after prayer (and despite feeling fear when asked to pray like this). Some people find resurrections hard to believe – if so, why did Jesus promise us that we would do greater works than him? We are getting credible reports of resurrections and healings, deliverances, etc. from all over the world.
Interestingly, a miracle sometimes opened the door for the first believers in the community, but afterwards it seemed that healing of sickness and addiction, etc. seemed to come after they believed. And not everyone is healed – they still struggle and pray with God saying “no” or “wait”.
More impactfully, this former murderer has helped start 100+ churches that each have their own leaders - with a good number of them being women leaders. He is currently working with 82 leaders (church planters starting beyond their own home church) who have each started anywhere from 1 to 30 churches themselves. That does not count leaders he has developed who are now repeating this process with their own leadership groups.
We were at a leadership meeting with another 40+ people who all have similar leadership groups with 20, 40, 50, 80 leaders, etc. – all of whom are starting churches themselves.
We were struck by the desire of these people to share with us. Sharing food (when they have very little). Wanting to pray for us after we prayed for them. Sharing their time so we can learn from them. Despite the amazing things, these guys are humble and keep saying "we need to learn from others and we keep making mistakes and isn't God amazing!"
They are sharing with the global Body of Christ what He is teaching and they are obeying – and these lessons have helped spark movements in many other countries. We are deeply thankful and want to keep learning and do a better job of obeying.
This movement has some amazing numbers. Hindu fundamentalists with extensive political grass-roots census efforts claim that there are now 12 million Christians among the Bhojpuri language group of North India when 25 years ago they were almost non-existent. The Bhojpuri leaders long ago gave up on trying to count because it has exploded beyond human control and monitoring. Recent outside audits by missionary researchers point to tens of thousands of churches and millions of baptized believers.
But reports and amazing numbers are not the main thing - the main thing is that all the believers think everyone can share the Gospel, heal the sick, cast out demons, and care for the widows and orphans. They are sinful and human just like all of us, but they have a tremendous advantage. They have been spiritually born and raised in a movement that makes them think that when you read the Bible you have to believe it and obey. They think disciples should multiply disciples and churches should multiply churches and leaders should multiply leaders.
They don’t realize there are many of us as “Christians” around the world who don’t live like this. They think they have the same Father to teach them (John 6:44) and Holy Spirit to guide them (John 16:13) and empower them (Acts 1:8) as the New Testament disciples did. What would it look like if we all believed and acted the way they did?
December 15, 2013
Update from Our Annual Conference
November 6, 2013
Pslam 86: 9-10 "All the nations you have made will come and worship before you, Lord; they will bring glory to your name. For you are great and do marvelous deeds; you alone are God."
This weekend was a small glimpse into the reality of the scripture above. There is something tremendously humbling and encouraging when 5000 local leaders in Inidia gather together to worship the One True GOD! As you can see in the picture, the worship was powerful!
Our Annual Conference officially ended today; and It was an amazing time of worship, prayer, and re-energizing for the men and women that attended. We wanted to say thanks to all of you that prayed for the conference. we had no complications and God moved in a mighty way!
We will have more updates coming soon, but for now we just wanted to say thanks to all that were praying earnestly for our ministry and this conference!
Gearing Up for Our Annual Conference
October 30, 2013
Tommorrow launches the first day of our 19th Annual Confernce. Our team is currently preparing (see picture) for over 5,000 local pastors/leaders involved in the Church Planting Movement among the Bhojpuri speaking people. Over the next 3 days these leaders will meet together for worship, prayer, teaching and fellowship.
The vision for these conferences is to encourage, empower and inspire the men and women who are serving the Lord in their communities in Northern India. Most of our Christian leaders in Northern India operate independently for 51 weeks of the year. By providing these Christian leaders of India with an opportunity to join in fellowship we are able to equip them for their roles on the “front lines” of evangelism throughout Northern India.
Over the course of the next 3 days please be in pray for these things:
Salvation Comes through Sewing Centers
October 16, 2013
Our staff in Delhi is running a Sewing Centre in the SP area, in which 20 women are taking vocational training. Out of these 20 women 7 have started believing in Christ. This has happened through one of our CLC (Community Learning Center) leaders Mr. Das. He has poured his heart and love into these women, and through this love these women slowly began to open their hearts and share all their pains. Slowly and steadily Mr. Das began to speak into their pain by sharing the Gospel. He explained that its only through Jesus and His sacrifice on the cross that you can be saved and have eternal life. He said just believe with your whole heart and your life will be changed. After accepting Jesus, their lives have changed completely. They all have started House Fellowships in their area, and through these Fellowships and the work God has done in the lives of these women, more and more people are putting their faith in Christ.
Ministy of Reconciliation
September 17, 2013
Paul writes these words in 2 Corinthians 5: 18-20 "All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God."
According to this Word, we are ambassadors of God. That means that God is telling the world about himself through our lives. And what story is he telling....The story of reconciliation! That is our ministry. To show and tell others how to be reconciled with God and with others.
Sarabjeet (the man in the picture) is doing just that. This young man is being used by God in amazing ways! He prayed for a boy who had leprosy and God healed that boy. He has countless testimonies of healings and miracles. He is boldly witnessing everywhere and to everyone; telling them of how they can be healed in Christ alone! He has started 3 Churches in Haryana, which is one of the least evangelized states in India.
God is making his appeal through Sarabjeet; and through this man hundreds of people are being reconciled to God.
What does God want to say through you? Who does he want to reconcile through your story, your life, your voice, your gifts and your redemption story?
Go and tell the world about God's reconciliation through His son Jesus Christ!
God's Kingdom Moving into New Territory
September 16, 2013
Haryana is a northern state in India, located directly above Delhi. It has a population of a little over 25 million people. Eighty-eight percent of the people identify themselves as Hindu, and only 32,000 claim to be followers of Christ. This makes Haryana one of the least evangelized states in India. However, God has begun to move powerfully through this state.
Lovepreet and Rajesh are two of our key leaders in Haryana. Our staff in India discipled these two men a little over a year and a half ago. Since then, Loverpreet and Ragjesh have been instrumental in starting 35 Churches in different areas throughout Haryana. Praise God for the work He is doing in Haryana. Please continue to pray for these two men!
God Raises A Child From the Dead
September 12, 2013
Laydaar is one of the key leaders in the Church Planting Movement that is spreading like wildfire through the unreached Bhojpuri peoples of India. If you have not had the chance to read what God is doing among this unreached people group...click on this link... http://www.apii.org/#/about-us/pioneering. God is using Laydaar in mighty ways. He has planted churches in over 200 villages in North India, as well as train many other pastors and leaders.
He is an ordinary man, doing extraordinary things for God's kingdom. He is extremely humble and dedicated to obeying the commands of Jesus. A few months ago he prayed for the child in this picture. The child had been dead for few hours, but after Laydaar laid his hands on him and prayed for him, God brought the boy back to life. Through this miracle many have come to Christ and have received not only physical healing, but eternal life!
We praise God for the miracles his is performing through such wonderful leaders. God's kingdom is advancing daily through the obedience and dedication of men and women like Laydaar. Please continue to pray for our leaders and thank God for the things He is doing in North India!
Pray for our House Church Leaders in Varanasi
September 10, 2013
Varanasi, India. Known as the birthplace of religion. It is the city where Hinduism has its roots…the city where Buddha preached his first sermon…and the city where other religions such as Jainism and Sikhism have their foundation. Not only that, but to Hindus it is the holiest of cities…the city of salvation. Therefore, millions of Hindus come to Varanasi to die. They believe that a washing in the Ganges river will purify them of their sins and a scattering of their ashes in the river’s waters will purify their souls and take them to Nirvana. So, as you can imagine, the spiritual darkness and strongholds in this city are extremely powerful.
For centuries missionaries have traveled to Varanasi to share the Gospel of Christ, and for centuries they have seen little to no success. That is why North India, where Varanasi is at the heart, has been known as “the graveyard of missions.”
However, through lots of prayer and the ministry of API, God has begun to do miraculous things among the people in this area. Since the early 90’s we have seen thousands of house churches planted and millions of people receive Christ as Lord.
The men in the picture above are some of the church planters in Varanasi. God has used them in a powerful way to touch the lives of thousands with the Gospel of Christ. I wish we could all sit down with these men and hear their testimonies of how God is using them for His kingdom. I think we would all be amazed, inspired and challenged to make disciples in our own context! Please take a minute to pray for these guys!
God's Kingdom is Growing Daily!
September 9, 2013
God is doing amazing things in North India!! Lives are being transformed and churches are being planted everyday among these unreached peoples! Here is a picture of a church that was recently planted near Patna, India. This church, along with many others, have started through one of our Community Learning Centers (CLC).
Community Learning Centers are unique methods used in accessing communities to share the Gospel as well as take care of the communities physical needs. If you are unfamiliar with our CLC model click this link... http://www.apii.org/#/ministries/clcs
Please pray for the men and women in these churches. Pray for continued obedience to and trust in Jesus as they face daily persecution. Also, pray for their villages and communities; that they would continue to be a light in a dark place, and that God would continue to add to their number daily (Acts 2:42-47).
Healed to Become a Healing
September 6, 2013
When God heals you, He will begin to use you to heal the world. That is why in 2 Corinthians 5 Paul writes, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.”
This ministry of reconciliation is multiplying rapidly throughout North India because of testimonies like the man in the picture. God healed him from a mental illness one year ago; and within the last year, as he told his story of God’s grace, 4 churches have been planted in his village. He understood that his healing was not just for his own personal benefit, but that God wanted to use him as His ambassador to lead others to the healing power found in Christ.
Have you been healed by God? If so, who needs to hear your story?
Be a minister of reconciliation…let God restore others through the story of how He restored you!