This is a pretty long letter. But I wish you will take a print out and read it as a family and pray for India. Here I go -
On October 1st, in the year, 1971, it pleased the Lord to save me while I was in the Indian Army, up in Kashmir. I was delivered from my sinful nature and I received heavenly peace that this world could not give. But soon my heart became restless at the thought that everyone around me was going to eternal hell. My heart cried for souls, and in the process, it became restless. My restless heart always reminded me of ‘others’, ‘others’, and 'others.’ So I witnessed to my fellow soldiers, officers who were coming to me every day to get their daily quota of ration from the stores. (I was in-charge of the important-items-releasing section.) I was doing a good job witnessing in the Indian army barracks, neighboring army units, hospitals - both military and civil, and on the street. But my heart was thinking about the people who lived on the far away blue mountains. Whenever I saw their cooking fires in the evening, my heart was restless because they never heard about the first coming of the Lord when the churches were about the second coming. My heart really was beating for them.
So I left the Army to ‘reach the unreached’ and became a full-time missionary. Lilly and I reached our first promised land – a place called “Katra Vaishno Devi”, the famous Hindu pilgrim center in the state of Jammu and Kashmir. My daily schedule - selling gospel packets and distributing tracts to the Hindu pilgrims all through the day on the streets. In the evening, Lilly and I visited at least five houses and shared the gospel. The Lord blessed me to plant a church there, a self-propagating and self-supporting church. We were in a position where we could support others also. I had an option to be happy with that church that was paying well … but again, that same restlessness bothered my heart.
I decided to give one week every month to go beyond the mountain ranges of Kashmir where I was living to reach the unreached. Over 12 churches were established on the nearby mountain villages in two years. Then it became a movement. I had a few coworkers and we established a mission – Kashmir Evangelical Team. But my heart was restless. What about the people in the other states.
I left the comfort of the largest church of that state and moved to Pathankot to evangelize Punjab and Himachal Pradesh – two neighboring states – and the rest is history. (www.ietmissions.org)
You can order for my testimony book COMPELLED on the web page on payment or FREE if you can’t afford to pay. We want you to have a copy. As the Lord smiled at us, we became one of the largest church planting movements in the entire south Asia.
And still my heart is restless and cries out ‘others,’ and ‘souls’, ‘souls’. Where ever I go, I make the hearts of those who meet me or hear me, restless for Christ.
I do this, disturbing the heart, in our mission by speaking to our missions leaders 3 times. We have over 2400 ministers in our mission with 37 senior leaders and 150+ junior leaders. I meet all the Senior and Junior leaders twice a year, in the months of March and November. I meet all the senior leaders every summer May or June – for Bible study, discussion and prayer. We brainstorm to find new strategies, based on our past experience and also by the guidance of the Holy Spirit. It is also like a family gathering of fellowship.
I open up my troubled heart to the leaders and help them to understand the heart of God- the ‘world may hear.’ As a result, we came up with the following targets:
November leaders meeting 2010: One Million believers in IET churches by 2020.
March leaders meeting 2011: 25000 people to be baptized in 2011.
Senior leaders meeting 2011: This was held in Siliguri, West Bengal (Bhutan and Nepal border.) for 4 days. The theme was "Family Life and Leadership". The speakers put it in such a way that all the 32 men and (some of their wives) understood the message clearly and made decisions to give more time to the family.
I spoke from my life experience (from a rough, tough and troubled married life to a smooth family life) and gave them 10 capsules to have a wonderful family life.
We also had discussions about the ministry in the mission fields.
The 32 senior leaders said:
· The persecution and psychological threat by the enemies of the cross are hindering the evangelistic work everywhere except a certain very few pockets. Though the physical threat has decreased, the psychological threats on the missionaries and their wives and children have increased. The ministers are dragged to the police station on false cases that will drag for 3 or more years. They have to spend money on the lawyer, judges and clerks. (If you don’t pay bribe you will be asked to appear twice a week. If you don’t pay to the clerk, he will call your name in a low voice that you waiting there won’t hear him calling your name. Then the Judge will give his verdict against you.) The false case will be in the name of the Pastor and several believers. Think about the agony of the pastor and believers in the police custody where they are beaten and abused, the money spent on travel to the city court and the bribes for 3 to 5 years.
· The price line has gone 3 to 5 times up in the last 10 years and so the support must go up. So we leaders have decided to increase the support from August 1st. (for many it will be almost double.) This is not actually enough for a family to pull on. So we decided to –
o Help the children of missionaries with extra finance. IET will try to encourage our prayer partners to sponsor a child of a missionary by giving Rs 500 per child. (That is $15 per month.)
· The main concern of the leaders was about the need of the pastors to have a church building. IET is talking about winning more people and discipline them. But when the membership of the church will go to 30, 50, 80, 150, they cannot gather together for Bible study and worship in any house. No one will have a room large enough to accommodate 30 people.
o Where will they have wedding?
o Where will they have a child dedication?
o Where will they have a special meeting like Good Friday, Easter etc.?
· So they asked that IET must try to help the local churches to have their own land. They will sacrificially give. But that will not be enough as the price of the land have hit the sky and is beyond the reach of the local 30 or 150 believers.
o Will you pray about it and think where you can help a local church with Rs one hundred thousand (Rs 1,00,000)?
· Church buildings. IET helps the local congregation for church buildings as under:
Less than 30 to 50 believers
A prayer hall made of mud wall, mud floor and tin sheets.
A Prayer hall of mud wall with brick and mud pillar walls, brick floors and asbestos sheets roofing
Town and city church
5,00,000 – 7,00,000
This will be the size of minimum 20 by 40 feet – brick and concrete.