I am just heading into day three with Leena Lavanya and ServeTrust ministries in India. The team of 10 heads out at 7:30am and visits various ministries, village churches and other programs and we get back at about 11:30pm each day. There are 8 Americans and 2 Aussies in the team, and we have bonded very quickly and well.
Leena has planted 70 churches among the very poor and among unreached people in rural and tribal areas. We visit these churches and today (Wednesday) we have a 7hr return trip to visit some new work among forest tribal people.
Typically when we meet with the churches we are welcomed and honoured. We join them in worship and prayer, and if Leena invites us, one of us brings a message or devotion. We then pray for every person by laying hands on people. We will also walk around the villages and as we are welcomed by people in their homes we will go in and pray for them. Sometimes these people are Hindus or Muslims, but they still welcome us to pray for them. I love this part of the ministry and it is so beautiful to see people open and humble to ask God for help.
The ministries that we have visited help many people such as orphans with HIV/AIDS, elderly people who have been abandoned, people with leprosy, sex workers with HIV/AIDS, sewing school and computer school, and hundreds of very poor children who now receive schooling. It is very confronting to see the need but also very inspiring and encouraging to see how through the good news of Jesus compassion and dignity are given to these people.
Sometimes it seems as though we are only reaching a small drop of people in the vast ocean of need, but for each of those people that Leena is helping, it makes a world of difference.
The main purpose of the trip like this is to support and encourage the ministry here in India and build partnerships with our churches back home. ServeTrust has a board in America and they raise finance and support for the work in India. KBC gives $1000 per year from our mission budget and there were also $1100 of private gifts given to me for this trip. I have asked Leena that this money be used to help further support for HIV/AIDS orphans.
For me personally, being here gives me a wider perspective of how God is at work in our world. I also see the long picture that in a country of 1.3 billion people, and only a small percentage of Christians, there is an opportunity now to sow the seeds of the gospel that will blossom in the decades to come. What will this work look like in 50 years, when the 70 churches Leena has already planted and the ministries and charities she has started continue to blossom and grow? I see hundreds of strong and growing churches and thousands and thousands of lives changed by the compassion of Christ, and that is my commitment to this work beyond our own context in Kew. We have churches everywhere in Australia, and we have world-class medical educational facilities for everyone. But the good news of Jesus and the freedom and blessing that it brings to the society is for everyone. Kew Baptist Church has a strong history of supporting prayerfully and financially the work of global mission, and I am committed to seeing this tradition continue. I look forward to sharing more with you when I come back next week.