Update from Jeff Vines in India
I am sitting here in the lobby of the Holiday Inn in New Delhi India waiting for my chicken pizza and contemplating the last few days. It has been a remarkable journey. The work happening here is nothing short of miraculous. The people of India have been so accommodating and grateful for our investment. I wish each of you reading this could be here. I have met with Pastors who are being persecuted for their faith. Many have been disowned by their families because they have become Christians. Hindu extremists are trying to eradicate them and their families. However, nothing deters them from preaching the Gospel.
As I preached to the masses this morning, I could not help but to think of the similarities between what is happening in India right now and the beginnings of the early Church. Every time the Gospel is preached, hundreds come to Christ. They are so hungry for the Gospel. I walked them through the Feasts that are associated with Yom Kippur and showed them how Jesus is our “azzazel” (scapegoat) who has taken our sins away and separated us from them as far as the east is from the west. These people do not live in denial. They recognize their sins and, for centuries, have been looking to religion to absolve them. Yet, they can find no joy. When they learn that Jesus takes away their sins and adopts them into His family as sons and daughters, they embrace the message with passion and gratitude.
I met one Pastor who has been preaching in Nepal where there are less than 100 Christians. He has been preaching Christ to the Nepalize and when they hear the message they come to him and say, “We had heard that there was a way to approach God without going through all the rituals and idols. Now we know his name…Jesus.” Something very special is happening here. After I spoke today, I gave an invitation to come and receive Christ. Into the aisles they came. One young girl who was clearly convicted came to the front and began to literally scream. We forget how the idols and rituals of the Hindu faith introduces demonic forces that will not go easily when confronted with the name of Jesus. This is the first century church all over again. The gospel is spreading like wild fire! Many are bowing to the name of Jesus. Demons are being cast out and communities of believers are being formed.
Dr. Lahl is training over 150 Pastors every single year. These Pastors are very intentional in their approach. Each Pastor targets an area of India to reach. They work diligently to introduce people in these areas to the good news of the Gospel so that Christ may take root in Indian soil. One of our favorite moments included visiting the village of the untouchables. These people are considered the lowest caste and rarely if ever receive the touch of another human being. Robin and I went through the crowd touching and hugging every single person, young and old. The children smiled and the old men and women wept. I knelt down beside an elderly lady who could harldy believe it when I took her hands and held them tightly. With tears in her eyes she kissed my hand and then we embrace. I felt as though she never wanted to let go. Robin went through the crowd handing out the blankets and food that you (CCV) supplied. How grateful they were for such small things.
I know that many of you miss me when I am away. But had you been with me in India, you would have been more than willing to sacrifice our togetherness for a few weeks in order that Pastors who are persecuted for their faith and who are bringing thousands to Jesus every month, could be encouraged and equipped to finish this task. We begin our trip home tomorrow. Pray for our safe journey.