Final Days in India

March 25 2013

Final Days in India

Yesterday I spent 1½ hours with the top leaders of our ECI church. These men are visionary pioneers who have seen God grow the ECI to over 3500 congregations. As OMS field director I had a list of items to discuss with them. God knit our hearts together with open and heartfelt sharing. Although I am just an ordinary fellow from Middlefield, the Lord seems pleased to let me serve at this time. I also spent time with Dr. Onesimu, the principal of our Chennai Bible Seminary. A former student of mine from the early 80s, he and I have a special relationship. He shared some personal challenges he faces, but is determined to press forward. His vision includes reaching new areas of Chennai with the Good News. 

 

On Sunday, I preached in his church and he translated. Many were moved by God’s command for us to lovingly reach out to people around us still without Jesus. After the service Glenda and I met with 10 young adults and challenged them to pursue obedience to God’s will for their futures. One young lady now in university wants to work among women trapped in the sex trade. Her father, Panneer, works with World Vision, ministering among street children and disabled kids. 

 

I’ve mentioned several dreams and a vision for the future. In each one of our lives  God is inviting us to discover and fulfill his design for our days here on Earth. The first step is to ask God. Jesus said, “Ask and it will be given to you, seek and you will find, knock and the door will be opened to you.” I pray that your life will bring much joy in the service of Christ as you step out in faith to fulfill your own dreams! 

 

This journey to India is nearly complete. Our ministry has been fruitful; the stories of God at work are many. Your prayers have played a vital part in enabling God’s Spirit to touch lives. Thank you for standing at our side! The harvest, said Jesus, is ready and ripe. Today is God’s moment for India. There is much work yet to be done! 

Yours for the unreached of India,

Roger & Glenda

Who will fulfill the great commission? Is God calling you to give financially, go in faith, or pray fervently?

Tags: church planting, church multiplication, faith multiplied, joymissions in India

We continue to follow Roger and Glenda in India…

March 20 2013

We continue to follow Roger and Glenda in India…

We are now in Bangalore, in the south of India. 89 church planters have come from three states. Because 20 more people than expected came, things became a bit chaotic with the logistics of finding more lodging and another training hall down the street! Never mind, you either learn to be flexible here or you probably won’t come back. Unfortunately, my body is struggling with some kind of bug. I am trusting God to touch me as I rest tonight. Your prayers would surely be welcomed! Glenda has written a summary of our final couple days in Bhopal. Hope you enjoy!

Following the Bhopal training we took the opportunity over two days to see God at work around the city. You may remember that almost 30 years ago an industrial explosion occurred on the outskirts of Bhopal with more than 16,000 killed by poisonous gas. Because of this tragedy one would expect a dusty, depressed and demoralized city. However, there are areas of beauty in the lakes and gardens as well as evident economic growth. More than that, though, we caught glimpses of inspiring growth of the church! 

Pastor Amos is the T&M coordinator for Madhya Pradesh. In recent years he has been working closely with Abdul M., training him to be a church planter. Through their ministry, five people were ready to be baptized that day. When we arrived at the church, only two of the five had arrived. One of them, an undergarment salesman, couldn’t come on time because his bicycle tire was punctured. He had been instructed to bring dry clothes to put on following the baptism. He thought he was being asked to bring his merchandise. He bundled up a huge assortment – so much the bike’s tire couldn’t handle the weight! While waiting for him, we interviewed another two candidates who were present. Our co-worker, Jim Hogrefe, pointed out a rat that was near a drain. Soon after I felt little feet scurrying across my foot! Afterwards Jim and Roger made several witty suggestions as to the name of my “pet rat!”

Both of the men who were lovingly baptized by Amos, as well as a farmer who was baptized later that day, were all faithfully discipled by Abdul. He travels several hundred kilometers each month to encourage and train new believers. We are so impressed by this humble, hard-working, dedicated servant of God. 

We drove past the remains of the Union Carbide factory on our way to visit a middle-aged couple who now follow Christ. A house church regularly meets at their home. Not long ago they sensed God was calling them to build an “upper room” on top of their existing house so that more people could attend. It will seat over 100, Indian style! Stepping out in faith, they took out a loan and construction is well underway. We were privileged to be asked to help dedicate this room for the glory of God. I am SO thankful to God for the opportunity to have my heart touched by God’s people in this land.

Who will fulfill the great commission? Is God calling you to give financially, go in faith, or pray fervently?

Tags: answered prayer, church planting, faith multiplied, God's provisionmissions in India

Hello Again!

March 14 2013

Hello Again!

Let me introduce you to 3 of our ECC church planters. We are in awe of what they are accomplishing for the kingdom of God!

Of the 64 who participated in the training, two were women. Narinder, is around 45 years old, and has been a widow for nearly 10 years. She lives in the village of Kaler, in the state of Punjab. She has started up 2 house churches and is training two others to reach 2 more villages. Kashmiro is somewhat younger than Narinder, but has also been used by God to plant one church group. Fifty people meet weekly in her home for worship. Kashmiro, from a Sikh background, was wonderfully healed of an emotional/mental condition 6 years ago. Now she is known as a prayer warrior with a great burden to serve the Lord. 

Whatever she learns she applies immediately. Glenda and I challenged Kashmiro to pursue regular meetings with a person of peace in the neighboring village. She will pray for needs, share Bible stories, and has a goal of starting a house church there by June. Both ladies hear Bible stories from their T&M trainer and then pass them on to their people. We encouraged them to keep in touch weekly by phone along with monthly visits to pray together and celebrate what God is doing! They live 30 km away from each other.

We also spoke with Ujjwal Sardar, a 40 year old man from the Sunderban Islands, in West Bengal, near Bangladesh. He loves to write and sing songs that tell stories of God’s grace. He does so with great emotion and dramatic gestures. He was a farmer who was earning only $3 dollars a day and trying to support his wife and 3 children. His father got very sick and the family was desperately seeking help from the Hindu gods as well as medical people. 

Nothing changed. 

It was as that time that he met our ECC team leader Patra, who shared with him the Good News of Christ. Ujjwal began to anoint his father with oil and pray for healing in Jesus’ name. His father improved dramatically. As a result, Ujjwal and his family grew strong in faith and he began sharing his faith story with others. However, one day while doing ministry, his son called him to say that someone had set their house on fire! Ujjwal quickly turned to God in prayer asking for divine intervention. Within ½ hour his son called back to say a sudden rain storm had put out the fire and the house was not destroyed! Since then, the arsonist has asked forgiveness and begun attending the house church started in the village.

Much to our amazement, Ujjwal is teaching the T&M strategy to 15 pastoral workers who are each establishing house churches on 5 different islands. Many have become followers of Jesus and in April, 500 new believers from ECC outreach around the islands will be baptized! When we asked Ujjwal, “Why such abundant fruit?” He replied, “Continuous prayer.”

Who will fulfill the great commission? Is God calling you to give financially, go in faith, or pray fervently?

Tags: answered prayer, church planting, faith multiplied, train and multiplymissions in India

Two Lives Shared and Multiplied (part 1)

February 11 2013

Two Lives Shared and Multiplied (part 1)

(part 2 posted February 14, 2013 ~ related post December 10, 2012)

Two ladies, Endla and Tamara, are members of a small historical church in a town in the most secular country in Europe. Though this little church of about 50 members functioned during the soviet years, people in this area often have a distrust of the ‘church’ and religion in general. There is however freedom to register and operate as a church and you can receive a license for public preaching events without difficulty. 

Tamara, who had been a long time member of the church, quit attending services several years ago when things got boring. “The church was stale,” she openly acknowledged, “and wasn’t going anywhere.” 

Sunday worship and loyalty to the Christian community took on a whole new life when both Endla and Tamara visited a women’s small group. This weekly fellowship had something that drew them back week after week. They weren’t bored, didn’t become distracted, but instead found that their interest and desire to study God more and deeper affected the whole rest of their week. 

Piret, a full-time insurance broker and ECC worker led their weekly study. They began to see that God wanted them to serve him rather than just soak up all the blessings for themselves. As Piret quietly and steadily fed into their lives, they saw that God had work for them to do and the Christian life could be one of dynamic service. They were amazed to observe that they had progressed from people who fulfilled what they believed to be their religious duty by going to church each week, to realizing that God had a call on them as believers to look beyond themselves and their own spiritual journey to looking for the needs of others.

You saw with your own eyes how discreet and courteous we were among you, with keen sensitivity to you as fellow believers. (1 Thessalonians 2:10 The Message)

 

Tags: faith multiplied, small group, transformedservant

One Faith Multiplied

January 14 2013

One Faith Multiplied

Note: part one is posted January 7, 2013

After many years of fruitful ministry in Ecuador, Enrique suffered a pre-stroke. He and Esther “retired” and moved in with son David. After his health was restored, he started serving in David’s church. Eventually, a vision for a larger church emerged and in 2006, at the age of 70, Enrique and Esther planted a new church in Naranjito.

Enrique continues to be a learner, and in this new ministry in Naranjito, he has captured from his son David, a church planter in Spain, the vision of establishing a network of house churches that work together to multiply themselves.

During a Sunday service when Bill Miller was in Ecuador preaching at the Rosa de Sarón church in Naranjito, Enrique and Esther’s son David went to the altar and surrendered his life to the call that God had placed upon him. That moment of yielding to the Spirit resulted in the extension of Enrique’s ministry across oceans and into places he would never see.

The impact of Pastor Enrique’s life and ministry on his son David has resulted in an ever-widening circle of leadership training and church planting, a movement that spans the Atlantic to reach Europe and return with renewed vigor into Ecuador. David Guillén leads a church planting network called “Peace and Hope,” based in Spain but stretching into Bulgaria, Portugal, Ecuador and various immigrant communities. The amazing ways that God is using David and his wife Gardenia are a direct result of a father’s example and investment in his son’s life.

We asked David about his father’s influence on his life. He highlighted four aspects of Enrique’s example that continue to be formative for him:

1. A personal commitment and love for God and unwavering obedience to His call

2. A pioneer, someone who sees congregations where no one else can see them

3. His father’s response to suffering and personal injustice.

4. Enrique’s personal life is without reproach; he lives daily into the scriptural command to be holy as the Lord your God is holy (Lev 11:44)

With the prayers, help and encouragement from ECC, God is now using David and Gardenia to multiply the faith of Enrique in these many countries and among these many people groups. 

OMS recently published the book these blogs were taken from entitled, One Faith Multiplied.

If you would like a copy of the book, you may purchase it on Amazon.

 

Tags: church multiplication, church planting, faith multiplied, life change, missions in ecuador, missions in spaintrain and multiply

One Faith Nurtured

January 7 2013

One Faith Nurtured

Note: part two is posted January 14, 2013

“Can anything good come out of Salango?” In the 1930s, Salango a fishing village was so insignificant that it didn’t even appear on a map of Ecuador. Life in Salango was very simple; there was no electricity and no running water. 

In 1936, a boy born in Salango was likely heralded with joy by his mother, but with no sense of the extraordinary plans God had for this new son of a fisherman, no hint of the impact that would be made when Enrique Guillén responded many years later to the Master’s call: “Follow me, and I will make you a fisher of men!” (Matthew 4:19).

After many years of hardship growing up, including the death of his mother, Enrique moved back to Salango to live with his father, the man who for so many years had refused to recognize him. 

OMS missionaries working in the area were invited by Enrique’s father into his house. Fast forward to March of 1961 when the Word of God reached Enrique’s heart through a message preached there in the living room of his father’s house. 

Pastor Guillén says, “I was not convinced, I was converted!” He remembers that his life changed completely from the inside out; from that moment, his loyalty belonged 100 percent to the Lord Jesus. 

In the same year he married Esther, a radiant young Christian woman. Later, Enrique who was determined to serve the Lord decided to go back to school – he studied in the same classes as his son, David. 

David remembers with a grin that each term, Esther, he and Enrique compared grades, which was a great motivator for his son. “It filled me with great pride to have a father who didn’t believe in limitations … and still doesn’t to this day.”

After high school, Enrique’s desire was to study in the seminary. But committee members told him that a poor fisherman from Salango would never find success in the academic world and that he shouldn’t waste the time and resources with his futile dreams. 

But OMS missionary mentors elected to sponsor his studies. This generosity and vision on the part of the Mission continues to move Pastor Guillén to deep gratitude, even these many years later. 

When Pastor Enrique is asked about the motivation for his sacrificial search for training, he responds: “There is a people that demands our witness and a Lord who impels us forward. We have a debt of love and there is no room for discouragement!” 

Difficulties and rejection helped to shape within Enrique a special perspective of discipleship: with great intentionality, he seeks, finds and develops the potential in his disciples. 

He says, “I identify greatly with what is said of Peter in Acts 4:13—he was an unschooled, ordinary man, but they took note that he had been with Jesus! The Lord by his grace saw the potential in me and by his grace called me and equipped me for His service. I try to do the same with others.”

Next: The rest of the story…

 

Tags: faith multiplied, life change, servantmissions in ecuador