​The Rest of the Story …Fatima in India

January 8 2020

In the Jan. – April 2020 issue of OMS Outreach, we shared this story about Fatima from OMS missionaries Roger and Glenda Kruse. Fatima lives in the Nilgiri Hills of South India, famous for its tea. However, something more than tea was brewing. Every Community for Christ church planters Joshua* and his mother Naomi* were led to visit Fatima, a bedridden widow living alone and without hope. They lovingly prayed for and shared the Good News of Jesus with her. Fatima’s face beamed with tears of joy as her life was changed forever.

But here is the rest of the story …

Not long before this happened, Joshua and Naomi were themselves on the verge of ending their lives by taking poison. Instead, they became instruments of blessing to Fatima and so many others. In fact, they have a big vision to reach multiple villages in India where members of their people group call home.

God is at work, and he can use anyone to do his ministry!

Tags: india, transformation, new life, church planting,

Stories of Global Impact: Meet Mangali

October 1 2019

Meet Mangali Subba.

Mangali resides in northeastern India in a state that borders Tibet. She is from a staunch Hindu background, but recently accepted Jesus and was baptized after hearing the Gospel faithfully shared for 10 years. Mangali is 87 years old!

For many years, our ECC India worker Pastor Abedan steadfastly shared the Good News with Mangali and her family. Her husband, Pona, was the first to accept Christ in 2009 before passing away from throat cancer in 2011.

Pastor Abedan continued to visit Mangali and pray for the family, lovingly sharing the love of Christ through the years on each visit. We praise the Lord that last year Mangali accepted the gift of Jesus Christ as her personal Savior and was baptized.

She then shared the love of Jesus with her eldest son, Sonchaman, and he, too, made the decision to follow Jesus. He was later baptized and today is an ECC trainer, taking the Gospel to the surrounding villages.

If you'd like to help advance the Gospel to see others like Mangali receive Christ, you can give here.

Tags: gospel share, india, ecc, evangelism,

Demonstrated Love in India

December 12 2018

Seventy men, women, and children sat down on the large plastic tarp spread out on the dirt at the entrance of the village. With a dubious history as roving Gypsy thieves, this unique community of the Banjara tribal people is now settling into a more traditional agricultural life. What a privilege for me to stand before them sharing God’s Word.

The stories of Jesus I chose seemed to capture their focus and move their hearts. Indian people delight in drama, so my translator and I acted out some of the events described. Their response showed clearly that God was at work! The next thing I knew I was given a bag of candy to pass out to the children.

It was obvious to me that the village people lacked basic, essential health care. Open sores, infections, and disabling injuries were quite evident. Our team spontaneously promised to sponsor a free medical clinic in the coming year. God’s love is best understood when it is demonstrated, not only explained. Expressions of kindness and compassion were the norm in Jesus’ own ministry. He healed the sick and took notice of those suffering without help and hope. May the Lord teach us all how to be sensitive, ready and willing to meet the needs of people around us. It is the greatest joy in life!

By Roger Kruse, Church Multiplication Facilitator in India

Tags: india, church planting, teaching god's word, banjara people, compassion ministry,

The Faith to Believe

December 12 2018

Lakshman is a hard working stone cutter in India. This is hard work. But this is how he provides for his family. Lakshman became an orphan at a young age and was later raised by his grandparents. Unfortunately, at 12 years old Lakshman had already begun smoking and drinking alcohol. His passion was going to the cinema every Sunday to watch movies. Over time, however, he grew restless and noticed some Christians going to worship. His grandfather had also told him that if he went to church he would find peace of mind. Finally, some believers accompanied him to worship. He was struck by the words of Jesus, “If you ask, you will receive.” As a Hindu, he wondered how a single deity could handle the many requests made by so many different people. He questioned if God could hear his prayer. Because Lakshman did not know how to read, he prayed and asked God to teach him. He also combined his prayers with 10 days of fasting. On a Friday, the Holy Spirit spoke to him that his prayer would be answered. He went outside and saw writing on a wall and was able to understand it! People wondered how he was now beginning to read. As he pursued Christ through prayer, he felt convicted about the wrong things he had done in his life. He asked forgiveness and discovered the reality of Jesus living within.

Lakshman had a desire in his heart to share his new-found faith with others, but he didn’t know how. He connected with an ECC team leader and began watching, learning, and joining in the ministry. He was taught the T&M strategy and began sharing Bible stories in his own village. Ten people pursued faith in Christ and formed a nucleus of a new house church. Over time his vision also included the building of a place of worship. The poor villagers themselves doubted their ability to raise the necessary resources. With faith and the collateral of the women’s gold jewelry from the congregation, Lakshman somehow secured a large loan to begin construction. The work is now nearly finished. As we visited, a carpenter was making window frames with just a few basic tools.

Lakshman shared that he is currently training three new leaders and sharing the Gospel in 15 other villages. I never cease to be amazed at the obedient faith of my Indian brothers and sisters.

By Roger Kruse, Church Multiplication Facilitator in India

Tags: india, church planter, leader, faith

Sowing through Sewing

November 12 2018

Daisy lives in Chennai, India, with her husband and two daughters. Both Daisy and her husband come from upper poor class families, with little education. Because of their

economic situation, they have struggled to meet their daily needs, especially once their girls started school.

Desperate, Daisy searched out answers at the Koladi Church, one of our partner churches in the Evangelical Church of India (ECI). She poured out her heart to God, asking him to help meet her needs. He answered through the ECI ministry, Lydia Women’s Fellowship and their tailoring school ministry.

Daisy enrolled as a student and soon learned the different skills and techniques needed to be a skilled seamstress. Today, having mastered the art of tailoring, Daisy is one of the teachers at the school. Nearly 70 women have been trained at this school, and now, there are many similar schools throughout the country, empowering women to earn an income.

The blessings Daisy received through this ministry are countless. Daisy and her family are financially stable. She earns enough to send both daughters to university to ensure their futures. She has also been able to buy a home and manage her own tailoring shop, employing two more women in need. Daisy can now tithe regularly and even sponsors a child in need.

Daisy is so grateful to Kathiroli, the leader of the Lydia ministry in charge of the Sewing for Sowing project, which provides the opportunity to women like Daisy to change their lives both financially and spiritually. A gift of $100 provides one sewing machine or you could provide machines for an entire school for $800.

Tags: give hope, christmas project, india, sewing machines, lydia fellowship, eci

Former Hindu Emerges as Leader

August 22 2017

Arjun* was born into a Hindu family in the Indian state of Karnataka. During his childhood, Arjun's sister and parents came to faith in Jesus. The family began to attend the local church of the Evangelical Church of India, but Arjun could not understand his need for salvation in Christ. Then one night, while attending a revival service at the ECI church, the Holy Spirit spoke to him from Jeremiah 1:5, and Arjun realized that God had been calling him from his mother's womb into a personal relationship as a disciple of Jesus Christ. He confessed his sins and asked Jesus to take control of his life.

In 2010, Arjun enrolled as a student at the Karnataka Bible Seminary, one of the ten regional Bible schools of the Evangelical Church of India that focus on raising up grassroots level church planters to launch and develop new churches that multiply. During his studies at KBS, the course in personal evangelism equipped him to share the Gospel effectively among his Hindu neighbors and family members. Upon graduation from the graduate of theology program of KBS, Arjun was appointed as a pastor to a small village church. He is now continuing his studies, pursuing the bachelor of theology degree at KBS.

I met Arjun in November of 2016 when I visited the school in Karnataka to facilitate training in Train & Multiply. T&M equips believers to find persons of peace, share the Good News, teach believers to follow the commands of Jesus, and multiply healthy, growing churches to the second and third generations and beyond. In a joint effort with OMS’ Every Community for Christ team and the Theological Education team, we are working with the Allahabad Bible Seminary and the regional Bible schools of ECI to incorporate T&M into their courses of study.

Arjun eagerly participated during the November training, and he reports that he was especially influenced by the 12 Principles of Church Multiplication. Today, he continues to learn the principles and practices of T&M at KBS, even as he applies that learning in his ministry as a pastor in a local village.

Arjun is only one example of the strategic role of the seminaries and Bible schools of ECI. Their impact goes far beyond the classroom into the cities, towns, and villages of India, often in partnership with the India Missionary Movement ministry of the Evangelical Church of India. These dedicated faculty and students are training thousands of pastors and laypersons while also engaging in creative and effective community outreach and evangelism. They do so with meager resources and most often in the face of fierce opposition and increasing persecution. Across India today, young leaders like Arjun are bringing transformation to individuals, families, and communities.

To learn more about the seminaries and Bible schools of the Evangelical Church of India and how you can support them, contact OMS Theological Education or International Support Ministries or give here.

By Dick Freed, Director of OMS Learning & Development

*Name withheld for security.

Tags: india, former hindu, evangelical church of india, theological education, seminary, training, t&m,

Jesus Brings Healing

October 21 2016

Susheel was trained by Sunil, a fellow Indian church planter. Amazingly, his life in the village early on was characterized by some sort of insanity. As a boy he roamed about the village touching people’s feet with a neem tree twig used as a tooth brush! He failed in school, eventually lost hope and any desire to live. He wanted to hang himself. Upon reading a Christian tract, given by a cousin, God’s truth began to penetrate his heart and mind. This led to a desperate prayer for help from Jesus, which over time, brought him healing from his mental and emotional distress. Later on, his sister in law was delivered from demonization, which also led to a dramatic change in his grandfather who was a witch doctor. When visiting Susheel’s church, I noticed his humble tears of gratitude to the God he now loves and serves. As a Train & Multiply church planter he has a vision to reach 100 villages with the Gospel and is already visiting 60 of them each month! He is training 20 pastoral workers who are helping to bring this goal to reality.

Pray for Susheel and other Indian church planters as they plant new churches and disciple new believers around India.

By OMS missionary Roger Kruse, India field leader

Tags: india, church planting, training, church growth, christians in india, villages,

​Dynamic Trainer of Trainers

September 22 2016

After establishing a strong foundation of church multiplication in India, James, the Every Community for Christ assistant national coordinator for North India, taught a Bible college class about Train & Multiply (T&M). The next week, one of the students traveled home and visited his friend, Mohit*. Mohit was pastoring a church, but his vision was to plant many other churches in his area of staunch Hinduism. However, he had become discouraged. After years of trying, he still had just one small congregation.

The student told him about James and the success of T&M in multiplying churches. Mohit was interested, so he contacted James, who invited him to attend a T&M training in Allahabad. Mohit was impressed with this simple, practical method, and he immediately returned to his town and trained three other men to use T&M to plant churches. Nine months later, more than 1,000 new believers from 50 new house churches gathered together to celebrate Christmas for the first time.

Mohit continues to train many others in his area. As an experienced leader, he trained new church planters at the Jubilee training in Chennai. God has transformed Mohit from a discouraged, unfruitful pastor into a dynamic trainer of trainers who has launched a church-planting movement in northern India.

*Name changed for security.

Tags: india, church planting, trainers, training, t&m, discouraged pastor,

60-Year-Old Indian Widow Plants Churches

September 15 2016

Prema Alexander was born on January 12, 1956, in Tamil Nadu, South India. She was raised in a strong Christian home, along with five brothers and four sisters of which Prema was the eldest. They were taught God’s Word and to have faith in him from an early age.

In 1976, she married Rev. Alexander. They began the Lord’s ministry in South India with the ECI (Evangelical Church of India). They first planted two churches in local villages.

God blessed their ministry and their family life. He gave them six children, three of whom are married and have started their own families. In 1984, ECI asked them to move to Mumbai city in Maharashtra (West India). They began ministries in several places. God enabled them to establish churches in these places despite many challenges.

In July 1989, they moved to Aurangabad to develop the church ministry there. Ministry began in the village outskirts of various towns. In that time of ministry, many people were delivered from demonic possession in the mighty name of Jesus Christ. Others who did not know the name of Jesus Christ believed in the Gospel when they heard it. They were added into the churches, and thus, ministry of the Gospel grew amid the challenges.

In 1997, Prema and her husband established a church in Mukundwadi. ECI purchased the land and built a church building where the Alexanders preached there among the Mang, Chamar, Mahar, Buddhist, Maratha, and other people groups. Many believed in Jesus Christ and were baptized and added to the church.

In 2000, Prema’s beloved husband died of a heart attack. But despite his death, she felt a burden to continue the ministry they had shared of proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ, making disciples, and planting churches. Prema is grateful for the help and encouragement of the Bishop President Ezra Sargunam and ECI in this time that allowed her to thrive in ministry and complete her two-year theological training degree.

That’s when Prema became a full-time evangelist, walking from village to village to tell people about Jesus. Meanwhile, her children grew up. Her eldest son James completed his studies at Allahabad Bible Seminary and became an ECI pastor. However, he felt a calling to minister to the Hindi-speaking people of North India. In 2009, he joined the Every Community for Christ ministry as the training coordinator for North India and began working with OMS missionaries to train hundreds of church planters. As James flourished in this church-planting ministry, the Lord granted Prema favor, at age 60, to plant 11 churches. ECI appointed her area chair to oversee the churches in the area.

Recently, her son James was appointed as the associate ECC national coordinator for India. Prema shared, “The OMS missionaries trained him and several others to assume full responsibility for training the ECC teams in India, using a method called Train & Multiply. This has been so successful that there were more than 11,000 house churches planted by the end of 2015. When James told me that ECI was planning to train 7,000 people in Train & Multiply in 2016, I realized that God had a bigger plan for my life. Instead of planting one church at a time, God could use me to plant churches that would multiply by the hundreds or even thousands!”

Prema not only attended the ECC training event in June, she also recruited 24 other men and women to join her in Chennai. “My son James and the other trainers prepared us to be God’s choice instruments to build his kingdom in India. We returned to our homes and, in the power of the Holy Spirit, will now do all that he has prepared us to do. To God be the glory!” What an exciting time of church growth in India.

To donate to help accelerate the church growth in India, click here.

Tags: india, church planting, training, church growth, christians in india, jubilee,

How the Church Grows in India

September 7 2016

The story of the church in India begins with the arrival of the Apostle Thomas in the first century. He established a toehold before being martyred. Since then, the church has grown slowly. Only two percent of Indians identified as Christians in 2000. Something needed to change.

In 2010, OMS moved away from the traditional church planting methods of the past and introduced two church multiplication processes: Train & Multiply (T&M) and Village Church Planting (VCP). Both of these resulted in more rapid planting of churches but still depended too much on Western trainers. When the Evangelical Church of India (ECI) leaders asked these OMS trainers in 2014 to train seminary students to use T&M, we said, “No, we won’t train the students, but we will train the Indian coordinators to train the students.”

That training was the turning point. It was practical, fun, and needed no translation. The seminary students responded with enthusiasm and immediately began using T&M in their practical work of planting churches on the weekends in surrounding villages. More trainings followed as the coordinators traveled to various Indian states to train hundreds of ECI pastors, lay leaders, and Indian missionaries. Then Ezra Sargunam, ECI Bishop-President, declared that OMS was to train 7,000 church planters at the denomination’s 60th anniversary Diamond Jubilee celebration in January 2016 in Chennai.

What a challenge! ECI and OMS leaders met in October 2015 to plan this event AND what must follow. They faced many challenges, but everyone was encouraged as the plans took shape:

  • Raise $350,000 to pay for travel and food for 7,000 people.
  • Raise $30,000 to translate 280 pages of material into Indian languages and print 7,500 books.
  • Arrange for a five-acre tent pavilion that would accommodate separate training areas for four language groups.
  • Provide a similar pavilion where participants and their families could sleep.
  • Train approximately 760 small group leaders to lead small groups at the Jubilee training.
  • Organize the feeding of 7,000 and their families.

Nobody had planned, though, for the Chennai flood. Weeks of non-stop rain in December 2015 flooded Chennai and the surrounding areas to such an extent that ECI’s attention was fixed on flood relief. ECI reluctantly postponed this event until June 2016.

That was the bad news. The good news was that the delay allowed the needed time to complete translation and printing of the training books. Although the postponement meant that some people could not attend due to other commitments, penalties for changing train tickets, and extremely hot weather, the trainers and nearly 5,000 participants still persevered and attended the massive training event this past June. James, Amos, Raju, Lawrance John, and Rajan facilitated the training, and the small group leaders trained with passion and excellence.

Now the hard work begins. In order to reach the next goal of 100,000 house churches, all of these leaders will follow up with those who received training. Follow-up meetings began in July to review the plans and action steps of each church planter, schedule regular coaching meetings, and answer questions. In the first meetings, 89 church planters committed to establish 184 new house churches by October. These are exciting times of growth in India!

To donate to help accelerate the church growth in India, click here.

Tags: india, church planting, training, church growth, christians in india, jubilee,