This article was originally published in the May 2014 edition of ITMI Monthly.
"We need your prayer for these ministries as this is how God grows our church – even in the crisis of heart ache – this softens the soil of hearts to prepare the way for His gracious seed of truth." - Molly
1. ITMI partners, Paul and Molly, work alongside Paul’s parents and siblings to reach their city at multiple points of need. Paul is now the pastor of Harvest India Church plant. Paul and Molly, whose name we don’t disclose for their security, have (3) young boys, ages, 1, 2 and 4.
ITMI partners, Paul and Molly.
2. Paul and Molly accepted responsibility for a precious group of 19 little girls in 2011, all of whom were saved by mid-wives instead of being put to death at birth. This is a common occurrence in their region due to the dowry system and poverty level. Paul and Molly, without fretting over the increased responsibility and living costs, joyfully stepped in as their parents. The girls are often referred to as the Ashraya Daughters. They are now about 8 years old, attend school and call Paul and Molly “mum” and “dad”. They love dressing up, playing and outing with the family.
Paul and Molly's Girls.
3. Harvest Bible Chapel India launched in October of 2013. Paul and Molly specifically chose to reach out to a class of people in Southern India that have not previously been effectively reached… the middle class. They continue to support their original church which reaches out in a densely populated slum area.
4. In the first two months of the church plant, Harvest Bible Chapel has ministered to over 5,049 people from all over the city coming through the church.
5. The new church plant had Christmas outreach services at the end of last year. Five hundred from the surrounding community participated. At least 14 people gave genuine faith professions and 6 were baptized at the end of 2013.
6. The Indian church in general has not had much experience with expository style preaching, as very few pastors have much formal training. Currently, Paul is preaching through Nehemiah. Paul’s teaching about building the church together, taking ownership and using your gift for His glory is hitting home. Their humble congregation, who struggle with daily wages of just a few dollars a day, have been giving to others even less fortunate than themselves. Molly says, “(It’s) a great joy to see believers stand up and help build their church. God is blessing Paul’s expository deliveries… we have had the most generous turn-outs in the history of our church.”
7. Many young people have come to Christ through Harvest India. New Muslim families are joining and ready to be baptized. A few young men live nearby who never want to leave the church because they are so on fire for God. Six young men were recently baptized and more are ready. Showing great wisdom, Paul and Molly are insisting they learn basic doctrines of the faith and then discipling them one by one before they are baptized.
8. Harvest Chapel India runs Sunday School in 12 small, yet strategically located centers-reaching 250 children weekly. Their 14 sports cell groups reach 350 youth a week, plus additional family members who are convinced slowly to join them. There are 7 after school tutor centers for children, helping roughly 220 children in a week. They’d like to expand to offering tutoring in all the centers where Sunday school is also held. Additionally, each week about 350 people are blessed by the church’s various community offerings.
After school tutoring center.
9. Paul’s brothers, Xavier and John, oversee separate and thriving sports ministries, reaching out to boys from all caste levels. Some of the boys who played in their youth and received Christ and who were disciple through the Sports ministry are now coaches, discipling the next generation of youth.
Paul plays soccer with the youth in a coaches vs. players game.
The boys hear life lessons and the gospel through the Sports Ministry.
Soccer players hearing an invitation to a relationship with Jesus.
10. Molly recently had MRI showing two herniated disks in her lower spine. Paul is hopeful that with a diagnosis, anti-inflammatories, therapy and slowing down (how will she do that???) will help enough to avoid surgery. Imagine keeping up with her three young boys, her ever moving husband, 19 growing and blossoming little girls, and the duties of an Indian pastor’s wife, with this physical limitation! But we’ve never heard Molly complain, in fact, she’s more likely to praise God for the constant thorn-in-my-side reminder to rely on Him and not on her own strength.
Summer Kelley is a writer living in Phoenix, Arizona with her husband and three kids. She’s had the honor and privilege of telling ITMI’s stories since 2006. She’s a homeschooling mom and a T-shirt and jeans aficionado who likes all things simple. When she’s not writing or homeschooling, you can find her honing her skills as what some might call a "suburban survivalist" as she learns to thrive in the suburbs with 3 kids. As a productivity and organizing enthusiast, she may or may not spend hours attempting to use technology to "save time.” Summer loves reading, the outdoors and Coca-Cola Classic from the fountain.
Steve Evers has advocated for and served the ITMI partners as ITMI Director since 2001. Approximately once a year, Steve visits with ITMI partners in their countries and brings stories back to encourage supporters. Steve enjoys photography and mechanics, (both hobbies that have greatly benefited ITMI partners!) Prior to becoming ITMI's Director, Steve served on the Board of Directors for 12 years. Steve lives in Arizona with his wife, Darlene.