This article was originally published in the July 2021 edition of ITMI Monthly.
The believers delivering the food were so excited to help others they were crying.
India is still in crisis. But thanks to ITMI supporters’ response, the Gospel has been preached and disaster has been averted for some.
The shepherding and discipleship that your monthly support has allowed our Indian partner, Paul, to be involved in has yielded a group of believers and leaders who are prepared for this moment of need.
In the Holy Spirit’s capable hands, Paul’s discipleship and leadership has helped these believers grow into believers who are equipped to reach and serve for Christ.
These are low-caste men with impoverished families who consistently tell Paul, “Give us a hazmat suit, brother, we want to go into the streets.”
Paul encourages the delivery team before they go out to deliver food.
The streets are lined with squatters who have lost their homes and have nowhere to go. They just lay in the road, their faces heavy with hopelessness and desperation. “They’re going on year two of no income,” Molly explains.
The believers delivering the food were so excited to help others they were crying. In an environment where even the young and healthy have succumbed to COVID-19, these believers that Paul has discipled were eager to risk their health and their lives to share Jesus with the hurting. “Let us go to the streets!” they beg.
Paul and Molly caution them to count the cost. If they get the virus, they may not be able to get into a hospital.
But these church leaders who have been discipled by Paul have discovered a time-proven secret. It’s an ancient secret we find in the book of Acts, “It is more blessed to give than receive.”
These men are facing difficult times themselves. They’ve lost loved ones, friends and jobs themselves. They tell Paul and Molly, “Although it’s been hard, we just put on our hazmat suit and started giving again and that brought us so much joy.”
These faithful believers are laying down their lives to take your gifts and the Gospel to the hurting. And they’re eager to do it!
These faithful Christian leaders held Project Joseph outreaches, bringing food and water to people on the streets, people sleeping at the Hindu temple, a leper colony and the Untouchables’ village.
People in India, desperate for the help you provided.
One of Paul's leaders shares food and the Gospel with a woman in need.
Paul’s Pastor’s Group
Paul has a group of pastors that he regularly mentors via the internet to equip them for ministry. He asked Molly to share with them about enjoying Christ during the lockdown. Some of them were calling in to the meeting from hospital beds, hooked up to IVs.
One shared that it is the prayer and encouragement from Paul and the other pastors in the group that is holding them together in the “fish pit”, a term they’ve given the hospital because of its filth.
“You feel like weeping,” Molly said, “it's disgusting. It’s not a place for humans. It looks like a triage place for animals.”
Paul and Molly observe pastors suffering more than any other group they’re aware of. This is because they are the ones going out to help others.
Paul Takes a Risk to Feed His Family
In late May, the government wasn’t allowing grocery stores to open.
“I’ll call this lockdown a house arrest,” Molly said, “If you leave your home, the government will confiscate your bike or car.”
Paul’s family needed food, so he took a risk. He used backroads to make his way to the village grocer. The grocer knows Paul well. (After all, Paul shops for 23 growing children.) “It’s me, Paul,” he said, tapping cautiously on the back door. He was overjoyed when the door opened!
By God’s grace, Paul was able to secure two carloads of food for his family and managed to get it all home without trouble.
David and Taru Feed Slum Families
In another city in India, ITMI partners, David and Taru Kumar are also surrounded by suffering. They were able to feed five families whose children attend their preschool when it is open.
Ayisha’s family was one of them. Ayisha was one of the women who attended the weekly prayer meetings that Taru has been leading during the pandemic.
Taru's prayer time with women from the slum where their ministry is.
These prayer meetings were joined by several women of other faiths from the slum where the Kumars minister. Ayisha (pictured left) was pregnant and not too far from her due date when she tested positive for COVID-19.
David says, “God sent a young man who accepted Ayisha and her two children, but he too is a poor man and struggling to provide for them.”
With your help, Ayisha’s family was loved and provided for.
Team ITMI’s Impact
Last month, we announced that an ITMI donor has offered to match all donations for India Relief and Evangelism up to $25,000.
Praise the Lord! ITMI supporters have given $15,860 USD (at the time of publication) to help our partners reach the hurting with the Good News and a gift of basic needs!
Please pray with us that our partners are given favor with bank managers and officials so that these funds arrive in their destination as quickly as possible.
Not long ago, Paul had to plead with a bank manager to allow one of our wires to get to him!
Thank you for your prayers and gifts to help the faithful believers in India reach the hurting and help suffering pastors!
About the Authors
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 4 years. Steve lives in Arizona with his wife, Darlene.
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