The Need

Feature, Paul and Molly, India

The meager change landed next to her with a short clang.

Twenty-two-year-old Magashwari had just finished washing the clothes of an upper caste family in Southern India in exchange for a few coins they tossed her way.

Because of her blindness, she’d been told and treated like she didn’t matter by her family and society for so long that she believed it.

As for her lower caste family, it wasn’t that they didn’t care for her, but they had been swimming in the waters of their caste-based society for so long that they’d accepted the lie that as lower caste members, they have lower value and that blind Magashwari had even less.

And they’d treated her that way - maybe without even considering the hopelessness she’d been driven to.

Rejected. Isolated. Hopeless. Blind. Purposeless. This was the theme song of her life. (Read the rest of Magashwari's story here.)

It's not just the disabled and poverty-stricken that are cast out.

Women in general, even from affluent castes, are considered burdens and treated as property. Even by their own families. Many Indian women don’t feel safe in public. By going out, a woman is taking a real risk that she’ll be groped. (Gupta, 2014)

This dehumanizing also leads to sexual abuse, assault and harassment without consequence or guilt.

Its worse for women of lower castes. A widow in a lower caste, for example, will be the last possible candidate in competition for any open positions - even if by some miracle she had the skills necessary. Her inability to add monetary value to the family translates into having no value as a person.

India, Women,

But the list of those devalued and cast out by the caste system doesn't end with women and widows. Anyone in a lower caste can be treated this way.

According to the CIA World Fact Book,

"...India has many challenges that it has yet to fully address, including poverty, corruption, violence and discrimination against women and girls, an inefficient power generation and distribution system,...decades-long civil litigation dockets,...limited non-agricultural employment opportunities, ...inadequate availability of quality basic and higher education..."

India, poverty

    India, Poverty

Poverty in India.

Poverty, India,

India, Poverty

The Church: Facing Opposition from Within and Without

India's estimated population of 1,251,695,584 people are reportedly 79.8% Hindu, 14.2% Muslim, 2.3% Christian, and 1.7% Sikh, with there remaining 2% being other religions or unspecified. (CIA World Factbook)

God's people in India are in the minority. Being a Christian automatically moves you into the lower levels of the caste system. The church faces opposition, and its individuals are stripped of many rights. The persecution and challenges they face loom large.

The church in India, as everywhere, faces struggles from within, as well.

The culture we are immersed in always affects God's people, and the church in India is no different. The Hindu culture they are surrounded by and come from affects the church's life and practices.

For example, it can be a long process for believers to shake the caste mentality. Believers can revert back to old habits of competing for worth among themselves. In this mindset, the ultimate "winner" is the pastor. That means that Indian pastors may lead like Hindu leaders without thinking anything of it.

An Indian pastor may not have a Bible or training available to him, so many don't even know the humility and servanthood Jesus has called him to as a leader. He may believe he has more value than the others in his congregation. In fact, its not unusual for a pastor to travel with an entourage who does his bidding and treat him as a mini-celebrity.

Overall, Hindu culture and its belief in reincarnation maintains a lower value of life than we see in the Bible. This is seen in the apathetic response to the suffering of the poor, the poor treatment of women, but also in the practice of female infanticide.

Hindu culture requires the parents of a daughter to be married to supply a dowry, turning marriage into a business transaction that leads to difficult financial decisions and hardships for the parents of daughters. This leads to female infanticide as a common occurrence in southern India. According to UNICEF, "up to 50 million girls and women are missing from India's population as a result of systematic gender discrimination."

Gupta, Nishita. (2014, July 28). 7 Reasons Why It’s Hard Being a Girl in India. Swoopwhoop.com. Retrieved May 19 2015, from http://www.scoopwhoop.com/inothernews/india-girl-problems/.

"India." Central Intelligence Agency. Central Intelligence Agency, 6 Jan. 2016. Web. 30 Jan. 2016.

Description

Paul and Molly, Paul and Molly's Girls, India

Paul and Molly with all of their 23 children!

Paul and Molly's Girls

Paul and Molly are raising 19 girls who were rescued from families that could not keep them as their own daughters.

The girls live in a home specially constructed for them with Paul's Aunt and Uncle, who act like grandparents for them. The girls attend school and pray each night. They enjoy trips to the beach and other family outings with Paul and Molly, who spend as much time as they can with the girls.

In 2015, several of them made their own decisions to follow Jesus!

Paul and Molly's Girls, Prayer

Paul and Molly's girls pray every night.

Paul, Paul and Molly's Girls

Paul teaches one of his girls to ride a bike.

Paul and Molly's Girls, India, Paul and Molly

Paul and Molly's Girls, India, Paul and Molly

Paul, Paul and Molly's Girls, India

 
Harvest Bible Chapel

Paul and Molly shepherd and disciple a community of Indian believers. Harvest Bible Chapel grew to about 400 people in its first two years.

This was in the midst of local Hindu opposition blocking the door to their meeting place and attempting to conduct gatherings while a Hindu temple across the street broadcasted recorded prayers through its room-sized sound system for no other reason than to prevent Harvest Bible Chapel from their service. 

When they were finally able to relocate, 50 radical Hindus were ready to fight at the door on the first Sunday.

But through all this, Harvest Bible Chapel meets regularly in prayer cells, reaches out to women, widows and those cast aside, and learns about God's Word together.

Harvest Bible Chapel, India, Paul and Molly, Church Plant

Harvest Bible Chapel Chennai, Paul and Molly, India

When Harvest Bible Chapel started meeting here, about 50 extreme Hindus protested on the doorstep.

India, Paul and Molly, Harvest Bible Chapel

A Harvest Bible Chapel prayer cell.

Molly doesn't speak Tamil, which is the language of the rest of the church. But the Spirit still uses her to provide encouragement for the women of HBC.

Molly, India, Harvest Bible Chapel

Molly prays with Harvest Bible Chapel women after services.

Ministry Corner Market

Harvest Bible Chapel is made up of many widows, many of whom are overlooked and devalued by those around them. Paul and Molly realized they could help the real-world experience of these women reflect God's kingdom if they were able to earn an income. 

They opened a small corner market that creates jobs for widows and unmarried women.

Molly, India, Market

Molly with several of the market's staff. 

Pastor Training

Paul equips and disciples pastors from all over southern India, helping them see the cultural lies they may have been teaching and acting on as truth, so that they can rightly handle God's Word and use it to equip their people to make disciples in their communities.

Paul translated the SALT material into Tamil, and uses it to train pastors from all over southern India how to lead their churches in a way that's faithful to Biblical teachings.

The response to these trainings has been overwhelming. Many times, pastors call daily after the conferences to request discipleship and more training. Some even share, "I didn't realize I was teaching heresy!"

Paul, India, SALT material, Pastor Training

Paul trains Indian pastors on Biblical leadership.

India, Pastor training, Paul and Molly

Sports Outreach to Underprivileged Youth

Paul, who grew up playing "football" (soccer), has discovered that encouraging others to use their gifts and talents in sports to bring glory to God has been one of the most effective ways to disciple and have opportunities to declare and demonstrate the gospel in his community.

Sports provide a great tool that has broken all barriers of color, caste, economy and education.

Through dedicating sports and everything related to them to Jesus' kingdom and allowing Him to be Lord of them, Paul and his brother have shared the good news they know with many in their community.

As young people feel respected, valued and cared for, they are eager to learn more about this Jesus whom Paul and Molly love.

They don't "use" sports to get young people to come to their church or strip them of their culture and customs. Through the vehicle of sports, they answer questions and discuss ideas through a Biblical worldview and develop mentoring relationships.

India, Sports Ministry, Soccer, Paul and Molly

Paul shares Jesus and life lessons with boys from the slums.

India, Sports Ministry, Soccer, Paul and Molly,

India, Sports Ministry, Soccer, Paul and Molly

ITMI made many boys happy by sponsoring jerseys for a tournament.

India, Sports Ministry, Soccer, Paul and Molly, Steve Evers

Steve Evers demonstrating our need to lean on Jesus as he presents the gospel.

India, Sports Ministry, Soccer, Paul and Molly

India, Sports Ministry, Soccer, Paul and Molly, Steve Evers

India, Sports Ministry, Soccer, Paul and Molly,

Paul plays with the sports leaders against the winning tournament team.

India, Sports Ministry, Soccer, Paul and Molly, Steve Evers

India, Sports Ministry, Soccer, Paul and Molly

Excited to be participating in the soccer events.

India, Sports Ministry, Soccer, Paul and Molly

Skits demonstrate life lessons that point to Jesus.

India, Sports Ministry, Soccer, Paul and Molly

India, Sports Ministry, Soccer, Paul and Molly, Steve Evers

India, Sports Ministry, Soccer, Paul and Molly

Opportunity to respond to Jesus.

Paul, India, Soccer

Paul with a man who was saved and discipled (red shirt on the left) through the sports ministry who is now reaching other soccer players.

 

History

Paul

Paul grew up in the very slums where he and Molly minister now.

His family, originally Hindu worshipers, came to know Jesus one by one after his mother came to faith. His father became a pastor of a local body of believers and the whole family came to Jesus...except Paul.

Paul was a "football" (Americans call this game "soccer") player. He was sure his athleticism would save him from the slums. He wanted nothing to do with religion.

He still wanted to eat the one meal per day his family could afford to eat. So, when Paul's mom made a house rule that only those who attended church could eat, Paul participated. 

Paul's parents started the church in the upper level of their tiny slum home, even though this meant the boys' "bedroom" was actually a hallway.

Eventually, Paul saw where his own abilities fell short and realized his own need for a true Savior. He later attended the local Bible school and then began to co-pastor with his father.

Molly

Molly grew up in Phoenix, Arizona, then came to India as a "peacemaking worker".

Her calling was to minister to women and girls, especially helping rescue the many baby girls that are abandoned or killed because a girl's dowry is an insurmountable financial burden to a family from the slums, often leading to extreme hardship and financial ruin.

Paul and Molly met when Molly needed a translator to share the gospel. Once they realized their shared passion and desires, the rest was history...

Paul and Molly, India,

Goals

  • Disciple and pastor Harvest Bible Chapel, teaching them to live as a community that demonstrates and declares the gospel that ultimately, God's Word would be made known in India.
  • Reach the poor, alienated and socially outcast with the truth about their true identity in Jesus.
  • Disciple children - their own 22 as well as youth from the slums and streets - to live lives that are formed by the story of Jesus and built on a relationship with Him.

Needs

  • Funding to provide for their 19 girls' living expenses and improvements to the property.
  • Monthly support for their own family's living expenses.
  • $220 per month to run the sports ministry.
  • $330 per month to run their ministry to street children.
  • Kingdom-minded workers who want to make an impact in India enough to face persecution and abandon notoriety.  

Who’s Involved

  • ITMI to provide oversight and US awareness.
  • Paul's family of national ministry workers.

 

Latest News

Dear Team: “Not on Our Watch!”

mpumelelo, zimbabwe, charl van wyk

I want to be one of these boys.  I don’t know their names, but I know their actions. They are probably like most any boy who lives in Zimbabwe today.  Loves to play football (soccer), gets into mischief, wishes for a chance to go to school, and goes to bed hungry way more than they want and way more than we experience here in the States. I still want to be one of them. 

July 2017 Newsbites – Piotr Gets Some Unexpected News, Charl Has an Exciting Announcement and Paul and Molly Celebrate Summer Outreaches!

News bites

Piotr gets some unexpected news, Charl has an exciting announcement, Paul and Molly celebrate summer outreaches, K5N is sending a team to Bulgaria this month, and now’s the time to schedule a meet-up with Timothy Keller for this fall!

How Simple Outreaches Made a Bigger Splash Than You’d Think

India, VBS, Paul and Molly

If you wandered along the narrow corridors that serve as “streets” for foot-traffic only in a rough slum in a city on the other side of the world, you might see some shocking sights. If you were to traverse into the heart of this area, you’d see…

The “Other Side” of the Tracks – How Paul Crossed it and Earned Trust

Paul and Molly, India, clean, safe, water

Many have died just attempting to cross the mainline train tracks and return home from getting water, but no safety precautions – not even a simple caution sign – have been enacted. Because those lives “don’t matter.” Slum residents literally live among the trash, as if they’ve accepted that it is what they are. They were completely forgotten and devalued. Trash. Until…

Dear Team: Here’s the Real Deal

Dear Team, Steve Evers, Johan Leach, Paul

Our hosts couldn’t believe it. Their mouths hung wide open in astonishment.In all their time living near Amish country they’d never seen…

“You Are Different. You Really Value Us!”

India, Paul and Molly

When ITMI’s Paul opened a small corner market in India, his original vision was to provide jobs for young widows in his church who were looked upon as a burden by their family. When they started bringing home income, everything changed for them. But the impact of the small corner store has grown far bigger than we could’ve imagined.

What Non-Believing Parents of Athletes in Sports Ministry Are Saying

India, Paul and Molly, Soccer

GIVE NOW India   The parents of one hundred and twenty-seven young athletes from different slums in India think they are only getting soccer training from the coaching sessions. But these youth who gather in 11 different locations in India are also studying the Bible weekly. Many of them have made decisions to follow Christ.   Their parents […]

3 Mountains that Need Moving

Paul and Molly's Girls, India

God has definitely given ITMI’s Paul and Molly more than they can handle! Paul and Molly are raising, educating and providing for 23 children. On a missionary pastor’s income. In the slums of India. Yeah, that’s more than they can handle. And God keeps using it to point to His goodness and tender care for these most treasured girls.

Why Nationals?

nationals

“Why do the men sit on one side and the women on the other?”

Years ago, ITMI’s founder, Bill Bathman and his travel companion, Don Christiansen were in a Romanian church. This particular group of believers held long-standing traditions that had gotten them through the persecution of the Communism and the scarcity of the aftermath that followed.

But after the Iron Curtain came down, Don wondered why they sat the way they did. Was it to keep everyone from being distracted? Was it their sense of modesty and propriety?

Surprise Inspection Gets Unexpected Results

India, Paul and Molly's Girls

A gruff voice announced, “Surprise inspection!” as a government official pounded on the door of the home where Paul and Molly’s girls live in Southern India.

How Hundreds Heard the Gospel and Whole Families were Saved

Paul and Molly, India

We all want to matter. To know we count. “Am I important?” we are asking. These questions are more intense for the lower castes in Indian society. The caste system tells them they don’t matter, and nothing they can ever do will change that.

Three Gifts Emerging from a Season of Trial

India, Paul and Molly

It’s been a season of trial for ITMI partners, Paul and Molly, as well as for their entire church and city. In December, a cyclone caused flooding and water as deep as 7 feet in some areas. Many faced great loss.

7 Things You Can Pray for in India

India, Steve Evers

ITMI partners, Paul and Molly are serving in India alongside Paul’s family of national Christian workers. Together the family operates a sports ministry for impoverished youth from the slums, after-school tutoring centers as well as training local pastors and shepherding a total of 3 churches – a mother and two daughter church plants.

A Nebraska Family Makes a Mountain of Difference

February ITMI Monthly, Giving

Christmas is a time of year when many who would otherwise be uninterested in things of God are more receptive to His message. So whatever their resources, ITMI partners are often found creatively designing ways to reach people around them this time of year. The result?

3 Good Stories from the Field

January 2016 ITMI Monthly, Steve Evers

As 2016 begins, a theme in the stories I’m getting from the field of late is that God knows and sees everything…He is important, He is listening and He is ahead of us. As John Piper says, “God is always doing 10,000 things and usually we are aware of only 3-4 of them.”

Do You Demonstrate the True Spirit of Christmas? (the answer might surprise you!)

Slider, Christmas

Those of us who are used to the idea of God being wrapped up in a tiny, helpless baby may not wrestle with the idea. It could be something we’ve grown used to and accepted. But the concept of all God’s power wrapped up in a helpless human baby really is mind-blowing. That baby was God’s agent in creation?

What Paul Said When His Girls Asked About Their Pasts (and 12 other tidbits from life in India)

Paul and Molly, India,

Thank you for carrying these burdens with us! Paul had a huddle with our oldest girls yesterday (9,10 and 11). They are asking many questions about their births now.

New Beginnings, Changes and Goodbyes

Steve Evers, Dear Team

Life marches on. We are all swept away by this journey that God has purposed for us. New things begin and old things fade away. We recently saw a couple precious new additions to the ITMI family.

“We Had 50 Radical Hindus Ready to Fight at Our Door.”

Paul and Molly, Harvest Bible Chapel, Church Plant, India, persecution

The morning of, we had 50 radical Hindus ready to fight at our door. Leaders ushered Paul inside to hide in the prayer room as they stood their ground declaring, “You cannot stop us from worshipping today or any other day”.

Loving the Unloved

India

It’s hard being a woman in India. Women are expected to be quiet and respectful, never speaking out or disagreeing. But it gets worse.The disrespect, violation of rights and utter degradation women experience in India are unthinkable. This disregard of life and value is seen in the occurrence of female infanticide.