INDIA – A nation of people needing to hear the Gospel
Dear Friend, In this newsletter our main focus is on the land of India with a population of 1.2 billion people. Samuel Adams and Gary Bolton visited India from the 15th to the 23rd of April – the following is their report. “As we look upon the beach at Chennai where hundreds of thousands of people gather on a Sunday evening to enjoy the cool sea breezes, we are reminded of the words of Scripture where we are to, “Lift up your eyes and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.” Today there is a great spiritual battle going on with the forces of evil trying to hinder and harm the work of the Lord. However, it is very encouraging to see the witness, labour and vision of many who are seeking to serve the Lord Jesus Christ.
The first few days were spent at a Child Evangelism Fellowship Conference. This Conference consisted of the leaders of CEF from part of their Middle East region and consisted of leaders from India, Sri Lanka, Nepal and other countries which we shall not mention for security reasons. Bogdan Bassara, who is the CEF worldwide literature co-ordinator, and ourselves had meetings with the leaders from each of the individual countries. We also had the opportunity to share in the meeting and talk about the importance of literature in reaching boys and girls with the Gospel. Samuel also spoke about the importance of partnering with other Mission organisations who have a ministry to boys and girls. Many Missions have a vision to reach the children of India. However, they lack resources and the literature to do this but, if they receive free supplies of literature from CEF, they can take the work forward.
As we talked to the leader in Sri Lanka, he shared that as he grew up he was Buddhist but received a Gospel of John in Singhalese and, through this Gospel, he came to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. He is now leading the work of CEF in Sri Lanka. As we talked to him, we discovered that he has already taken most of the CEF publications which we wish to print and has translated them into Tamil and Singhalese – the main languages spoken in Sri Lanka. He told us that he seen the importance of having this material translated into the languages, even though he did not have the resources with which to print supplies of literature.
The leaders in Nepal are very interested in getting quantities of flashcard lessons so that they can get these to Good News club teachers and churches who are reaching the boys and girls with the Gospel message.
We were amazed to hear a report of thousands of boys and girls being taught the Gospel message in a sensitive country where we often feel that very little Christian work is taking place. These friends told us that they lacked flashcards for teaching the children the Gospel. However, they had drawn all of their own flashcards by hand and coloured in the pictures! We were astounded when we heard that they had drawn literally thousands of sets of flashcards and yet, we were not surprised, when the wife of the leader explained that she now has arthritis in her fingers due to the excessive drawing and colouring in of the flashcards. We are investigating all possible ways of helping to get some flashcards into their country to encourage and help them in the tremendous amount of work they are involved in.
The Conference was being held in Bangalore which was very convenient for us as the Headquarters of India Every Home Crusade is also in Bangalore city. We therefore spent a whole day with the leaders of India Every Home Crusade and had the pleasure of meeting the Rev. Samuel Lal who oversees all of this work across India. We also had the pleasure of renewing fellowship with brother Albert who leads the work in Karnataka state. His ministry has now over 250 full-time workers distributing literature from door to door in the villages and cities and also looking after groups of young converts entitled “Christ groups”.
We were able to have fellowship with a group of their trainers who had gathered at the Headquarters. These men move around the country visiting the leaders of these Christ groups in order to give them some training, encouragement and help as these Christ groups develop into local churches.
In the afternoon they took us to a village where a group of Christians meet on a regular basis. This fellowship was started through the life of a lady who had been very ill and was told that she was going to die. However, she prayed to the Lord and the Lord healed her. She commenced witnessing to her neighbours and to the people of her village. However, the people were very opposed to her and she was told that she was going to be killed if she did not stop witnessing. Her reply was that if they killed her she would go to heaven and that was fine with her. She carried on her Gospel witness and today this group meets under a canopy which is constructed in the lady’s property. A local pastor who lives a few miles away comes and conducts the services.
When we arrived with India Every Home Crusade they told us that they have just finished a major evangelistic campaign over the Easter period. They now have other major campaigns planned – including one where they requested us to supply them with half a million Gospel booklets in the Telugu language for adults and half a million children’s booklets also in the Telugu language.
On Thursday we flew from Bangalore into Chennai to renew fellowship with the leadership of India Bible Literature and to see how the work has developed and grown. At the moment India Bible Literature are distributing 70,000 pieces of literature every day. We arrived just in time for morning devotions with the staff of IBL and Gary had the opportunity of opening the Word of God to encourage the staff.
As we sat down to discuss with Dr. Velayutham (Right) the literature needs of India Bible Literature, he told us that they desperately need a container load of Telugu literature and a container load of Tamil literature, as they have so many requests from evangelists and other organisations who are looking for supplies of this literature.
We have been working very closely with them in connection with our Revival publishing side of the work. We were very pleased to see that they have printed some of all of the publishing books. In total they have printed 65,000 books with our help. They told us that before we arrived one group had requested 500 copies of each book as people are delighted to see some of these classic books in print once again. We have also agreed to help India Bible Literature to finance the printing of 20,000 Tamil Bibles as there is a huge need for the Scriptures.
On our first evening in Chennai we also visited the offices of India Every Home Crusade. These friends work very closely with India Bible Literature as we ship all of our literature through IBL to India Every Home Crusade. This office in Chennai then distributes the literature all across the country to the India Every Home Crusade offices. Just the day before we arrived they had received a very large consignment of booklets which we had shipped and they were commencing distribution of this literature.
On Friday morning we left the city of Chennai early and, after a 2 to 3 hour drive, we arrived in the city of Vellore. This was in order to attend a children’s teacher training programme conducted by India Bible Literature. Around 350 people were attending this teaching event which was to last for 2 days. It was estimated that between 50 and 60 churches were represented at this event. Through this teacher training programme they expect to reach around 20,000 children in the Vellore area.
It was very interesting to see the enthusiasm of so many people in learning how to teach boys and girls the Word of God.
At the very beginning of this event Dr. Velayutham announced that he had just had a phone call from Bangalore to say that a pastor, who was conducting a children’s meeting, was arrested because 50 Hindu children had come into his church for the children’s meeting. Furthermore the Hindus had announced that, if anyone sees Hindu children going to a church for a children’s meeting, they should report it immediately. The whole congregation then prayed for the pastor and for all those who are reaching out to the children of India.
There was a full programme of training from the teaching of new choruses with the actions. The amount of enthusiasm and effort that all of the folk made as they learned the choruses and did the actions was amazing – especially considering that the temperature was over 40C. During one session each of those present were given one set of our children’s Bible lessons (as below) and then one of the leaders gave a talk on how to use the set of lessons. Later he explained to us that these lessons will be used immediately after a Holiday Bible club programme so that there is consistent teaching for another year – and so that the children will get into the regular attendance at a Sunday school or a children’s meeting.
Many different topics were covered throughout the course as to how to teach the Bible lessons, how to conduct quizzes, teach memory verses and how to handle the children. Sometimes the folk went into small groups in order to concentrate on specific age groups.
It was also interesting to see how they prepared a meal for all 350 people! They had one extremely large pot where they cooked the rice for the whole crowd. Of course one of the advantages of India is that no knives, forks or spoons are required. You simply use your fingers to eat the meal!
In India there is a large gypsy community who keep themselves apart from the other people. Some Christian gypsies came to India Bible Literature and asked how they could reach their children with the Gospel. So IBL invited them to attend the children’s teacher training programme. A good number of them came to the training and were really enthusiastic and took part in all aspects of the training.
The following day we went with a pastor and the members of his church to visit throughout a village and to distribute our Gospels of John. One of the highlights of this visit was to be able to have the opportunity of entering a school and going through and then visiting the different classrooms – and to distribute Gospels of John to all of the children. This caused great excitement amongst the children! However, we could not spend too much time doing this as we were in 45 C. We also had to be sensitive to the fact that, as Westerners, we could attract too much attention and, in turn, bring problems to the local church.
On Sunday morning we were able to attend another village church and, once again, Gary opened the Word of God. After the service we travelled back to Chennai and had the opportunity of meeting Brother Sam Raj of Echo of His Call Ministries. (Left) This man shared with us how he has been using our Gospels of John that he has received through India Bible Literature and the blessing that they have been to his ministry as he has been reaching out to many people in different parts of India. He also took the opportunity of sharing his own testimony – how he grew up in a Christian family, but was afflicted with an extremely bad stammer so that he found it extremely hard to communicate with people. Most people did not want to have anything to do with him so he rebelled against Christianity and instead joined the Communist party. He found that these people taught him how to write articles and published literature promoting the work of Communism.
So for a period of time he felt wanted and was able to work for them. Eventually, as a young man, the Holy Spirit convicted him of his sin and he turned in prayer and accepted Christ as his Saviour. From that moment he was able to speak properly with no sign of the stammer. Today he speaks 7 Indian languages and on a Sunday conducts services in Chennai in 5 different languages for the people. In recent years he purchased a small 2-colour printing press on which he prints leaflets for distribution in various languages within India.
Our last appointment during our visit was to visit the beach on Sunday evening. Many people find that the beach has a refreshing cool breeze so hundreds of thousands of people come to this massive beach just to be able to relax a little. As we looked upon the multitude of people gathered, we began to get a glimpse of the millions of precious souls all across India who still need to hear the Word of God. As the Lord Jesus Christ looked upon the multitudes of people with compassion so may we look upon the multitudes in India and be moved with the compassion of the Lord Jesus Christ. Please join us in prayer that we might be able to reach many more millions of these people with the Good News of the Gospel through the printed page.
Our staff continue to be very busy with the printing and shipping of the Gospel literature to many parts of the world. Please continue to pray for the Lord’s blessing on all of the literature that He will take it and use each booklet and leaflet for His Honour and Glory.
Yours for a Great Revival,
Samuel Adams Clive Allen