Former Indian Witch Doctor Leads Churches Today

October 27 2015

Arjun King, a former witchdoctor from Andhra Pradesh, used to travel all over India invoking evil spirits to help him predict people’s futures. This successful fortune-teller’s clientele included movie stars and politicians. Once, he even met the former prime minister of India, Indira Gandhi, and told her future. He earned a lot of money by soothsaying … but the money ruined his life. He lived immorally and gave himself to drinking and other vices. He lost everything and ended up bankrupt.

Arjun's sister, who became a Christian first, began witnessing to him. A few years later, he attended an Evangelical Church of India church in Madras and gave his life to the Lord. Bishop Ezra Sargunam baptized him, along with 13 members of his family and renamed him Paul. After becoming a Christian, Paul studied theology at the ECI Bible school in Vijayawada. While he was a student, he planted two village churches.

Today, Paul oversees 19 ECI churches.

Rev. Gavji Chauhan, one of our senior Indian Missionary Movement missionaries, works in Rajasthan. After accepting Christ, he joined ECI as an Every Community for Christ worker. He actively shares the Gospel with unreached people groups, especially within the Bhil tribe. Thousands of Bhils have been baptized through his ministries.

Today, there are around 100 families in his congregation. Many people of other faiths also attend the worship services as seekers. Every month, Rev. Chauhan travels to different villages in Rajasthan to share the Good News.

His whole family is involved in the ministry. Every week, they fast and pray each Friday and Sunday. God is doing wonders through these fasting prayers. Many sick, demon possessed, and people with various other problems come to Gavji and his family for prayer, and God is using them as to bless many people. Pray for them. They face much persecution and opposition from other religions.

Tags: india, witchdoctor, planting churches, bhil people,

From a Hindu Boy to a Christian Bishop in India

October 20 2015

Rev. Abel Neelakandan was born and brought up in a staunch orthodox Hindu family. During his youth, he tried to find peace through his ancestral religion of Hinduism, but he failed. In 1976, he heard the Gospel through one of the Every Community for Christ team members and accepted Christ as his personal Savior. Bishop M. Ezra Sargunam, president of the Evangelical Church of India and OMS missionary Dr. Elmer Kilbourne baptized Abel that same year.

One day, when Abel was reading the Bible, the Lord spoke to him through Jeremiah 1:4,5 “…Before I formed you in the belly I knew you, and before you came out of the womb, I sanctified you and I ordained you as a prophet unto the nations.” He immediately obeyed God’s call and surrendered his life to God’s service.

As one of the first Telugu converts, he joined our ECC team in that area. OMS missionary, Dr. Graham Houghton, was serving as the director for the team, as well as serving as the principal of Madras Theological Seminary & College (MTSC). After two years of ministry, Abel began classes at MTSC to receive his bachelor of theology degree.

He was appointed as the ECC Telugu team leader in 1979. He and his team baptized thousands of people and planted hundreds of churches in Chennai and in Andhra Pradesh.

In September 2015, Rev. Neelakandan was elected as a bishop of ECI South Andhra diocese. Currently, the South Andhra diocese has around 600 churches. Pray that the Lord will continue to use Bishop Abel Neelakandan to strengthen the churches under his care.

—Story courtesy of The Evangelical Church of India

Tags: india, bishop appointed, ecc, hindu, eci,

Lost Keys and Prayer

October 15 2015

One of Haiti's chief government officials had arrived at our Radio 4VEH studio to record a public interest program. Seated at the microphone, he suddenly realized he had left his notebook in the car. Worse yet, he had locked his keys inside, which was the reason for the frustration we were seeing through the studio window.

We had just finished staff devotions, led by Gaudin Charles on Luke 18:8, "When the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?" Immediately, several of our fellows gathered around the car and tried every imaginable suggestion for retrieving the keys - but nothing worked! The crowd was multiplying because Haitians are inquisitive, and they wanted to see what was happening

Louisa Destine, our prayer warrior and woman of faith, began walking toward the reception room with her thoughts ablaze, "Why don't we put our faith to work? God can do a miracle, if we obey Him."

By this time, the irritated official was pounding on the car door and window. All at once, he stopped and blurted out, "On the radio you preach about faith in God and that he will answer your prayers. Why aren't you praying now?"

Goaded by this challenge, Louisa quickly teamed with coworkers in intercession. "God, you heard this man. We know you answer prayer. Glorify yourself; don't let us be ashamed. Make a way ... make a way, Jesus, make a way ..." she pleaded.

At that time, a young mother, Madame Manno, drove in to pick up her children at Cowman School. Louisa felt she should run over to that car as though Jesus was saying "There are the keys!"

"Madame Manno, give me your keys, Jesus said these are the keys to open this man's car!" Louisa shouted. The young mother laughed, "You can try, but they won't work in another car!"

With confidence, Louisa took the keys and ran over to the official. "We just asked God to make a way to open your car door. Use these keys. In Jesus' name, use these keys!"

The look on his face revealed his thoughts, "Are you going to make a fool of me?" Others of us stood with pounding hearts! Louisa said, "Put the key in the door, in Jesus name, put the key in the door!"

There was silence, then reluctantly the government official thrust the key in the lock … turned it … and click. The door opened!

Over the shouting of the shocked bystanders, the unmistakable voice of Louisa was heard. "Blessed be the Lord, Blessed be the name of the Lord. Benit soit l'Eternel."

Dumbfounded, the official added his proclamation, "Your God is alive, your God is alive, I, too, believe, I, too, believe!"

Recording the program was forgotten as the official got into his car and drove away. But, he, along with those who saw it, will never forget that prayer was the key, and faith unlocked the door that day!

By Valeene Hayes, Longtime OMS Missionary

Tags: haiti, radio 4veh, miracles, lost keys, prayer

Miraculous Conversion

October 6 2015

In February, I had the privilege of meeting Pastor Gopal, who came to India for training from a neighboring country. He is 58 years old and a faithful servant of God. He approached me to say thank you for what I shared during the training session. I took the opportunity to have him tell me his personal faith story. As a young Buddhist man of 21, Gopal became sick to the point of death. He was lying unconscious in the hospital with his family gathered around him. At that time, however, several Christians stopped by his room to pray for him. As they prayed, Gopal had a vision of an angel who took him to an unknown place. There, he observed what looked like a lake on fire! In addition, there appeared to be thousands of people suffering and crying out. The angel said, “This is hell.” Gopal was terrified and said, “Please don’t put me in the fire!” Next, heaven’s book of life was opened to see if Gopal’s name was included. It was not! He pleaded for mercy and was instructed that he could find forgiveness in Jesus. He was also told to “do the Lord’s work” and “preach the Gospel.”

Subsequent to that, Gopal woke up in the hospital room. To his Buddhist family’s surprise, he immediately asked for someone to bring him a Bible. Soon, as his recovery progressed, he began reading it day and night. For a month, he devoured it, Genesis to Revelation. His faith in Christ grew strong, and he was baptized in 1984. He often shared his faith and eventually began his training and ministry with another organization. Upon graduation, he started planting new churches, a ministry he has continued for many years. In fact, God has used Gopal to start up 7 house churches among the poor people living in mountainous regions. He often walks long distances, traveling to 1 or 2 churches each week to encourage and equip his people. Sharing the Gospel is illegal in his country, so he moves around as a social worker, qualified to do some medical work. He also prays for the sick and shares the Good News of Jesus! This past year, he affiliated his ministry with the Evangelical Church of India. He earns a mere $14 a month as a missionary. Gopal’s story is both inspirational and humbling as we contemplate his amazing dedication and sacrifice.

If you would like to donate so that people like Pastor Gopal can be trained and effectively plant churches in India, click here.

By Roger Kruse, One Mission Society Missionary and Church Multiplication Facilitator for India

Tags: india, missionary, miraculous conversion story,