Dear brothers and sisters,
I wanted to send a brief update on my trip to the state of Gujarat. Gujarat was Gandhi’s birthplace and remains a focal point for religious tensions. An anti–conversion law was passed in 2003 that makes any evangelism and church planting very difficult. Please pray for this area.
I visited the largest district in the state, which is also the largest salt desert in the world. We previously served in this district for a total of 6 years (1999-2005). During these years, God enabled us to plant a church that is still in existence today. It currently has around 40 people attending. During my visit, I visited three major towns. Each of these places has brothers who are faithfully serving the Lord. HeartCry is currently partnering with them in the area of training.
The first town has around 3,000,000 in total population, with 160 villages. It only has two evangelical churches in the entire area. K______ (along with his family) has been laboring for the Lord in this area for a couple of years. Presently, around 25 people are attending church. We are encouraged, for God has used him to lead a couple of people from the J____ community. This community is very hard community to reach. During our time in the area, we were able to visit and have fellowship with a couple of believers.
The second town visited has a population of 2,000,000. This area consists of 72 villages, but only one church and only one full time gospel minister. My wife and I had previously labored for two years in this area. It is a special place, for our first-born son, Ebenezer was born here. Currently our brother O_____ has been laboring for the Lord the last couple of years. He is the only full time gospel worker for the entire town and surrounding villages. There are around 10 people who are attending the fellowship.
The third and final town I visited has a population of 4,000,000, with 92 villages. This area has only one church and one full time gospel preacher for the entire 4,000,000. Currently, around 40 people are attending this church. By God’s grace, we were used to plant this church. The Lord used us in many of their conversions. For me it was a joy to see all of them, and to see their spiritual state. We had good time of fellowship, and many tears of joy were shed. They remember how we labored among them with tears, and personal pain associated with this gospel ministry. Every member of this church is a first-generation Christian. This is the first church planted in the entire town of 92 villages. While other missionaries were driven out of this town through persecution, we praise the Lord for His mercy that sustained us to establish this little work.
Finally, we request that you pray and uphold these brothers who are laboring in such a needy, dangerous, and spiritually dry land. They are sacrificing all for the kingdom of God, and constantly facing threats from within and without.
The great needs and challenges on the mission field grieve my heart. It has been reported that there is only one church for every 5,000,000 people in India.
Oswald J. Smith said, “No one has the right to hear the gospel twice, while there remains someone who has not heard it once.”
Please continue to pray for these areas. They are in desperate need.
Your brother and sister in His mission,
Sundar and Glory