5th Feb, 2015.
Greetings to you in the powerful name of our Lord Jesus Christ!
The theme for 2015 is “Go and make disciples of all nations…tribes, peoples and languages” (Matt 28: 19, Rev 7: 9). So from this month onwards I will be sharing on this theme in the ‘India Missions News’ being sent to you as E-news.
IMA was formed in 1977 by 6 missions which exist to this day, to foster fellowship and enhance the capacity of missions. We are doing this to the best of our abilities during the past 9 months through regional get-togethers of missions and conducting various consultations and training programmes for mission leaders. We have just concluded a consultation on Sustainable Skills Training. It was exciting to see over 40 participants from various missions eagerly learning together.
However the finances of IMA is weak. Till today I have not been able to pay the salaries of all our staff and the basic bills. There is a short fall of Rs. 45,000/- as of today.
For us to move forward, I request Member Missions and Churches to come forward to help IMA financially in 3 ways -
1. by paying your yearly membership fee which is only a tiny amount of Rs. 5,000/- per year,
2. by making a donation to IMA and,
3. by adopting a missionary staff of IMA for your regular support.
This will help us to move forward in our work. Please do consider this as urgent.
I regret to announce the passing away of Rev. Dr. Y. Thangabose, Founder Director of ‘Arise and Build Christian Prayer Fellowship’ on 19th January, 2015 owing to Cardiac arrest. IMA Chairman Pastor Paul Radha Krishnan paid tributes to him at the funeral service. Please pray for his wife and bereaved family. You can send your condolence messages to the family at firstname.lastname@example.org
I also request you to please pray for Rev. Dr. Richard Howell, General Secretary of ‘Evangelical Fellowship of India (EFI) who underwent a by-pass heart surgery today (5th February, 2015) in New Delhi.
The following IMA programs are planned for the coming months:
1. Governance, FCRA and IT Rules, February 19-20, 2015 in CBCNEI, Guwahati.
2. Consultation on Member Care, April 7-9, 2015 at IMA Vision City Campus, Hyderabad. (Coordinator Dr. Ravi David, Cost Rs. 1000/-).
3. Training on Bandhu Seva (In Hindi); May 9-13, 2015 at Dehradun. (Cost Rs. 2,500/-)
Please contact Mr. Solomon Babu, Training Coordinator for registration at email@example.com
1. For the recovery of Rev. Dr. Richard Howell, EFI Gen. Sec.
2. Bereaved family of Dr. Y. Thangabose.
3. Financial needs of IMA.
4. Programmes of IMA.
5. Visit of General Secretary, AGS and Mr. Zohmingthanga to Nagaland, Meghalaya and Assam in February 10-20, 2015.
6. IMA Executive Committee meeting in February 25-26, 2015.
May the Lord bless you in your ministries.
Yours in Christ
R. Theodore Srinivasagam
General Secretary, IMA.
THEME: ‘GO AND MAKE DISCIPLES OF ALL NATIONS…TRIBES, PEOPLES AND LANGUAGES” (MATT.28:18-20, REV. 7:9)
1. AUTHORITY FOR THE GREAT COMMISSION
The theme for IMA for 2015 is ‘Go and make disciples of all nations…tribes, peoples and languages” (Matt.28:18-20, Rev. 7:9). It is the Great Commission of our Lord Jesus Christ with an explanation of nations taken from Revelation. I will be writing briefly on various aspects of this every month.
After his resurrection, the Lord Jesus Christ appeared to his disciples for 40 days and the narrative in Matthew 28:16 onwards gives his final appearance on earth before his ascension to heaven. It is on that occasion that he commissioned his disciples.
This commission is given in all the 4 gospels and Acts of the Apostles with various emphases.
In Matthew 28:18-20, we see the depth of the commission;
in Mark 16:15-16, the breadth of the commission;
in Luke 24:46-49, the message of the commission;
in John 20: 21-23,the personal implications of the commission and
in Acts 1:8, the strategy to fulfill the commission.
The great commission in Matthew 28: 18 begins with the powerful statement by Jesus, “All authority in heaven and on earth is given to me.”(NIV). But in KJV, the word ‘power’ is used instead of authority. There are two words that are used in the New Testament that denote power. One is ‘dunamis’ (Gk) that means power of God or mighty works of God. The other is ‘exousia’ (Gk), meaning authority, which Jesus uses here.
Jesus had authority at the time of creation (Col.1:16-17) and redemption (Phil.2:10-11). But here, after his resurrection he has “all authority” in heaven (1 Peter 3:22) and on earth ( Eph.1:19-23).
This authority is not partial, but ‘all’ (Gk. ‘pas’) or ‘all kinds’ or ‘whole’ or over ‘everything.’ This authority ‘in heaven’ means whatever Jesus does on earth is accepted in heaven. Further, he has power over heavenly realms (Eph. 6:12). The authority on earth means that Jesus has power over all the earth –the world order, authorities (Rev.1:5), people and powers. Earth that rightfully belonged to our God was usurped by Satan as ‘prince of this world’ (John 12:31) has now been reclaimed by Jesus. This authority has been given (Gk. ‘didomi’) or handed over to Jesus by God.
So the commission is not a command given by a human or an organization. It is given by the all powerful and risen Lord Jesus Christ who has conquered Satan, sin and death.
Therefore we do not have to be timid or fearful of going and proclaiming the good news of Jesus Christ. We should be joyful and bold to do the bidding of our Lord.
It was because of this authority that Jesus instructed his disciples to first wait in Jerusalem for his power to be poured out on them in the person of the Holy Spirit (Luke 24:49) and this happened on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1-4).
Therefore the work of mission is not by our self-generated interest, enthusiasm or zeal. But it must be under the authority of Jesus and in the power of the Holy Spirit. How are we doing our work? Are we doing missions and ministries under the authority of Jesus Christ and in the power of the Holy Spirit?
P M Thomas*
Israel cried under the slavery of Pharaoh and God in His mercy sent Moses to deliver them and to lead them to the Promised Land. But as we read their story from the Bible, we see, they continued as a rebellious and stubborn people about whom we read in Heb. 3.17, “their bodies fell in the desert …” As a result out of those six hundred thousand men, only two men could enter the promised land and all the rest perished in the wilderness. Even after seeing all these, the millions of their descendants were not willing to obey and make it all the way.
Before crossing Jordan, the cleverest among them, the Reubenites, the Gadites and half the tribe of Manasseh saw the comforts and the luxury on their side of Jordan and also heard about the giants on the other side and refused to cross Jordan with others. Moreover, all the wars on their side were already won. They did not want to worry about the rest of the tribes. At last God agreed to their request on condition that all the strong men among them would go ahead and fight the battle until the rest of the nine and a half tribes also get their share and possess the land. We may call it the second best of God.
Friends, just think, if the missionaries from outside, including St. Thomas and then the Western missionaries had not brought the gospel, most of our present day Christians in India would have still been worshipping idols. The missionaries suffered, learned the local languages, translated the Bible into Indian languages, founded churches, hospitals, colleges and helped to abolish many inhuman practices in India. Many became sick, died and were buried in different parts of India. Friends, we owe a lot to their sacrifices.
Today most of our Christians in India may say, ‘We are happy. We are alright and safe. We have enough buildings, churches, schools and plenty of vacant land.’ But what about our responsibility?
What God and Moses and now Joshua is also repeating is, “You are to help your brothers until the Lord gives them rest, as he has done for you, and until they too have taken possession of the land that the Lord your God is giving them” (Josh. 1:14-15 NIV) or in the language of Jesus, ‘other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring’ (Jn. 10:16 NKJ), or “go and bring forth fruit” (Jn.15:16). This is a Macedonian call. Now in Numbers 32:23 we read, “But if you fail to do this, you will be sinning against the Lord; and you may be sure that your sin will find you out”. This is a solemn warning to all Christians.
Friends, in the true church of Jesus Christ there are no spectators or gallery viewers; all are in the race. Remember over one hundred million people in India are yet to receive their rest. The Christian church is the only institution in the world that exists for others. The mandate to the people who have received God’s rest is clear. All real Christians are to receive power from above and then their main focus is only one thing: ‘Be my witnesses to the ends of the earth’ (Acts. 1.8). All the other things must be secondary.
A BRIEF REPORT ON THE CONSULTATION HELD AT
Allahabad Bible Seminary’s ‘Centre for the Study of Indian Culture and Society (CSICS)’, organized a two day consultation on the topic of “Believers in Christ in other Faiths” from 23rd to 24th January 2015. I was privileged to participate in it.
50 mission leaders (mostly from north India) from 16 different mission agencies and institutions took part in this consultation.
The focus of this consultation was on a very important issue of doing mission in north India in the context of believers in Christ but are still within other faith communities due to various socio-cultural bindings. It is estimated that this group of people is the largest growing non-church movement in India. These have faith in Jesus Christ but do not officially belong to any church or denomination.
The consultation also made an effort to discuss issues relating to doing mission in the present context of sensitive religious intolerance and propaganda and the rising incidents of violence against the Christian community by the fundamentalist groups in our country.
During this consultation there were 6 presentations from scholars and mission leaders. We were privileged to have Dr. Vishal Mangalwadi to give the opening talk where he shared on the need to provide fellowship to believers in Christ in other faith communities. He pointed out that the need of the hour is for an open discussion on acceptance of these believers as a community, who have their faith in Jesus.
The second presentation was by Dr. Gangatharan, Professor of History at Benares Hindu University, who himself is a first generation convert. His paper was on History, Culture and Identity: Locating The Question Of Conversion Through The Study Of Indigenous Church Movements In Contemporary Eastern Uttar Pradesh”. The paper attempted to study the inter-relations between the present performance and past experience of the new believers in relation to their everyday life. The paper also dealt with the issue of conversion in the present context.
The third paper presented by Rev. Amit Thomas was on the issue of persecution in India and pointed out baptism as one of the primary reasons for it. He mentioned that in our country baptism is more sociological than merely spiritual. In his view, in the present context what is needed is Christ-centered fellowships which would include all baptized and non-baptized believers in Christ without any reservation.
In the fourth paper presented by Rev. Dr. Richmond Samuel, ‘Yeshu Darbar’ in north India was presented as an emerging model of contextual ecclesiology by practicing the Christian faith in the cultural context of our country.
The fifth presentation by Mr. Tapas Ghosh dealt with the present debate about ‘Ghar wapasi’ and Hindutva ideology in our country. In his presentation, he talked about the history of Hindutva movement, its impact on Indian politics and the characteristic features of the ‘Ghar wapasi’ program initiated by the Sangh Parivar. He felt that the present Hindutva propaganda is an attempt by the Hindu fundamentalist groups to bring the people of India within a homogeneous cultural and religious framework.
The final presentation of Rev. Paul Sigamony gave examples of the socio-religious issues faced by believers from other faiths who join the Christian community. He also mentioned about the positive and negative aspects of the concept of churchless Christianity as presented by theologians.
During this consultation, an immediate need was felt to contextualize Christian faith and practice and to present the gospel of Christ in an Indian cup. Most of the participants also felt that the church in India needs to develop its own rituals, keeping in mind the Indian socio-cultural practices.
REPUBLIC DAY CELEBRATIONS
Solomon Babu, IMA Office Manager and Training Coordinator
We celebrated India’s 66th Republic day at IMA Vision City Campus on 26th January 2015. IMA staff were present for this celebration. Mr. Prakash Nayak, IMA Executive Secretary – South, hoisted the flag and gave a speech from Genesis 1:28 that God has created us in His image and told us to take dominion on all things. He added that we limit ourselves to missions and church, where as God has told us to take dominion on all things and encouraged us to venture in all things and take a Christ centered involvement. Later on all the staff had breakfast together and dispersed.
NEWS FROM INDIAN MISSIONS
Union of Evangelical Students of India, Diamond Jubilee Celebrations,
Over 2000 students and graduates participated in the Jubilee'14 celebrations from all over India. Some of the well known speakers were, Dr. Sam Kamaleson, Dr. Vishal Mangalwadi, Rev. A. K. Lama, Dr. Ramesh Richard and Dr. C. B. Samuel.
Dr. Theodore Srinivasagam, IMA General Secretary, represented IMA in the celebrations. He presented the IMA Memento to Mr. Arul Manohar, UESI General Secretary.
Dr. Theo, IMA G S, presenting IMA Memento to Mr. Arul Manohar, UESI G S.
IMA wishes UESI God’s richest blessings on this occasion and pray for its continued effectiveness in the years ahead.
Blessing Youth Mission, Vellore: It is an indigenous movement working towards bringing revival among the youth and evangelizing through the youth. BYM has started a project called ‘Bless Bharat’ to bless India with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This project has entered into second year of the first phase 2014 - 2018. So far they have organized 5 Staff Strengthening meets, 22 Bharat Vision meetings and an All India Key Persons meeting in Madhya Pradesh. They have planned for Individual Staff Strengthening programmes and Key Persons meeting in every state; appoint District Coordinators in every district, a Prayer Group in every street and a missionary for every family. Pray that Bless Bharat project will yield fruits.
· Panjari - spoken in Kolahandia, Nowrangpur, Malkangiri Districts of Orissa.
· Gowli - spoken near Karwar District, Karnataka
· Soliga - spoken in Hunsur, Mysore District of Karnataka
· Duruva - spoken in Sukma District of Chhattisgarh
· Maji - spoken in West Bengal
· Kanoj - spoken (near Kanpur) in Kanoj & Farukabad Districts of U.P
· Kuwara - spoken in Himachal Pradesh
Operation Equip India, Hubli: It is dedicated to equip India's disabled with the physical, educational and socio-economic tools necessary for a life of independence and advancement. True to its slogan they have come a long way in impacting the lives of the physically challenged not only in Dharwad District but also in the unreached communities throughout India.
Christian Institute of Management, Chennai: CIM has come out with a book ’Management Devotional 2015’ with a Biblical reflection for every day of 2015. 52 Indian professionals contributed 7 reflections each to the publication. They include medical doctors, IT professionals, business people, journalists, CEOs, senior executives, academics, management consultants and corporate trainers. The aim is to help Christian lay leaders reassess their spiritual calling and live out their faith at work with integrity and sensitivity. The different weeks of the year have different foci. Here are a few examples: week 4 deals with ownership at work, week 10 is about critical thinking, week 16 is about ambition, week 25 deals with morality and ethics in business, week 35 is about performance management and finally week 52 is about being a good boss.
Rev Dr. K. Paul Devakumar, Founder Director, India For Christ Ministries (IFCM), Bangalore
Dearly beloved in the Lord,
I want to thank you so much for all your prayers for me during this difficult phase of going through my heart bypass surgery. I thank and praise God for the grace He showered on me and for the new life He has given to me after the surgery.
It was only because of God’s grace that I survived all these years. After my heart attack, in 1999 and again in 2007, stents were put in my heart. But God enabled me to continue to serve the Lord faithfully traveling all over. But I was often feeling breathlessness and pain. My daughter, Christine pressurized me to go and see the cardiologist. The doctor thoroughly checked me and told me to do an angiogram, which was done on the 2nd January 2015. After the results the doctor said that multiple blocks were found in my heart and a bypass surgery was urgently needed. It was a 50-50% chance for survival. Before going to the surgery, I prayed with my family and thanked the Lord for giving me the privilege to serve Him from the age of 24 years and just as Paul the apostle said in Phil 1:21, “for me to live is Christ and to die is gain”. So I prayed, Lord if you want me to live and continue to serve you I am prepared but if you take me it will be for my gain. I had perfect peace before my surgery.
By God’s grace on the 7th January 2015, the surgery went on smoothly. It started at 5:30am and went on for over 5 hours. It was a Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting surgery. The surgeons were able to bypass 4 blocks in the heart and they were satisfied with the operation. I was in the ICU for a couple of days and was brought into the ward on the 3rd day. In the ward, I was struggling to sleep and was feeling breathlessness as my heart beat was irregular and was very high. My son-in-law thought it was all over for me. He felt it will be very difficult to come out of this situation and they rushed me to the ICU. My church was praying much for me. But by God’s grace, the treatment was very good and a day later I was able to come out of the ICU. I was able to recover fast and the doctors were amazed by the healing which had taken place. On the 6th day after the surgery, I was discharged from the hospital. I am a LIVING MIRACLE. Praise be to God! God wanted to keep me and spared my life. He gave me the opportunity to testify to the nurses and our presence was a testimony to all the people in the hospital.
This phase has been a new experience for me. God gave me the grace to go through it. My wife, Rebecca continues to go for dialysis, 3 times a week. But she is actively involved in our local church in prayer and counselling. We praise God for His faithfulness. We continue to trust in Him. Please pray with us that the purpose for which God has spared our lives will be accomplished for the sake of His Kingdom. Please pray that the Lord may undertake for all our spiritual, physical and financial needs at this time.
May God bless you abundantly!
JATS OF INDIA
The Jats belong to several ethnic groups who retain a common identity based on occupation and heritage. The word Jat is derived from Jatta, a generic term for cattle grazers and camel breeders, moving in a group or federation – jatha. They are known for their lively & hardworking nature. In 2012, the Hindustan Times reported that the Jat people in India were estimated to number around 82.5 million (8.25 crore).
The region inhabited by the Jats in India is one of the most prosperous parts of the country on the basis of per capita (Haryana, Punjab, and Gujarat are among the wealthiest states of India). Greatest concentrations of Jats are found in districts of Gujranwala, Multan, Muzzaffargarh, Bahawalpur in Pakistani Punjab and Patiala and Faridkot in Indian Punjab and Rohtak and Mahendranagar in Haryana. They also live in Mirpur in Kashmir, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Delhi and the union territory of Chandigarh.
Jat communities also exist in Pakistani-administered Kashmir, in Sindh, the Kachhi region of Baluchistan and the Dera Ismail Khan District of the North West Frontier Province. A large number of the Jat Muslim people live in Pakistan and have dominant roles in public life in the Pakistani Punjab and Pakistan in general.
Some trace the migration of the Jat from the banks of the Oxus River in Central Asia to India about a century before Christ. Another group of colonial historians see the invasion of Indo-Scythian groups between 200 BC and 600 AD as the root. Some scholars think Jat to be one of the Rajput tribes. Some suggest that they were presumably from Central Asia who in the course of time mixed with other invaders and older Indian inhabitants. They spoke Indo-Aryan languages and believed to be one of the most ancient people in India. They settled along the Indus River in the fertile plains of the Punjab and became a pastoral and peasant community.
Jat people usually speak Punjabi, Hindi, Rajasthani, Haryanvi, Malvi, Sindhi or Gujarati.
Sikh and Muslim Jats from the Punjab mostly speak Punjabi and its various dialects (such as Maajhi, Malwi, Doabi, Seraiki Pothohari, and Jhangochi). Jats in Haryana and Delhi speak a dialect akin to Hindi, called Jatki or Haryanvi. Jats in Rajasthan and areas adjoining Rajasthan speak Rajasthani and Brij languages.
The written language of the Muslim Jats is Urdu, Hindi for Hindu Jats, and Punjabi for Sikh Jats.
Both extended and smaller families exist. The Jat practice endogamy and exogamy is permitted at the clan or village level. Parents arrange marriages and negotiate on behalf of the bride and groom. For a wedding, a square enclosure is made known as Chaonari and a fire sacrifice is performed. The couple walks seven times around the Chaonari with their right hand inward. Widow remarriage is allowed but cannot marry her younger brother-in-law or near relatives of her deceased husband.
The dead are cremated except children under seven, who are buried. When a man dies, his widow goes around his body seven times in the reverse direction of the one during marriage, indicating the undoing of marriage and breaks few of her bangles. An important occasion for display among them is known as “Paida” ceremony, which is done among wealthy families when the head of the family or his wife dies, or when a daughter is married. The person who does this ceremony is highly respected and his opinion is given weight in caste disputes. Killing of the female newborn was common until the end of the 19th century.
The Jats have a strong social organizational system in place. The conventional Sarva Khap Panchayat settle family disputes, demand restitution and have the authority to excommunicate persons who have committed incest or adultery. A Jat Maha Sabha (Jat Great Assembly) exists at a regional and national level to safeguard community interests. These exert a powerful influence politically especially at elections. There are becoming politically dominant in Uttar Pradesh and Haryana.
A popular occupation among them is farming. Since independence they have become one of the chief producers of food grains. The Jats also practice animal husbandry and work in other business and trade. Jats are good cultivators as well as brave and ready fighters. The strong presence of the Jats in the Indian army, paramilitary and police forces reinforces their reputation as a courageous people. In appearance, they are taller and heavier than most Asians.
FOOD HABITS & COSTUMES
The Jat is traditionally vegetarian whose staple food consists of wheat, maize, lentils, vegetables, milk and milk products. They eat unleavened bread (roti) and curry, seasonal vegetables, ghee and milk. Lassi, a yoghurt drink is part of their daily diet. Meat mainly chicken and lamb is eaten on special occasions. They do not eat pork or beef. Muslim Jats eat female buffalo meat. Men drink alcohol.
Jat costumes and their dress are simple. The men's dress consists of a turban, shirt, dhoti, jooties and a cotton or woolen shawl. Women wear orhna (veil), shirt or Angia (short blouse), ghagri (heavy skirt) and jooties (country made shoes). Women are fond of jewelry and wear bangles made of ivory, lac (a resinous material) or clay but never of glass. Girls are tattooed before marriage.
The Jat are predominantly Sikh and also Hindu or Muslim, the last being a small number mainly living in the Kutch district of Gujarat.
The Hindu Jat worship all Hindu gods and goddesses, hence they celebrate the major religious festivals as applicable. The favorite Hindu deity is Shiva. They have special ceremonies at Dussera and Baisakhi festivals.
The Jat Sikhs were converted to Sikhism in the 16th century during the time of the fifth Sikh Guru Arjun Dev. Though the Jat Sikhs worship the Sikh religious book, Guru Granth Sahib, and staunchly adhere to all the tenets of Sikhism, many of them also visit Hindu pilgrimage centres. Sikhs believe in a universal God who is not worshipped as an idol.
Among the Hindu and Sikh Jats a form of ancestor worship, called Jathera is quite common. The name given to the Jathera is generally of an influential ancestor or the founder of the clan who was a martyr.
Among Muslim Jats, clan sub-divisions still exist. In Pakistan, they are Sunni Muslims of the Hanafi School.
There are also a few Christians.
· For Churches in North India to send believers as “tent makers” into this group, reaching out with separate strategies for the different Jat groups.
· For community development workers to help in economic growth.
· For Jats to have access to hear radio broadcasts and see the “Jesus” film in their own languages and understand them.
- from different sources (photo source: joshuaproject.net & peoplegroups.org)
UPCOMING IMA EVENTS & PROGRAMMES
IMA CONSULTATIONS & TRAINING PROGRAMMES
1. Governance, FCRA and IT Rules, February 19-20, 2015 in CBCNEI, Guwahati.
2. Consultation on Member Care, April 7-9, 2015 at IMA Vision City Campus, Hyderabad. (Coordinator: Dr. Ravi David; Cost Rs. 1,000/-).
3. Training on Bandhu Seva (In Hindi); May 9-13, 2015 at North India Outreach Center, 56 Canal Road, Kishanpur, Dehradun. (Local coordinator: Rev. Dr. V. S. Bhandari; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org; Cost: Rs. 2,500/-)
Please apply to Mr. Solomon Babu, IMA Training Coordinator at email@example.com
NEEDS OF IMA FOR YOUR PRAYER & SUPPORT
The following are the needs of IMA:
For details you may write to Ms. Sharon Solomon at firstname.lastname@example.org
HOW CAN YOU CONTRIBUTE TO IMA?
Please inform us by email/post after you send your contribution to help us send you a receipt.
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