Dear co-labourers in the Lord,
Greetings in the most precious name of our Saviour and Lord Christ Jesus.
January 2016 took me to many places and helped me to interact with missionaries and ministers in those places. It gave me a fresh perspective on missions in India and I thank God and the people that I interacted with.
My official duty for the year 2016 begun with a trip to Delhi to attend the meeting of the Mission Consultation Core Committee. The “Mission Consultation” is an initiative of the Moderator of the Synod of the Church of North India, the Most Revd. Pradeep Kumar Samantaroy. Its aim is to bring all Missions labouring in North India to come under one common platform for proper coordination and cooperation.
Next I had the privilege to visit the mission fields in Chhattisgarh, of the India Church Growth Mission together with its General Secretary whose family were the pioneer missionaries. It was a joy to see so many beaming believers who have forsaken their animistic practices and have turned to the one true God. This is also the region where the Naxalites are very active. Yet we thank God that he has protected the missionary families and at the same time has given a great harvest.
My next assignment was a Mission Training Consultation with the top leadership of the Assam Baptist Convention. A development which needs our prayer is the initiation of discussion on the need to make strategic planning for church growth before they celebrate the bi-centenary of the advent of Christianity to the State in 2036.
From Assam I went to Patna where Mr Zohmingthanga joined me. The purpose of this visit was to initiate a collaborative and innovative action for a concentrated thrust for missions in Bihar. We are delighted that the churches and Missions in Bihar are positive on working together and have scheduled another gathering for a more thorough discussion and planning.
From there we went and visited Gorakhpur where we had a fellowship meeting with members and well-wishers of IMA hosted by Dr Victor John and the ASSI.
It was also a pleasure to meet with Dr P M Thomas the pioneering missionary and founder of the Himalaya Evangelical Mission who was our host for the night.
We wrapped up our January tour with a visit to Bishop Rolly Singh of the Zion Sewa. From there while returning to Hyderabad Mr Zohming went on to Varanasi as the resource person for the annual gathering of the Varanasi Mission.
My month ended with a visit to Vellore where thanks to the efficient initiative of the MUT team members I was able to have an “express” Master Health Check-up (MHC). Praise God that I got a clean bill of health and thanks to the staff of MUT for their service of helping with a smile. At the same time I will encourage all missionaries to take advantage of the MHC that MUT has negotiated not only with the CMCH, Vellore but with several hospitals across India.
As I travel to various parts of India I am encouraged by the attitude and dedication of Christ’s servants wherever I go. Many of them are in very trying situations and make sacrifices every day for the sake of the Gospel. Yet these faithful servants of God are engaged in the work of our Lord with full vigour and with a smile in their hearts and faces. They need our prayers for God’s protection for the fruits for their hard labour and at the same time our support for them and their family’s physical well being.
Yours Sincerely in Christ
Rev. Dr. I. Wati Longkumer
General Secretary, India Missions Association
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THEME: MISSION IN THE BIBLE.
BIBLE STUDY 2
MISSION IN THE OLD TESTAMENT
MISSIONARY GOD WITH A PLAN OF SALVATION AND CONCERN FOR ALL HUMANITY
In the last issue we saw some of the characteristics of the God of the Old Testament. We saw that –
1. He is an Universal God
2. He is a Creator Cod
Now we will go on to see how this God is a missionary God.
3. He had a plan of salvation when man sinned
· God punishes man for his sin in the Garden of Eden (Gen. 3:14-19).
The purpose of the creation of the world and humanity was that God wanted to place humans in a beautiful environment and have fellowship with them. But because of man’s rebellion and sin this never lasted for long. God punished Satan, the serpent for deceiving Eve (Gen. 3:14-15). He punished Eve for disobeying him (Gen. 3:16). He punished Adam for listening to his wife rather than to God (Gen. 3: 17-18).
· God had a plan of salvation for man – a rescue mission (Gen. 3: 15).
God could have abandoned man and left him to his own devises. However, God, because of his immense love for man, whom he had created in his own image had a rescue plan for the fallen man. This was God’s abundant grace towards man.
We read in Gen 3:15 God’s eternal plan of salvation beginning its operation. In the punishment that he gave Satan represented by the serpent, he said that “he will crush your head and you will strike his heel”. “He” is Jesus Christ and he will eventually crush the head of Satan and destroy him. Satan can only strike at his heel which he did when he tried to kill Jesus on the cross. But he rose victoriously the third day. Satan was defeated
· God’s mission is from the beginning – reconciling man with himself.
The mission of God began in the Garden of Eden, the very moment man sinned. This plan was not an afterthought, but was part and parcel of his rescue plan for man. This is a mystery, beyond our comprehension. God’s mission was to reconcile man with himself. We see this from the beginning until the present time.
Further, after the fall of Adam and Eve, we see his plan of dealing with the people directly in his interaction with Cain when he seeks after him (Gen. 4:8-16), his dealings with Noah and the people of that time (Gen. 7: 11-24) and later with the rebellious people who constructed the tower of Babel (Gen. 11: 1-9). He could have destroyed the whole of humanity, but did not because of his love for them.
4. He had a Concern for all Humanity
In the next stage of His interaction with humanity, God works through a minority. It is in that context we should see the call of Abraham. The call of Abraham was in fulfillment of this concern for humanity. He wanted all the families of the earth to be blessed (Gen.12:1-3).
God called Abram, a man who lived among people who worshipped many nature gods, and made a covenant with him. God’s call and covenant with Abraham and later Israel was to show the Glory of God to the Nations and a means to bless all humanity.
God’s purposes are seen in the 3 fold promise to Abraham as recorded in Gen 12: 1–3. This is further repeated in Gen. 22:18; 26:3-6; 28:13-14.
God promised Abraham the following:
1) A Dwelling Place : God told Abraham “Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you” ( Gen 12:1). Abraham who had moved from Ur and was comfortably settled in Haran had to move. In this we see the obedience and faith of Abraham in his willingness to move to a new location at the bidding of God. This is what mission is all about. It is not settling down comfortably in a good location, but moving at the Lord’s bidding.
2) A Posterity: Though Abraham was wealthy, his wife Sarah was barren. Yet God promised Abraham children to them and said, “I will make you into a great nation”. This was repeated by God several times on various occasions (Gen. 15:5; 17: 16, 19; 22:17, 18). Abraham believed God and waited for many years for the fulfillment of that promise though he stumbled along the way.
3) A Blessing: God further promised Abraham and said, “I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing…. And all the peoples on earth will be blessed through you” (Gen. 12: 2, 3). Through Abraham all families, peoples and nations of the world are going to be blessed. Again we note that Abraham accepted this and trusted God to fulfill his purposes.
In scripture we see various references to families, peoples, nations, tribes, languages and so on. In modern Anthropological terms we call this diversity of people as ‘People Groups’. We will just note a few references regarding this.
· All Families of the Earth – Gen.12:1-3
· All Peoples – Ps. 67:3
· All Nations – Ps.67:2, 4; Is. 66:18; Matt 28:18-20
· All Nations, Tribes, Peoples, Languages – Rev. 7:9
Today we are experiencing the blessing of God because of one man, Abraham and his obedience and faith in God.
However, Abraham was not perfect and failed God as we read in Gen.12:13; 18-20; 16:1-4: 20:1-4.
* Dr R. Theodore Srinivasagam is the Executive Consultant of the India Missions Association. He was formerly the General Secretary of IMA.
“I urge, then first of all, that requests, prayer, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone – for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all goodliness and holiness”( 1 Timothy 2:1).
Whom to pray for?
Apostle Paul urges us to pray for those in authority. Authority normally, means people who rule according to the Constitution of their country. In this context God’s people have the responsibility to pray for their own country and people who rule over them. To be more specific this should be the President, Prime Minister and all Cabinet Ministers, the Parliament and so on. Accordingly as we come down to our respective States, it is our primary responsibility to pray for the Chief Minister and his Cabinet, Legislative Assembly, Secretariat and so on.
What kind of prayer should we pray?
Careful reading of the above verse reveals that it is not an ordinary prayer – it is an intercessory prayer. We not only pray but intercede for people in authority which is more than ordinary prayer. The prime reason is that their decisions are going to affect us for good or bad. Their decision for the country and people is very crucial. Therefore intercessory prayer is imperative for God’s wisdom and knowledge from above for the decisions they take while in power. Let us not forget that they have been placed in their respective positions under the sovereign will and plan of God who is on the throne and rules over the Universe, He has created. It is not that they are there without the sovereign knowledge and will of God. Yes, they are positioned in their respective places with God’s full sovereignty and knowledge.
What to pray for and Why should we pray?
We pray so that we may live peaceful and quiet lives. Who does not want peace and live in a peaceful atmosphere to-day? The whole world is struggling for peace to-day and facing multiple crises beyond human reasoning. They seek peace and the same time they prepare for war. What a contrast! War and peace do not co-exist. In the Old Testament peace meant absence of war. Where there is no war, people live in peace obviously. However, the decisions of the political leaders of the world are going to affect not only that particular country but the entire world. Therefore, we as Bible believing people should take it more seriously and obey the word of God and pray, so that the rulers take the right decisions acceptable in the sight of the Lord. God will hold them accountable for every decision they take.
Do we have a choice?
Can we choose which govt. to pray for and which not to pray for? No, absolutely not! The above verse suggests that whether it is a govt. of our choice or not, we are commended to pray for everyone in authority. It is God’s will that we fulfil our obligation in praying and interceding for them. Not only should we pray but we should give thanks as well. How hard it is to do that in the prevailing political situation of our country! But we got to do it, because it is God’s will for us to do so.
The best example for us is cited in the book of Daniel. Daniel the prophet worked as administrator under three heathen Kings and took every opportunity along his way to prove his God, Jehovah as a living God. He served both the govt. of his time and the God he believed in, simultaneously in a heathen country, Babylon. He was never moved or disturbed by unfavourable circumstances but on the other hand his unmovable faith and trust in the living God exalted him perhaps much higher than his expectation. He never compromised in his prayer life. When the decree was signed for his death sentence, he was unmoved and uncompromised. What a faith! What a prayer!! God is looking today for servants like Daniel, Elijah, Apostle Paul and Peter who could prove their God as living and sovereign.
In the Old Testament we read about different Kings who ruled over the people of Israel, some of whom were good and others bad. Some followed justice but others not and thus brought displeasure to the Lord. Rulers are to do justice to the people. Otherwise people suffer socially, physically and mentally. Unjust rulers were consumed by the anger of the Lord. The same God is on the throne and rules and controls over the Universe today. Isaiah 6:1 reads, “In the year....I saw the Lord seated on the throne, high and exalted and the train of his robe filled the temple”. This is a majestic and awesome sight of the Supreme God, we worship. What a privilege we have to worship such a God, the Creator of the Universe and all that we see therein!
Hence, it is time that we obey the word of God and pray for the rulers of our country and prove our God as living and sovereign.
Will you obey God’s word and pray for rulers of our country?
* Bishop (Dr) P. R. Parichha, DD is the Chairman of the India Missions Association and President of India Evangelistic Association, Cuttack. He can be contacted at <email@example.com>
35th ANNIVERSARY OF MAHARASHTRA
Maharashtra Village Ministries celebrated their 35th anniversary during their Annual Missionary Convention held in Union Biblical Seminary, Pune from 29 to 31 Jan 2016. MVM was started in 1981 in Yavatmal, Maharashtra with a vision to bring the people of the remote villages of Maharashtra into the fold of Christ, through the proclamation of the Gospel by word and deed.
The theme of the convention was ‘Joy Unspeakable, Hope till the end’ (1 Peter 1:8,13). All the missionaries of MVM with their families participated.
Mr. Zohmingthanga, Executive Secretary for Member Relations represented IMA and congratulated MVM for their 35 years of active ministries in Maharashtra.
REPUBLIC DAY CELEBRATIONS AT IMA
IMA celebrated India’s 67th Republic Day on 26th Jan, 2016 at IMA Vision City Campus with all its staff and their family members.
Rev Dr Wati Longkumer, IMA General Secretary, hoisted the national flag and gave a speech on how India has become a great nation from her fragmented past and exhorted staff to uphold our country in prayers for the unity and safety of our nation.
Later on all the staff had breakfast together and dispersed.
BAIRAGI IN INDIA
Pop. in India - 33,56,000
Introduction: The Bairagis are spiritual guides (gurus) to the laymen of all castes and have monasteries all over the country. The name Bairagi is derived from Sanskrit word “vairag” which means 'one who is free from human passions'. It also refers to the crutch stick which mendicants usually carry around.
Location and Language: They are found in West Bengal, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and other states. The major language is Bengali.
Lifestyle and Culture: They are four main sects of the Bairagis: Ramariyis, Nimanandi, Vishnu-swami and Madhavacharya. Bairagis often have long hair, wear a coarse loincloth, and use “Das” at the beginning of their name .Their foreheads are marked by two white vertical lines and a red line in-between continuing to the nose. They tend to eat meals alone and while eating will not wear cotton but silk or wool. Though they are not allowed to keep a woman, many of them marry and have children and are considered inferior to the mendicants. Divorce and remarriage of the widows are allowed.
Occupation and Food Habits: They were originally mendicants, but today are property and landowners and some are moneylenders. They do not eat meat or drink alcohol.
Religion: They are followers of Vishnu and follow his incarnations Rama and Krishna and celebrate Hindu festivals like Holi, Dussera, Diwali, etc. Traditionally they visit Dwarka where they are branded on the right arm.
UPCOMING IMA EVENTS & PROGRAMMES
In February 2016:
· 12 – 15: CNI Church Jubilee, Ahmedabad [Dr Wati, Dr Theo Srinivasagam]
· 25: Church Planters Gathering, Chennai [Dr Wati, Mr Zohming, Mr Solomon]
· 26 – 29: Visiting IMA Member Missions in Madurai, Tirunelveli, Nagercoil, Trivandrum, etc. [Dr Wati, Mr Zohming]
In March 2016:
· 9 – 11: Neighbors Training, Lucknow [Mr Zohming, Mr Solomon, Dr Theo Srinivasagam]
· 11: Pastors Meeting, Lucknow [Dr Wati, Mr Zohming, Mr Solomon, Dr Theo Srinivasagam]
URGENT PRESS RELEASE
TORRENTIAL RAINS AND FLOODS HIT CHENNAI – PRAY & SUPPORT
CHENNAI, the capital of Tamil Nadu, is the 5th-largest city and 4th-most populous metropolitan area in India and 36th-largest urban area in the world, is lashed by torrential rains, the worst in 100 years, and have brought the city to a standstill affecting the daily lives of people and all other activities.
Since 18th November 2015 Chennai was lashed with rain. On 1st December 2015, the situation became worse due to heavy downpour and the rising waters in many parts left the city flooded, leading to a huge crisis. Around 300 deaths are reported from the middle of last month. This rain also affected the nearby districts such as Tiruvallur, Kanchipuram and Cuddalore.
People are stuck without food, water and proper places to stay in many areas. Medical care is also under strain as some hospitals have run out of food, water and electricity. Patients are left stranded without doctors and nurses to look after them.
The Indian Army, Navy, Air Force and the National Disaster Response Force, the State Fire & Rescue Services, all political parties’ cadres, the Police, many NGOs and normal citizens have joined in rescue efforts and are helping as many of the flood affected victims as they can.
In many parts of Chennai, fellow citizens have shown much courage in rescuing people from flooded houses, offering shelter, mobile recharge etc. Schools, Colleges, Malls, Cinema theatres and offices have opened their doors to stranded people. The Government, NGOs and some Christian organizations and churches are distributing food and essential items. Telecom companies have offered free talk time to their customers. Social media has played a major role in rescuing the people.
It was heartwarming to see people inviting affected people to shelter in their homes and some have announced free recharge of mobile phones of people who were trying to communicate with their loved ones. Mass kitchens are being organized to feed the affected people. This gesture of good will is making a lasting impression in this NATIONAL DISASTER.
NEED FOR REHABILITATION
Some of the people from Chennai have compared this calamity to be worse than the Tsunami that affected the Southern and Eastern India in 2004. Unconfirmed reports estimate the loss and damages to thousands of crores* of Rupees and it may take years to rebuild the city.
The rehabilitation is going to be long term. IMA wants to mobilize the Member Missions to help the people affected in Chennai and the surrounding areas.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
1. Pray for the situation to turn normal and for speeding up of the relief & rebuilding work.
2. Support financially. Please send your donations. Kindly make sure to mention RELIEF -CHENNAI FLOODS while making your donations. All your support will reach the appropriate places by channeling your donations through credible IMA Member Mission Organizations.
HOW CAN YOU SUPPORT?
Please inform us by email/post after you send your contribution to help us send you a receipt.
Write to firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
* 1 crore=10 million
NEEDS OF IMA FOR YOUR PRAYER & SUPPORT
The following are the needs of IMA:
- 2 days event for 35 people : Rs. 50,000
- 3 days event for 35 people : Rs. 75,000
- 5 days training for 35 people : Rs. 1.2 lakhs
- Laptops, LCD projectors & IT equipment : Rs. 4 lakhs
- 4-wheeler Vehicle : Rs. 8 lakhs
- IMA Accommodation & Conference facilities upgrading : Rs. 10 lakhs
- IMA Campus Farming : Rs. 1 lakh
For details you may write to Ms. Sharon Solomon at email@example.com
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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