1st November 2014
Warm greetings to you in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.
At IMA office we had a time of prayer on IMA Prayer Day 2nd October. I heard that some missions also spent time in prayer for IMA and India on that day. We praise God for this.
I am writing this letter from Cambodia where I had the privilege of teaching a group of pastors who are interested in India and reaching the Bandhus. What a joy it has been to be with them and also learn from them as well. It was a great experience to worship the Lord on Sunday in two churches in Phnom Penh.
I will be participating in the North-East India Conference on Church and Mission (NEICOCIM) in Guwahati on Nov. 5-7 and will be speaking the great mission challenges of the present time on 5th. I would value your prayers for this.
3 Important Programs in November for Mission Leaders
As IMA we are planning to have 3 important programs in November for Mission Leaders in the IMA Vision city Campus, Hyderabad. All have been designed to enhance the capacity of missions and connect them with each other for the Lord’s work. We are also getting excellent Resource persons to help us in these programs. So please do not miss them. If for any reason you, as CEO of a mission, are unable to come, kindly make sure that you send your leaders to benefit from them. They are as follows:
1. Training on Partnership: 12-14 Nov. noon.
Resource persons: Mr. Saltoris (Indonesia), Mr. Prem James (Interdev India)
2. Seminar on Governance, FCRA and Income Tax Rules:: 14 Nov (from 2 pm) – 15 Nov (4pm)
Resource persons; Dr. Manoj Fogla, Rev. Kennedy Dhanabalan (EFICOR), Mr. J. S. Anbu (CIM)
3. Training on Workers to Neighbors: 18-22 Nov.
Resource persons: Mr. Walter Erich Gschwandtner (Africa), Rev. Erwin, Dr. Mobin Khan
These programs are greatly subsidized and we trust the Lord to meet all the needs. Please book online or by email Mr. Solomon Babu training@imaindia@.org
Seconding Missionaries to IMA
I have been writing on ‘Partnership’ through a series of Bible Studies in the ‘India Missions E-News”. I hope you have been reading them. One of the areas of partnership is in the area of work or ministry. There are many areas of ministry in which IMA can be involved in if we have the right type of people working alongside us. I will warmly welcome suitable leaders from member missions to be seconded to IMA for a period of 2 or 3 years at a time to take the work of IMA forward. Some missions have already come forward to second their personnel to us and we will communicate to them our needs. I welcome others also to do so. In this way both the missions and IMA will benefit from learning from each other and enhance our mission capacities. Those seconded should be fully supported financially by their parent organizations.
1. Finance: for Rs.3 lakhs a month that is needed for salaries and running expenses.
2. Personnel: for fully supported suitable seconded people to develop various ministries of IMA.
3. Programs: for the 3 programs in November 2014 in IMA campus, Hyderabad.
4. Infrastructure: for needs of IMA office and campus infrastructure.
5. India Missions E-News: for God’s blessings on it and to be used by Missions.
6. Indian Missions Journal: for recommencement of its publication soon.
I thank you for your letters and suggestions from various regional meetings and we will try our best to take them forward.
With prayers for God’s blessings on your ministries,
Yours in His service,
R. Theodore Srinivasagam
General Secretary, India Missions Association
PART 5 – PARTNERSHIP IN THE GOSPEL
PARTNERSHIP IN WORK (PHILIPPIANS 2:19-30)
Paul valued partnerships in his ministry. We often think that Paul planted churches on his own or at the most with Barnabas and Silas. However, when we read the book of Acts we note that Paul led at least 9 out of the teams 10 in his church planting efforts. He was a team person and team persons foster partnerships, as they enhance the effectiveness of the work. The 10 teams involved in the work are mentioned are recorded in Acts13:2-3, 15:38, 15:39, 15:40, 16:6, 16:10, 18:1-2, 18:23-24, 19:22, 20:4.
For partnerships in work to be effective and productive the quality of fellow workers is important. Workers can either make or break the work. Paul was therefore careful in his selection of fellow workers after his sad experience with Mark in his first missionary journey (Acts 15:37-38) who did not continue with the work and left him and Barnabas.
In the letter to the church in Philippians Paul specifically praises two of his fellow workers for their ministry alongside him.
1. Timothy (Phil. 2: 19-24)
Timothy was a timid young man whose father was Greek and mother a Jew. He was brought up in a God honoring home where he imbibed the faith of his grandmother Lois (2 Timothy 1; 5).He was Paul’s spiritual son and Paul praises him as he proved himself in the work of the gospel.
How did Timothy prove himself? We notice 3 things regarding this.
a) He took a genuine interest in the welfare of the Philippian Christians and did not seek his own welfare (Phil.2:20, 21). Are we seeking our own interest or the interest of others, even in mission work?
b) He served Paul as a son to a father (Phil.2:22).This indicates oneness of heart and purpose of Timothy to that of Paul, whose ambition was to make Christ known to all. Timothy also had no other motives, but to fulfill the Lord’s missionary purposes. What is our motive of service?
c) He did not serve Paul, but served the Lord with Paul (Phil.2:22). Missionary service is not serving a leader, but both serving the Lord together. How are we working today in our missions and churches? Are we men pleasers or God pleasers?
There are many kinds of Christian workers today. But unfortunately of only a few it can be said that they proved themselves under various circumstances in the Lord’s work. Timothy was one on whom Paul could depend upon. Are we dependable? Do we have fellow workers who are dependable and about whom we can say that they have proved themselves in the work?
2. Epaphroditus (Phil. 2: 25-30)
Epaphroditus, a gentile believer, was sent by the Philippian church to help Paul, one time proud Pharisee, in the ministry of the gospel. Paul not only accepted him, greatly valued him and also praises him. We see this in the way he calls and describes Epaphroditus as follows;
a) A brother: Paul called timothy as son and now he calls Epaphroditus as his brother. This shows the affection and warmness of heart that Paul had for him! (2:25).
b) A fellow worker: This again shows that they were working together for the same purpose and goal (2:25).
c) A fellow soldier: This indicates that Epaphroditus was a disciplined man and conscientious of his duties (2:25)
d) Your messenger: Paul recognizes that Epaphroditus is a product of the Philippian church and a missionary sent by that church for the ministry with Paul (2:25). This is partnership between a senior missionary and a church sending one of their best workers as a missionary in action. We praise God for these kinds of partnerships that have developed over the years.
e) A hard worker: Last of all Paul commends him for his hard work and says that he “almost died for the work” (2:30). In an environment where work is shirked or is done looking at the clock, their boss, rewards, positions, perks etc., it is refreshing to read that there was a missionary who worked to such an extent that he almost died. Hard work is essential for Christian ministry. Do we work hard and develop workers who also work hard for the Lord?
The purpose of partnership in Mission work is to pool our resources, including human resources, and work together for the common mission purpose and achieve the goal that the Lord has set before us. For this to happen we need to have missionaries / Christian workers who are,
Are we such people and are we producing such people in our churches, Bible colleges and through our missionary effort?
SPIRITUAL INTELLIGENCE IN MISSION
we are in mission praying and getting into action for the nation we have a
feeling that we are there where God is amazingly at work in our country.
Others who follow us also need to have an idea of this big picture in
mind, to understand where we are heading to. We are heading towards a
breakthrough of years of faithful service in God’s mission. As we assess
the trends, we find that today there is no people group which is not
receptive to the presentation of the gospel.
Zohmingthanga, Executive Secretary North, IMA
On September 25th, 2014 evening we had a meeting with mission leaders from north India at the EFICOR office in Janakpuri New Delhi. 6 leaders attended this meeting. The IMA team was represented by Dr. Theodore Srinivasagam GS, Dr. Wati Longkumer AGS & Zohmingthanga ES. We are grateful to EFICOR for hosting the meeting and for providing the dinner.
We also had another Mission leaders get-together at the premises of the Indian Social Institute on 26th evening. In both the meetings we had good interaction. One of the suggestions from the gatherings was to have some of the IMA programmes in northern part of India.
A mission and church leaders get-together was organized at the Outreach Centre on the evening of Sunday September 28th. 23 leaders from Missions and Churches attended this meeting. We are grateful to Rev. Vachan Singh Bhandari the CEO of AGAPE for organizing this meeting and hosting it and making it successful. We are also thankful to Rev. Robin Amos for allowing us to hold the meeting at the Outreach centre. It was a great opportunity to introduce IMA in this meeting. We also had a good time to talk about IMA & the mission challenges of India. The missions and Churches are very open and will be involved with IMA with needed encouragement. We were encouraged to be a part of these activities in Delhi and Dehra Dun.
Mission and Church leaders at IMA Get-together on 28th, Dehra Dun
We also had good contacts with some of the churches in Dehra Dun by speaking in the Sunday services on 28th morning. We had the privilege to speak in three different churches - Dr. Theodore Srinivasagam spoke in the oldest Church, Rev. Wati Longkumer in Doon Bible College Church and I in the Presbyterian Theological Seminary Church (Hindi Service).
On 29th Dr. Theo Srinivasagam visited 2 member missions, namely, New Theological College (Bharat Susamachar Samiti) & related churches and Grace Academy, and 2 prospective members, namely, Moravian Institute and the Presbyterian seminary.
Dr. Theo with the leaders of the New Life Theological College & New Life Churches
Zohmingthanga, Executive Secretary North, IMA
A seminar on ‘Governance, FCRA and Income Tax Rules’ was held on 26-27th of September at the Integrated Social Initiatives Centre in Lodhi Road New Delhi. This was jointly organized by EFICOR, EFAC, EFI, IMA and CIM.
Participants at the Seminar on Governance on 26 & 27, Delhi
25 mission and church leaders from north India attended this two day program. Dr. Manoj Fogla from Cuttack and Mr. Sanjay Patra from Bhubaneswar were the resource persons. The response of the participants was very encouraging and for many leaders it was an eye opener regarding financial issues like FCRA, Income Tax and related issues.
Prakash Nayak, Executive Secretary South, IMA
IMA Regional leaders from North Tamil Nadu region met on 20th October 2014 in the premises of Intermission Industrial Development Association [IIDA], Chennai. 8 leaders representing 5 member missions were present. Rev. Wati Longkumer, IMA Associate General Secretary and Mr. Prakash Nayak, IMA Executive Secretary South, represented IMA. This was a follow up meeting of IMA Member Mission Leaders Get-together that was held in Chennai in July 2014.
Mr. J. S. Anbu, Director of Christian Institute of Management, and convener of North Tamil Nadu Chapter of IMA, chaired the meeting. Rev. Wati Longkumer shared briefly about IMA’s visit to members and prospective members in different regions of India. He appreciated the fact that Tamil Nadu alone has 76 members with IMA, underscoring the fact of the tremendous mission involvement of the believers of the state. At the same time, he noted of the need for greater inter-face between Missions and the Church and between IMA and its member missions.
In the discussion that followed the following points were highlighted:
1. The members expressed that inviting Mission Directors/Heads of the Synods and Dioceses to be part of IMA would be a good channel to further the interface between the churches and missions.
2. A suggestion was made that regional IMA meetings be conducted that will address the needs of member missions and will enable them to interact between them and IMA better. Further, it will help in the discussion of issues pertaining to the region.
3. A concern that came up, and also observed in several other IMA meetings, was the need to address the issue of persecution. It was suggested that a Seminar on ‘Christian response to Persecution’ be conducted first of all for the CEOs which should include topics such as “Knowing our Legal Rights”, “Knowing to be Sensitive to the Majority Religion” etc.
They also came forward to host the next regional meeting on a rotational basis fully covering the expenses.
The next gathering (3rd meeting) of this region will be held in January 2015 in the office of the Friends Missionary Prayer Band, Chennai where IMA members are encouraged to share and pray for one another. We request all the IMA member missions and churches in North Tamil Nadu region to attend this gathering. For more details, please write to Mr. Prakash Nayak, IMA Executive Secretary South at <firstname.lastname@example.org>
MEMBER MISSIONS CELEBRATIONS
GOLDEN JUBILEE CELEBRATIONS OF INDIA EVERY HOME CRUSADE, SECUNDERABAD
IEHC was started in 1964 in Secunderabad with the aim of presenting the gospel to every home in India through literature distribution and forming ‘Christ Groups’.
It celebrated its Golden Jubilee (50th year) from 29th September to 2nd October in Secunderabad. About 6,000 people attended the celebrations. IMA Associate General Secretary, Rev. Dr. Wati Longkumer and Mr. Solomon Babu, IMA Training Coordinator attended the celebrations on behalf of IMA. Dr. Longkumer was given an opportunity to bring greetings. He also presented the IMA Memento to Rev. Dr. Samuel Hilel Lal, IEHC Chairman, who exhorted the delegates to pray for IMA.
Rev. Dr. Wati Longkumer presenting IMA Memento to Rev. Dr. Samuel Hilel Lal, IEHC Chairman
IMA wishes God’s richest blessings on IEHC on this occasion and pray that God will continue to use it to take the Gospel to every home in our country and disciple people through ‘Christ groups’.
SILVER JUBILEE CELEBRATIONS OF NATIONAL FELLOWSHIP, NAGPUR
National Fellowship was started in 1989. Though it began small, today it has spread across Northern India witnessing about God’s love. National Fellowship celebrated its Silver Jubilee (25th year) of God’s faithfulness in its ministry from 10-12 October 2014 in Nagpur. Almost all of the National Fellowship workers with their families were present.
Mr. Prakash Nayak, IMA Executive Secretary South, represented IMA in the celebrations. He presented the IMA Memento to Rev. Sudipta Nanda, Director of National Fellowship, who then appreciated IMA’s presence and offered a Souvenir.
Mr. Prakash Nayak presenting IMA Memento to Rev. Sudipta Nanda, NF Director
IMA wishes the National Fellowship God’s richest blessings on this occasion and pray for its continued effectiveness in the years ahead.
NEWS FROM INDIAN MISSIONS
INDIA GOSPEL OUT REACH AND SOCIAL ACTION, PARLAKHEMUNDI, ODISHA: IGOSA is focused on reaching the hard-unreached areas of Gajapati & Rayagada districts of Odisha, and Srikakulam & Vijayanagaram districts of Andhra Pradesh. The main people groups are Pano, Souras, Kui, Relli, Telega, Kapu, Dandasi, Mala, Madiga Belma and Oriya. The mission is committed to reach out to the 62 tribal groups and 93 SC groups that are found in Odisha who are unreached, illiterate and economically very backward. They provide education to children, help orphans and also provide medical help.
INDIAN MISSIONARY SOCIETY, TIRUNELVELI: IMS is one of the oldest missions actively involved in church planting and educational ministries. At present they have 780 missionaries spread across in Tamil Nadu, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Jharkhand, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh. Pray for the schools run by them to be effective in their teaching, and for health of missionaries in different part of the country.
UNITED MISSIONS TO INDIA, MADURAI: UMI is involved in reaching out to the hard-core and the most resistant groups. Their main aim is to reach the unreached high caste villages of India. They work in Tamil Nadu, Uttarkhand and Nepal. They face severe opposition and are persecuted time and again. Pray for the safety of the missionaries and location points for free tuition classes for children.
PRIYADARSHINI WELFARE SOCIETY, HYDERABAD: PWS mainly focuses on poor and needy children, especially those who are affected by AIDS. They have a school where 70 students are offered free education in which 30 of them are accommodated at a home built by PWS. They are involved in church planting and at present they have 8 fellowships in Telangana and are planning to establish more groups and spread into Andhra Pradesh in the coming years. They also train their pastors in Institute of Cross-cultural Training (ICT) conducted by Seva Bharat. This society is involved in various community development and social welfare programmes. The most important recent activities are - 1. In September 2014, they have conducted many sports activities like Cricket, Volley ball and other activities to develop youth who are addicted to alcohol, drugs, and witchcraft to show them the importance of life and eventually lead them to Christ through youth meetings; 2. In June 2014, they conducted Health Awareness programme in the Yenkapally village, Hyderabad where 350 people participated. Pray, as they are involved in constructing a school and a home for children.
MAPPILAS OF KERALA
Mappilas or Malabar Muslims are those Muslims who live along the Malabar Coast, the coastal areas of southwest India. This is the main Muslim group in Kerala state that lies at the southern tip of the Indian sub-continent, bounded by the Arabian Sea on the west and the Western Ghats on the east. The long coast along the Arabian Sea has brought many religions such as Judaism, Islam and Christianity from other lands to India.
Origin and distribution
The Mappilas as a Muslim community originated a few decades after the beginning of Islam in Arabia. Muslims began arriving along the Malabar Coast as sailors in trading ships in the 7th century from the Middle East. They married the daughters of local fishermen and settled down, adopting the language (Malayalam) and culture of Kerala, but keeping a strict form of Islam. Today, approximately 25 percent (8.5 million) of the people of Kerala are Muslim. Mappilas make up one fifth of the state’s population, thus becoming the largest community in the state.
Their name comes from the Malayalam word “mappila” meaning "son-in-law" because they are the descendants of the Arab traders who married native women and settled on the Malabar Coast. Mappila is also the name given to Christian or Jewish colonists in Kerala who have intermarried with the natives of the country but currently it is confined only to Muslims. They are not to be confused with Nasrani Mappila (Saint Thomas Christians) and the Juda Mappila (Cochin Jews).
The mapillas have also spread in small numbers to the southern districts of Karnataka and western parts of Tamil Nadu. They have gone to many of the cities and towns throughout South Asia where they work as merchants, traders and shopkeepers. The diaspora groups of Mappilas in Arab states of the Persian Gulf and Malaysia are comparatively large and among the natives of those places they are also known as "Malabaris" or "Malwaris."
The Mappilas are typical Malayalees. They hardly show any sharp deviations, but diffuse themselves with mainstream Malayalees and at the same time keeping their identity. They have not shown much difference in their life style, unlike their counter parts in other states. They are very similar to people in their non-Muslim neighborhood in terms of occupation and economic activities.
They speak the state language Malayalam but write it in Arabi Malayalam. It is Malayalam written in Arabic script. This text was the chief material of education for the Mappila Muslims till recent times. For day to day activities as well as religious education Arabi Malayalam is used and it is still widely used in Madrasa education.
The normal dress for a man is “mundu” which is generally a white clothe with purple, or orange or green border tied around the waist towards the left and reaching to the ankle. It is kept in place by tying with a waist-string with one or more small cylinders of gold, silver or other baser metal containing Koranic verses. Women also wear “mundu” of some colored cloth, a white loose embroidered blouse and a veil on the head. They also love to wear a lot of jewelry.
Two to three endogamous caste-like groups are seen among Mappila Muslims, usually identified by different group names such as Tharawadikal, Tharawattukar, or Onnam numbe. Pooslans (Randam) and Thangals are aristocrats considered to be converts from Nayars and Brahmins. The Mappila Muslims have two types of kinship organization, namely patrilineal and matrilineal. Majority practice the first and a minority the second type.
Boys get married at the age of eighteen or twenty and girls at fourteen or fifteen. Large dowries are expected. The binding part of the marriage is “nikah” which consists of a formal conclusion of the contract before two witnesses and a Kazi, who then registers it. Polygamy is the rule. Divorce is easy and the requirement is that the husband must say in the presence of the wife’s relations or before her Kazi, that he has “untied the tie, and does not want the wife any more.” Widows can remarry after a period of three months and ten days. They are kept in seclusion till then. The dead are buried with their legs pointing towards Mecca.
Though Kerala is India’s most prosperous state with the nation’s highest literacy (almost 90 %), the literacy rate among Mappilas is only 25% (2001 census).
Occupation and Economy
They make their living mainly through business ventures. Due to historical reasons they are traders and are involved in navigation of waters. Most of their economy depends on the fishing industry or on agriculture as forty rivers of this State make it a fertile area. Coffee is a major agricultural export. The educated young generation is entering into every avenue of gainful employment and rub shoulders with members of other communities. A major source of income for the community is from the 200,000 migrant workers who work in the United Arab Emirates.
The Mappila Muslims belong to the Shafi school of Sunni sect, while a large minority follows movements that arose within Sunni Islam. Compared to other Muslims in Kerala, Mappila Muslims are more religious and ritualistic. They are also more involved in Muslim organizational activities than Muslims of South Kerala. They celebrate Ramzan, Bakri-Id and go on Haj pilgrimage. They only observe the ninth and tenth days of Muharram and keep them as a fast, but they do not make a shrine of Husain to be taken out in a procession. Though the Koran denounces magic and witchcraft, they are very superstitious and indulge in witchcraft. They are very enthusiastic about their religious practices. They have no contact with the other Muslims of India and find their leadership in the Kazi of Calicut. There is a long-standing hostility to Christ.
Prayer Points: Pray…
1) for breaking their long standing hostility towards the Gospel and for preparation of their hearts to receive the Gospel.
2) for believers in Kerala to be “a walking, talking picture of the Gospel”.
3) for the Lord to touch the men folk and the leaders of the community through dreams and visions.
4) for Kerala Christian women to reach out to the Mapilla women.
- From various sources
UPCOMING IMA EVENTS & PROGRAMMES
IMA CONSULTATIONS & TRAINING PROGRAMMES IN IMA VISION CITY CAMPUS, HYDERABAD
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Please write to Mr. Prakash Nayak, IMA Executive Secretary South at firstname.lastname@example.org
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