01 November 2015.
Greetings to you in the most precious name of our Saviour and Lord Jesus Christ.
This first month in office has gone past just like a whirl wind.
First all thank you for the messages of goodwill and encouragement from many of you. I am sorry that I have not been able to respond to each of you personally, but I am greatly touched and encouraged by your messages of prayer and support. It is my prayer that in the coming days I will be able to spend time with each of you and interact with you on the future of missions in India.
I was in Nagaland for about ten days on promotional mission and was able to meet and share about IMA and its needs with several churches and individuals, and am praying for positive response. Do continue to pray that the churches come forward to partner with IMA.
In the meantime, from 8 to 15 October 2015, IMA Staff left for Shimla, Kulu and Manali for Staff Retreat along with Dr Theodore Srinivasagam. This retreat was long overdue from 2010. Dr Theodore Srinivasagam led this retreat and took care of all the expenses from travel to lodging of all the staff. The staff and I are grateful for his time and support.
It was a privilege for me to deliver the 18th Convocation address of the Indian Institute of Inter Cultural Studies (formerly IIM) at Bengaluru. This year 80 men and women received their degrees: 1 postgraduate diploma, 90 Bachelors and 78 Masters degree. Even though it is an additional responsibility, over and above managing his own Mission, Dr Jayakumar Ramachandran, Director of IIICS, is doing a very commendable job and needs our constant support and encouragement.
I was also able to meet Dr K Rajendran and his wife Pramila and spend considerable amount of time discussing the issues facing IMA and India missions. Dr K Rajendran is a former General Secretary of IMA and currently both of them are Associate Directors of the WEA Mission Commission. My gratitude to them for their time, their advice and prayers.
I also had the privilege to speak at the Sunday service of the Kodaikanal International School, where I introduced IMA and the need to mobilize prayer and have a support base. KIS is a 115 year old institution started by Missionaries and continues to serve and meet the needs of many families of Christian workers.
Thank you for your prayers for IMA and for staff in particular and we implore for your continued prayers and support as the Lord leads you.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Rev I Wati Longkumer
General Secretary, IMA
I am thankful to all member missions of IMA for this privilege of serving as Chairman of IMA. IMA was registered under Karnataka Society Registration Act, in the year 1979, having late Dr. Theodore Williams as its first General Secretary. The prime objective was to “organise for mutual co-operation, understanding, sharing of resources and co-ordinate their management, through representatives” of member missions. But as a matter of fact, IMA started functioning having its headquarters in Chennai with Dr. Ebenezer Sunder Raj as General Secretary more than two decades ago before the office was moved to Hyderabad. Gradually it began to gain momentum as mission after mission began to join as members. As years passed by IMA went through changes of leadership. As on to-day it has become perhaps the world’s biggest Mission Federation with over 240 Mission Agencies as its members. We should be proud!
However, as I have noticed in the recent past that there has been drastic fall in attendance in the Annual General Body Meeting. Moreover it is a matter of concern that many member missions are not paying their membership fees, though it is not a huge sum. I believe that this is high time that we together identify the problem and resolve it without further delay. As far as my understanding goes IMA does not exist for itself as a single unit. IMA exists because you exist as a member missions. There is absolutely no need for IMA’s existence if mission agencies do not exist in India, if I am not wrong.Therefore it is time to introspect of the reason for non-participation and co-operation as member missions.
As Chairman of this biggest mission federation, may I appeal to all member missions to make a new resolution to come forward and join hands with its leadership in order to take this biggest mission federation of the world forward in the years ahead. This federation of Indian Missions is more relevant in today’s context in view of the overall situation of our country. There is an urgent need for Indian Missions coming together in unity and fellowship and to stand together joining our hands to face the future. IMA should be a voice for all Indian missions!
Finally, I take this privilege to earnestly appeal to all member missions to pay your membership fees regularly enabling to improve IMA’s financial situation. IMA is going through severe financial crisis at the moment. Please don’t be on lookers but pray and help financially as the Lord leads. Your mission is part of IMA and therefore you belong to the body of IMA. As Apostle Paul says,“But now are they many members, yet one body...and whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all members rejoice with it” (1 Cor. 12: 20, 26). If IMA suffers, you suffer too, as you are a part of it.
May God abundantly bless you and your mission so that you will be a source of blessing to others.
Bishop (Dr) P. R. Parichha,DD
THEME: ‘GO AND MAKE DISCIPLES OF ALL NATIONS…TRIBES, PEOPLES AND LANGUAGES” (MATT.28:18-20, REV. 7:9)
“TEACHING THEM TO OBEY EVERYTHING ….” IN GOD’S MISSION
Jesus sent out his followers not only to make disciples, but also to baptize and teach them. We have already seen the importance of baptism and now we will look into various aspects of teaching.
1. Importance of teaching
Preaching is primarily the tool for conversion, while teaching is for instruction of the converts. Men do not know about God and his workings and so must be taught. If the new believers are not taught properly God’s Word, it is most likely that they will become nominal Christians over a period of time. However, care has to be taken that human thoughts and ideas are not taught in place of the Bible.
2. Whom to teach?
· New believers have to be taught. The new believers are converts and they have to become disciples of Christ, have to be baptized and taught what Christ has commanded.
· People of all nations have to be taught. The prophets under the Old Testament law had limits assigned to them. But now, the middle wall of partition having been broken down between the Jews and the Gentiles (Ephesians 2:14) the Lord’s command to teach is equally valid to all communities of the earth as they are participants in the same new covenant.
Mark means the same thing by every creature (Mark 16:15). The same message is for those who are at a distance, and were strangers as those that were near and we now belong to one household (Ephesians 2:17, 19). Good and adequate teaching has to be given to all new believers and more so if they are from other faiths.
3. Ways of teaching
There are different means by which teaching of scripture can take place. Bible is full of examples of various methods used in teaching. Some of them are as follows.
· Through dialogue: Jesus often dialogued with his hearers and confronted them with their spiritual need (John 3:1-21; John 4:7-26). Paul also did the same (Acts 19:8-9). So we can do the same.
· Through example: Jesus referred to his own holy life by challenging his enemies to find any sin in him. Paul refers to himself for the believers to follow in several of his epistles (1 Cor.4:16, 17; 1 Thes.1:5, 6). Our lives should reflect what we preach.
· Through proverbs and parables: The book of Proverbs has wisdom and so do many other sections of the Bible (Proverbs 1:1-6). Jesus and Paul used quotations from the Old Testament and also from their traditions to reinforce the teaching that they were giving (Acts 17:28). We should also be well versed in proverbs and sayings in our own cultures that well help to make the Gospel message understandable to the believers. Further, the Lord Jesus Christ used a number of parables which the people could easily understand. We also need to use such parables to9 bring out deep meaning from Scripture.
Apart from these there are a variety of modern methods of teaching using computers, internet and other tools to teach effectively.
4. How to teach?
Jesus was a good teacher who used a variety of parables to explain the deep truths of God and the Scripture. He also said that ‘whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven’ (Matt.5:19). Further Paul in writing to Timothy instructed him,” And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others” (2 Timothy 2:2). So teaching is an ongoing process that is passed on from one generation to the other. This should be the aim of all good teaching.
5. What to teach?
Jesus has commanded us to ‘teach them to obey everything I have commanded you” (Matt. 28:20).There are two aspects to this teaching.
· It is teaching what Christ has commanded us to teach. It means we need to teach the whole Bible. Jesus life and ministry is found in the Gospels. Jesus used the Old Testament in his talks and messages, and the rest of the New Testament is the out working of the command to his followers to go and make disciples of all nations and the writings are inspired by the Holy Spirit. “All Scripture is God breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16). So we cannot pick and choose what we like to teach or what the hearers would like to hear. We have to accept all that the Bible teaches.
· It is teaching in such a way that the new believers not only hear, but also obey what has been taught. Jesus repeatedly said on several occasions ‘not to be hearers only but be doers’.
6. What should be the aim of teaching?
The aim of the teaching should be that as a consequence of our obedience to his word we will be mature Christians, equipped to do any good work assigned to us. So it is to make us “mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:13) and to ensure that each one “may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:17).
Are we good teachers of God’s Word?
“FOR SUCH A TIME AS THIS”
Women in India are a force that God wants to use to extend His kingdom. They have served as a strong foundation for family and society. God wants every woman to be available to serve Him in the capacity and gifts that they have been given.
The Church in India has been called upon to provide opportunities to women to be used for the kingdom of God. There is also a great need for women to be trained and appointed for service. I want to reflect on women in ministry through the life of Esther and urge all Christians to empower our women for service.
Queen Esther’s Story gives us courage to act as we face many challenges in the mission field today.
1) Esther was chosen by God with an eternal plan and purpose: God had a plan and a purpose for Esther to become the Queen of Persia. Even though Esther was a Jewish girl, God chose and made her the queen with a special mission according to His plan. This was revealed by Mordecai when he warned Esther, “For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place…and who knows but that you have come to a royal position for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14).
2) Esther had a vision for her people: It was Mordecai who birthed the vision for the Jews whose lives were in danger. While she was in the palace, she was not able to see the danger that was coming to her people. There was a need for someone close to the people to give Esther the vision. Without the vision she would never have done what she did later.
3) Esther was in a strategic place and in a strategic position: God chose Esther to be the Queen of Persia. Though she was not qualified, God chose her to be the queen. God had a purpose for her life and therefore her place and position were important. The palace was a strategic place and it was God who kept her there. She had to recognise this fact and accept it. And subsequently the position as queen was also important.
4) Esther obeys Mordecai: Esther not only obeyed Mordecai at home but also while she was in the palace. We read, “Esther continued to follow Mordecai’s instructions as she had done when he was bringing her up” (2:20). This was an important dynamic for Esther to be a strategic person... For certain matters Mordecai had to instruct and guide Esther. In turn Mordecai was willing to accept help from Esther. God wants us to depend on each other. God designed us for interdependence and not for independence.
5) Esther was loyal to the king: When Mordecai found the plot against the king, it was conveyed to Esther who, in turn, conveyed this to the king and the king’s life was saved. Loyalty to the authorities and the rulers is a must for every Christian.
6) Esther keeps the channel of communication open with Mordecai: Esther did not forget Mordecai when she went to the royal palace and when she became the queen. The royal position did not make her proud or cause her to forget her humble beginning. Humility is needed for proper communication to take place between two people. Esther was still respectful to Mordecai as she communicated with him (Esther 4:4). Proper and clear communication strengthens team relationship and enhances performance.
7) Esther takes risks to save her people: Esther listens to Mordecai and decides to act. “”I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish.” (4:16). This is a challenging statement. The lesson that we learn here is that it is not enough to talk and to teach urban mission or tribal mission from our comfort zones. But we need people to go and toil in the streets of Kolkata or in the jungles of Madhya Pradesh. It is not enough to make statements against persecution but be willing to face threats and ready to be beaten up because of the gospel.
8) Esther instructs Mordecai: Esther as queen was in a strategic position. She knew the dangerous situation she and the Jews were in but she could not fight alone. She needed the help of Mordecai. So Esther instructed Mordecai, “Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night and day” (4:15, 16). Mordecai followed the instructions. Sometimes a mission leader should listen to his co-workers and even subordinates in order to act strategically.
9) Esther follows a strategy to save her people: The way Esther acted before the king to save her people was both fascinating and clever. Esther knew the king and his heart. She had to do everything to make the king happy. She invited the king to a banquet. Calling for a banquet was an appropriate way as it would cause the king to show favour to Esther. She was patient and waited for an appropriate time to act. She didn’t expect quick results. She did everything she could to cause the king to act favourably toward her.
10) Esther was committed to completing the task: Esther continued her dealings with the king till the job was completed. It was not a one-time request, but a persistent process to the end – till the enemies were destroyed and victory won. She was not satisfied with the king’s response in punishing Haman. We read, “Esther said: ‘How can I bear to see disaster fall on my people? How can I bear to see the destruction of my family?”
The first success was the king’s command to destroy Haman, the enemy of the Jews. Esther could have been satisfied and felt that her mission was over. But she knew that had to save the Jews whose destruction had been made law by the king. Therefore she persisted in her efforts.
Let us take courage from Esther’s life and be ready to face all challenges in our life and ministry. Let us take the life of Esther as a hope and joy that women in India are chosen by God for His service and we should be ready to provide them opportunities in serving the Lord.
* Rev (Mrs) Sheila Ponraj is the Director of Bharatiya Christi Seva Dal, Madhupur, Jharkhand
NEWS FROM INDIAN MISSIONS
18th Convocation of Indian Institute of Inter Cultural Studies, 29th Oct. 2015: IIICS stands today as a pioneering accrediting agency in Asia, exclusively committed for missiological training with 38 institutions whose programs have been accredited, 13 member institutions whose programs are under scrutiny for accreditation and with 12 institutions which are in the process of interaction.
A community of friends and relatives of the graduates and supporters of IIICS witnessed the pride of the graduating classes consist of 1 certification, 1 post graduate diploma, 90 Bachelors and 78 Master program - all together 180 graduates from various affiliated institutions.
18th Convocation of Indian Institute of Inter Cultural Studies
Rev. Dr. I. Wati Longkumer, the General Secretary of IMA delivered the convocation address. Dr. K. Rajendran brought a note of felicitation and Miss Priscilla Singsit the Commissioner of Income Tax for Appeal gave away the special awards to the graduates of outstanding academic performances. Graduating classes were presented by Dr. Jayakumar, the General Secretary while Dr. Chiranjeevi, the Chairman of IIICS conferred their respective degrees.
Director and General Secretary Rev. Dr. Jayakumar declared the following commitments of IIICS in the following years, while presenting his report.
· Mobilizing training programs by raising new training-platforms
· Facilitating institutions in setting appropriate infra-structure
· Building relevancy of the programs offered by the institutions to the needs in the country
· Developing innovative and creative training programs by the member-institutions
· Accrediting quality programs of the institutions
· Encouraging scholarly and empirical research
· Providing training opportunities to every believer through local churches
· Contributing the missiological academia through publication.
Rev. Dr. Jayakumar Ramachandran
Director and General Secretary,
Indian Institute of Inter Cultural Studies
ANSARI IN INDIA
Pop. in India: 10,344,000
Pop. in S. Asia: 16,111,000
Countries: India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal
Religion: Muslim (100.00%)
Main Language: Urdu
Other Languages: Bhojpuri, Bengali, Telugu, Gujarati, Maithili
Largest States: Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Telangana, Maharashtra, West Bengal, Karnataka, Uttarakhand, Gujarat
Alternate Names: Dewang, Julia, Kabirpanthi, Momin, Sheikh Mohmandi, Sale, Shaikh Momin Vankar.
Introduction: The Ansaris are a traditional weaving caste and are also called Julaha derived from the Persian word “julaha” (ball of thread). Their creation story claims that they are direct descendants of Adam, who taught his sons to weave, after seeing his nakedness. There are both Muslim and Hindu Ansaris.
Location and Language: They are found all over North India, Western Bangladesh, Punjab the North West Frontier of Pakistan, Hyderabad in Telangana State and Marathwada in Maharashtra State. The major language is Urdu.
Lifestyle and Culture: Hindu Ansaris known as Kabir Panthi or Kabir Vanshi are named after the Brahmin Bhakti poet-saint Kabir raised by a Julaha family. Men and women have a strong tradition of folk songs and performing come dies. Muslim Ansaris also call themselves Shaikhs. Boys marry around the age of twenty and girls at sixteen. Monogamy is the norm.
Occupation and Food Habits: They weave cotton and silk, work as dyers, labourers, forest workers, tailors, small businessmen and cultivators. They are mostly non-vegetarian and drink alcohol.
Religion: They follow either Muslim, Hindu or Sikh religion. Hindus worship regional and village deities. Sikh Ansaris follow Guru Granth Sahib. Muslim Ansaris practice a syncretistic form of Islam. Saint worship is very popular and they often bring flowers or sweets to graves of famous Muslim saints. Sorcery and witchcraft are practiced by some.
UPCOMING IMA EVENTS & PROGRAMMES
IMA Members (Madurai Region) Christmas Get-together, 28 & 29 November 2015
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 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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