11th September, 2014
I am glad to greet you in the name of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. I trust that the Lord has been leading you and blessing you and your mission or ministry this last month.
On August 15th, the Independence day, we celebrated the event at the IMA Vision City campus with flag hoisting and praying for our country and concluding with a joyous breakfast together with all families of IMA staff. On that day I also spoke at the workers family conference of Aim Asia in Hyderabad. On 27th we had the IMA monthly Prayer day at the office.
Several leaders visited us at our office including a lady pastor of a large Presbyterian church in Seoul, Mr. Jochen Tewes leader of Intermission Industrial Development Association and Rev. Francis Sunderaraj, former General Secretary of EFI.
Mission Leaders get together:
In pursuance of my priority for IMA this year the leadership of IMA has been having ‘get-togethers’ with IMA member mission leaders in various centers across this country.
In South India we had a meeting with mission leaders of Karnataka in Bangalore on 2nd August. It was a joy to have with us Rev. Dr. Thomas Samuel, founder director of Quiet Corner India at that time. He was a founder member of IMA in 1977.
In North-East India Rev. Dr. Wati Longkumer, Associate General Secretary of IMA, Mr. Zohmingthanga, Executive Secretary for North and Northeast and I visited mission and church leaders in Manipur and Mizoram from 22nd August to 1st September. In Manipur we had a day seminar for leaders of 8 missions/churches in Churachandpur hosted by Gospel for India. In Imphal we met with the Kuki Baptist church and Manipur Baptist Convention leaders. In Mizoram we met with the Synod leaders of Mizoram Presbyterian Church, Zoram Evangelical Fellowship, Baptist Church of Mizoram in Lunglie, Evangelical Church of Maraland in Saiha and Lairam Baptist Church in Longtlai. I also took a Bandhu Seva (Ministry to Hindus and Buddhists) seminar in Aizawl for evangelists and church leaders of Masihi Sangati Kendra under the Presbyterian Synod. All of us also spoke in various churches.
Some of the missions who are not yet members have evinced keen interest to join IMA. Everywhere we went, we were welcomed warmly and our hospitality in various centers was taken care by them. We expect a greater involvement of N.E. Missions and churches with IMA in the coming days.
Towards the end of September we plan to meet with mission leaders in some areas of North India, especially in Delhi and Dehra Dun.
Finance: The financial position of IMA is still low and we want you to pray for this. We praise God that we were able to pay the salaries of IMA Staff for August.
Membership Donation: We are now in the month of September in the financial year 2014-15. I will be very grateful if as a member mission you have not yet paid your membership donation of a minimum of Rs. 5000/- you will kindly consider sending your contribution to IMA as soon as possible. This will help us to continue to pay the salaries of IMA Staff and meet with essential needs of IMA. I will also appeal to you to consider making a special contribution to IMA to overcome the difficult financial situation that we are facing. I will be writing to individual member missions regarding this soon.
I also request Churches and Christians to liberally contribute to the work of IMA as it needs your support to fulfill its important role in our country.
Programmes of IMA: The following programmes are planned in the IMA Vision City campus, Hyderabad.
Cost for Participants: The cost per participant will be: Registration fee (subsidized) + travel.
Please apply early to: Mr. Solomon Babu, Training Coordinator, Email: email@example.com
IMA Executive committee & Staff Welfare funds: The IMA Executive committee met in IMA Vision City, Hyderabad on 6th August. Two new benefit funds for the welfare of IMA Staff were approved at that time. They are (1) IMA Staff Children Education Fund and (2) IMA Staff Health Endowment Fund.
I request all to contribute generously towards these funds so as to help the staff in these days of rising cost.
May the Lord bless you all.
Yours in His service,
PART 3 – PARTNERSHIP IN THE GOSPEL
Partnership in the Defence and Confirmation of the Gospel (Philippians
Paul gives the vital ingredients of the gospel in 1 Corinthians 15:1-5. The gospel or the ‘good news’ encompasses all aspects of truth concerning the person and work of Jesus Christ. Down the ages to the present time these have been under attack. Paul in his own life time was confronted by the distortions in the gospel being preached as we read in Galatians 1:6-9. Similarly today we come across numerous distorted versions of the gospel being preached such as the denial of the divinity of Christ, gospel of good works, only believe with no repentance for sins, prosperity gospel, over emphasis on healing, miracles, visions and dreams etc. Further we also see Muslim preachers and Hindu gurus giving their own interpretations of the gospel.
Paul as prisoner in Rome, realized that to maintain the core of the gospel, he needed the support of others. He ensured this in the vital debate of the Jerusalem council (Acts 15:5-21). Now he commends the church in Philippi, which he was instrumental in founding 10 years earlier, for being partakers in the defense and confirmation of the gospel.
So he uses two key words, namely defense and confirmation, regarding upholding the truth and veracity of the gospel.
The core of the gospel can never be changed as it is the power of God to salvation to all, though it may appear as foolishness to the gentiles. The main issue concerning the Christian faith in our pluralistic society is not “conversion”, but the claim of the “uniqueness” of Christ. If Christians will only accept that Jesus Christ is one among many deities, conflicts will cease and there will be “peace.” However, if the claim of the uniqueness of Jesus Christ to bring salvation to humankind is abandoned then we have no message to a lost world. This was what Paul was defending and this is exactly what we are called upon to do.
Are we prepared to give correct and logical answers as Peter urged the believers, “ be ready to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.” (I Peter 3:15).
It is the building up of the faith from within. This edification and strengthening of the Christians in their faith is equally important to withstand the attacks that come from outside. Paul was involved in both the ministries of defending the gospel with ‘outsiders’ and strengthening the faith of the ‘insiders,’ –Christians within the church. Both when done in partnership, as Paul did with the Philippian Christians, has a much greater effect than done on one’s own.
In the light of these how strong is our faith in our Lord Jesus Christ and his gospel? We need to be linked with all those who believe in the gospel, beyond denominational and other structural barriers, and uphold each other in our struggles against those who oppose the gospel and also prove that it is true through our lives and ministry. This is the partnership to uphold the truth of the gospel. This is possible only through God’s grace.
MISSION, MISSIONARY AND MY CALLING
The meaning for mission is many in a dictionary. I would like to highlight a few. Some of these are, ‘sending or being sent for some duty or purpose’, ‘to provide assistance’, ‘to be sent or go with a goal’, ‘purpose that is accompanied by a strong conviction’ or ‘a definite calling’. If we put a religious touch to it, it can be interpreted as ‘a person or a group of persons sent by a church or a religious organization to carry on religious work especially evangelization in other lands and establish something for the benefit of the needy and the marginalized’. I found another very interesting meaning as I was following the dictionary for the meaning of mission. One of the British dictionary definitions for mission is ‘a charitable centre that offers shelter, aid or advice to the destitute or underprivileged’.
What is my mission? Who is a missionary? What is my calling? Am I fulfilling what I have been called for? These are some of the questions that plague our hearts when we find ourselves disillusioned, demotivated and dissatisfied.
My mission is where the Lord wants me to serve His people whom He has created. A missionary to me is a steward too - a person sent or the one who goes as a servant of Christ. Am I a good steward to the task or calling that I have received? As stewards of God we need to be found faithful. A steward is also a person who serves as administrator or overseer of something that belongs to someone else. We can call ourselves as the servants of Christ. All that we have or given charge of or possess ultimately belongs to God. And because of this, everything that he has given to us during our time on earth must be managed with great care. This includes the finances, possessions, time and gifts.
Missionary: What is the purpose of God calling me or sending me? Am I able to live a faithful and exemplary life and show forth my faithful presence to the lost, the needy, the marginalized and the destitute for which I am called. Am I able to influence them with the love of Christ rather than being infected by worldly patterns of thinking? Let our desire be to remain the salt and light to the lost world for which we have been called. Let us pray that all disunity and all that is offensive to the heart of God be removed from our mission fields. Let our prayers be that all matters that confuses the non-believers and forces them to say that ‘they don’t practice what they preach’ be removed from us. May our desire be that love remains among us as we serve the Lord and also towards the ones we serve.
My Calling: I belong to New Delhi, capital city of our country, where there are around 1.5 to 2 lakh street children. 80 percent of them are involved in substance abuse. Many of them earn about Rs. 50 a day and their major money goes into buying white fluids, cannabis and tobacco for inhalation. Street children buy substances worth Rs. 27 lakhs per day in the capital from various illegal sources. According to a study nearly 85 percent of the street children who are into substance abuse are from urban areas, 58.8 percent of them do not study and only 22.9 percent go to regular schools. This may be the case in most of the major cities and towns of our country.
These kids and young people understand that their lifestyles offer a bleak future. They are fed up with the life they live but very few avenues are available to them to bring them out of their situation. Can we open up our homes/institutions and give up our comforts to offer them a helping hand? Can we educate and empower them and lead them to a God who created them? THEY are willing to step out but are WE willing to step in?
We are blessed with many earthly and spiritual blessings. May our calling and our prayer be to be a CARRIER and DISPENSER of our innumerable blessings to a hurting and dying world.
*Mrs. Sheeba Varghese is the Director of Serving People in Need (SPIN), Gurgaon, near New Delhi and is the vice-Chairperson of IMA.
IMA MEMBER MISSION LEADERS GET-TOGETHER IN SOUTH INDIA.
Prakash Nayak, Executive Secretary South, IMA
During the month of July 2014, four such meetings were organized in Chennai, Madurai, Kanyakumari and Hyderabad on 2, 3, 4 and 18th July respectively and they were reported in the last issue. (Click here for the India Missions News, August 2014 issue)
Mission Leaders Get-together in Bangalore drawn from Karnataka - August 2
The fifth meeting was held in Bangalore on 2nd August and was hosted by India Campus Crusade for Christ [ICCC]. There were 11 mission leaders representing 8 member missions from Bangalore and Mysore. One of them was
Rev. Dr. Thomas Samuel, Director of Quiet Corner India and it was a joy to welcome him as he was one of the Founder members of IMA. The issues discussed were the need for Prayer Mobilizers for IMA as the Prayer and Finance base of IMA is weak, the necessity for IMA programmes to benefit the missions and the need to financially support IMA staff. The outcome of the meeting was that the missions decided to meet for prayer and fellowship once in three months.
INDEPENDENCE DAY CELEBRATIONS
Solomon Babu, Training Department, IMA
IMA Independence Day Celebrations in IMA Vision City campus
IMA celebrated 68th Independence Day on 15 August 2014 at IMA Vision City campus. Rev. Dr. Wati Longkumer, IMA Associate General Secretary, began with prayer and led us in singing some choruses. Dr. Theodore Srinivasagam, IMA General Secretary, hoisted the National flag. And all sang the national anthem with joy. Then he read the scripture from I Timothy 2: 1-4 and exhorted us to pray for the people who are in authority that we may live peaceful and quite lives in all godliness and holiness. Mr. Prakash Nayak, IMA Executive Secretary South, closed the event with a word of prayer. Later the IMA family had fellowship with each other with a sumptuous breakfast.
NEWS FROM INDIAN MISSIONS
India Every Home Crusade (IEHC): It was started in 1964 in Secunderabad, Andhra Pradesh with a vision to serve the body of Christ in equipping and mobilizing believers to share the message of Jesus Christ systematically at every home in India. It is celebrating its Golden Jubilee (50th year) of God’s faithfulness in its ministry. The celebrations are planned to be held in Secunderabad from 29th September to 2nd October 2014. Please uphold them in your prayers.
Elim Missionary Movement (EMM): It has completed 15 years of God’s faithfulness in the ministry which began on 15th August 1999. It was started when God inspired a small "Youth Fellowship" at Madurai to raise funds and support 2 native missionaries in Gujarat. In subsequent years, the ministry spread to Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Punjab, Haryana, West Bengal, Assam and Odisha. To mark its 15th anniversary, the EMM leaders have decided to dedicate 15 new missionaries each from Odisha, Punjab and Haryana. Pray that God would enable them to do so.
Mission and Evangelism - Baptist Church of Mizoram, Serkawn, Lunglei: It has commissioned 10 missionaries in 2 churches of Lunglei, Chanmari Church and Rahsiveng Church. The Orientation Programme was conducted from July 20th to August 8th 2014, which was organized by BCM Headquarters in Serkawn. Let us uphold these new missionaries in our prayers.
KUTCHIS OF INDIA
The Kutchi people traditionally reside in the Kutch region of the northwestern Indian state of Gujarat and in the Sindh province of Pakistan. Kutch is an erstwhile princely state of India.
Large populations of Kutchi also live in Africa. As sea traders and business people the Kutchis settled along the trading routes of the Arabian Sea, even as far as East Africa about 200 years ago. They are a culturally close knit community and in spite of living outside Kutch for over a century, they still maintain their language, dialect and culture inside their homes.
Language: The Kutchi language is an Indo-Aryan language and considered as a dialect of Sindhi (an official language in both India and Pakistan), but heavily influenced by Gujarati. Kutchis speak a variety of languages depending on their location. While those in India, apart from Kutchi, also speak Gujarati and a dialect of Hindi, those in other countries speak the local languages as well.
Communities: There are many castes in a typical Kutchi community such as Rahima (Arbab), Nohriya, Gharana, Lohar Wadha, Hingora, Halaypotra, Sanghar, Jat, Rathor, Khatri, Bhatti, Hingorja, Khalifa, Hala, Memon, Geerahi, Batala, Kumbhar (Kumhar) , Gaanchi, Jakohi, Wahgair, Juneja Wara, Mistri, Lohanas, Nandwanas, Nagar Brahmins, Kutch Gurjar Kshatriyas etc.
Economy: Historically, the major occupation of the Kutchi people has been fishing, sea trade, crafts, and farming. In recent years sea trade has diminished significantly as a source of income. Increased migration has seen many Kutchis moving to urban areas, where they have set themselves up as tradesmen, grocery store owners, textile and garment traders, oil merchants, etc. Kutch art is famous all over the world and is one of the main economies for many in rural areas.
Culture: The culture of Kutchi people is similar to the culture of Rajasthanis, Saurashtrians and Sindhis. Kutchis are artisans and craftsmen. Kutchi women wear elaborately designed clothes made by a unique method of tie-dying fabrics. Those sorts of designs are also used to make exquisite embroidery in making table cloths, wall hangings, handbags, bedspreads and more which are sort after.
A majority of Kutchis are strict vegetarians, due significantly to the large Hindu population. The staple food is Rotlas made of millet which they relish with butter milk, butter and Jaggery. 'Khichhdi' made of rice and dal (pulses) is also common. Some of the Christian and Muslim populations eat poultry and fish, but the consumption of beef is prohibited. Milk is considered to be a sacred food, offered to guests in order to honor and welcome them and also when make binding agreements and celebrations.
Religion: Most of the Kutch people in India are Vaishnava Hindus, while majority of those in Pakistan are Muslim. Those that have spread throughout Africa and beyond have either retained the religion of their family or chosen other faiths.
Almost every phase of the moon is acknowledged by either a celebration, fast, or some ritual. Similarly, every day of the year is attributed to a particular god or goddess.
Mota Yaksh (Sept. 15) is the largest festival in Kutch, lasting for three days. Legend claims that angels came to the Kutchi people and taught them the principle artisan skills that form the basis of their culture. It’s held each year 40 km south of Bhuj, at the site of the temple that marks the angels’ coming.
Progress of the Gospel: There are not many Christians, but they are growing with dispersed CP activity. Very few missions have seen results among them. Mission organizations like - IEM, OM, FMPB, HBI, BSI and some independent individuals have been trying their best to reach these people. Bible translation, tracts, testimony booklets, Jesus film, Gospel Recordings materials, Radio broadcasts are available in Kutchi and Gujarati.
Condensed from various sources
At the end of the IMA Executive Committee meeting on 6th Aug, Rev. John Wesley, General Secretary of Indian Evangelical Mission donated 100 IEM song books ‘Come Let Us Sing’ to IMA for use in its conferences. We thank IEM for their gift.
Rev. John Wesley (second from right) handing over 100 song books to IMA after the IMA EC Meeting - 6th August
UPCOMING IMA EVENTS & PROGRAMMES
IMA CONSULTATIONS & TRAINING PROGRAMMES:
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IMA MISSION LEADERS GET-TOGETHERS:
NEEDS OF IMA FOR YOUR PRAYER & SUPPORT
The following are the needs of IMA:
For details you may write to Ms. Sharon Solomon at email@example.com
IMA ANNUAL PRAYER DAY – 2ND OCTOBER 2014
October 2nd has been designated as the Annual IMA PRAYER DAY. Please pray for India, Indian Missions and IMA in your own locations on that day. At the IMA office in Hyderabad there will also be a special fasting and prayer time from 9 am to 2 pm led by Rev. Dr. Wati Longkumer, Associate General Secretary of IMA. You are welcome to join us at that time. Kindly inform Mr. Solomon Babu at 08418202064/65/66.
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