Wednesday 22 Mar
Scott shares how God is going before us in India.
I have recently returned from India. It was a wonderful experience meeting with mission partners, exploring new serving opportunities and being encouraged by time spent with humble, passionate followers of Jesus. And yes, the food and hospitality were very good as well!
I find it hard to fathom India’s population of 1.4 billion people and rapidly growing. The population of Delhi is bigger than Australia.
And yet only 2.5% of the Indian population identify as followers of Jesus. The nation is a massive mission field and God is at work, particularly through organic, grassroots discipleship movements.
It was very encouraging to connect with leaders of some of these small, but growing movements, including two young pastors, one from a Hindu background and the other from a Muslim heritage. They are both now seeking to work contextually to bring the hope of Jesus to others by word and deed.
On my trip, I certainly saw the Holy Spirit going before me and our 2023 theme - 'The God who goes before us'
- being fleshed out in different ways. This included the opportunity to reconnect with leaders from the Baptist Church of Mizoram [BCM] and look at new ways we could partner and serve together. I was also able to have some very helpful discussions as we look to ways we can stand with our brothers and sisters in Australia from Myanmar and support their people in their war-torn, hurting home country.
Our relationship with BCM dates back to 1968 and we have benefited from this partnership in several different ways, including the wonderful seconded BCM team members who serve on our teams.
While in Lunglei and Aizawl I was able to meet several of our team members’ family, which was a joyful experience.
It was great to also spend time with leaders from the Chakhesang Baptist Association [part of the Baptist Convention of Nagaland] and discuss new ways we could support each other on mission.
I had the opportunity to speak at two Baptist churches in Aizawl, the Mizoram capital. After both services I connected with young adults who shared me with about some of their missional hopes and dreams. It was a reminder again of the 'The God who goes before us' as emerging leaders are raised up, with a passion to serve Jesus, but also with new and fresh ideas in regard the shape of mission.
The most moving experience of the trip was visiting a refugee camp in Mizoram. The camp, only opened in January, is home to 900 people and numbers grow each week, as more displaced people arrive from Myanmar. The first building the refugees constructed in the camp was a large, bamboo worship space, so despite the many challenges they face, they could come together as followers of Jesus to worship, pray and be encouraged together.
In this one camp – and there are so many more in India and Thailand – there were stories of great pain, loss and trauma. But I was humbled and inspired by the courage and resilience of people I met and the hope they cling to.
In coming weeks, I will share more with you about how you can come alongside these refugees and make a practical difference in their lives, as we stand with them and turn our solidarity into practical action!
Please join me in praying for the nation of India.
In a growing number of places, followers of Jesus are facing increasing persecution and government crackdowns. And yet there is an emergence of so many different groups of people passionately embracing God’s invitation to mission across India.
Please also be in prayer for our partnership conversations as we discern the new opportunities 'the God who goes before us'
is opening in India.
Thank you for your partnership in the good news of Jesus.
Grace and peace
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