Andrews report from 2004

Ok. here is the first report from last years efforts.

Chengulpet sits as a gateway city into one of the most famous areas of South India. Right near it lies Kanchi, which is one of the seven most holy cities in India. Although the State of Tamil Nadu has a Christian population of about 5%, this area is only about 1 to 2%. The main reason for this difference is that the Kanchi temple area attracts a great deal of loyal Hindu devotees, and because of religious intimidation those of other religions have experienced.

We went there last year and my first encounter with Chengulpet was to attend and speak at an area pastors meeting. My first inclination was to make sure that I did not communicate as one seeking authority over them, or with any sense of superiority. I wanted to be sensitive about this, although I knew the message I had for them was an authoritative call from Scripture for pastors to be true shepherds according to Isaiah. I had been in meetings where outside preachers from America conducted pastors meetings and promised to adopt local pastors ministries and try to have them attached under their umbrella of ministry.. all so they could go back to their support base at home and boast how many churches in India were ‘under’ their covering. Instead, I made a specific point to bear my heart to them and ask if they would be gracious enough to adopt me for the sake of seeing their city touched by God. During this meeting, although there was trouble with the translation from time to time, I was 100% confident that the Holy Spirit was guiding me to say these things.

I was also confident that God was indeed opening a door of minstry that would make a difference, so I committed myself to them wholeheartedly, and today I am simply taking the next step in that commitment. My hope is that the pastors remember me warmly and that our hearts are truly merged in seeing Biblical breakthrough throughout the Kanchipuram District.

The meetings were about one week later. All the pastors, to the best of my knowledge, were working together to make the event a success and an honor to Christ. My team had arrived and we were all praying for miracles. I was inspired to preach on the “pearl of the gospel”, meaning the perfect sacrifice of Jesus Christ as the complete and final solution for the condition of mankind. Charles Finney was the model, and the theme was to plead with the people from all backgrounds to truly seek understnading and appreciation for what Christ has done for them. The services themselves were wonderful, and many healings and deliverances took place with an average attendance of about 2300 people. Although I did pray for the sick on 2 of the nights, my emphasis was on the miracle of salvation, where the revelation truly touches the soul that Christ died to make us whole before God. On the final night, we intended to show portions of the final scenes from Mel Gibson’s Passion of the Christ. All three nihgts were building up to this final time of impact regarding the power of the Cross.

It was an amazing impact! over 550 decision cards were received, and the organizing pastor, Joel, saw a great depth to the testimonies and sttements made on each. People were hungry for God.

Along with the victories, there were some struggles. Factions that had been surfacing among some of the pastors came to a head at the crusade, and Pastor Joel had been left to undergo huge amounts of false accusation and grief. Some had accused him of receiving funds from us as the coordinator, when in fact he paid money of his own in order to see the crusade come to pass. We had to pray through the situation as I was back in the US, working through some of our own struggles keeping the business on track.
But overshadowing all of that by leaps and bounds were great testimonies of how the ministry of the crusade had been having rippling effects upon the community. The followup effort had been going well, people were added to the church and new freedom had been realized.

One woman in particular was especially touched. I prayed for her at the crusade, as she was under a terrible curse of depression and despair. I cant remember seeing someone with so heavy a countenance. When i prayed for her, I felt such compassion (which is not natural to my personality) flow by Holy Spirit and touch her heart. She had felt it too, and immediately began to feel joy overtake her sorrows. When I returned in January for Tsunami relief, i saw her at church and she was the most beautiful and joyful person there! The change in her life created great healing in her marriage and family. What a tribute to the power of God!

Joel also informed me at that time of a major change that took place in the area. The powerful and influential Sankaracharya, the high priest of Kanchi was arrested under the direct authority of the previously supportive Chief Minister, Jayalalitha. This man and Jayalalitha had been instrumental in the creation of an anti-conversion law that previously intimidated Christian pastors into fear and ineffectiveness. The law had been repealed, and now with this arrest (not that we are glad anyone is in jail) turned out to create a huge, huge, huge transformation of the spiritual climate of the area. Now Christians have a new freedom just to be themselves and worship God where before, they were operating in near secrecy.

As I heard this story, and later went online to see how the story was having impact throughout the nation, I was utterly amazed. Joel took it a step further and declared to me that the crusade had a direct connection to how things played out, as he has seen the spiritual impact unfold among people, liberating them to live for Christ. Thank God for a friend who does not get caught up in political intrigue like so many, but honestly sees the hand of God in all things, liberating people as the Word of God goes out and bears truth to all things.

We’ll hear from Joel and Josh and others next.

One Comment to “Andrews report from 2004”

  1. Indi-Andy Says:

    In interest of proper information, I was encouraged by a pastor I respect to emphasize that we are not presuming guilt upon the Sankarachaya, as all are presumed innocent until proven otherwise in civil societies, and to also correct the above statement regarding the anti-conversion law being repealed. I was informed that it is still technically on the books, although effectively nullified by prevailing politics.

    Let me also add that we wish peaceful co-existence of all groups in Southern India and beyond. The marketplace of ideas, in order to thrive, must recognize the need for voices to speak to people and present their case without having to defend form needless inflammatory rhetoric from other parties.

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