We’ve recently returned from bringing a nine member team to work alongside our brothers and sisters in India for a week to see how God is using Great Harvest to train up and send out missionaries to plant churches all over the Indian Subcontinent.
It was a quicker trip than normal but we were able to teach at the Bible College, do children’s ministry, visit about 12 churches in Chennai and Andhra Pradesh, and set up the Bible College with a lot of tech!
Praise the Lord!
Great Harvest Bible College
How exciting it was to see 100 students at the Bible College this year! From 19 students in the first year to now 100 in the 6th is a testament to God’s mighty hand and the work He is doing through Great Harvest. In the last few years He has provided for us to build two stories onto the college, create a library, build a dorm for the men, and improve the second floor in the college for the women.
Pastor Wayne taught the Book of Revelation and Pastor Ted taught the Book of Acts. It was a huge blessing to have Pastor Wayne join us for the first time; he made a great impact on the students. Zach also taught the students. He had come with us two years ago and stayed for a semester at the Bible College. He enjoyed getting caught up with some old acquaintances and the students were blessed by him as well.
Pastor Ted said it was a blessing to be with this group of students; they were very receptive to all of the teachings. They will be graduating in just a few short weeks. Please keep them in prayer as they prepare to take the Gospel to those who have not yet heard! There will be many trials and hardships so please pray for perseverance and strength.
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble
or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.
Church Visits and Outreaches
Visiting the churches is definitely a highlight of our trips to India. It’s a blessing to see how God is growing His church. The former GHBC students are so passionate about reaching their people with the Gospel that each year we see more and more church plants. First year graduates are continuing strong making disciples and reaching beyond their villages. And recent graduates are already making headway into the areas God has led them.
For example, last year Ebenezer, who was soon to graduate, shared with us the burden the Lord had placed in his heart for two particular villages that had a lot of opposition. This year we went to one of those villages where God had used him to already start a work. He trusts that by next year God will give him favor in the second village as well. Please keep him in your prayers.
The visits are a combination of sharing words of encouragement, giving messages from God’s word and reaching out to the unsaved. Oftentimes not everyone who comes is a believer, and others in the vicinity often don’t have a choice to listen because they use very loud sound systems to broadcast the message as far as possible.
One of our visits was to a village that we had seen last year. At that time they were meeting under a tin roof and had only begun meeting about three weeks prior. This year they were just out in the open air. At first we didn’t even realize that it was the same place. In addition to them meeting in a different location, there were also many more people this time…praise the Lord! It wasn’t until after the meeting when we were praying for the individual people that we recognized some of the faces. It turns out they have had a lot of opposition getting kicked out of one place after another. We sensed the spiritual battle both last year and this year. This year a man interrupted the meeting, yelling at us to leave and not share about God. Please pray for this village: that they would have a place to meet, and that the believers would continue to grow and be a light to the rest of the village.
In fact, that’s our prayer for all of the villages: that the believers would be lights to the others in their village, that they would become entire Christian villages, and that they would then reach out to other villages spreading the Good News!
Most of these villages are very isolated, so the pastors too are very encouraged by the visits because they know they are not alone and have brothers and sisters praying for them. Please join with us lifting them up in prayer.
Like cold water to a weary soul,
So is good news from a distant land.
Great Harvest Children’s Program
But Jesus said, “Let the children alone, and do not hinder them from
coming to Me; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”
This is another area that has experienced much growth! Great Harvest now ministers to over 6,000 children each day throughout the Indian Subcontinent.
When the church planters enter a new village one of the first things they do is start a Great Harvest Children’s Program. It is an after-school program that offers tutoring to help the kids in school and also gives them an opportunity to teach them about Jesus. This develops trust among the parents and when they see how much the missionaries care for their children, they often begin to open their hearts to hear the gospel and trust Jesus.
The pastors do pour a lot of time and love into these precious children throughout the year, and it is evident by the joy the children have. They may not have much materially but they know the love that the God of the universe has for them. So it is a joy to put together skits, songs, bible lessons, and crafts to share with them.
Our prayer is that these children would be a light in their families, villages, schools and beyond. What an encouragement it is to see the next generation being trained up in the Lord!
We were also able to bring and set up a lot of technology for the Bible College. One of the top priorities was setting up security cameras because of harassment from radical groups against the school and students. They were all installed and functioning when we left. In addition to the security cameras, we brought other equipment and library software to help them organize, check out, search, etc. the over 10,000 books that they have so far! God really used Mark to prepare and set up many things that should help them out a lot in their studies.
Thank you so much for all of you who prayed for our trip and who continue to pray for this ministry. We had a very fruitful trip despite (or perhaps because of) the warfare: problems at customs, an eye injury, a motorcycle accident (one of the Indian teachers at the Bible College), a back that went out, the loss of voices, and some stomach issues. But to God be the glory, He worked through it all and kept us all safe!
We humbly ask you to please continue to pray for the work of Great Harvest throughout the year. The struggles that we had on our trip were just a small taste of all of the trials they have year-long. They have many hardships to overcome each day that make study and ministry difficult.
We reflected a lot on God’s mercy on this trip. What a good, kind, loving, and compassionate God we serve… Praise Him!