Pure and Undefiled Religoin
CPE India Feb. 2014
Joel Van Hoogen
Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world. James 1:27
Pastor Mohan of Zion Gospel Ministries in Magatapalli, Andra Pradesh, India used to worship a tree. The tree kept demanding blood. Confined to a room with only a Bible he began to read out of boredom. Reading it cover to cover he discovered the reason for a blood sacrifice on a different tree. Jesus transformed his heart and life purpose.
Twenty years later This ministry has..
- A school with 400 students most from Hindu families (see picture)
- An orphanage (see picture - House of Joy)
- 130 widows cared for
- 5 church buildings (one in picture between orphanage & school)
- 3 prayer huts (see picture below)
- 3 locations where prayer huts are needed
- 16 locations where weekly church services are conducted.
Six CPE team members (Mark, Justin, Kelly, Leanne, Joel & I) and local believers visited homes in the villages of Magatapali district on the Bengali coast. Over four days of visitation we observed 44 professions of faith. One day was particularly memorable for me. I went on a prearranged visit and stopped at a house I had shared the Gospel with on the last trip. We were greeted by the family and learned all were now actively involved in Mohan's church. They took me to visit their neighbour and we lead her to Christ. A spiritual grand child if you will.
Our next visit was to a high caste family. I asked if they knew anything about the God of the Bible they said He appeared to us in a vision. But since they did not read or write they had no biblical knowledge of Him. They were trying to worship Him in the Hindu fashion but were very open and hungry for the truth. The husband and wife plus a neighbour gave their hearts to Christ. A subsequent follow visit revealed they were eager to grow in their new found faith.
We split the team for the second week of ministry. Joel Van Hogan traveled to north India, myself, Kelly and Leanne went to Hyderabad to work with pastor Mohan's son Moses who is in the 3rd year of his church planting vision in the villages north of Hyderabad. The city of Hyderabad has many churches but these communities have no gospel witness. It is a difficult work Moses feels called to do.
We arrived in Hyderabad to learn civil unrest was eminent. A reaction to the Government debating a motion to divide Andhra Pradesh into two provinces in the next election. The population is apparently split on this. A general strike was in the works. Pastor Moses said it would be unsafe to be out and about if there was a strike.
We decided to continue until the strike was called. We had a day for training local church members and two for visitation. We heard 23 professions of faith in two days of visitation. We also trained 8-10 young adults to share the Gospel. One young fellow who came with me said 6 months ago I wanted to beat up Christians now I am one of them. It was a much tougher crowd in north Hyderabad than Magatapali with a mixture of Muslims & hard core Hindu's battling for supremacy. The Christians are the scapegoats; beatings are increasing says pastor Moses. Perhaps two days was enough with the political tensions rising.
Joel Van Hoogan and worked with Pastor Surender Singh in Hariward city in north India. Pastor Surrender also faces regular persecution. Joel writes...
"Our three days in Haridwar resulted in 28 professions of faith. We traveled long distances on motorbike to a number of small farming villages where the gospel has taken a root in the home of someone who was healed or delivered of demons. It was a great time."
Prayer Huts: Pastor Moses Undru in picture
Satan has used the caste system to divide and conquer. Prayer huts are an effective tool to get over that barrier. When a family comes to Christ and completes the initial follow up, pastor Mohan uses that home as a prayer house. But they can not stay there because only people from the same cast would enter that home. A prayer hut functions like a Hindu temple - all castes can attend. When a prayer hut grows to 60-80 people they are encouraged to consider building a permanent building which becomes their church. At this point the church would be self supporting and could pay a pastors salary.
$5000 will pay for land and prayer hut construction. If you would like to help build one please send donations to address below and mark it India prayer huts.
We take so much for granted here in North America. I feel unworthy to work with these faithful servants of God. Each one speaks of how encouraged they are with our visits. "Please help us teach and train pastors for all the locations God is at work." Some of those pastors in training don't read or write. They learn orally and go out to preach what they have heard. Whenever I open Word of God to teach them I sense a fresh anointing. Pray with us as we seek God's leading on how to help these men fulfill their calling.