I recently returned from a mission trip to India. The experience was life-changing– so much so that I need to share some of what I experienced. Prior to my trip to India, this blog was dedicated exclusively to how Islam fulfills end-of-days Bible prophecies; but my personal experience in India is something that needs to be shared, and so I am taking a few weeks to post about what God said to me.
I would love to tell you that I experienced miracle after miracle in India; that I witnessed the blind being healed, the “fever” being instantly cured, and old, broken bodies being made new (it seemed that everyone I prayed over had aches and pains in their bones and joints). But that is not what I experienced. I did experience a miracle, but not of the New Testament “signs and wonders” type (Peter’s shadow healed people in Acts 5:15). My miracle was not in what I saw but what I heard with my spiritual mind.
I saw many people who had been trampled by a fallen world. I saw the poor, impoverished, the broken, the sick and the hopeless. I saw two separate accidents in a twelve-hour period, each of which had fatalities, and one of which literally occurred right in front of our van, as a rider on a motorcycle was crushed. I saw more than these two accidents. The traffic model in India (we were in Hyderabad, a city of 6.8 million) is like something from a movie gone wrong. It is chaos in action, but amazingly, it works, most times. There are stop signs but no one stops. There are stop lights but no one obeys them — unless a policeman happens to be on the corner. As you might expect, in such a model accidents are around every corner; and that is what I saw.
Crossing major intersections was like taking your life in your own hands– the biggest, fastest auto (or truck) seemed to always have the right-of-way simply because it was biggest, fastest, and honked the horn the loudest and most often. People were everywhere, except in church. The women always wore the most beautiful, colorful dresses, always– even as they worked in the fields or walked the dusty roads. But in India, it didn’t seem there was much of a “social security” system. I saw old women begging on the streets and intersections almost in “packs.” I was told to ignore them or they would descend upon us in hordes. The dogs in India were not pets. They were strays; and they ran in packs much like the women begging except they didn’t appear very nice. And the cows? My goodness I have never seen so many cows. They walk down the street, almost like they own it. They stand on the street corner, even walk along with the people. The sounds, the sights, the chaos, the sheer numbers of people was something I will never forget.
I will also never forget the lines of people waiting to be prayed over. After every worship service, our team of six was positioned in the front of the worship area; and people lined up in front of each of us for prayer. We soon saw the purpose of our visit to be more about praying for the hurting people than anything else. At one church (we visited six), the lines were so long and the people so anxious to be prayed over that the women were pushing one another out of line. My point? The people of India were hungry for God; a God that had dominion over satan and who moved mountains in their hour of need, a God who satisfied the cry of their soul for life. Hinduism and its many idols had failed them. The people were seeking God but did not know His name– it was Jesus that they needed.
After I returned from India, I learned of India’s “anti-conversion law,” a law that forbids Indians from being “forced” to convert to another religion. The law requires that before an Indian converts to a new religion, e.g., Christianity, they must first get permission from the local government officials. According to some opponents, the law is a violation of India’s constitution as a secular state which guarantees that every citizen has the right to practice their own religion. As might be suspected, when a religion begins to fail, its adherents will act to protect that religion. Hinduism is failing in India. From the perspective of this writer, the law is the evidence of the truthfulness of my statement. In fact, organizations exist in India that document the persecution of Christians in India. The All India Christian Council (AICC) was formed in 1998 to “give a united voice to protect and serve the interests of Christians, primarily, and the Dalit Bahujans [the “untouchables,” a lower caste in India]. The AICC claims to cut across denominational barriers to act against the alleged growing violence and blatant violations of religious freedom in India … .”
Perhaps you are wondering what God said to me while amongst the spiritually hungry people of India? I have already posted one impression the Lord gave me: read here: “India – How powerful is your God? The second is like unto it. Why would a compassionate God stand waiting on the sidelines as He observed a country so filled with people “wandering like sheep without a shepherd”? Matthew 9:35-36. The specific word came to me early in the morning, Friday, March 22, 2014, while in India. As I read L. B. Cowman – Streams in the Desert, the Spirit of God lifted these words off the page:
After forty years had passed, an angel appeared to Moses in the flames of a burning bush in the desert near Mount Sinai. . . . Then the Lord said to him,” . . . I have indeed seen the oppression of my people in Egypt. I have heard their groaning and have come down to set them free. Now come, I will send you back to Egypt. Acts 7:30, 33-34.
As I read that morning, the Holy Spirit changed the words of Acts 7:33-34 from “people in Egypt” to “people in India.” In that still small voice the Father so often uses, God impressed upon my heart that spiritual fires were coming for India. He had heard the cries of the people of India just as He had heard the cries centuries before when they ushered forth from the lips of His covenant people, Israel. The waiting was over. The time was now. God’s compassion had won out and it was about to spring into action.
You might be asking yourself why would God reveal this message to me? What can I possibly do that would make any meaningful difference in the spiritual awakening of one of the most populated countries in the world? I could not agree more. I felt the same way when He revealed Islam to be the “hand” through which satan would work in the end-of-days. That revelation began shortly after 9/11, and over the last twelve or so years, it has proven itself to be true.
I suppose that is sort of how God works isn’t it? He takes the “foolish things of the world to shame the wise and the weak things to shame the strong.” 1 Corinthians 1:27. When I first heard the word on March 22, I failed to see the last part of Acts 7:34, “I will send you back to [India].” Amazing that God had me read L G Cowan on this particular morning at the close of having witnessed a spiritual hunger I had never seen in America. Yes, in case you are wondering, India 2015 is in the planning stages. I wonder if Christ Tomlin will give us any help? He was in concert our last night there, something that we saw as no less a miracle than anything that occurred; but that’s another post.
God has heard the cries of the people of India. I can’t wait for my next trip.
Jesus come quickly.
Jack, are you familiar with the ministry of K.P. Yohannan and Gospel for Asia? It might be instructive to check out some of their materials and lessons learned as you prepare to go back to India. http://www.gfa.org.
Also, a Canadian Christian brother who works in sustainable agriculture was in India a few months ago and told me of his sense (confirming yours) that many in India are hungry for the gospel. He believes that the true percentage of believers in Jesus is much higher than the official statistic because the anti-conversion law suppresses the true figures (people avoid the hassle of reporting conversions so many who are officially Hindu are actually already believers in Jesus). This is not to deny your testimony of great need and hunger, but it was encouraging to hear his perspective.
Thanks Hunter. Actually, I am in the process of becoming informed about Gospel for Asia. Another brother mentioned the same thing and is quite familiar with their work as well. It is always an encouragement to hear confirmation of a “word” from the Lord, and I thank you for sharing. I understand how the anti-conversion law would cause an underreporting of Christian conversions. Makes sense actually and supports my line of thinking, i.e., the lack of reporting is because there is push-back and persecution when someone does. The persecution is because of the fear of a crumbling faith (anti-Christ inspired) and the threat of Christ to that faith.