by P. Joseph Raju
India is a nation with 1.34 billion people and still growing. One out of every six people in the world live in India’s more than 500,000 underdeveloped villages. India is the birth place of four major religions – Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism and Jainism. After Indonesia, it has the second largest Muslim population – about 15% of India’s total population. Hindus constitute almost 80 percent of the population while Christians are still below 2.3%. The challenges for the Gospel are enormous, and it comes from all quarters, including restrictions from the government and persecution from the religious fanatics who have no respect for the rule of law.
In 1833, British missionary Anthony Norris Groves came to India to preach the Gospel and plant New Testament patterned assemblies. Following him came other great missionaries from Europe and England. Among them included J.G. Gregson, V. Nagal, Handly Bird, and E.H. Noel who were instrumental in building the foundational work for the assembly movement in India. They were followed by several prominent native Indian missionaries, some of whom included John Christian Arulappan, Tamil David, K.V. Simon, K.G. Thomas, and K.G. Kurian. Although the brethren movement has spread to almost all parts of India, the gospel has yet to make a major breakthrough, especially in northern India.
Approximately 33-years ago, a few brethren in the USA prayerfully started the Gospel Missions of India (GMI) ministry with a goal to support assembly work in India. Since then we are deeply committed to helping Indian brethren preach the Gospel in every nook and corner of India.
GMI is a non-profit tax-exempt organization and is also a member of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA). A reputable CPA firm audits its financials every year, maintaining a high level of integrity in the stewardship of funds provided by God’s people. The ministry is overseen by ten board members who hail from different parts of the country. Currently, there are five board vacancies and they are searching for godly men to join them.
The initial goal of GMI is to share information regarding assembly work across India, and specifically the needs of God’s servants and various ministries. Brethren from the USA and Canada received the information and overwhelmingly supported the needs. Today, it continues to encourage North American believers to get involved in India by providing Indian workers with counsel and financial support. There are several opportunities for believers or assemblies to get involved and GMI can connect them to a missionary or ministry in India.
The ministry currently supports more than two thousand assembly missionaries in northern and southern India. Some are supported directly through designated funds and others through existing assembly funds in India. They need support for paying rent, sending their children to school, and getting medical treatment.
The needs in India are enormous. The greatest need today is assembly hall construction, especially in northern India where worshipping in homes has become nearly impossible. The requests for new assembly halls come in almost every day. Please take that as a challenge for your assembly. We have started to put together a list of Assembly hall construction requests, and this is available to you if you contact the GMI office. All the assembly hall funds will be routed through either Stewards Association in India or Operation Barnabas, Bangalore. Due to new stringent government rules, we recommend that North American assemblies choose either of these two assembly servicing agencies in India.
There are so many needs that come from India. Periodically we place the most urgent needs in our bi-monthly GMI newsletter available by email. The purpose of the newsletter is to inform you so that you can get involved. “Information is inspiration and inspiration is involvement” (Warren Wiersbe).
We encourage missions minded people to make short term mission trips to India. GMI provides three $1000 travel grants to those who are willing to take a minimum “three-week short term mission” to India. We can also help with travel arrangements within India. We are also looking for a few young people who can assist us with technical and PR skills for our GMI website. College students can use it for their unpaid internships for academic purposes. God has greatly blessed our young people. We are delighted to see them getting involved by supporting the Lord’s work in India. We are praying that more would join their ranks to support those who are serving the Lord full-time in India under very difficult circumstances.
Early in this ministry, a dear sister used to send two or three dollars every month with a note reminding us it was a “widow’s mite.” She was supporting the Lord’s work from her meagre Social Security check. She did that every month until she passed away. Another sister gave all the money in her estate. She contacted us for a list of ministries with urgent needs. We provided her with a list and she gave the entire amount in her estate to those ministries, living to see all her money faithfully invested for the Lord’s work in India before she passed away. Many of you may not have a will or trust. Believers Stewardship Services Inc. can professionally help you in preparing one.
The saints in India are immensely grateful for your prayer and support. What we do greatly encourages their hearts and strengthen their hands. GMI is an opportunity for you to become part of the Lord’s work in India and thus fulfill God’s mission. Everyone cannot go to foreign mission fields. But everyone can be part of the mission work with prayer and support. God will honor your commitment and reward your sacrifice according to His riches in heaven. It is amazing to watch how the Lord Jesus Christ is building His church in India, despite all the opposition from local, state and federal governments, and even brutal persecution from the fanatics.
If you are burdened to help, take a short-term missions trip, intern with us, or receive the GMI newsletter, below is the contact information:
Tel: (586) 306-5669
Gifts: May be made online or to Gospel Missions of India, P.O. Box 1043, Warren, MI 48090
Canadian donors: MSC Canada, 101 Amber Street, Suite 16, Markham, ON L3R 3B2, Canada