In conversation with our brother Matthew, I asked him to provide a letter of his extensive work in India which requires assistance at this time. This letter is longer than usual, but the historical element is necessary for understanding how native people conceive their ‘origins’ in the faith there in India. It remains to be said that your contributions will be greatly appreciated! Brother Darrell
Dear WMF members,
I have prepared this letter both to communicate a new concern we are facing, and too hopefully to bring a greater understanding of our missions work in South Asia.
I graduated from Dallas Baptist University, and Southwest Baptist Theological Seminary. Upon my graduation, I was approached by Indian Christian Ministry groups in the U.S.A., Canada and Great Britain. They were looking for a pastor, but my passion has never been to be a pastor in the West, but to raise up grassroots pastors, teachers, and evangelists in the East. My multi-lingual and multicultural position is vital to communicating and raising up people in South Asia— districts in which some list the people as unreachable to the Gospel.
Hindus and Moslems Accept Christ Too
The Easter and Christmas season offer the greatest opportunity to reach the people of Asia. We have used this opportunity very effectively; when you see Hindu and Moslem children and their parents attending our Christmas Child Gala, and Operation Child Asia events scurrying about hoping to be picked to play the part of Mary or Joseph or a shepherd in the Christmas nativity play. During that time they learn by heart many scriptures. Yes, you begin to realize the walls to the gospel are often not the indigenous people but a cultural communication clash with western style evangelism. We have seen hundreds of Moslems and Hindus accept Christ. Many are trained to be pastors who start church after church— in places we are told the church is not welcome.
Indic Region: Understanding its Past
The Bharat, the modern day South Asia or Indian sub continent has the largest Vedic & Semitic people groups in the world, and it is the hardest mission field with the largest non-Christian population in the world. There is a long time relationship between Vedic (idol or Polytheistic Worshipers) and Semitic (Monotheistic Worshipers). Among some groups in India it is believed that Abram the Aramaean came out from the Vedic faith and established the Semitic faith, and he had been known as Abram the Hebrew. Furthermore it is believed that he continued to maintain the relationship to the East, but did not compromise the faith.
In 1000 BCE, King David, and after him King Solomon had a very strong relationship with that region. During that time, for political and business reasons, large numbers of Israelites migrated to Bharat (modern day South Asia or the greater India). Since then the migration has continued to Indian sub continent. After King Solomon, in 930 BCE the Kingdom of Israel split into two nations, the Northern Kingdom and the Southern Kingdom. In approximately 700 BCE, the King of Assyria conquered the Northern Kingdom (Kingdom of Israel), and captured the capital city of Samaria, in the territory of Ephraim son of Joseph. As the result the Kingdom of Israel scattered to the East.
Around 600 BCE the Babylonians attacked the Southern Kingdom (Kingdom of Judah). During 470 BCE King Xerxes become the ruler of that region, and he reigned from Ethiopia to India (Esther 1:1) in the 1st century BCE Kingdom of Judah lost her independence to the Roman Empire. Then the Southern Kingdom (Kingdom of Judah) scattered to the west. However, many Israelites travel to the east, South Asia including the apostle Thomas. Apparently, the Apostle Thomas took the message of the Messiah to the Children of Israelites in India; including my ancestors who would become followers of the Christ JESUS.
Israel and India
The present government of India holds a strong anti Christian sentiment, and you may have heard of the recent persecutions. However, the relations between Israel and India are much stronger than ever before. I think it is like King Solomon’s and King Xerxes’ time. In January, 2018 Benjamin Netanyahu, the prime minister of Israel visited Narendra Modi, the prime minister of India signed many agreements. Then Netanyahu asked Modi to read the Bible and Modi agreed it. I believe it is a great opportunity for us to establish a much greater relationship with the people of India to introduce God of Israel and the eternal love of Christ by using the comparison and contrast platform of Vedic faith and Semitic faith without compromising like father Abraham did.
An Effective Missions Platform
In the past forty-four years of ministry God has used me to build this platform among the descendants of the Vedic and Semitic people groups. We established a Leprosy Mission in 15 Leper Colonies through our Compassion Ministry of Christ. We started Village Fellowships in over 350 villages through our Church Planting Ministry of Christ, and established 3 Bible Training Centers through the Evangelism Ministry of Christ. The experience as a board member and as a missionary I have received under the leadership of Dr. Charles Rogers of World Ministry Fellowship is unexplainable. I was able to gain some very special knowledge through my research in “the Biblical Patriarchs Antediluvian and Postdiluvian” To God be the glory!
Now a New Concern
Most importantly, a new burden is upon us. We lost the lease one of our Bible Training Centers. It is very difficult to find a convenient location for Christian activities in that area. We have been told to vacate the property within the next five months. We have a small plot (44’x30') available to build on. The plot will accommodate a three story structure and it will cost $15,000.00 to build. That structure will provide plenty of room for the Bible Center to move in. These Bible Centers is where we teach ministry students how to start grassroots fellowships in the interior villages and to preach God of Israel and the love of Christ.
Our present concern has implications for tomorrow. $15,000.00 is needed and will complete the Bible Training Center structure and roof. Each floor is $5,000. Later we will concern ourselves with electricity, water, cemented floors and furnishings. Until then, classes can begin and it will be a wonderful Bible Center under our control. It’s possible someone may want to know more about completing the electricity or water, etc., that’s great. However, our greatest concern is having walls and a roof by June to keep us dry before the monsoon season starts. Please pray, shutting down this Bible Training Center would be a great loss for all of us and the Great Commission in that area. We need it to preach the God of Israel in that area. If the Holy Spirit leads you to help us, please know that anything you can do is much appreciated.
Bags of cement, rebar, water and sand are the simple ingredients for both houses of evil and for a house of blessing. In answering the mandate of Christ “to make disciples” we believe this Bible Training Center is our best long-term solution. Our students deserve our best to continue.
Pray With Us!
Lord, help us build YOUR house to take YOUR Gospel into this dry and thirsty land ready to hear and believe.
Workers Together in Christ,
Mathew C Kuruvilla
WMF Missions Board
A common occurrence in the Acts of the Apostles involves Paul’s co-workers. Upon his return from traveling and spreading the good news, he had the habit of assembling believers in one location and reporting on what God had done for them recently on the mission field. They always had something to say because they were busy sowing God’s word in harvest fields abroad. Dangers lurked everywhere. Undoubtedly their journeys were plagued with difficulties (see II Cor. 11); but their testimonies, when told to others, brought smiles to the faces of those who heard them.
A testimony is a survival motif. It is an account that endures whether someone passes a ‘test’ in life circumstances or through deadly events. Paul charged Timothy to “be faithful unto death”. If believers are alive, then they should be yet trusting God. Oh what a joy it is to serve alongside men and women who love the Lord, whose reliance upon him is exemplary.
The January missions’ board meeting was fruitful. Testimonies of God’s faithfulness abounds. The accounts made us all smile. During the July convocation there will be a panel discussion: WMF attendees will hear of God’s mighty outstretched arm, as it has been used in these last days to reach down from heaven into the earth-realm in order to perform His mighty deeds. God is good!
We hope to see you there
‘NOW IS THE TIME FOR SALVATION’
Isa. 49:8; II Cor. 6:2
The commencement of each year brings with it the usual best wishes and desires for health and prosperity for family and friends. Each New Year also becomes the opportunity for the origination of new slogans. As slogans go, these little catchphrases are designed to be remembered, and often are used for fundraising. For those persons, however, who are consumed by a fiery passion for evangelism and missionary work, the merchandising aspect of the use of watchwords is unimportant.
Every year I try to examine the main theme of my life and ministry on account of all outreaches that involve me. It is personal evaluation to see whether or not I fully subscribe to Christ’s verdict ‘not my will but thy will be done’. Sometimes what I learn about myself is alarming, even disturbing, when I permit God to fully reveal what he sees all the while he penetrates the mysteries of my heart. Yet I return again and again to the same verse, ‘Today is the day of salvation’. That means for me each day is a day for crucifying the flesh. Slogans change annually, but the one theme that I hope will prevail over your lives throughout 2018 is the idea that ministers are charged by God to die to self, that WMF members are only in this world for a season (a human lifespan). Every day that we encounter people whom we know and those with whom we are unacquainted, it is an opportunity to explain to them the rudiments of redemption, which is ‘our Father’s will for them in Christ’.
People are troubled by numerous issues in life; solutions are not readily accessible to them, so they think. But knowing the truth as we do, we understand that Christ provides the best answers in the light of his Salvation. It is amazing what God will do when he has a spokesman. King Amaziah sent away thousands of mercenaries that he had hired to fight for him: and this, after he already had paid them millions of dollars to go to war. He incurred a huge financial loss because he obeyed the prophet of God. In the end he received more than he had lost and God gave him a miracle. When we open our mouths to speak for Him, remarkable things happen.
Blessings come in a variety of ways. The anointing of God breaks and destroys burdensome yokes. This fact is verifiable everywhere amid the nations where evangelism occurs. In places around the world where yokes still are employed sometimes the brute strength of oxen are used to break up uncultivated soil. The earth yields the harvest when the top soil becomes productive. So it is with rescuing people with hardened hearts. Rarely does one yoke hold less than two or more persons at the same time. So when we help free a captive to sin, typically we free human hearts, i.e., a marriage, a family and monetary resources et cetera.
2018 likely will reflect the crop of seeds you sowed in previous seasons of ministry. If, however, you want to see God in move in the saving of souls, it is always a great time to inform people that today is their day to be delivered from whatever hinders them from obeying God. Missionary work begins with that announcement.
During this season when families all over the world celebrate the birth of Christ, we are reminded again of the need to reflect on the main reason for our lavish celebrations. Mistletoes, gingerbread cookies and lighted trees are seasonal and may have symbolic meanings; but they lack the clear meaning of ‘giving’ illustrated by God’s great act of love. Moreover those “Christmas” items lack the true qualities of things which should provoke children to ponder the real meaning behind the gifts given to them at Christmas time. Had not “God so loved this world…”, the greatest gift would not have been given. The significance of John 3:16 was paramount. The preeminent gift of his Son is foundational to any and all impetus on the believer’s part to give to others.
Jesus’ life was sacrificed on our behalf. Therefore we are indebted to him and should surrender all to him. The sacrifices that Christian parents make in order to supply natural provision for their families’ wellbeing exhibits God’s love-in-action, but only in a limited way. That parental instinct is native to parents who possess common sense. A deeper sense still exists. Jesus’ birth was so important that God led wise men and shepherds to him. What God did to redeem mankind was not instinctive to the human race. No one else ever had made such an attempt. Jehovah offered up his own unique son, his only-begotten son. Encouraging people to bring gifts to family members is one thing, encouraging people to bring Gifts to Christ is another; however, becoming a gift, wholly surrendered to God, one fully submitted to him and used by Him is the ultimate act of obedience. Throughout church history men and women have ventured to strange cultures and societies for the express purpose of reaching those who were unaware of God’s gift or that such love had been put into action.
These facts are true, and the simple message given will be endorsed by all who read these words. Whether the message will be translated into evangelistic action or not is entirely another matter. All around the world the spirit of jolly ol’ Saint Nick and Santa Clause will be celebrated. Will anyone take the time to read the story of Christ’s birth? Relating info of the former may produce smiles; the proclamation of the latter is anointed and will change lives for eternity. Since Jesus came into this earth, dwelling in it wholly without sin, the world has not been the same. The devil rages, the sting of sin was dealt with at the cross, and broken hearts now may be mended without the use of charms, witchcraft or belief in pagan gods. The resurrected son of God was vindicated when he was raised from the dead by the Spirit of holiness and power.
Indeed let us make our celebrations evangelistic this year. When confronted with the issue of possibly offending unbelieving persons who perhaps will join us at a Christmas gathering, let us not forget that Jesus was born to die, and that many sinners sought to destroy him when he was born and more sinners yet stood there at the cross where Jesus died. Should we not inform the offended of the truth of what their offenses required Jesus to do – to die? The narrative must be told, and forcefully. Who knows? There could be an Anna or Simeon ready to join us in telling others all about Christ’s remarkable Birth!
May Your Holiday Be Filled with Evangelism and Cheer,
Brother Darrell Sutton
By Matthew Kuruvilla
When we think about the Great Commission and missions in the Far East two great names come to our mind, William Cary and Mother Teresa. Both of them spent their life in Calcutta India. William Carey (17 August 1761–9 June 1834) was a British-India Christian Missionary, a Particular Baptist minister, translator, social reformer and a cultural anthropologist.
Mother Teresa, known in the Roman Catholic Church as Saint Teresa of Calcutta (born Anjezë Gonxhe Bojaxhiu; Albanian. 26 August 1910–5 September 1997), was an Albanian-Indian Catholic nun and missionary.
I have been asked by many people, what is a Christian missionary and a Christian mission? A Christian missionary is commissioned by the Lord to make disciples of Christ. Jesus commands all Christians to share the Gospel, which is the message of His death and resurrection that paid the penalty and conquered the power of sin. A Christian mission is an organized effort to fulfill the Great Commission.
“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age" (Matthew 28:19-20).
A Christian mission should function on the platform of evangelism. An evangelism platform must be Culturally Appropriate, Biblically Faithful, Theologically Sound, and Morally Ethical.
William Carey translated the complete Bible into 6 Indian languages, and portions into 29 others, yet he never attended the equivalent of high school or college. His work was so impressive, that in 1807, Brown University conferred a Doctor of Divinity degree on him posthumously. Also, he translated the Hindu Epic Poem 'Ramayana' into English. He and his family lived in India, died in India and were buried in India. Mother Teresa, too, is famous, because she was a person who was faithful to her profession of faith in Christ. In other words, she was a faithful and dedicated Christian. She spent her whole life among the poorest of the poor in Calcutta India. She worked with lepers, outcasts and the homeless. She was a walking Bible and a walking testimony. She lived among them, died among them and also was buried among them.
As well, I would love to introduce one more person to you through this blog. His name is Sadhu Sundar Singh. He was born into a Sikh family in the village of Rampur Kataania, Punjab, India on September 3rd 1889.
In his teenage life Sundar felt that his religious pursuits in Sikhism, and the questioning of Christian and Hindu priests, had left him without ultimate meaning. Sundar resolved to commit suicide by jumping in front of a train. He asked that whosoever is the 'True God' would please come before him, otherwise he would commit suicide. In that very night he had a vision of Christ Jesus who introduced the truth to Sundar. Sundar told his father, Sher Singh, that he was experiencing a transformation in his soul, and from this point on he committed his life to Christ and to His missionary work. His father denounced him at that point.
Many people said, "He not only looks like Jesus, he talks like Jesus must have talked." He was a walking Bible. His speeches were informed by his habitual early morning meditation on the Bible. In 1918 he made a long tour of the Southern part of India, Sri Lanka, and the following year he was invited to Burma, Malaya, China and Japan to preach the Gospel.
Some of the incidents from these tours were very miraculous, especially his Tibetan tour. He claimed power over wild animals and King Cobras. He had power over disease and illness, though he never allowed his healing gifts to be publicized.
However, the government of India which was British, and the Church of England, did not recognized his salvation experience and his ministry work because he looked different, dressed different, and talked different. This put Indian Christianity at least one hundred years behind. Still it is an epidemic in many parts of the world.
He continued his Culturally Appropriate, Biblically Faithful, Theologically Sound and Morley Ethical work of Savior Christ Jesus. Before he died Buckingham Palace invited him for a special tea with her royal highness. Following his example, let us together come to Know the God of Abraham and Make Him known to rest of the world.