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times he had to suffer for giving away what he had but was joyful in obeying God. He asked God for his grace to carry on when it was difficult. “When I sensed a definite restraint from the Lord, I did not give but otherwise I did not send anyone away empty-handed. Many took advantage of this and did not return single paisa of what they had borrowed. I didn’t ask for it but only committed the matter to the Lord in prayer. God compensates in different ways. Sometimes, I suffered for this and had no money for food. I used to pray, ‘Lord, this stomach is yours. If you want it to live, please supply it with food; if not I won’t complain, or worry.’ There were days when I did not even have enough money to buy a little rice to make conjee (gruel). The joy of the Lord was more than sufficient compensation.” “Give to him that asks you,” Jesus said. “Can we practice this principle regarding money in this century?” you may ask. Prof H Enoch, a Zoology Professor, practised it in his life. He \practised and taught the biblical financial principles based on the Sermon on the Mount. His life is a testimony to the fact that biblical principles of money and giving can be practised any time in history. Here are some lessons and experiences from his life regarding money and giving. He Learned Generosity From His Mother Children learn to give seeing their parents giving sacrificially. Prof. Enoch testifies that he inherited the quality of generosity from his mother. “She was a very charitable woman, very liberal, and helpful to the poor and needy. These qualities I inherited in some measure 2

from her. She used to give medical service and financial help to the poor. On one occasion, a Hindu friend was in financial trouble. My mother took off her gold Tali (the wedding symbol never to be taken off) and gave it to the woman to mortgage it and get the money she needed.” He Gave To Everyone Who Asked He practised what Jesus said, “Give to everyone who ask...” He gave away most of his salary and then trusted God to provide for his needs. “I used to give most of my salary away, as I thought I should in obeying the Word of God. Some of the money went to full-time workers, and other gifts went to beggars, widows and other poor people. I even gave to the well-to-do who came to borrow. I found it difficult to say no.” He Joyfully Suffered For Giving Away Living by faith is not easy. Some-

He experienced God’s provision in miraculous ways God delivered food to Elijah using a raven, for Prof Enoch God used a kite. God provides in miraculous ways when we trust in Him completely. Prof. Enoch had many such experiences of God’s provision. “Before I went to live with the fisherfolk, I was living in a bungalow-type house amidst many tall buildings. One day, I was down to my last paise. Guests were expected. I was not anxious, as by then I had learned to live by faith and to rely on God to supply my daily needs. On that particular morning I was praying for money to buy provisions from the market. My believing servant was also praying in the kitchen. As we were praying, we heard a noise outside my kitchen door. Looking out, the servant saw that a kite had dropped a live fish. Continued on Page No. 23


Editorial Dear Readers, Greetings to you in the glorious name of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. I’m glad to present you yet another issue of Soul Connect. I praise God for making it possible and pray that it will be of great spiritual benefit to each one of you. God is at work in the world (John 5:17). He is working towards a clearly set goal which is described in Rev. 7: 9-10 - to create a new humanity in Christ Jesus who will be drawn out of every nation, tribe, people and language. And they will worship Him for eternity. This is the goal of missions – to work alongside God to make this a reality.

Individuals and communities who respond to His call become His coworkers in the redemption drama staged on world history. The story of the Bible and the story of two thousand years of Christianity reveal this great truth. God desires (even commands) his children to labor alongside him (II Cor.5:1920). Participating in the redemption plan is not an option for God’s children. That’s the reason for one’s existence (II Cor.5:14-15). Mission is not a part-time agenda of our life on this earth. Mission is the only agenda of our lives. Everything we do in life must therefore be done with this awareness. God’s people must be willing to realign their lives – to change places, careers, jobs, schedules, ambitions, lifestyles, cross boundaries, so on and so forth, if necessary, all for the sake of taking the gospel to the ends

of the earth - to all people groups. Only a life which is totally committed to the radical teachings of Jesus Christ is capable of carrying out God’s desire for the lost world (Lk.9:23-28). In this issue, we have covered the stories and testimonials of some men and women, of the past and present, who have taken God’s agenda seriously in their lives. I pray and hope that they will inspire and challenge us to rethink our life priorities. Let us live in the light of Eternity. Yours in His Mission,

Sam K John (Editor) meetskj@gmail.com

FEATURES

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Blessing of Giving - Shibu K Mathew

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Is Your Heart Sensitive? - Joseph Oommen

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Find Me On Facebook! - Jaichand Sudershan

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God’s Calling: Will You Answer? - Sam K John

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Here I am Lord, But Send Someone Else - R Billy

John Jebaraj James

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Investing Life On People - An Interview by Nalini Parmar

Ashwin Ramani

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Here I am Send Me - Siby Yeswin

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Destination: North India - A Testimony

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Driven by Eternity! - Nelson & Shobana

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Tent Makers of Our Time - An Interview

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How to Choose a Job? Check List - John Piper

Editorial Team Joseph Devadason Shibu K Mathew

Nalini Parmar Layout Design Dilip, Language Editing Debbie Sunil & Lydia Edwin Photos ShutterStock & sxc.hu

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For Subscription Info.: Page No.21

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Devotional

I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store my surplus grain. And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.” Is there anything wrong with this thinking? It seems logical even today! Please note the I’s and I’lls. The rich man thought he was wise and had everything figured out for life but God calls him a fool. These are the results of futile thinking of the rich man.

If

my Lord Jesus were to stand beside me and review with me all of my life realities, will he ask me the same questions he asked his disciples – “Do you still not see and understand? Are your hearts hardened? Do you have eyes but fail to see, and ears but fail to hear? And don’t you remember?” (Mark 8:17). It would seem to me as if I have lost all my senses. Is it the same condition mentioned by Paul in Eph 4:19 – having lost all sensitivity or in 1 Tim 4:2 – whose consciences which have been seared with a hot iron? The disciples had just experienced the great miracles of feeding of the four thousand and five thousand people and yet they were rebuked for this condition. I realize that this could be my condition also even though I can claim to be a disciple of Jesus. How could this have happened to me? Did it happen overnight? What went wrong along my walk? The description of the lifestyle mentioned in Eph 4:17-19 could give some understanding of how 4

this could happen. Key phrases – “futility of their thinking”, “darkened in their understanding”, “separated from the life of God”, “ignorance due to the hardening of the heart” and finally “having lost of all sensitivity”. Thinking allows me to convert the various inputs I am receiving in audio and visual form into intelligence based on which I interpret the situation and then make decisions. The word futile means completely ineffective, no useful purpose and fruitless. When the capability and capacity to think effectively is diminished then understanding is darkened… their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened (Rom 1:21). Jesus called the rich man (Luke 12: 16 -21) whose fields produced abundant crops a fool. The rich man had a bumper harvest and thought to himself ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’ “Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do.

I have come to realize that there is a constant battle for my mind (the thinking tool God has given all of us) from the time I get up in the morning. There are emails or notifications on the handheld device which have arrived overnight while I slept and needs my attention. I need to plan for the busy day ahead, send few SMS’s, confirm appointments, bills to be paid etc. At the same time e-books, magazines, newspaper articles are sending me signals on the devices that they need to be read. The live streaming coming in through internet and TV channels have to be processed. In the midst of all this my spiritual being is telling me to read God’s word, meditate on it, be careful to live according to it, pray for the ministry, “Be still and know that I am God”. Who is winning in this battle? The world and its systems are constantly bombarding our minds to make our capacity (bandwidth) and capability to think about matters important to God ineffective. When futile thinking sets in then the rest of the steps leading to insensitivity to God’s will, directions, revelations set in. My capability to understand what God is saying to me diminishes causing my time with


Parable

God in quiet time and prayer to be a ritual. As days go by without realizing I have started living independent of God, making choices and decisions on my own and still thinking that God is involved. I am unable to hear what God is saying, what does He want me to do today, what is the next step in an important decision etc……I have lost all sensitivity due to a hardened heart. Hence God says : Test every thought against God’s written word and demolish those which are against His expressed will. 1Corinthians 10:5, “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” Make a choice to think what is right in God’s eyes. Philippians 4:8, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” Allow the transforming power of His Spirit to renew our minds. Romans 12:2, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Joseph Oommen works with a MNC as Senior Manager. He is married to Anina & they are blessed with two boys.

There

was once a man who started a Facebook account. Things started looking up. He could catch up with old school friends, family, and colleagues. He enjoyed posting updates and photos that were interesting. He even found sound advice on friendship, relationships, and even on how to handle finances. He was reminded about birthdays and anniversaries and events. “Wow! He thought, I am making many friends, chatting topeopleacrosstheglobeandIamalwaysintouchwiththosewhomIwant!” Soon he found himself eagerly looking forward to the times he could post a comment, like a photo or express his dislikes; he was beginning to be heard by those who mattered to him. At work or at home it was always there, “How convenient that I can meet all my friends and loved ones everyday! It saves on time and travel…” He posted the same thought too and hundreds liked it! He became excited about the endless possibilities that Facebook offered. Time went on and Facebook became available on the mobile phone. His joy knew no bounds! “I am connected all the time! I only wish that there was more time…” Everyday, waking and sleeping hour, the need to share, comment, like, dislike, add a friend, greet, join a group, create a page… began to consume his mind. At work he began to extol the virtues of connected living. “Send me my to-do-list as a message on Facebook and it will be done!” He exclaimed to his boss, who, by the way, was happy to…the job was getting done! “Let’s do it on Facebook!” he told his wife as she complained one day about him not spending time with her. Soon she was forced to do the very same thing! “When are you free daddy? Asked the children, “It’s been so long since we all went out together!” “Why don’t you chat with me on Facebook? I can do it whenever and wherever. Let me buy you some smart phones and then you too can be in touch with me and we can chat about when I will be free to take you out.” He declared with alacrity. Family prayer times ended up with his wife and children doing it without him, “give me just a few minutes more…a really interesting discussion is going on,” was a common refrain. In church too, it was easy to Facebook as it looked as if he was praying! “Good joke by the pastor,” or “boring…” was a common post on Sundays. Bible reading was now exclusively from the verses shared by his friends. “So easy to pray on Facebook,” he thought to himself often. Post-a-prayer-to-God was a page he was proud to have started. A few years went by and one day he wanted to go out to meet a friend he 5


Parable

had been very close to in school. “Let’s meet,” he posted. “Let’s FB,” said the friend. Soon he found that the only way that he could spend time with anyone was by not being there. His wife had her own group of friends on Facebook, his children had blocked him because their friends said he was too old. His boss kept sending tasks by the dozen and none of his friends took time to like his posts…they had moved on to others. He became more frantic. He added new friends, made new pages, forced his friends to like his posts...it began to spiral out of control. Sleep became difficult. Dinner table conversations always were about Facebook topics, no friends invited them over because they had stopped it because he had no time for offline social friendships, his relatives shunned him…he had ignored too many invitations! His colleagues began muttering about the amount of work that they had to do as he was too busy on Facebook and they even started a FB poll asking if he devoted too much time to Facebook – 99% said yes! He tried to pray but as he closed his eyes all he could see were comments in Facebook comment boxes! “What has happened to me?” he asked, frightened and alone in a room filled with people (many who were on Facebook using their mobile phones!) And then one day, because he had forgotten to pay his internet bill, the line was disconnected! And a few days later the boss passed a new rule – No free wifi to employees (costs were running high – mainly, many thought due to his incessant internet activity!) He was devastated! He came home after a tough day at work. “Hello honey,” said the wife, “just a moment, I am in an interesting discussion with my Facebook group!” His children did not even bother to look up, they were too busy chatting. For the first time in many years he sat down and looked at the desktop and realized…no internet connection! What to do!!!!” He picked up a book and flipped a few pages, it was difficult to concentrate. As he lay back exhausted a curious feeling began in his left arm and a sharp pain in his chest. He cried out in pain and asked his wife to help him. “Just one more moment dear, I’m almost done…” “Mom called the younger child, “I think dad is dead!” “What! She exclaimed. “Husband fallen on the floor! Will get back…” she posted and went to him. “Honey! Honey! She called him but he was gone. His son posted immediately, “Update: dad died just now.” “RIP! Champion of Social networking, etc….the comments kept pouring in. But at the funeral no one came except the family and even there all of them were on Facebook! Jaichand Sudershan. Jaichand is the pastor of the Evangelical Free Church in Bangalore. He is married to Saritha & they are blessed with two children.

A new Pastor in a small town spent the first four days making personal visits to each of the members, inviting them to come to his first services. The following Sunday the church was all but empty. Accordingly, the Pastor placed a notice in the local newspapers, stating that, because the church was dead, it was everyone’s duty to give it a decent Christian burial. The funeral would be held the following Sunday afternoon, the notice said. Morbidly curious, a large crowd turned out for the “funeral.” In front of the pulpit, they saw a closed coffin, smothered in flowers. After the Pastor delivered the eulogy, he opened the coffin and invited his congregation to come forward and pay their final respects to their dead church. Filled with curiosity as to what would represent the corpse of a “dead church,” all the people eagerly lined up to look in the coffin. Each “mourner” peeped into the coffin then quickly turned away with a guilty, sheepish look. In the coffin, tilted at the correct angle, was a large mirror. A Woman went to the Post Office to buy stamps for her Christmas cards. “What Denomination?” Asked the clerk. “Oh, my goodness! Have we come to this?” said the woman. “Well give me 50 Baptist and 50 Catholic!”

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Focus

I have a feeling that too many Chris-

tians are wasting their precious life these days on some trivial pursuits instead of investing it for God’s eternal purposes. Their justification: “We have not received God’s call.” Three common misconceptions are: 1) God’s call to missions is only for a selected few. 2) God’s call is all about someone entering into full-time ministry. 3) God’s call is always communicated through some dramatic revelations. However, the evidence of the Scripture contradicts these notions. Every child of God is called to invest his or her life for Kingdom purposes (2 Cor.5: 14-15) and the mission mandate is binding on all Christians without exception (Matt.28:18-20). Likewise, all of Jesus’ followers are called to follow him into full-time mission – that is, to love God and love others and serve people all the time, wherever they are, regardless of their vocation.

I think the call of God is not primarily about full-time or part-time involvement; rather it is about kingdom tasks. Time and again God exposes His kingdom needs to us. That’s the call of God for us to act! Now, how do we identify a Kingdom need? I suggest, don’t indefinitely wait for God to convey this through an unusual or spectacular sign. Look around, open your eyes, tune your ears, move around…you will discover. God is sovereign and He can use any microphone to get our attention. But are we listening? One might want to ask – “At any given point of time, there will be several kingdom needs around me. How do I know what specific thing God wants me to involve?” Start praying and involving…He will confirm His call on you. That’s what I discovered in my personal life. As I was finishing my under graduate studies, I came across a need for a youth worker to co-ordinate the

work of EU in Madurai. A senior friend of mine who was holding that ministry position at that time was planning to move to another place. There was certainly a need. Also, I realised that working with students is something I like. One evening, in my hostel room, all alone, I prayerfully decided to give myself to fill the need that was before me. Looking back, I don’t remember God giving a verse from the Bible or a dramatic experience or a super natural phenomenon during that time. It was a simple deal! Nevertheless, as I started my involvement with the student mission, over the first two years, God confirmed His call on me. It’s been almost 15 years since I made the decision and my mission affair with the student world still continues. Let us take common means by recognised

a look at some of the and not-so-common which God’s people their Kingdom tasks. 7


Focus

Fuelled by Facts

“Hanani, one of my brothers, came from Judah with some other men, and I questioned them about the Jewish remnant that had survived the exile, and also about Jerusalem. They said to me, “Those who survived the exile and are back in the province are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been burned with fire.” Neh.1: 2-3 (NIV). Although Nehemiah lived in Persia, in the palace of Susa, 1000 miles away, he kept an eye on what was happening in Jerusalem among God’s people. Taking efforts to know what is happening in World Missions is an important step in developing one’s missionary burden. That’s what Nehemiah did. He wanted to know! Warren Wiersbe writes, “Some prefer not to know what’s going on, because information might bring obligation. What you don’t know can’t hurt you.” The facts Nehemiah discovered through his inquiry prompted him first to pray and then to act (Neh. 1: 4-11). Eventually, he left for Jerusalem to fulfil his role in God’s kingdom (Neh. 2:9). God can use mission facts to fuel us into His work.

In 1783, a sensational book was published in England under the title Journal of Captain Cook’s last voyage to the Pacific Ocean. Cook was an explorer who was killed in Hawaii in 1779. While many read Cook’s last 8

book to satisfy their curiosity over amazing places and strange peoples, one young man’s mind was thinking about World missions: “Are there so many places and people in the world who haven’t heard about Jesus yet?” He decided to do something about the vast need he discovered. Soon, he set forth some of these compelling facts in the form of a book and published his missionary challenge in 1792, An Inquiry into the Obligation of Christians to use Means for the Conversion of heathens. His little book sparked an unprecedented interest in World Missions and fuelled the formation of many missionary agencies across Europe and North America during the dawn of the 19th century. He himself sailed to India as a missionary in 1793 showing the way for hundreds and thousands of young men who followed his footsteps in later times. No wonder, he (William Carey) is called the Father of Modern Missions!

cannot be justified, the fact remains that the sight of his people suffering stirred him to do something for them. It ignited within him a passion for their deliverance. Although Moses had to wait for another 40 years for God’s timing, we eventually see him fulfilling his role as a deliverer of God’s people from Egypt. Sometimes God uses an event or an experience or a sight to invite us to be part of His Kingdom work. Do we keep our eyes open to those things that God wants us to see?

Stirred by Sights

In 1947, a 33 yr old American youth minister, Bob Pierce, was sent to China to preach the gospel. During four months of his stay there, thousands of people came to Jesus through huge evangelistic rallies. On his way back, he met Tena Hoelkedoer, a missionary teacher. She presented him a battered and abandoned child named White Jade who had given her life to Christ at Mr. Pierce’s crusade and because of that was beaten and abandoned by her family. Unable to care for the child herself, Tena asked Pierce, “What are you going to do about her?” Pierce gave the woman his last five dollars and agreed to send the same amount each month to help the woman care for the child. On his return, Pierce wrote these words in the flyleaf of his Bible: “Let my heart be broken with the

“In the course of time Moses grew up. Then he went to [see] his own people and watched them suffering under forced labour. He saw a Hebrew, one of his own people, being beaten by an Egyptian.” Exo. 2:11 (God’s Word Translation). When Moses was forty years old, he went out to where his people were to see what was happening to them. Perhaps, he knew about their suffering through his parents and sister. Now, he wanted to see for himself – first hand experience. Certainly, it was a conscious effort by Moses to leave behind his comfort zone to enter into the vicinity of the suffering. What he saw during his visit stirred him for action. The sight of an Egyptian mercilessly beating a Hebrew prompted him to do something. Though what he did (killing)


Focus

things that break the heart of God.” What Pierce saw in China eventually stirred him to form the ‘World Vision,’ an international organisation that caters to the needs of poor and downtrodden people of the World.

Motivated by Mentors

“When Esther’s words were reported to Mordecai, he sent back this answer: “Do not think that because you are in the king’s house you alone of all the Jews will escape. For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?” Then Esther sent this reply to Mordecai: “Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my attendants will fast as you do. When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish.” (Esther 4:12-15). Mordecai, Esther’s mentor, was the one who knew about the impending danger for God’s people in the Persian Empire. When he informed this to Esther, we see her very much hesitant to take up this matter with the King at the beginning (4:11). Subsequently, we see Mordecai challenging Esther to see her larger purpose in life (4:16) and re-orient her priorities. Eventually, she fulfils her role in God’s kingdom – preserving God’s people! We all need our own ‘Mordecais’ in life – people who can constantly inspire and motivate us towards Kingdom life and mission – people who can bring us back to our Life purpose and Mission – people who can remind us of His great commission. To keep the missionary spirit alive, surround yourself with mission minded friends.

The story of Jim Elliot and four friends who gave their life for Auca Indians is an inspiring one. When one closely studies their biographies, it becomes evident how their friendship challenged and motivated one another for God’s Kingdom purposes. Jim had a great deal of influence on Pete Fleming (childhood friend) and Ed McCully (college mate) and was largely responsible for them becoming missionaries. Similarly, Nate Saint was instrumental in persuading the fifth member of the team, Roger Youderian, to be part of the Auca missionary endeavour. What the Lord achieved through the lives of these men is a challenging testimony to Mission minded friendships.

Powered by Prayers

“While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” Acts 13: 2. Prayer is a powerful tool in missions and kingdom building. In Matt.9:37 Jesus said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” We have a demonstration of this at the Antioch Church (Acts 13). God raised two great missionaries, Barnabas and Paul, from amongst them, as they continued to pray for Missions. Rev. 8: 1-5 is a tremendous passage that talks about the power of prayer in Missions. Commenting on this, John Piper states, “What we

have in this text is an explanation of what has happened to the millions of prayers over the last 2,000 years as the saints have cried out again and again, ‘Thy kingdom come . . . Thy kingdom come.’ Not one of these prayers, prayed in faith, has been ignored. Not one is lost or forgotten. Not one has been ineffectual or pointless. They have all been gathering on the altar before the throne of God.” Who knows that the missionaries whom God sent to our land in the last century were actually answers to sincere prayers of those who prayed for India in the by gone centuries! Only eternity will reveal the full impact of our prayers!

The year was 1885. Siblings Grace and Robert Wilder, who had grown up as missionary kids in India, were stirred in their spirits to ask God for a revival in Missions. They felt that the church in the United States had grown cold and lethargic to the cause of worldwide evangelization. Grace and Robert prayed that God would raise a thousand new missionaries! Gripped with a growing concern, Robert took time to share his vision to some of his friends at Princeton Seminary. Subsequently, six young people joined together on Sundays week after week to pray for Missions. In 1886 D. L. Moody had arranged a Bible conference at Mt. Hermon, Massachusetts. Urged by his sister who was convinced that God was about to usher in a breakthrough, Robert attended the two week long conference. There were about 200 9


Focus

college students from all over United States. During the session breaks Robert began sharing about his vision and invited them to join for a special time of prayer during the afternoons. Starting with four the group soon multiplied. Robert then met Moody and persuaded him to devote two evenings to discuss about Missions. A. T. Pierson and William Ashmore challenged the conference crowd with the need for missionaries in ten countries. Those who listened were deeply impressed, and by the last day of the conference ninety-nine students had signed a paper which read: “We are willing and desirous, God permitting, to become foreign missionaries.” The morning after the closing of the conference the ninety-nine volunteers met for a farewell service, and while they prayed one more came in to join their ranks. Thus, the Student Volunteer Movement (SVM) was born. Grace and Robert had asked the Lord of harvests to raise one thousand new missionaries but he answered their prayers with more than what they could have imagined. By 1930, SVM had sent more than 20,000 missionaries to foreign lands! May God give us the grace to yield our lives for the sake of His glory. Sam K John is an itinerant preacher based out of Bangalore. He also directs Kingdom Friends Network (KFN). Sam is married to Jiji & they are blessed with two children.

“Never

pity missionaries; envy them. They are where the real action is – where life and death, sin and grace, Heaven and Hell converge.” – Robert C. Shannon

Young

people in this generation are not excited to come out for full-time Christian ministry. Many Christian organizations and churches are in dire need for committed workers. Isaiah said, “Here am I, send me” (Is. 6:8). But now, believers want to say, “Here I am but send someone else!” ‘NOT ME’ is the answer, when God calls His child for His service. Young people don’t consider the calling for Christian ministry as a primary option in their career path anymore! It is sad to see that many believers want to avoid any sort of mission related programs with the fear that the Lord would push them into full-time ministry. In the beginning of 20th century, when Students Volunteer Movement (SVM) was so active in recruiting many young people for God’s mission the quote by Jordan Grooms, “If God calls you to be a missionary, don’t stoop to be a king” was very famous in the missions circle. But, I am afraid, in our times we could slightly change this quote as follows: “If you can become a doctor or a software engineer, never stoop down to be a full-time worker!” WHO IS TO BE BLAMED FOR THIS SCENARIO? (Continued on Page No. 13)

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Focus

Delhi and spent 16 years there. After their relatively longer stint in Delhi they moved to two different places for a short time. Now he works for a company in a South Asian Country and his wife is involved in voluntary counseling and training. In the different places they moved they have been a blessing to many families around. They have two children – a daughter who is married and blessed with a son and a son who is pursuing his studies. 1.What’s the mission of your life ?

Sharing

his life and sharing the gospel were the hallmarks of Apostle Paul’s lifestyle evangelism. The care of a nursing mother, the gentle encouragement and the urge of a father touched not only the lives of the Thessalonians but also the people from many churches and the countries that he travelled. (I Thess. 2: 7, 11). As disciples of our Lord Jesus Christ we long to connect with people in a similar way touching and transforming lives. Life’s pressures, misplaced priorities, cares and the worries crowd our lives often impacting our focus and vision. God has called us to be the salt and the light of this world. It was William Carey who said “On my calendar are two days – today and that day, I live today for that day”. Often our Peter-like heart longs to be settled in small wonders such as he wanted to in the mountain

of transfiguration, while God has higher plans – to be spent and used up for Him and ultimately to glorify Him. It takes a heart of compassion, trust in God to reach out, connect with people in this ever so selfish world. Let us trust in His grace and power to live lives worthy of our calling! Here’s one family from whom I have learnt the essence of touching and transforming others’ lives wherever they were called to and presented here is a short interview on their life and work. Mr. Dawood and his wife Suzanna (names changed) work in a South Asian country where majority are Muslims. As a family they had a commitment to work as tent makers in places where God would take them. After serving for a well known company in Chennai, they moved to

Our life’s goal or mission statement has been celebrating God by enjoying His goodness and experiencing His grace through loving, knowing and serving Him. Two primary things we believe and enjoy are: Celebrating Life – All seasons of life, marriage and family. Celebrating Relationships – By enabling people to grow holistically so we ourselves mature in Him. The values we hold dear and pursue to practice are: Humility, Integrity, Generosity, Hospitality, Serenity, Chastity and Charity. 2. Please share a brief note on what you are presently doing and why? We work in a South Asian Country as tent makers. My husband Mr. Dawood works in a Company while am involved in voluntary counseling and training. Along with secular work which Mr. Dawood is involved, we are presently involved with victims of a disaster. We spend time with them in the hospitals, pray for them and it’s amazing to experience God’s touch on these people in special ways. The experience is rewarding as we see people opening their lives and heart. We work towards victims for inner healing through listen11


Focus

ing, counseling and encouraging them. We are grateful God for the opportunities He has opened for us. 3. You have changed your base location more than couple of times. Please share one good and one not so good experience. What do you feel about them now? We started our work based out of Chennai, after which we moved to Delhi. We lived in Delhi for 16 years where I was a home maker primarily while my husband was working for an NGO. One trying experience that we went through in the initial months in one of our assignments was when the locals did not prefer a person from a different ethnic background taking a leadership role in their Organization. Though we humbly tried to explain them, but since the growth of the institution was hampered we had to leave. We still miss the place, people and our dreams for the institution. Even through these trying times we were assured that that, ‘All things work together for good for those that love God’. While we were there I underwent two eye surgeries and one of them was quite crucial. The doctor in the institution was an expert in the very same field and so God graciously helped us through, which we can now reflect back and tell that was a very good experience. 4. It’s easier to settle in a place and in a job and still do God’s ministry. What motivated you to take up career changes that took you to different places and cultures? What made it easier? We believe in the Great Commission of our Lord and obedience to this has taken us to different places. We always enjoyed new 12

cultures, food habits and practices and we felt quite adventurous in all the changes we have experienced/ experiencing. We accepted that we are human beings with limitations. We trusted His power and wisdom for the different roles we played. It’s amazing to experience His goodness and even in our late fifties we are here in a new place learning, trusting, sharing our lives and gospel. 5. Bringing up kids, managing the family and home is in itself stressful and time consuming. What made you to keep your focus and perspectives on the ever needy world? For the initial 12 years, I was a homemaker to take care of the growth process of the children. I was not so good at Hindi to teach them so we depended on tuitions to teach Hindi and Mathematics. Children did well and grew up to be balanced Kingdom minded people. A lot of options to do creative things at home were provided that helped that to grow up in all the areas of their lives. The 3 important things which we did for the kids were: • Reading, Meditating and memorizing the scripture with a regular family prayer time. • Transparency in the family that came through prayer and accepting everyone’s unique gifts and talents provided a viable atmosphere to grow. We still spend a lot a lot of money on phone and internet bills! • Kids were involved in the work we did in their own little ways. Kids involved in church and came with us for the many conferences and seminars. They would create small videos or help in some voluntary work. Once when I was involved in cross-cultural training, the kids used to take the volunteers for city tours. Indeed bringing up kids, manag-

ing an open home and involving in church itself was time consuming. We constantly prayed for knowing God’s heart and also we prayed to God to fill our hearts with compassion. This kept our perspectives and focus and we continued to invest in the community around in whatever way God opened for us. 6. How do you get connected to people in new places? What are some of the creative things that you have done to get involved in people’s lives? There is no better word or method than “Friendship”. We always make many friends; we become their brothers or sisters or even foster parents to youngsters. That way we get opportunities to participate in their lives, situations as well as mentor them. We always try to be friendly with the whole family. Recently we visited around 20 families and the experience was rewarding. We also invite our neighbours and friends for Christmas, Easter, Birthday or Anniversary get-togethers. We enjoy the time with fun-filled games, food and prayer. The games will focus on the topic of the season and testimonies of God’s faithfulness. We do share about the miracles happened in our lives during those gatherings. These were always well-received by our neighbours in the various places we stayed. We also visit people when they are in hospital and we pray, counsel, comfort and encourage them. We also involve in marriage counseling and enrichment programmes. We initiate or involve in small care cells and contribute for the group members’ growth and enrichment. 7. Can you share some suggestions to young families who would like to involve in


Focus

missions along with their work.?

WHO IS TO BE BLAMED FOR THIS SCENARIO?

Here are some suggestions for young families: • Give time for one another. Someone said -Love is spelt as ‘TIME’. • Going to God’s presence as often as possible. Time spent with God transforms us, He pours His love in to our hearts that’s difficult to keep it for ourselves. • Growing constantly in love (within marriage and outside). • Give boundaries for children when they grow. • Graciously letting go the children when they are young.

Half-hearted Disciples, who are not willing to count the cost but have a superficial commitment. Not willing for sacrifice but to have sophisticated life-style! In some cases, like Jonah, God’s children purposely disobey His call to be in ministry because they want to spend their lives as they desire.

The world out there has so many challenges, needs and opportunities. You just have to step out of your chair or comfort zone and there is someone waiting for you to care for, to be encouraged, admonished or mentored. Worship places also need professionals in various roles. When we take the first step in faith the Creator Almighty God is waiting to pour out His power, grace abundantly to equip and use you. Interviewed by Nalini Parmar. Nalini works as a software professional based in Delhi. She is married to Jonathan Parmar & they are blessed with three daughters.

“People who do not know the

Lord ask why in the world we waste our lives as missionaries. They forget that they too are expending their lives ... and when the bubble has burst, they will have nothing of eternal significance to show for the years they have wasted.” – Nate Saint, missionary martyr

Cont. from Page No.10

The Christian Parents, who are not at all willing to send their children for Christian ministry. They say that you involve in the Church ministries and in local level work but not as a full-time worker. Many parents are more anxious about social and financial status of their children than serving the Lord. In some cases, due to the cultural context, a young lady cannot take a decision about serving the Lord in full-time Christian ministry. She would be allowed only after her marriage! Sad to say but it is true that some parents would allow their children to enter into ministry only if the latter found good for nothing in every other field! The Servants of God, who are not having a great thrill in their life and ministry. Hence, the young people around them are also not thrilled to consider God’s work as a priority option in their career path. In addition, the hypocrisy found among many in ministry certainly turns them away. The Materialistic Society: The worldly pleasures and love for money and position leads to disobedience to God’s call. “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil”. (I Tim. 6:10). Sometimes, there is a very wrong understanding that full-time workers will constantly suffer financially and there is no joy in their life! A feeling of insecurity and fear also cause people not to consider God’s work seriously. The Devil: He shows the good and not the best to the child of God even in terms of serving the Lord! Some of them want to cheat God by giving what they have and not giving themselves to God. OUR MOTIVATIONS: Our Lord Jesus Christ who emptied Himself and came down into this world to serve. Phil. 2: 6-9. Men and Women of the Bible: we see that those who obeyed the Lord made history and brought glory to God by fulfilling God’s plan and purpose in and through their lives. Men and Women of Church History: we see that almost all missionaries from West came to our beloved nation, India, leaving everything behind them. Through their lives and ministries our forefathers were really blessed. And through them, we are so much blessed now. Don’t we have a moral and spiritual responsibility? F.F. Bruce, a great Bible Teacher considered his calling as an exciting one. He said, “I regard this as a most worthwhile and rewarding occupation”. There is a great joy in serving the Lord! Hence, if God calls you to be His servant, consider it as your privilege and honour! When God called Isaiah, his response was, “Here I am, Send Me.” What would be yours? Billy has been with the UESI as a staff for more than two decades. He & his wife Persis are now based in Kotagiri, Nilgiris. billy.r@uesi.in

13


Testimony

2005, while I was worshipping the Lord along with the ‘Lodgehill Farm Church’ in Newport (UK), when I heard the Lord calling me for Missions. This was the first time God called me into Missions and since I was unfamiliar to Missions, I was reluctant to give into it. I had greater plans in mind and being in Missions would be, looking off from those plans. I had graduated from University of Wales, Newport an year back and was working with a company as an Accounts Head. My parents and my sibling were hoping that I would excel in my profession and would settle in UK for good. It was at this advent, when God called me into His Global Mission. Every time I was reminded about that incident I would deliberately turn my attention to something else. Days went by, but there was a sense of fear within me, what if God would punish me for not obeying? Hence, I soon resorted being involved actively in the Church activities (‘Lodgehill Farm Church’) and it took me very less time to forget my act of disobedience. Aren’t we many a time like this? We engage ourselves at times with Spiritual activities to cover our disobedience and claim ourselves to be righteous and prove ourselves to be productive for the Lord’s work. “Also I heard the Voice of the Lord, saying: “Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?” Then I said, “Here I am! Send me” Isaiah 6:8

On

many occasions, we see God through the eyes of individuals who teach us the Word of God and this was true in my life too. Everything that I had known about God was from Sunday School, Youth Groups, Sunday Worship and Bible 14

Study, but there was a day when I had an encounter with the Lord as ‘A Missionary God’. This personal encounter with the Lord changed the way I looked at Him from then on. And this is my Story of knowing a God who called me and taught me to say “Here I am! Send me”.

I HAVE CHOSEN YOU!

~ John 15:16

It was a Christmas Sunday of

Life got busier, memories about God’s call got weaker and I continued to lead a professionally satisfied life. Just as everything was shaping out the way I wanted, I had to come back to India in connection with my Dad’s demise. With this loss on my mind something was stopping me from going back to UK, though reluctantly I decided to stay back in India. There was a drastic change in the way I looked at


Testimony

life from then on. There was a sudden shift in my priorities from being professionally focused to being bound to emotional ties. These were the toughest days of my life, I was jobless and directionless.

I HAVE CONSECRATED YOU!

~ Jeremiah 1:5

On March 26th, 2006 God called me the second time for His Missions and that left me with no question in my head. I heard God calling me into Translations and at that point there were only few languages that I had mastered on, once again I felt helpless. Many times God asks us to do a task that seems impossible. But He knows our calibre and He know how to take us out of that impossible situation. I had no clue whom to approach and how to be in Missions, but I was sure that this is what God wanted me to do and that He is not going to let hold off me, until His will is done in my life. Many discouraged me and suggested me to seek a job in an IT company, often this left me feeling de-moralized and worthless. But God was preparing me for something big to happen in my life. He was preparing me as He prepared Moses while He was tending the sheep in the wilderness. Many of life’s best lessons are learnt at the most difficult times. It was a time of silence and long waiting while God taught me to pray meaningful prayers, He taught me to lead a different life compared to the ones of my age. Those were the days when I saw nothing happening with regard to Missions in my Life. It was a daily exercise from then on, to know the new facet of this Magnificent God who had a Global plan for Mankind

and I was to be a participant in it.

I WILL COUNSEL YOU!

~ John 14:26

Many a times I failed to understand the meaning of the term ‘Mission’ and the way God calls individuals. But the Word of God taught me through lives of various people in the Bible that ‘Mission’ is a divine activity of God sending someone to speak or do the will of His. Our God calls His people into existence and He gives them a Mission. God expects His called ones to be obedient, even though their mission would be a failure in terms of a positive response to their message; hence I was required of Him to obey. Today, God is calling out many Young individuals for His Mission, but we feel so cozy in our comfort zones that we perceive Mission to be for the ones with less privileged. We need to wake up from our folly as the Lord’s coming is near. In my course of 7 years in Ministry, God taught me facts that were unknown to me until then. In those early days, I wondered how I would use my education (Msc IT Management) in the Missions. But God had in times past sketched out a plan for me. And so does He, for each one of you. He is not a God who deprives us from goodness. I started my ministry life as a Creative Writer and in due time God gave me an opportunity to work as an ‘Administrator’ and ‘Hindi Translator’. Now, things seemed to make some sense to me as I was arriving somewhere close to my call. Further on, God placed me in ‘One Hope’ as a ‘Project Manager’ for Translations. And when it was the Lord’s time He enabled us as a family to start with an initiative

called ‘Maranatha Global Ministries’. Today my husband Pastor Yeswin Varghese and I continue to serve Lord as per His leading and we help with the translation needs of Ministries. God has been faithful to us and has been honoring us in various ways.

I HAVE COMMISSIONED YOU!

~ Matthew 28:19-20

Let’s not forget our Lord Jesus’ last words before ascension, it was to be witnesses to the all the nations. I would like to encourage the youngsters who are reading this and the ones who have been called by the Lord for Missions. Is there something that is holding you back? Are you anxious about how your future would turn out to be, if you move into Missions? You need to remember one thing that Our God knows the best for His children and He gives them nothing less than the Best. People might demean you but there is a sense of satisfaction and immense peace that you relish when you are working in the Lord’s Vineyard. It may seem tough for you to handle a Mission leaving behind the fancy World but remember the one who sends you is mighty to get you through it. Our God sends out His people on a task and He fills them with the power to accomplish that task, He who has promised to never leave us or forsake us is going to be with us till the end of ages. Trust in the Lord, Shine for Him! Siby Yeswin. Siby heads a translation

ministry called Maranatha Global Ministries. She also assists her husband in pastoring a church in Bangalore.

15


Testimony

Early Attempts

During my school days, both through my Sunday school and CEF (Child Evangelical Fellowship), I was encouraged and taught to stay in touch with missionaries and practice personal evangelism. The seeds for what I am today were sown then. When I was 21, I left for Ludhiana, Punjab with a great desire to help in missions. But God seemed to have different plans. He wanted to teach me the essence of intimate walk with our Lord. I learnt to dig deep into scripture, critically analyse various secondhand truths I had learnt. That was my first time away from home. My first job was to teach in a higher secondary school. It could last only 6 weeks. Later I did a 6 months PG Diploma at Chandigarh. Amidst culture shock and loneliness I learnt that it is possible to pursue holiness with joy. Since I wanted to be a tentmaker I had approached over 100 secular organizations- both 16

big and small. After nearly a year and a half, I had to pack my bag and return home since I couldn’t fit in anywhere. As I look back, those initial attempts were driven majorly by emotions and a kind of obligation that I should be involved in missions. It was more of me “evangelizing” the “needy”. God graciously led me through that phase. Though it was discouraging, my intimacy with God increased from then on.

Back Home

In God’s sovereign ways I could complete M.Tech. and get a job in a good MNC at Bangalore. All through these 4 years of study and work life, I was continually in touch with missions, especially in the North West India. I continually prayed and visited north every six months in those 4 years. Some trips were long which lasted a month. I usually travelled alone visiting various pastors, mission organizations and friends. As I travelled, I could

complete many books on missions and I sought insight into what God is doing in these parts of the country. One book that taught me much was Operation World by Patrick Johnstone. God taught me to look at people as He looks at them. He slowly increased my love for people especially people in Himachal Pradesh and Jammu Kashmir. I also saw a greater need for laymen to support pastors and missionaries in these states as there were very few or no Christian role models in many parts. I was constantly asking God if I could still play a role in building His kingdom there. But I was unable to move because of lack of jobs related to my skill set. Back in Bangalore, some of us started praying for various mission needs every Wednesday morning. Slowly God raised the question, if I was willing to trust Him now and take up


Testimony

a teaching job again? My previous attempts and failures haunted me. Will I be able to survive now? What if I return back the second time? God showed me how He is preparing me to face students again. As He strengthened me, I started feeling out of place in Bangalore. My heart and concerns were for the people in the north. I flew for a walk-in interview at a prestigious institute in Himachal. In a hurry, I had forgotten to take any of my certificates. But I was still offered a job as a contract faculty. I flew back, joyfully resigned and joined there. Many friends were genuinely concerned if this drastic change was necessary and if I really got a call from God. But that did not matter to me since my intimacy with God was good, my burden was right and I was using my skills for building His kingdom.

Mission Station

IEM, FMPB and many independent pastors had worked in HP. But still this district where God has put me is without a single church. It has not heard Christ. Initial years of my life here was again lonely and tough. I spent time with students and helped pastors in nearby places. Since I had a passion for students, I worked closely with the UESI. I started free English classes for local students. After I got married, my wife continued the classes. Since we do not have a church yet, we meet every Sunday at my residence for a time of worship and Bible study. Both believing and non believing students come and participate. We are prayerfully getting involved in their lives. We are constantly seeking God’s guidance and opportunities to present the gospel, answer questions, and build local believers. It is a privilege to live out this life changing gospel. We are continuing to pray

using Operation World for the rest of the world. During our free time and weekends we visit people and extend our support to churches and pastors in Himachal. I have often heard people sharing about number of new believers per year. We are counting years per new believer.

“If ten men are carrying a log – nine of them on the little end and one at the heavy end – and you want to help, which end will you lift on?” – William Borden.

Tony (Name Changed) Email: pbaje7@gmail.com

Mission Resources Learn about Missions and Unreached Peoples Joshua Project – www.joshuaproject.net Mission Frontiers – www.missionfrontiers.org Traveling Team – www.travelingteam.org 10/40 Window – www.win1040.org Caleb Project – www.calebresources.org Pray for Unreached Peoples and Countries Unreached People of the Day – www.unreachedoftheday.org Global Prayer Digest – www.globalprayerdigest.org Ethne-to-Ethne Prayer initiative – www.ethne.net Prayer Guard – www.prayerguard.net Operation World – www.operationworld.org Do an In-depth Missions Bible Study The Blessing – www.uscwm.org Missions 101 (12 Lessons) – www.travelingteam.org The Kairos Course - www.kairoscourse.org The Story of the Bible: God’s Global Glory – www.hisglobalglory.org Global Purpose – www.uscwm.org Subscribe to a Missions e-zine Unreached People of the Day – www.unreachedoftheday.org Brigada – www.brigada.org Mission Catalyst – www.calebresources.net Lausanne Pulse – www.lausanneworldpulse.com Middle East Mission News – www.joelrosenberg.com Pray for China – PrayForChinaNow.InJesus.com Investigate Short Term Opportunities Mission Finder – www.missionfinder.org Short Term Missions – www.shorttermmissions.com National Short Term Mission Conference – www.nstmc.org Education by Extension: 2 week teaching trips – www.beeworld.org Source: www.joshuaproject.net 17


Testimony

His Story

To be planted and nourished in a family wherein the parents have decided to pattern their lives on Biblical principles and to be surrounded by Godly people as you grow up is the greatest heritage a child can ever get in this world. Nelson was born and brought up in such a family. As a child, he accepted the gift of salvation but soon after schooling and in a comfortable job with Kirloskar Cummins, luxury, freedom, friends, positions and a good distance from home took a toll on Nelly. He went away from the faith carefully handed down by his parents. Few near-to-death experiences brought him graciously back to a live relationship with His Saviour and to the fellowship of God’s people. On one such day, when he was working as a Service Engineer in coal mines, the Lord opened his eyes to see the many un18

reached people groups in different areas in North India. The Lord put one request before him, when he was reading the life of Jim Elliot. “Would you come out and work among these unreached people groups?” Staggered, he said, “God, my life is not worthy to be used by you in such a fashion, I would rather give you as much money as I can”. The Lord answered, “Nelly, I don’t want your money, I want you”. It took more than a year before Nelly could finally say yes to God, resign his job and join IEM to work among the unreached tribal pockets.

Her Story

Shobana was from a family of nominal Christians to begin with. Her mother, the sole convert from an ardent Hindu family in Kerala, had backslided by the time Shobana was born. Christian life was a mere routine till her family came to know the Lord and eventually the Lord

opened the eyes of Shobana to meet Christ in her life in a students camp. From then on, Sunday School and the EU fellowships became a support on either sides to grow in the Lord. In one of the VBS sessions, for the very first time, she came to hear that there are groups who have never heard the name of Christ. Surprising it was! Later when the Lord nudged to commit her life to reach such groups, she said yes. She was barely in her early teens then. The Lord who had ignited missions early in life, nurtured it through books, the Word and the testimonies of missionaries. By the time, Shobana finished her theological training, the Lord had made it clear to lead her towards the ministry of Bible translation. She went to Rajasthan. Nelly and Shobana got married and started their life together living among the Garasias, spread over the Aravalli hill ranges of Rajasthan. Life took a new turn.


Testimony

Their Story

A strange language, rural environment and people, all equally unknown, surrounded us. But soon, our colleagues and the believers became our family. As we groped for the right words to express ourselves, (believe me a working knowledge of Hindi wasn’t sufficient) our eyes were opened to the wonderful people among whom we lived. Their hospitality, the way they had embraced life, their culture ebbing with few Biblical cultural similarities amazed us. The scenic beauty around enthralled us. At the same time, the wailing of women in the wee hours of the day over their dead ones, people’s adherence to spirit worship, illiteracy, the innumerable villages nestled in and around the hills, virgin for the Gospel, the thirst some had to know the Truth, unavailability of Scriptures and any other literature in their mother tongue, the need of all kinds of ministries and the small group of believers bravely marching toward Christian identity, spoke volumes to us. Our life with the colourful Garasias in the old type mud houses, with no electricity and running water, set on the top of a small hill gave us many an opportunity to share about the Lord to our passers-by, neighbours, onlookers and visitors. No no, it wasn’t tract distribution or Bibles or any literature. For there was none in their language then. But walking up and down the hills, meeting people on a one to one basis, buying their time to carefully explain the good news of the Cross and the Resurrection, praying within that God will bless our initiatives, over ruling our inadequacies in terms of language and presentation of His gospel to highly self made

philosophical minds... many of whom have never heard the name of Jesus or the finished work on the Cross anytime in their lives, bound still by sacrificial systems to appease the Spirits. Unless, somebody reaches out, there is absolutely no other means to hear the good news. Totally unreached with the Gospel either by electronic or any other media!! Learning and mastering this language, adapting to their way of lifestyle to gain their acceptability, getting a glimpse of their worldview… took away every ounce of energy within but we thoroughly relished our time there with our kids for some years. Time slipped by, we planned to take up a new language for translation.

“Our life with the colourful Garasias in the old type mud houses, with no electricity and running water, set on the top of a small hill gave us many an opportunity to share about the Lord to our passers-by, neighbours, onlookers and visitors.” It was at this time that life took another turn when we had to settle in Pondicherry for family reasons. Now, as much as we visited houses sharing the Gospel, that much we do to share about missions, that… there are people out there still waiting to hear the Gospel for the first time, to hear His word preached to them, to learn to read and write, to have the Scriptures in their mother tongue, waiting for many developmental programs. Should people who are largely Christians be told about all these? Yes, very much. Because, many are still unreached with ‘Missions’. Churches need to look beyond,

people determine to share the Truth, open their eyes to see the fields white with harvest and be willing to do whatever their Master bids them to! At times we do groan like Isaiah, “Lord, who has believed our message”. And at such times the Lord ministers to us from time to time afresh from His word without which we would have withered away long back. We often recollect that today - we are who we are, because someone cared to throw away their honour, comforts, fortunes, luxury, facing hardships and pain of every kind so that we will know the Truth and that the Truth would set us free!! Can Reuben and Gad rest when their brothers are yet to settle in the promised land? Are we still serving God’s purpose for our lives, true to our calling? Our heart is in the hands of the Lord, and He directs it like a watercourse wherever He pleases, Yes, by the grace of God, He has not finished His work in us, and has mercifully retained us as His servants. We only pray that we will not stalk like Jonah to our shaded seats and wait for God to come around our way of thinking but be continuously available to spread His fragrance wherever we are so that we become channels for people to take part in the greatest breath taking scene ever, when people from every nation, language, tribe and tongue make their presence before the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. To Him be glory and honour for ever!! “You will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you. Because he trusts in you” (Is 26.3) - very true in our lives!! Nelson & Shobana are missionaries with the IEM. They are now based in Pondicherry. 19


Interview

James & Vrindha: Tent Makers of Our Time

An Interview Share with us about the factors which shaped your mission thinking... It was through the ministry of UESI, I became aware of the plan God has for all believers. I realised that He wants me to be a witness wherever He plants me. So, from my student days, I was aware of the mission needs all over India. Then during 2001 in a missions conference, I was convinced that God is calling me to greater mission involvement as a tent maker to Northern part of India. I started praying from that time and was glad to see that God brought a life partner with a similar vision. In 2005 I moved to Delhi and in 2010 I left my corporate job because I was unable to do anything significant for the Lord as per my mission commitment. Since last three years I have been working as a tent maker based in Himachal Pradesh. What were some of the fears you had when you decided to leave the high paying job? In 2010 when I decided to leave my corporate job, I had already been working for 12 years in the industry. My life style had slowly changed without my knowledge to 20

a high middle class mode. I had a big fear whether I would be able to adjust to a simple life style. I knew that majority of India is still looking for basic amenities of life, especially in North India. But I was scared to live like that. In our mission, we believe that we are called to establish a counter model where money is not a priority, but trusting God for all the needs. There was always this fear if I can live to that calling. I must say... to some extent that this fear is still there even now after 3 years. But God is teaching us to trust Him more and more and He has been enabling us to live within our means. Another concern was the expectation of my parents who expected me to return to Kerala to take care of them. They have only seen people moving closer to home or closer to more money and could not accept the fact that we were moving away from them without any prospects of big money. So they wanted me to dump the newly declared love for missions and to return home to take care of them. This struggle still continues and gets amplified as they don’t see many such models around them. It is sad to see that very few people are willing to run after

God and not after money, positions, big houses and foreign jobs. You could have based yourself in South India...what made you choose North India? South India, especially Kerala claims 2000 years of Christian history and anywhere between 15 to 25% of Christians. But many parts of North India, like Himachal Pradesh have only 0.09% Christians. That need led me from South India to North India. I strongly believe that Christians in South India need to consciously take efforts to relocate and spread out to needy areas of this nation to be his salt and light. This is diametrically opposite to the current trend of people moving to affluent cities or nations for better job and money prospects. What are some of the struggles you faced after entering into mission field? One of the struggles was to convince my parents that I love them despite not taking up a job anywhere near home. I had to deal with this concern. Since we are in the northern part of India,


Interview

it is not easy to travel home for every social occasion and travel is an expensive process. All other spiritual struggles led us more closer to God and more time spent in meaningful prayers. Sometimes, we had to forgo some of the luxuries we enjoyed when we were in high paying corporate world. Few of them still pinches us, but looking around, it makes me glad to realise that God has been faithful in meeting all our needs both spiritual and material. What exactly is the nature of your current work? How do you see it as part of God’s mission? In 2010, I decided to join two of my friends, who already left their corporate jobs a year earlier and moved to Himachal Pradesh as tent makers. They had partnered with a mission hospital in Manali to develop an affordable hospital management software system. After initial development, we relocated to Palampur of Himachal Pradesh. So now, we are working with this software services company for our livelihood and involving in student and youth ministries in Palampur. What are your dreams for SocIT? Our company is named as SocIT technologies and we would like to provide affordable technology solutions to rural India or benefiting Urban poor. Our initial work involves hospitals and we focus now only on mission hospitals. We are now three families based in Palampur and involved with this work and we hope to have another family join us here. There are 2-3 people who help us remotely. Slowly, we would like to get involved in giving solutions to educational institutions and to be involved in differ-

ent kinds of training. Our vision is to transform the lives of poor and rural people by the solutions we offer. What challenge would you like to give to your Christian friends? We have only one life…. let us live it carefully and fruitfully. If we claim to believe in Jesus and strive to follow Him, let us constantly ask Him what He wants us to be and where He wants us to. Let our location of living not be decided by salary or jobs, but by Christ and His Mission. James Sebastian is an IT professional & Tent Maker who works with SocIT, based in Palampur, Himachal. He is married to Vrindha & they are blessed with two daughters. Interviwed by Soul Connect team.

“I wasn’t God’s first choice for

what I’ve done for China. I don’t know who it was. It must have been a man—a well–educated man. I don’t know what happened. Perhaps he died. Perhaps he wasn’t willing. And God looked down… and saw Gladys Aylward. And God said, ‘Well, she’s willing.’” – Gladys Aylward

“Missions is not about ‘What can I

spare?’ The question is ‘What’s it going to take?’ Risk. Abandon. Sacrifice. Radical dependence on Christ. Everything. Are you passionately committed to God’s glory among all peoples?” –– AsiaLink Worker

Soul Connect Info. This Magazine exists to inspire its readers to live for Christ and His Kingdom. It seeks to apply the Word of God to contemporary issues Christians face in their day to day life. Also, it aims at instilling a passion for world missions.

Contents copyright © 2012 by Kingdom Friends Network. All information is published in good faith. The publisher and the editors are not liable for inaccuracies. Publication of any item does not reflect the official stand of the magazine.

Our Address Kingdom Friends Network, #7, Shalom Eden Rock Layout, Byrathi, Dodda Gubbi Post, Bangalore – 560077. www.kingdomfriends.net Email: contactkfn@gmail.com

How to Receive SOUL CONNECT is published quartely. If you like to recieve hard copy by post, send us your postal address. For soft copy visit our website. This magazine is financially sustained by free will contributions.

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Check list

1. Can you earnestly do all the parts of this job “to the glory of God,” that is, in a way that highlights his superior value over all other things? “Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31). 2. Is taking this job part of a strategy to grow in personal holiness? “For this is the will of God, your sanctification” (1 Thessalonians 4:3). 3. Will this job help or hinder your progress in esteeming the value of knowing Christ Jesus your Lord? “I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord” (Philippians 3:7). 4. Will this job result in inappropriate pressures on you to think or feel or act against your King, Jesus? “You were bought with a price; do not become slaves of men” (1 Corinthians 7:23). 5. Will this job help establish an overall life-pattern that will yield a significant involvement in fulfilling God’s great purpose of exalting Christ among all the unreached peoples of the world? “Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth. 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” (Matt. 28:18-20). 6. Will this job be worthy of your best energies? “Whatever your hand finds to do, verily, do it with all your might” (Ecclesiastes 9:10). 7. Will the activities and environment of this job tend to shape you or will you be able to shape it for the Christmagnifying purposes of God? “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Romans 12:2). 8. Will this job provide an occasion for you to be radically Christian so as to let your light shine for your Father’s sake, or will your participation in the vision of the firm tend by definition to snuff your wick? “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16). 9. Does the aim of this job cohere with a growing intensity in your life to be radically, publicly, fruitfully devoted to Christ at any cost? “If anyone wishes to come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me” (Mark 8:34). 10. Will the job feel like a good investment of your life when these “two seconds” of preparation for eternity are over? “You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away” (James 4:14). 11. Does this job fit with why you believe you were created and purchased by Christ? “Everyone who is called by my name…I have created for my glory” (Isaiah 43:6-7). “You have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body” (1 Corinthians 6:20). 12. Does this fit together with the ultimate truth that all things exist for Christ? “For by him all…have been created by [Christ] and for him” (Colossians 1:16).

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www.desiringgod.org


Blessing of Giving... ‘The Lord has supplied a good 1.5 pound fish,’ he cried. It had fallen right between the high buildings of our narrow lane, as if it were personally delivered to us! The kite must have picked the fish up from the sea, very near to my house. Probably the bird had found the fish too heavy and so had dropped it. As far as I was concerned, it was the Lord who had supplied the need of the day. I had many such experiences while trying to practise the Sermon on the Mount.” He Neither Borrowed Nor Made Known His Needs To Men Many times Prof. Enoch was in dire need. But he decided early in his life that he will neither borrow nor tell his needs to others. “One day I was invited to Kakinada to give a series of addresses to the SCM Camp. I was staying at Vizag with Mr Ratnam, who was then a lecturer in Andhra University. As I was leaving for Kakinada, knowing my ways, he asked me if I had enough money for return fare. As I had some money with me, I said ‘Yes’ and left for Kakinada, for I was not willing to make my needs known to any man but to the Lord.” “However, after the meetings were over, I left the place for Vizag. The missionary accompanied me to the station and went away without enquiring about my fare to return home. He must have thought that I, being well placed in government service, would be insulted if he enquired after such personal matters. The fact was I had no money to buy even a third class ticket to reach home.”

“My last message to the students in the camp had been about depending on the Lord for all our needs and not on man. The students were much encouraged by this, and they came to the station to see me off. Now here I was without a ticket. I was looking to God to save me from this predicament. Once again I searched my pockets and to my surprise I found a two anna coin (worth 12 paise). That was enough in those days to take me to the next station. So l went to the booking window and got a ticket to the next station, hoping that the Lord would provide me a ticket through someone. I bade good bye to the students and boarded the train.”

“The first bell rang for the train’s departure, Then, suddenly one of the students ran up to me and told me that he had been praying for me the day before, and the Lord wanted him to give me two rupees. With great apologies, he wanted me to accept the gift, because he thought I was not in need of any money and his gift was so small. Then I showed him my ticket to the next station and told him that his gift was just enough for my third class fare to Vizag, leaving one ana to pay for a coolie there. Tears rolled down the student’s face, as he realized how faithful God had been in speaking to him and supplying the needs of one who looked to God for all his needs.”

His Challenge For Us Today Prof. Enoch lived and practised a life of giving away and trusting God. He challenges us today to continue to live a life of faith. “When we practise the Sermon on the Mount, we seem to be losers sometimes. But if we go all the way, we discover that God’s ways are not our ways. Neither are His thoughts our thoughts. Rather, His ways and thoughts are higher than ours. Thus I have been trying to practise the Sermon on the Mount, giving to everyone who asks me and refusing no one who wants to borrow from me, as well as applying in my life the different principles given in that Sermon.” “It is my conviction that only when such a life is lived, is God able to speak to men both through words and actions. I think that God wants us to live such lives while we are still on earth and not in the Millennium, as some seem to propound. I believe this was the life of God’s Son, a life of complete dependence on God. This means losing one’s life to gain the higher life.” Quotations taken from Prof. Enoch’s Autobiography Following the Master. Shibu is a mission mobiliser and educater based in Bangalore. He is married to Blessy & they are blessed with two daughters. Shibu blogs at www.christianlife.in

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Workshops & Seminars Offered By Kingdom Friends Network Call To Consider (C2C) is a discipleship level oneday seminar tailor-made for Christian youth groups. C2C with its three main teaching sessions and related activities will challenge the participants to consider ‘the call and cost of Christian discipleship.’ C2C’s main objective is to motivate young Christians to walk in the footsteps of Jesus and surrender their lives wholeheartedly to do His will and Purpose. C2C seminars are available in three languages: English, Malayalam and Tamil. Do you long to know what God is doing in the World? Do you like to hear about God’s mighty acts in history? Do you want to discover the meaning and purpose of your life? Do you want to impact the world through your life? If your answer is yes to all these questions, this program is just made for you! This one day mission awareness program is very ideal for young adults & teens. This program is available in English, Tamil and Malayalam.

Merely reading the Scripture and studying what someone else has said about it cannot satisfy your hunger and thirst to know God and His Word in a deeper way. You must interact with the text yourself absorbing its truths. L2S is a Bible Study workshop which helps you to acquire Inductive Bible Study skills through teaching and learn-by-doing sessions. This program is ideal for small groups of 15 to 20, who could spare a weekend (Friday evening to Sunday evening). L2S is available in English and Tamil. At a time when word ministry is sidelined, the need for reviving authentic Biblical preaching is a high priority. Preaching (Homiletics) is both an art and science. It is both a gift and skill. L2P is a workshop to train young people in the art and science of preaching. This workshop combines teaching sessions, video presentations and exercises. L2P program requires a minimum of four days. We also have a special component in L2P on evangelistic preaching. L2P is available in English and Tamil. We only charge you for the seminar materials. For more details about these programmes please do feel free to contact us : Email: contactkfn@gmail.com, Ph.: +91 98443 06233, +91 99866 13557.

Soul connect vol 2, no 3  
Soul connect vol 2, no 3  
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