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PERSECUTION International Christian Concern | May 2013

Issue 1/4

INDIA A LEGACY OF

Christian Suffering ISSUE 2/4

MOTORCYCLE DIARIES Encountering God’s Spirit in the Fields of India After six days of travel, I found myself sitting in a hotel room feverishly studying my Bible. As part of my meticulous travel plans I wanted to get an “up close” look at the lives of 20 missionaries ICC supports in India. You can help today! 800-ICC-5441

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Regional Manager William Stark spends the day as an ICC-sponsored traveling missionary in some of Orissa’s most remote villages.

To accomplish this, I paired up with a missionary named Mangaldan who was willing to take me out for a day to what he called his “field.” A SPIRIT-LED MESSAGE My impromptu religion course was caused by a conversation I had with Mangaldan earlier that night. As we ate dinner, Mangaldan causally told me I would be leading every fellowship meeting the next day. Being a planner by nature, this last-minute curveball sent my brain into overdrive. I had no idea what I would share. Many members of these fellowships have been persecuted for their faith. Growing up in the U.S., where the freedom of religion has been respected since the country’s inception, I had no personal experience I could use to relate with the fellowships I would be meeting. When I confessed to Mangaldan that I didn’t know what to say to these people, he assured me the Spirit would lead me to the right message. After 15 minutes of randomly flipping through my Bible, I decided to

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follow Mangaldan’s advice by getting down on my knees and praying. I asked God to give me the right message to encourage the people I would be meeting. When a message didn’t immediately materialize, I went back to my “real world” solution of random Bible flipping. I didn’t know it at that moment, but God was about to use me in a way I had never experienced before. I woke up the next morning just as stressed as I had been the night before, especially now that it was morning and I still didn’t know what I was going speak on. I met up with Mangaldan at his house before we left on our miniature “missionary journey.” After having a cup of tea and a quick prayer, Mangaldan rolled out his motorcycle, handed me the only helmet available and invited me to jump on for a day of missionary work. As we drove across the Indian countryside, and the road became progressively less road-like, I felt a sense of peace come over me. As I reflected on Mangaldan’s suggestion of relying on the Spirit, I suddenly had a moment of clarity and discovered a message I believed would be both powerful and relevant. It wasn’t an intense “road to Damascus moment,” but I definitely felt the Spirit’s presence as Mangaldan and I bounced along on his motorcycle.

Stark was asked to bless a portion of the rice harvest, thanking God for sustaining the fellowship for another year.

THE FELLOWSHIP The first fellowship was in a small village surrounded by rice fields. After a brief introduction to the fellowship, I opened my Bible to I Cor. 12:12 and shared the message the Spirit had put on my heart. In the passage, Paul

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explains that the Church is a single body in Christ. I explained how this truth continues to be true for the Church today, emphasizing that we are a single global body, adopted as brothers and sisters in Christ. As I spoke, I could see this message was powerful for many fellowship members. Being from the Dalit or “untouchable” caste of Indian society, the fact that the Bible assigned these Christians the same status as any other Christian in the Church was incredibly uplifting. THE POWER OF SPIRIT-LED PRAYER

Pastor Mangaldan opens every service with traditional Indian Christian songs.

After speaking, fellowship members began forming a line in front of me. Mangaldan explained they were lining up for me to pray over them, oneby-one. The “laying of hands” is not something I am very experienced with, so I said another prayer for God’s guidance and began praying over people. Again, God answered my prayer. As I prayed over every fellowship mem-

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ber, I felt the presence of the Spirit. The last person to ask for prayer was a man named Santu. According to the fellowship, Santu was depressed and hadn’t spoken in over a year. They wanted me to pray over Santu and ask for God’s healing. I laid my hand on the young man’s shoulder and began praying for the Spirit to fill him and break him out of his depression. When I concluded “in Jesus’ name,” I felt Santu go rigid and begin falling over. Mangaldan and I lowered Santu onto the floor where he began to shake violently. Momentarily stepping into my Western worldview of facts and reasoning, I started to fear Santu was having a grand mal seizure. Looking to the fellowship for assistance, I saw that all of the members had gathered around and were saying, “Praise the Lord!” Before I ran out of the house searching for help, Santu stopped shaking, stood up and started talking. I was left speechless. The rest of the day was a blur as I tried to process what had happened. I still can’t totally explain what happened, but I am beginning to understand this is how encountering the Spirit should be. Being from a culture of science and reason, my mind naturally searches for “real world” explanations. I am realizing “real world” explanations really aren’t important when God and the Spirit act in our lives. Looking back, I am just happy God allowed me to encounter the Spirit that day in India.

Praise the Lord In India, Christians greet each other, not with a hand shake, but with the phrase “Praise the Lord.” To them, it is an immediate indicator of their faith and devotion to Christ. In response to this, Pastor Mangaldan has placed this phrase on the front of his motorcycle, so all day long, onlookers are blessed with the message, “Praise the Lord.”

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TER H G U A D R SON O A R O S N SPO ION! T U C E S R E OF P NAZIR’S STORY Nazir’s father is in prison in Pakistan for “blaspheming” Muhammad. The charge was false but regardless, he was arrested and convicted, and now sits on Pakistan’s death row. Nazir’s mother supports five children on less than $50/month. They live in one 15-square-foot room without heat, air conditioning, or beds. Because of their poverty, Nazir must go to a Muslim school where he is publicly humiliated and pressured by teachers to convert to the religion that is responsible for ruining the life of their family and will kill his father. The above story is not fictional. Nazir is a real child whose family was in dire straits before ICC brought the love and care of free Christians to his family. A SECOND CHANCE Because of ICC partners like you, we were able to provide Nazir with a


new warm home, beds for he and his siblings to sleep on, and most importantly, the funding to send him to a private Christian school where he will receive a superior education and the ability to break out of generations of poverty his Christian relatives have lived under. Each day, Christian children in heavily persecuted areas suffer because of their faith. Many are forced to convert to Islam, held as slaves, or even forced into marriage at a very early age. The majority suffer from lack of education, creating a generational poverty that becomes hard to break. Some will even be orphaned as their parents will be killed in attacks. FROM VICTIM TO VICTOR ICC’s “Kids Care” fund specifically helps these kids by providing education, food, shelter, and a loving community to disciple and care for them. Our kids grow up to be strong leaders in the Christian community—not victims! We have 300 kids under our care around the world. We have internally funded their care for years but we have run out of funding. We are not able to help any more children and are struggling to provide for the kids under our care already.

WOULD YOU PRAYERFULLY CONSIDER SPONSORING A CHILD IN NEED? Now is your chance! For just $45 a month, you can forever change the destiny of one young boy or girl that has suffered because they love Jesus. As always, know that your donation will be used ethically, effectively, and efficiently. I promise!

Jeff King, President, International Christian Concern

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YOU CAN HELP TODAY! SEND DONATIONS TO: ICC PO BOX 8056 SILVER SPRING, MD 20907 OR ONLINE AT WWW.PERSECUTION.ORG

GIVING TO ICC VIA YOUR WILL Provide now for a future gift to ICC by including a bequest provision in your will or revocable trust. If you would like more information on giving to ICC in this way, please give us a call at 1-800-ICC-5441.

ICC makes every effort to honor donor wishes in regards to their gifts. Occasionally, a situation will arise where a project is no longer viable. In that case, ICC will redirect those donated project funds to one of our other funds that is most similar to the donor’s original wishes.

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Persecution Magazine, May 2013 2/4