A “Great Awakening”

Ask of Me, and I will give You
The nations for Your inheritance,
And the ends of the earth for Your possession.
Psalm 2:8

Do you ever come upon circumstances that don’t seem to change no matter how much you pray? Don’t give up. Press in to God, hear Him, obey Him, and have faith in His answer.

Majeet had spent the majority of her life battling chronic illness. Beginning in childhood and continuing on throughout her adult life as a wife and mother, she remained plagued by sickness and was unable to find healing and relief. After meeting with many specialists from several different hospitals in South Asia, the sickness that ravaged Majeet’s body seemed to have no cure. Her circumstances appeared to be bleak and hopeless.

In Majeet’s community, there was a woman named Geeta who lived her life as a devout follower of Jesus. After learning of Majeet’s difficult situation, she asked if she could pray over her for God to heal her body. Majeet, having exhausted all other resources, agreed to be prayed over by her neighbor. Miraculously, as soon as the prayer was spoken, Majeet was healed and felt well for the first time in many years. As a result of that divine intervention and with a sincere heart of gratitude, she accepted the Lord Jesus as her Savior and began to regularly attend Church with Geeta.

Unfortunately, as is often the case for many individuals who become Christians in areas hostile to the Gospel, Majeet’s husband, Labh, began to adamantly oppose her new found faith, and started threatening her as a means to quench her new enthusiasm for her beliefs. He forbade her to continue attending church and made sure she had little to no opportunity to fellowship with other believers or to worship corporately.

As a trucker, Labh worked long and difficult hours to provide for the family and would often have to leave for days at a time when traveling lengthy distances. The trips became opportunities for Majeet to return to church and continue learning about Jesus and how to grow as a new believer. As time went by and as Majeet continued to mature in her faith, she became more and more concerned for the spiritual well-being of her husband. She began praying earnestly for his salvation and even started incorporating fasting into her life to address the great burden she felt for Labh.

Year went by and Majeet stayed faithful in prayer and fasting, yet it seemed to be have no effect on Labh’s opinion of his wife’s faith. Then one night, as Labh slept on a cot outside of their home, he was awakened by the spirit of a dead woman tormenting him. Horrified, he began screaming and crying out for help. Majeet, startled by the sound, ran outside and began praying for her husband in the name of Jesus. In that moment, as quickly as the terrifying encounter began, the dark spirit left him.

The very next day, Labh became a follower of Jesus Christ. He started going to church with Majeet and became adamant about growing in his newfound faith!

Never give up praying for your loved ones!

God hears your prayers and is at work on their behalf. Our Father continues to open hearts and open doors for us to expand our reach with the power of the Gospel. Thank you for your faithful prayers and support that makes this ongoing work possible!

In the Arms of the Savior

Pastor Cherian Mathews peacefully transitioned into eternity on October 15, 2019 at 3:55 PM at his home in Bethel, Fatehgunj, Baroda, surrounded by his loving family and friends.

 

Pastor Mathews was born in Panaveli, Kottarakara, Kerala on January 31, 1937. He and his wife of 56 years, Grace, dedicated their lives in service to the people of Gujarat, India, and many parts of the world. A man of fervent prayer, vast faith, genuine humility, steadfast purpose, immense strength and contagious joy. He lived for one big purpose—to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ! His heart was always for the poor, downtrodden and the underdog. This was his lifetime calling, and he never retired.

 

God called Pastor Mathews and his wife Grace to Gujarat, India, in 1965. They moved to Baroda with their infant son, while Grace was carrying their second child. They did not know where they will stay the night they arrived in Baroda. Since that day until today, prayer was his only asset and the foundation of all his endeavors. He spent hours very early in the morning praying for the nations of the world. What started as a small church in Baroda has now blossomed into a ministry that has impacted the world – from India to Nepal, Burma, Thailand, Philippines, Peru, Cuba, Ecuador, Brazil, East and West Africa. Pastor Mathews oversaw about 1,400 pastors and served nearly 2,000 children across these nations. He also founded the Mathews Educational Trust, Alpha International School, Alpha Bible College, and M:28 Church Based Bible institute.

 

Pastor Mathews was a trailblazer and God used him to break through the stale traditions and prejudices of the prevalent church culture of his time. He went against the tide with a simple message of salvation for sinners and a heart for helping the poor. Contrary to the systems of caste, regionalism and cultural prejudice that divided people, he viewed everyone as equal, accepting people of all walks of life as his own and championing their cause. Ably supported by Grace, they made inroads from Baroda into the villages of Anand and Kheda district. Pastor Mathews was a close friend of Rev. Dr. Joshua C. Raj, one of the pioneers who launched the Gospel into South Gujarat. Together they witnessed the early revivals in Dang and Vyara districts, which mushroomed into hundreds of churches in the regions. Later he focused on church planting in twelve North Indian states. He practiced incarnational ministry by going and living among the poorest tribes and people groups and identifying with them in every way. It is believed that over a million people have heard the gospel through the mission in the nations over the years.

 

Pastor Mathews is survived by his wife Grace, five sons, one daughter and their spouses, and three siblings. He was blessed with 21 grandchildren and many nieces and nephews. He was known as “Appacha” to his grandchildren. And he was known endearingly as “Pappa” by all. His legacy continues through his children, grandchildren and the countless others he inspired to become ambassadors for Christ.

 

Many have asked about giving in honor of his life. If you wish to do so, please direct your giving to the Alpha Grace Kids Project that was so dear to his heart.

Transforming Power Defies Human Explanation

“For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword,it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12niv

Many of the people groups we minister to have never had the opportunity to hear of the God Who loves them and gave His life for them. Access to God’s Word is very limited in the developing world. Since its founding, Alpha Ministries has purposed to share God’s Word with these unreached people groups on a larger scale every year because the transforming power defies human explanation.

Rani is a teenaged girl from a small village in South Asia. Her father earns a living as a food vendor. Rani and her family have always been devout in their traditional faith and maintain the various rituals, but their hearts were never filled with peace. Rani’s father was an alcoholic; and Rani was tormented by an evil spirit.

In the midst of this unrest, a frontline worker with Alpha Ministries met them and shared God’s word with them. When he asked them if they wanted to receive Christ, they prayed with the worker and were filled with peace that only Christ can give. Rani was delivered from torment and her natural curiosity motivated her to learn more about her Savior. She also had a desire to share what He had done in her life. It was a joyful day when she received a Bible of her own from our frontline worker.

Immediately Rani started to read and study the Word. She experienced the cleansing power of God’s truth and grew strong in her new faith. The Bible gave her and her family the knowledge and confidence to witness to their neighbors. Rani and her family now lead their neighbors in Bible study and prayer, through which they have witnessed many souls delivered from sin and healed from illness. They are extremely grateful for the ministry and Bibles that helped to change the course of their lives.

In another village, 23-year old Santlal had grown up partaking in the rituals and ceremonies of his family’s faith. Sadly, his family’s liquor business had turned him into an alcoholic. He could often be found in a drunken state, fighting with his wife and causing turmoil in his home.
That changed one day when a frontline worker was in his village sharing God’s Word and distributing Bibles. The worker encouraged everyone to read of the transforming power of Christ. Santlal took one of the Bibles home and began to read. He could not stop reading it day or night. The power of God’s word worked in his heart and he experienced peace for the first time in his life.

Suddenly, he had a desire to go to the church and testify about the changes in his behavior. When Santlal and his family attended church, he told the believers he wanted to learn even more. The frontline worker led him in the sinner’s prayer and began to teach him more from God’s Word. Everyone around him could see the changes in his life and behavior. He decided to leave his liquor business and stopped drinking. He cleansed his home and was greatly affected by the apostle Paul’s letter to Ephesians which helped him to become a better husband. His eyes were opened to the sin in his life, so he confessed his mistakes to his wife and reconciled with her.

Today, Santlal and his family believe upon Jesus are living a blessed life. He shares how if he had not received the Bible, he and his family would have been lost and troubled. He is grateful for God’s Word in his life.

There are so many ways the faithful prayers and financial blessings from friends like you are impacting lives all across South Asia! Thank you for standing with Alpha Ministries. #UntilAllHaveHeard.

 

 

Transforming Kids

We believe that every child deserves the chance to reach his or her God-given potential! Thanks to faithful partners that see and respond to the tremendous need, impoverished children all over South Asia are getting the opportunity do just that.

We recently received this testimony from a young man named, Jonah, who attended youth camp:

I was raised in a Christian family but I was far away from the Lord. I attended church once a while, but my family was very worried about me. After my father’s death, my family began to suffer financial problems. We couldn’t even pay rent on our house. Because my family were Christians, other family members shunned us. They refused to help at all and even created even more problems for us. In my backslidden state I actually wanted to kill them.

My uncle decided to take me to the youth camp of Alpha Ministries. As I listened to the preaching, my life was transformed. The Word of God touched me mightily and I repented and surrendered my life to the Lord. I quit my drinking habit, got married, and today my wife and I regularly attend church and study God’s Word.

Young lives are being transformed with the power of the Gospel!

Through Team Grace Kids, we can provide food, shelter, clothing, shoes, education, healthcare, blankets, and even bicycles to help impoverished children who have to travel long distances to school. Hurting and rejected children in this program receive the love and care they so desperately need, and have the opportunity to develop a personal relationship with the God of Heaven who loves them.

The ongoing support of faithful friends like you helps us fulfill the great commission by reaching the unreached and unengaged, making disciples, and planting churches where no church exists.

Thank you for helping us continue proclaiming the truth of God’s Word and impacting lives around the world for Jesus Christ!

NEVER THIRST AGAIN

Monsoon season across south Asia kept us very busy this summer distributing bottled water, food and other supplies, and doing general relief work. It was baffling to see so much water flooding streets, homes and businesses—all the while knowing that not a drop of it was safe to drink. People formed long lines, sometimes waiting in knee-deep flood waters, to receive the bananas and bottled water we offered.

Many times I thought of Jesus’ words, “Whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life” (John 4:14). We prayed that they would hunger and thirst for the Living Water and the Bread of Life!

We are deeply grateful for your support that allows us to fulfill the mission of this ministry. Since our beginning over 55 years ago, we have impacted more than half a million lives through our five key ministry avenues: Evangelism, Discipleship, Ministry to Children, MAPS Persecution Relief and IMPACT Projects.

We couldn’t do it without the dedicated help of our Hope Partners—friends who faithfully stand with us through prayer and financial support so we can minister to others. As we read in Hebrews, “Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God” (13:16). We are so grateful for those who live out such verses as messengers of hope to a broken world.

Though many are desperately waiting to hear about Christ, it is becoming much more difficult to share Jesus in many regions of South Asia. Believers often face intense pressure and persecution. Please remember to pray for safety and protection for all of our frontline messengers, our teams and families.

These testimonies show the difference you are making!

Bibles for New Believers
The transforming power of God’s Word defies human explanation. Santlal was born and raised in another religion, but his family’s liquor business led him to become an abrasive alcoholic. One day, one of our frontline workers went to Santlal’s village to share Bibles. Santlal took one and could not stop reading it day and night. God’s Word did a deep work in his heart and he experienced peace for the first time in his life. He took his family to church so he could testify about the change. The frontline worker lead him in the sinner’s prayer and began to disciple him. Santlal left his family’s business, stopped drinking, removed temptations from his home, and learned to be a better husband. Santlal testifies that he and his family would have remained lost and troubled had he not received that Bible. He is grateful for God’s Word in his life.

Impact Conference
“I am thankful to the Lord for enabling me to attend my first Impact Conference. It is because of Alpha Ministries that today I have a strong relationship with my Lord.” – Daniel

M:28 Institute
“I was blessed immensely by the teaching at M:28. I came to know in-depth about salvation and many other aspects of Christian life. I feel well equipped after this Bible training and want to give heartfelt gratitude to those who made it possible.” – Anil

M:28 Institute 
“The M:28 training has helped me to go to mission fields with my husband and be a witness for the Lord.” – Lokeshwari

Thank You for your Partnership that helps Alpha Ministries fulfill the great commission!

“And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.”
(2 Timothy 2:2)

Fruit that Remains

“I’m not afraid of failure; I’m afraid of succeeding at things that don’t matter.”

—William Carey, the father of modern missions

 

The heartbeat of Alpha Ministries is to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with every unreached man, woman and child. As Scripture asks, “How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?” (Romans 10:14 NKJV).

Our primary focus is the “10/40 Window,” an area stretching from North Africa to China that extends from latitudes 10° to 40° north of the equator. More than 3.2 billion people live in that region and 95% of them do not know Jesus. With the help of caring people like you, Alpha Ministries goes to these unreached areas, sharing the Good News, training and equipping ministers, and planting churches where no church exists.

I am amazed when I talk to the people attending crowded conferences in foreign lands. I meet hundreds of them who have come to know Jesus Christ because of the labor of a native frontline messenger. The work of these dedicated men and their families is yielding much fruit…fruit that remains! I am overwhelmed with joy and thanksgiving whenever I encounter a young missionary in such meetings who tells me, “I follow God because you helped my father follow God.”

If you know me, you know that I rejoice whenever I see a young man or young woman who has come to follow Jesus into freedom—out of the bondage of sin. But when I hear that the fruit of sharing the Good News and training one man to reach villages in his region has led to his household coming to Christ, as well as hundreds of people around him, I am overwhelmed with joy and gratitude. The men and women we train mature and pass on that knowledge to younger generations and see lifelong effects. The power of God’s Word continues to open doors for our frontline messengers to share the hope of the gospel in a vast array of strategic settings.

Our recent Lanji leadership training conference was a tremendous success with over 1200 people in attendance—twice the number they were prepared to host. More than 100 people were prepared to be baptized as a result of this conference. Many made commitments to become a VM1000 member to help us reach our goal to minister to 100,000 new villages. Over 60 people engaged in leadership development.

Friend, God moves in mysterious ways and His ways are always perfect. God does not send everyone to the mission field, but everyone can partner in the work of missions in one way or another. Thank you for faithfully supporting missions by praying, sending and perhaps even going. May God continue to make His calling strong and sure in your life and sustain the great work that He has placed in our humble hands. We are grateful to be used in His harvest fields to reach the unreached of the world!

“There is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is Sovereign over all, does not cry, Mine!”
― Abraham Kuyper

A Season to Rejoice!

A Season to Rejoice!

 

 “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice!” –Philippians 4:4

 

As Easter Sunday quickly approaches, the world is gearing up to observe the resurrection of Jesus Christ and all that His sacrifice and victory over death means for those who have accepted Him as their Lord and Savior. Year after year, Christians around the world take the time to celebrate and rest in the fact that our fate has been sealed and secured in Christ Jesus and that death is no longer a threat to those who have believed in Him. However, for many of us, this season of rejoicing coincides at a time of our own personal grief, trials, and the disheartening circumstances that arise from living in a broken and fallen world. While we are often encouraged and even commanded to be joyful and rejoice in our circumstances, this can feel impossible to do. Today, we at Alpha Ministries want to encourage you to continue seeking the joy that is found in Christ Jesus and all that His death, burial, and resurrection means for you. We’re so thankful that you’ve found yourself on our blog and hope that you leave refreshed, encouraged, and inspired.

 

Why We Suffer

The age old question of why suffering exists in the world is one that has caused internal strife and confusion for even the most devout believers of the Christian faith. When looking to God’s perfect nature and understanding that He is indeed sovereign, the question often arises as to why severe hardships arise in our lives and why evil seems to persist. At Alpha Ministries, we daily work to relieve the suffering of innocent men, women, and children all over the world who face unimaginable hardship. From war to disease to famine, the list of unbearable adversities that occur in this lifetime could go on and on. Maybe this year you find yourself battling your own list of evils and trials. Today you could find yourself facing a failing marriage, mourning the loss of a child, wading through bankruptcy or trying to understand a mental illness. Any one of these and more could be the giants of suffering that attempt to rob you of your rejoicing this Easter season. Through your grief, it would be far too easy to grow jaded in your spirit and weary in your heart as you wait for God to intervene and change your circumstances. Today, we want to encourage you to resist this temptation and cling to what God’s word says about suffering.

 

Why We Carry On

While there may not be an end all be all answer to your suffering today, there is hope to be found as you wade through your individual sorrows. In the book of James, Christians are reminded of the purpose and blessing found in remaining close to Christ in our suffering. Chapter 1 says, “Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love Him.” In that same chapter, James also says to “consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”

 

While we believe that these verses ring true in our lives, we understand that this answer to your suffering may not be the one you were hoping for. In our imperfect flesh, the idea of being refined by our trials is one that we would rather hurry through and surpass altogether. However, God in His perfect love for you knows better.

As C.S. Lewis famously wrote in his book, The Problem of Pain, we often hear from God most clearly when we are suffering. He writes, “We can ignore even pleasure. But pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” Perhaps the reason you face what you face this year is a direct intervention from God Himself. Maybe all that He is needing from you in these dire circumstances is to look to Him even through your suffering and hear the message He desperately has waiting for you.

 

“…again I will say, rejoice!”

This Easter, the current bleakness of your circumstances may be far from something you wish to rejoice in. Heartache, pain, and loneliness may have marked your days so far this year and the thought of celebrating a religious holiday is all but exhausting… but take heart! Know that if you are a follower of Jesus Christ, not a single tear you have shed in this time of grief is wasted and that the joy of your salvation is readily available to you once more.

 

While the resurrection of Jesus Christ has significance beyond what we can comprehend, for you this year, remember that it means any trial you are facing or uphill battle you are fighting has already been defeated by a conquering king who loves you and died for you. Know in your soul (even if your emotions refuse to do the same) that the power that raised Christ from the dead is available to you and you have every right to rejoice!

 

For information on the work of Alpha Ministries, visit alphaministries.com.

Don’t Waste Easter

Don’t Waste Easter

As Spring approaches and we begin to focus our attention heavily on the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus, it can be tempting to sit back and apathetically let this season of remembrance pass us by. As with anyone of faith accustomed to their church practices could tell you, it would be entirely too easy to walk through the motions of this Easter season without being intentional to contemplate the significance that this holiday holds for believers. If we do not resolve to pause and reflect on the meaning of Christ’s sacrifice, the work He is doing within our lives, and the new identity we have in Him, we can find ourselves simply treating the upcoming holiday as any other season. However, on the contrary, if we take the time to truly seek after God’s own heart during this important time and remember the transformation he has begun in our lives, we might be surprised to see what He reveals to us. To do this well, we must look at who we once were before salvation and who we now are as God’s beloved children. We at Alpha Ministries are so glad that you have found yourself here on our blog and sincerely hope you leave encouraged, refreshed, and reminded of the miracle of your salvation.

 

Who We Were

In scripture, the apostle Paul is quick to remind the church of who they once were before being born again as followers of Jesus Christ. In Ephesians chapter 2, he goes on to say, “Remember that at one time you Gentiles . . . were without Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel, strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.” (Ephesians 2:11-12). While this passage of scripture may be one that many of us have grown accustomed to hearing, it’s message and truth are two chilling staples of the Christian faith that we can never truly grow out of.

Brennon Manning, a recovered alcoholic and devout follower of Jesus who at times struggles through relapse and human frailty, explains this concept beautifully in his book entitled “The Ragamuffin Gospel.” At the end of chapter one, Brennan begins to contemplate on the idea of who will be seated around the throne of God in Heaven for all of eternity. His findings remind us of the sobering truth that none of us are deserving of heaven but are rather radically saved by grace through faith alone. He says,

Because salvation is by grace through faith, I believe that among the countless number of people standing in front of the throne and in front of the Lamb, dressed in white robes and holding palms in their hands (see Revelation 7:9), I shall see the prostitute from the Kit-Kat Ranch in Carson City, Nevada, who tearfully told me she could find no other employment to sup- port her two-year-old son. I shall see the woman who had an abortion and is haunted by guilt and remorse but did the best she could faced with grueling alternatives; the businessman besieged with debt who sold his integrity in a series of desperate transactions; the insecure clergyman addicted to being liked, who never challenged his people from the pulpit and longed for unconditional love; the sexually abused teen molested by his father and now selling his body on the street, who, as he falls asleep each night after his last “trick,” whispers the name of the unknown God he learned about in Sunday school; the deathbed convert who for decades had his cake and ate it, broke every law of God and man, wallowed in lust, and raped the earth.

“But how?” we ask. Then the voice says, “They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” There they are. There we are—the multitude who so wanted to be faithful, who at times got defeated, soiled by life, and bested by trials, wearing the bloodied garments of life’s tribulations, but through it all clung to the faith.

As followers of Jesus, it is important for us to recall who we once were before knowing Him as our Savior in order to understand and fully appreciate all that He has done for us.

 

Who We Are

While it is vital to our Christian walk to remember what life before Jesus was like, it is even more crucial to remember who we now are as his beloved children and followers. Scripture has much to say about our new identity as Christians. In Colossians, the apostle Paul says, “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God” (Colossians 3: 1-3). In the book of 2 Peter, the disciple of Jesus also expounds upon the identity of believers when he says, “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light” (1 Peter 2:9). As we can see through Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection, we are now called to walk in a newness of life with an identity now given to us by God himself. The world around us will always give its best effort to tell us where our identity should lie. This may be through our career path, the amount of money we have, who we’re married to, or even through our interests and hobbies. Scripture says differently. As Christians, we can reflect and remember who we are in Christ by referring to what God’s word tells us and remembering the emptiness that life once held before we were made new in salvation.

 

Don’t Waste This Season

While the temptation to go about our days on autopilot may arise this Easter season, we at Alpha Ministries want to encourage you not to waste the chance and opportunity you have to reflect on all that Christ has done for you. Lacking joy in your salvation? Think on the promises that God has given to His children. Suffering through grief and loss this Spring? Remember the Great Comforter who gave His only son’s life for you on Calvary. Struggling with remorse for past mistakes? Look to the resurrected Savior and trust Him when He says, “It is finished.” While our flesh has a tendency to grow numb to the sermons and Bible lessons we’ve heard over the years of church attendance surround this Holiday, we at Alpha Ministries want to encourage you to strive to make this year different. Rest in your salvation and reflect on the Good God who gave Himself for you.