SOARING ABOVE UNCERTAINTY

The verses from the old hymn, “On Christ the Solid Rock I Stand,” come to mind when reflecting on events of this year and praying about what is yet to come. The uncertainty of these times can be utterly overwhelming—but when we feel overwhelmed we must keep in mind the truth of the next verse: “All other ground is shifting sand.”

There is nothing on this earth we can trust more than God. No person, no job, no economy, no government. In the midst of such uncertainty, we must keep our eyes on Him, and continually renew our faith in His promises . . .

But those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:31

Scripture calls us to live completely reliant on our Lord. That’s not a Sunday-only lifestyle, but rather, an every hour of every day lifestyle that looks entirely different from the ways of this world.

I remember my father and mother modeling this lifestyle my entire life when other ways would have been much easier. Things like hardships, hunger, and beatings do not sound like a plan for success but rather for failure. Remember that there is nothing we can go through that Jesus is not familiar. We are told He was, “acquainted with grief” (Is 53:3). As an adult, Jesus knew hard work, sleepless nights, and hunger. He was homeless and a man of sorrows yet always rejoicing. He was poor yet made many rich. As Jesus told the young man on the road to Jerusalem, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head” (Luke 9:58).

Let us keep things in perspective:

But in all things we commend ourselves as ministers of God: in much patience, in tribulations, in needs, in distresses, in stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labors, in sleeplessness, in fastings; by purity, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness, by the Holy Spirit, by sincere love, by the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armor of righteousness on the right hand and on the left, by honor and dishonor, by evil report and good report; as deceivers, and yet true; as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and behold we live; as chastened, and yet not killed; as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things.
2 Corinthians 6:4-10

So I encourage you to press in and seek our King! He will give you what you need to stand strong, to rise above the mayhem, to soar above the uncertainty. Continually meditate on the promises of God rather than on the headlines and social media wars. I have included some scripture verses below to help you keep your focus on the only thing that truly matters. Keep soaring!

1. God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear. Psalm 46:1-2

2. But those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:31

3. So do not fear, for I am with you, do not be dismayed, for I am your God, I will strengthen you and help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10

4. The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him. Nahum 1:7

5. 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…and the God of peace will be with you. Philippians 4:8-9

6. “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27

7. He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the LORD, ‘My refuge and my fortress, My God, in whom I trust!’ Psalm 91:1-2

8. Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken, nor my covenant of peace be removed, says the Lord, who has compassion on you. Isaiah 54:10

9. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39

10. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7

Poor Foreigners?

“When you reap the harvest of your land,
do not reap to the very edges of your field
or gather the gleanings of your harvest.
Do not go over your vineyard a second time
or pick up the grapes that have fallen. Leave
them for the poor and the foreigner. I am
the Lord your God.”
(Leviticus 19:9-10 NIV)

As Christians, we can sometimes become detached from the suffering and struggles around us. Going through our daily routines, we don’t always see and hear about the difficulty others may be going through. This is especially true in times like these when each day seems to bring a new challenge.

I am so thankful for our dedicated frontline messengers who serve throughout South Asia. They keep us updated on the needs and struggles they encounter so that we can pray and respond. In all of the regions we serve, thousands have lost what meager livelihood they could earn because of nationwide shutdowns. Street vendors and day laborers are some of the hardest hit. These are men and women with families who rely on that income to survive.

In one region, our team was made aware of a slum where the conditions were particularly desperate. It is inhabited by a group of stranded street vendors who have no work, no way to get back to their families and no food. That same slum had also become home to a large group of transgenders. Being outcast by society and without income due to the travel restrictions that have all but ended tourism in the area, they are lost and barely surviving. They need more than food. They need the Light of God’s Love to set them free. The Psalmist tells us to, “Defend the weak and the fatherless; uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed. Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked,” (Psalm 82:3-4NIV). Our team has begun to provide food and other staples to those living in this slum and they are ministering to them as well. Please pray for breakthrough!

My friend, revival is breaking out in the most unusual places. We are hearing reports from all over the world that God showing up in the midst of all this chaos – breaking chains and setting the captives free.

We must not rest in days like this, but rather, continue to pray…to be light in the darkness…and to speak life where there is death.

By remembering the poor in our giving, we also open doors that may otherwise never have opened to share the love of God with them. Thank you for standing with Alpha Ministries in this great work! God bless you!



“The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim
good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the
brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners.”
(Isaiah 61:1)

Breaking the Chains of Opposition

OVERCOMING STRONG OPPOSITION IN THE LORD

Our frontline messengers across South Asia are always looking for ways to share the good news with those who have not heard. In that pursuit however, they encounter fierce opposition at times. But as Solomon wrote, there is “nothing new under the sun.” Consider the opposition Nehemiah encountered – including the daily taunting by the enemy – as he worked to rebuild the wall.

Pastor Ramesh has experienced similar struggles. Desiring to minister among the unreached Gond people groups, he moved to the heavily wooded region where they live. The people are deeply devoted to their own beliefs and idols, and are extremely superstitious. They are also bound by generations of occultic practices and rampant alcoholism.

Though it was difficult from the very beginning, Ramesh persisted, and in time a few became believers. Unfortunately, that made the opposition increase. The new believers’ families and the community aggressively resist them to force them to denounce Jesus and turn back.

As a result, Ramesh had difficulty gathering more than a few people at a time for prayer and Bible teaching and had to move to different homes for safety. Once, when pastor Ramesh was going to one such house church in a distant village with his two sons, more than 30 very intoxicated men surrounded pastor Ramesh and his boys. The men began to say vile and wicked things to them and the chaos drew more people. Thankfully, Pastor Ramesh and his children were able to slip from the midst of them to safety.

As word of Pastor Ramesh’s work in the community began to spread, more villagers turned on him. Some began spreading slander saying, “Do not join the Christians,” and “Christians don’t wear ornaments and don’t shave their head to respect the dead,” and “Christians will make you cow eaters,” and worse. The threats and rumors have caused more than 35 people to leave the fledgling fellowship who have not returned. Even though they saw the miracles that God did in their midst, they were not able to stand firm through persecution.

Ramesh was not deterred and eventually acquired a small piece of land on which he built a mud structure for himself and his family. Very soon, worship began to take place with a few people gathered at a time. Some who have become followers of Jesus gathered there for prayer, and some of the most faithful intercede day and night for their kin to be saved.

Since the atmosphere in the village is filled with violence and suspicion, Ramesh felt strongly that a safe structure was needed so the people could gather for worship. He reached out to us with this need and in a short time, God had used faithful partners like you to meet the need!

The growing number of new believers there feel tremendously blessed to be able to meet in a safe building now, no longer needing to go from village to village and meet in different homes. It has a become a testimony among people about the miracle of what God provided.

Though the atmosphere had become filled with hate against Christians, Ramesh shared, “The witchcraft workers and other occultists who despise us and threaten us to not continue in our faith are now quiet having seen the amazing provision of God. Thank you for helping create a place where many can meet, pray, train and worship without fear.”

Several hundred miles away lies Ambaji, named after the mother goddess, “Amba,” and revered as her place of residence. It is one of the chief pilgrimage sites in the entire state of Gujarat. Every full moon, thousands line up in the small town to climb the hill where the deity resides. Millions of dollars in currency, gold and silver is offered to this deity each year. It is also the town where the Lord sent our Pastor Vinod to share the gospel.

At first the people he ministered to were opposed to him. Their livelihood depended on the “Amba maata” – the mother goddess. But the people began to see the power of God at work as many who were sick and bound by Satan were set free.

Pastor Vinod purchased some land just a couple of miles from the famous temple to build a home and a place of worship. Vinod has faced oppression from tantrics and occultists who are eager to cast a spell on him, but he has no fear because he knows he is authorized by the Name that’s above all names. Though he receives frequent death threats from the zealots of Amba, Vinod is steadfast because of the faithful who testify of how the Lord healed and blessed them. He is convinced that in spite of opposition he will set up a worship place for Jesus in the same land where the demonic forces have prevailed for so long.

We praise and thank God for the work that has progressed there, breaking ground on the first church building in the region, thanks to faithful partners like you. It is amazing that even in a place where a deity supposedly dwells, where witchcraft and demonic powers abound, and where opposition to the gospel is intense—many people are coming to faith in Christ. Pastor Vinod shared, “Now we are looking at the completion of the place of worship despite all the threats and opposition and for that we are grateful. Please pray that the word of God will spread rapidly and more and more territory will be claimed for the Kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”

My friend, if you feel hindered and chained by heavy opposition to something God has called you to do, take heart! He has overcome! He is the chain breaker and the way maker. Stay steadfast in your faith and pray for breakthrough. Thank you for standing with us and with our frontline messengers all over South Asia. God bless you!

Bleeding and Left to Die

Have you ever wondered if God is even aware of your plight? Have you felt alone and unable to change your circumstances?

 

With the recent pandemic that has impacted nearly every soul on earth in one way or another, many have felt alone, broken, anxious and some have even contemplated suicide. My friend, I want to encourage you today that no matter how dark the present moment seems, you can call on the God who cares about you. That’s why I want to share Reshma’s story with you today, because I believe it will encourage you greatly.

 

Many of our Alpha frontline ministers serve among unreached people groups. Pastor Valvi is being used by God to establish churches in new areas where people have not heard the Good News before.

 

Though Valvi was born to a Hindu family, his grandfather had become a Christian. When Valvi was in the tenth grade at a boarding school for boys, he had to be sent home because he was very ill. During his time at home he began to read a Bible his grandfather had given him. When he read the words of James 5:14, “Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord,” Valvi felt hope for the first time since becoming sick.  He asked his grandfather to invite the elders. They came and prayed for him and within two days he was completely well. He accepted Jesus as his Savior and began to follow Him.

 

After graduating, Valvi enrolled in Alpha Bible College training because he felt burdened for those who had not yet heard the gospel. He chose to serve in Nasvadi, an unreached area of Gujarat, India. Valvi shared the following testimony with us:

 

While serving in an unreached village, we came to a house where a woman named Reshma lay sick. We were told that, for many years, Reshma had suffered from a menstrual disorder that would cause her to bleed continuously, sometimes for days and weeks on end. The family members were poor and had tried everything they could to find treatment for her, but nothing helped. It came to the point where they had to choose between money for treatment that wasn’t working or food for the family—so Reshma was left to suffer.

 

When we saw Reshma, she was laying on a mat on the mud floor soaked in blood, so weak she was unable to move. She had been bleeding for fifteen days at that point. An unbearable stench covered the room. The family was waiting for her to die. We were broken-hearted to see her in that condition.

 

My wife, Martha, and I felt for Reshma, and began praying for her with a great burden in our hearts. We needed money to take her to the hospital, but where was I to get so much money? The only thing I could think of was to sell my old motorbike quickly and get the money to provide for her treatment and surgery. Having convinced the family of the same, I proceeded to do so. With great difficulty we managed to carry her to the hospital where she was treated. After several days she had regained her strength and we were able to bring her back home fully recovered!

 

Reshma’s family was overjoyed. Everyone wondered why we, who were total strangers, did so much to help this woman. Wherever we went in the village, news of what had been done for Reshma became an opportunity to glorify God. We were only doing what our master commanded us, to “Go and do thou likewise.” That is what Jesus commanded the Scribe to do at the end of the parable of the Good Samaritan.

 

Praise God that this act of kindness worked in the hearts of the poor villagers. First Reshma’s husband, then their four daughters and three sons all gave their lives to Christ. Other relatives started showing keen interest in knowing the Lord and began coming to the prayer meetings. We praise God for the miracle of salvation!

 

The village chief and other leaders visited Reshma at home to express their displeasure. They told her it was not right to let Christians enter any house in their village. Feeling the pressure of the village leaders, we continue to conduct prayer meetings at her home, but we avoid large gatherings and for now, have put on hold our wish to build a church at this village. Persecution and opposition follows proclamation but we trust God and continue. 

 

We praise God for servant’s hearts like that of Valvi and his family. God is using them to bring light into darkness, to share the Good News where many have never heard it before. If you are struggling today, or you know someone who is, stir up your faith. Know that God is near, and is faithful to answer when you call upon His Holy Name!

 

Thank you for making it possible for Alpha Ministries to continue training leaders like Valvi to go out and gather the Harvest. Our frontline ministers continue the works of Jesus just as He promised.

 

 

 

[Names have been changed for privacy and protection]

Who Has the Victory?

While the CoVid19 pandemic shakes every nation on earth, I’m sure you have felt the impact of it in one way or another. This global crisis reminds us that things in life can change very quickly and that nothing is certain except for the Word of God. But that very certainty is why we do not lose hope or live in fear. We know Jesus Christ is Lord, He is on the throne and He is the One who has the victory. Amen!

As a friend of Alpha Ministries, I want you to know that we have been praying for you in the midst of all the turmoil. Like Paul wrote, “I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” that you might be filled with all the fulness of God—praying the will of God to be completed in you. “According to the eternal purpose which He purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Eph.3:11).

We pray that all of us will emerge from this crisis with our lives and families intact and with our faith and trust in God stronger than ever. We are praying earnestly for the protection and healing of our community as we seek the welfare of our city and country.

As scary as this illness is for those of us living in the United States, it can be even more costly for Christians in other countries who regularly experience harsh persecution for their faith. We receive regular updates about increased threats and attacks against believers throughout South Asia since this began.

Can you imagine how hard it is for fellow believers who are grappling with coronavirus, lockdowns and shortages on top of persecution? Please continue to lift them in your prayers.

This lockdown has created what amounts to a refugee class of people—roughly 300 million in India and millions more in Myanmar and Nepal—who live below poverty level and survive hand-to-mouth based on daily earnings. These workers have been trapped away from their families and their homes without resources or means enough to even buy food.

We have a God given responsibility to pray and show His love in the midst of their fear, hunger and confusion—by providing for their basic needs. During these difficult times, our Frontline Messengers continue to be a light unto the nations by delivering food, praying and helping those in need.

Your prayers and support are making a difference for those suffering in the midst of this crisis. On behalf of frontline messengers, pastors, children, youth, churches, and families we represent worldwide, thank you so much for your prayers and partnership!

[To help Alpha Ministries provide essential, emergency food and supplies, please make a secure online donation today. Thank you!]

In the Shadow of the Statue

The Gospel is taking root in Zand Village

Zand village in Gujarat, India is famous throughout the region as a pilgrimage site because of the 30-foot tall statue of the popular god, named Hanuman, that is located there. For the last ten years, Alpha Ministries has served the people of Zand through various outreaches including medical camps and children’s programs, however, we have not had a church there.

Last year, the Lord put it in the hearts of some of our church members from neighboring villages to begin visiting the people of Zand weekly to hold prayer meetings and eventually plant a new church. What began as a small house prayer service with 10 people in attendance has since become a growing church with many coming to faith in Christ. The first church in Zand village has been established within a stone’s throw of the Hanuman  statue.

At Christmastime, the members of the church wanted to host a Christmas program, so they sent out 300 invitation cards to relatives and friends in five neighboring villages. Out of that number, 150 adults and 160 children gathered together for the celebration. It was an amazing program that kept all in attendance in rapt attention. The Gospel was presented through song and dance, and ultimately preached with great boldness. At the end of the program, 45 people indicated their decision to follow Christ as their Savior and 11 people obeyed Christ in water baptism.

Until now, the villages all around Zand have been without a gospel witness. Now, through the Christmas programs, our church planters have established contacts in 5 villages and ministry has already launched 3 new churches.

We praise God for the glorious opportunity! Even in very difficult circumstances, there are ample opportunities to share Christ.

Please join us as we pray that the seeds sown will produce much fruit for the glory of God in the days ahead, and that churches will be established in the villages and surrounding Zand. Thank you for standing with us in the gap.

When the Way Seems Hard

The LORD will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs
in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame.
You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring
whose waters never fail. (Isaiah 58:11 niv)

 

Though our family encountered many challenges last year, through them all, God faithfully guided and provided grace, mercy and peace. He is our good Shepherd, leading and guiding even when the path seems treacherous, when the land seems barren, when your burden is heavy and the way is dark and gloomy.

I want to encourage you that whenever you face challenges in life—and you will—always remember that God will use those challenges to mature you in your walk as you trust in Him. He is Faithful and He will strengthen your faith for the journey. His Holy Spirit will comfort you as you lay your burdens at the foot of the cross.

Similarly, when you encounter opportunities, pray and seek God’s counsel as to how He wants to expand your borders and your vision. You will not be disappointed! My father and mother have made it their life-long practice to always seek the Lord before moving forward or expanding into new fields of ministry.

During the holidays, our teams across south Asia were confronted with many obstacles that prevented them from publicly acknowledging the birth of Jesus or celebrating Christmas in any way. However, through prayer and determination, the Lord made a way in many situations.

When the district police in the city of Lanni denied our Alpha Church permission to celebrate Christmas publicly, the pastor went to the regional police for assistance. When it seemed that his efforts would be in vain, permission was granted at the very last minute and a police squad was assigned duty at the venue for protection.

The Lanni church members printed 1700 invitation cards for the Christmas celebration and nearly 1500 people showed up—half of whom had never heard the gospel! It was a firecracker of a celebration with hundreds dancing and praising the Lord, and our Alpha Ministries pastor (MN) preached for an hour declaring Christ as the Savior of the world.

The entire crowd was fed a sumptuous meal, and the police officers even enjoyed the program and were each given a New Testament. The next day, the local paper carried the news that the Lanni Alpha Church organized a Christmas celebration and that there was much joy as the gospel was shared—complete with pictures. God is on the move in the world today!

God is also moving in Saakasa Village, where pastor RB and his team launched a public Christmas rally. They went through the streets singing about the Savior who was born on Christmas day and nearly 450 people attended the public Christmas program in the main city square.

A well-known evangelist preached and a music team led special songs. Many bystanders said they had never seen a public rally go so peacefully and without trash littering the streets. The church had maintained the cleanliness of the city streets and received praise from community leaders. Many have asked to know more about Christ as a result.

The Alpha Church in Gujarat hosted the annual Christmas Day pageant in the University auditorium where 650 people gathered. The youth and children presented the entire gospel to the audience through skits and songs. In the end, Jesus was preached. Over 150 in attendance heard the Gospel for the first time.

A number of public schools gave us permission to do Christmas programs where we shared the Christmas message through singing carols. The youth did an event in the college women’s hostel where 150 college students stay. It was remarkable to see the songs and testimonies impact the hearts of the people. Most of the women commented on their surprise that it was possible to have a relationship with God. They had never heard of anything like that.

There are many more stories I could share about the many ways God opened doors for us and your partnership made it possible for us to proclaim the Good News!

Remember that many of these victories were achieved in a country that the organization Open Doors ranks as the 10th most dangerous place in the world to be a Christian, where “violence and injustice against Christians is on a deadly rise by more than 400 percent in recent years.” I can’t stress enough how important your prayers are as we continue.

I can tell you on behalf of the church planters, pastors, children, youth, churches and families we represent worldwide—your prayers and generosity are a lifeline for which we are all tremendously grateful. Please continue to pray for our teams as we labor to serve the persecuted church in South Asia and make disciples by training and equipping the frontline workers of the harvest. The Gospel is still vehemently resisted in some of the regions we reach, but we continue to press on, proclaiming the love of God.

Thank you for partnering with Alpha Ministries as we eagerly look for more ways to serve God and meet the needs around us in 2020! I believe God has tremendous opportunities ahead for us this year, and I am very glad to know that you are part of this work as we move forward.

I Am With You Always

I Am With You Always

Shining brightly in the midst of persecution

When Yogendra Nishad was a young boy, his home was filled with turmoil. His father and uncles were alcoholics and what little money they earned quickly went to buy more booze. Their families were struggling financially and emotionally.

During the worst of it, one of our pastors visited the family and shared the Gospel with them. As they prayed together, strongholds were broken and the Lord mightily touched their lives. Yogendra accepted Jesus as his Savior, and so did his father and uncles. They were set free from drinking and the entire family began attending church. As they grew in faith, they began to see the blessings of the Lord.

But their new faith began to be tested right away.

The rest of the villagers and the village leaders soon heard of the family’s conversion. Leaving traditional faiths to follow Jesus is not allowed. The villagers organized against Yogendra’s family and began to threaten and persecute them, insisting that they renounce their faith in Jesus or face the consequences.

As Yogendra’s family continued to grow stronger in their Christian faith, the persecution increased. The villagers ordered the shopkeepers to refuse to sell them any food or necessities. The family had to walk about 5 miles to the nearest shop that would allow them to purchase what they needed. The wives were harassed in the streets. In school, Yogendra was teased mercilessly by his classmates for his decision to follow Jesus. The villagers encouraged their children to bully and harass him.

For a boy in 5th grade, Yogendra’s world was becoming very lonely. His parents encouraged him to remember the promise of Jesus, that He was with Yogendra always, even when he was being teased and harassed, and that the Lord would make a way for him. Yogendra also looked forward to the Pastor’s visits because he would encourage the family from God’s Word and they would pray together.

They began to see the Lord helping them in every situation . . . and so did the villagers. They began to recognize that Jesus was protecting the family from all their threats. They saw that the family remained strong in their faith and not even witchcraft was affecting them.

God has been glorified in their home and in their lives in the midst of persecution. The children have excelled in their studies and the family is prospering in spite of the opposition they have faced. Little by little, the villagers are beginning to speak to them again. Yogendra is happy and wants to become a pastor when he is older.

Please continue to pray for families like Yogendra’s who are caught in the crossfire of persecution, that they would have the grace to love those who persecute them and truly be salt and light for the world. Families are suffering physical violence and much worse for following Jesus. Your prayers and practical support truly make a difference for our persecuted brothers and sisters!

 

 

*Representative names and images used for safety. 

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.