Talk about Christ
Reflecting on a quote by George Whitefield, “God forbid that I should travel with anyone a quarter of an hour without speaking about Christ to them,” I began to think about our city, Mumbai. Since this most populous city has around 20.7 million people, and at times one could perhaps step on another’s toes, finding an audience is no daunting task! But our prayer is, “Lord, help us walk in obedience. Make us sensitive to those around us to lead them to Christ.”
In December 2017, our churches planned numerous and creative outreaches to get the gospel out, through personal witnessing on the streets, in hospitals, old age homes, orphanages; all culminating in the largest outreach of the month,‘Praise March’ in Colaba, a touristy and thronging down town area of Mumbai. Our 15 Greater Grace churches joined with the Andheri church for this mega reach.
A decorated, moving truck mounted with our worship band and singers, stopped every 200 meters for one of our pastors preached to the crowds. Much prayer had gone into the event. We fervently believe that prayer makes things happen, it changes a nation, transforms lives, moves mountains, and removes hindrances that the enemy throws in our way. We witnessed a powerful move of the Holy Spirit, as the Word of God was proclaimed with great power and anointing, and 40,000 gospel tracts were given out that day.
Last August, my wife Suzan and I celebrated 25 years of marriage, years of serving the Lord together and being grateful for each other. What a gift and amazing helper my wife has been to me! I am so thankful to the Lord for her life. She has been an encourager, intercessor, and we have shared one heart and mind in vision and service. We are thankful for our son Andrew, on whom we clearly see the Lord’s good hand. We are proud to have him as our son. He adds much joy to our lives.
This past year, we launched our book project, something that has always been dear to my heart and that is, to develop study resources for our Indian churches. Since there is very little biblical study material available in the regional languages, it has been my desire to make such material available to our own missionaries on the fields, so that the churches would all have the same mind. By the grace of God, we now have the following books/booklets completed that are being translated into Hindi and Nepali: Foundational Truths (volume 1), effective for discipleship of new believers, and Applied Bible Doctrine (first of six volumes). These books are a compilation of 15 key doctrinal booklets by Dr. Steven’s, along with lesson plans. They are a powerful tool for any village pastor to teach sound doctrine. The booklets that are translated are: Prayer That Ascends to Heaven, Pauline Strategy for Missions, Spiritual Coverings.
It has been a season of great unity as a church. We are thankful for our pastors, leaders, elders, and prayer teams who selflessly serve with all their hearts, for families that come out, for the youth and children. It has been an honor to have Pastor Fred E. and John K. serve with us in Mumbai. Along with our Elders, they have visited mission fields to encourage leaders and their churches, bringing back praise reports for further thanksgiving. It has been a great comfort to me since I have been unable to make all these trips myself.
“I want to thank our precious family of God for praying for us. Your prayers have power! They work! We believe ALL that God says He is, ALL that He says we are in Him and ALL that He tells us we can do through Him. We expect mountains to move as we pray and praise our way through and out of the storms of life. “Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the Lord deliveres him out of them all.” Psalm 34:19. God knows the many and He is above them all!
We are deeply grateful for all of you that support the work in India. We appreciate your prayers, encouragement and visits, especially those by P. Schaller and P. Scibelli who, for so many years, have taken time off of their schedules to travel the miles to come and edify churches in India and us personally. We may not be able to pen down all that is happening but this is a brief summary of the work, and a few testimonies for you to rejoice over. We continue to seek your prayers.
Our Bible College offers a three and a four year program in Biblical studies to anyone wanting to be trained. Over the last ten years, we have watched God bring in men from almost every state in India to our training center. Many students have come from places we had gone on mission trips over the past 25 years. On completion of their studies, they go back to their towns and villages and reproduce what they have seen and learned. Currently, we have students from all around India, Afghanistan, Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh.
GGF Mumbai is a sending church for missions around India and beyond. We are seeing the fruit of almost 30 years of ministry. Here are some statistics of how many churches have come out of the main Andheri church: 82 churches across 12 states in India, 15 in Mumbai (some having more than one service in English/Hindi/Nepali), Karuna Sharan orphan boys’ home with 65 orphans, and The Ambassador High School with 4,000 students. We have 42 churches in Nepal along with a Bible training center in Kathmandu, the Hope Family Orphanage, and a Gospel radio program aired on the national radio sreaching an estimated two million listeners; also one church in Bhutan; a pioneering work among unreached tribal groups in Bangladesh; and a partnership in training Afghani refugees in India.
New Church Plants
This year, 2018, we are praying for the new church plants in India. Some of our leaders have been taking mission trips into the states of Jammu and Kashmir, Chandigarh, Kolkatta, Assam and Siliguri. Please pray that the Lord would lead us to men who want to receive a Bible education and come to our Bible College in Mumbai.
Rajasthan, North India
In in 2014, after graduating from the Mumbai Bible College Pastor Subash and Deepa moved to Jaipur, a place steeped in Hinduism, idolatry and hostile to the gospel. Over many months of prayer, soul-winning and ministry, we began to see the Lord do marvelous things as people were drawn to His love.
Somya, a 17 year old girl, had been severely tormented for a long time. She would be driven to jump off the roof to take her life. At times she would cut herself, tear her clothes and do other extreme things which are reflective of demon possession. So distraught was her family, that her parents sought every witch doctor possible in hope of her deliverance, and performed all kinds of rituals on her, but things only got worse. She could not be cured.
One day, in search of a rented home for us, I met Somya’s family. When I saw the girl’s condition, I assured the family that she could be healed. Immediately the family offered me their home for rent.
Somya was brought to church one Sunday to be prayed for. When I began to speak to her, she started shouting, screaming and hurting herself. I had personally never experienced anything like this before. Our team prayed as I spoke to her. I looked into her eyes and asked, “Who are you that is inside her?” A male voice spoke out, “I am Bharo.” (Bharo is the name of the ‘god’ that the family worshiped and this spirit occupies a big place in the hearts of the people of Rajasthan). The demon went on to claim that he had created the girl and that she was his mistress.
I questioned, “If you are Bharo, then who is Jesus Christ?” The demon replied, “Jesus Christ is God.” So I said, “In the same name of Jesus Christ, I command you to come out of her and leave her immediately.” The demon left instantly and she was set free! Somya and her family received Christ and started attending church. Romans 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes…”
Over five years ago, one of our pastors, Pastor Bhim in Nepal, was falsely accused of a wrongdoing and put in prison. His five year sentence got completed in the beginning of this year. Much prayer had gone up for his life and his release.
How did P. Bhim spend his years in jail? While the majority of prisoners were transferred to other prisons, P. Bhim was not. Being the passionate soul winner that he is, he took the opportunity to witness to every prisoner that came his way. Before long, he started a church service with a group of prisoners that he began to disciple.
Did he miss his family and church? Yes, but he kept believing that God was going to turn this unjust situation around for his good. Every time we visited P. Bhim he was joyful and related to us how the Lord was moving in the hearts of prisoners. In those five years, he led 90 prisoners to the Lord and discipled 15 men unto Christ.
Soon after his release, P. Bhim came to the Kathmandu church with one of his disciples who had been released around the same time. This precious man now has a desire to attend Bible college.
– Pastor Karl Silva