Here's a brief look at what's been happening on our latest Journey of Compassion to India. See the all the reports at Facebook.com. Want to experience it for yourself? Register for Uganda today by visiting www.ImpactNations.org
On Saturday evening we returned to Chandigarh to begin the second half of the Journey of Compassion. We experienced four remarkable days of healing and salvation in the Punjab. As I wrote earlier, in all of my years of ministry, both in the West and overseas, I have never experienced such an enthusiastic, joyful and widespread reception to the Gospel.
After three days of medical clinics and outdoor meetings, on Saturday we went into the streets of two of the villages with water filters and prayer teams. Everywhere we went we were met with people eager to hear about Jesus––and then to open their lives to him. One distinguished Sikh gentleman approached a team member and said: “I want Jesus now!” As we would begin to pray for a person in need, immediately a whole group would congregate asking for prayer. Entire families were being led to the Lord. People gathered their friends and brought them to us so that they could hear the Gospel, too. And everywhere people were asking Randeep if his team could come again to their homes. There are now eighteen ‘houses of peace’ waiting to host new house churches in three villages; this number will surely multiply as soon as his team begins.
Yesterday, we attended the Sunday celebration that Randeep’s network has every week in Chandigarh, which is the capital city of the region. It is a modern city of about two million people, checkered with wealthy neighborhoods and squalid slums. A number of the team spoke at the celebration and we prayed for lots of people, including several who had driven all the way down from the Punjabi villages, which greatly surprised Randeep and his team. Afterward, the team went to one of the most famous places in the city, the Chandigarh Rock Garden. It was a great time, highlighted by several team members taking turns riding a camel.
This morning Randeep taught our team for about 90 minutes; he spoke about how to establish a house church network, then answered lots of questions. What is so exciting to hear about is the fruit that not only is sustained, but is constantly increasing (Jn 15:16). Chandigarh is situated on the border between the Punjab in the west and Himachal Pradesh in the east. Randeep has spent a number of years developing a strong network of house churches in Himachal––as of last week, there are 6,505 of them. This morning he received a report that yesterday there were 1,436 baptisms. That’s right: yesterday. Many times in the past two years as I have wondered if this is the right way for the church in the West to go, the Holy Spirit has said to me, ‘Look at the fruit.’ After all, Jesus insisted that we can tell the nature of the tree by its fruit.
This morning I received two phone calls: the first one from Dr. Victor Choudhrie, the founder of this amazing house church movement. He had heard about what the Lord was doing with us in the Punjab and he phoned to hear about it directly from me. Then my friend Anuroop Swamy called, because he, too, had heard. As I shared our delight with the way in which almost everyone was receiving Christ, Anuroop said this to me: “Steve, do you realize that all over this nation believers have said for a long time that the Punjab is the hardest area in India to receive the Gospel? Now that has changed.”
God put a hunger in my heart for this area to turn to Christ when I first visited it 16 years ago. What a privilege and joy to see the fulfillment of this desire.
You have a saying, ‘Four more months till harvest.’ But I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields ready for harvest now.