Nathan Thurber has been with me here in Orissa, and he wrote a report that I think will inspire you. -Peter
Peter is distributing the magic of God’s love.
The local newspaper in Bhubaneshwar continues, “the blind are seeing, the lame are walking and the deaf are hearing at the Orissa Gospel Festival.” This is an astounding headline in a strict Hindu region of India rocked by religious violence in 2008 that left many dead and countless more homeless. A reality not soon lost on the psyche of the Orissa population.
Bhubaneshwar, a city in India’s eastern region known as the city of temples, has a population that is over 95% Hindu. It is called the “temple city” and boasts more than 600 Hindu temples, many of which are massive, beautiful works of ancient art.
“Dr Youngren preached his reliance on Jesus. Not reliance on self or religion.” The Orissa newspaper accurately caught the essence of Peter’s message – it is all about Jesus. Religion is not the answer. Peter is not a healing guru. No, Jesus is Lord!
“Jesus is with you and is alive among you”, the paper quotes Peter. This same sentiment was later echoed by those testifying of healing.
Each day myself and Lionel Daniel went with an interpreter and visited some of the homes of those healed the night before. One staunch Hindu man, whose daughter had been deaf and dumb since birth, but now healed, told me that he and his daughter had received New Life through Jesus last night. He went on to explain that Hindu teachers had told him his daughter was deaf due to sins in previous reincarnated lives. He refused to accept that reality, and sought a better life for his 24 year old daughter. He traveled 400 plus km to come to the Festival. (He heard of the Festival through newspaper advertisements partners around the globe helped pay to print – thank you.) As he shared what Jesus had done, healing his daughters ears, he broke down in tears of joy.
Sukesini, an elderly lady whose eyes had been blind for the last 3 years, told me she just wanted to die because of her hopeless situation. Her husband had died years before and she now lives with her daughter and children. Her daughter, sobbing tears of joy, told me it had been such a burden on the family taking care of their blind mother. Once when they left Sukesini alone she ate bugs by accident. Last night her grand daughter led her by the hand to the Festival. After the healing prayer she took her hand off her eyes and the first thing she saw was Pastor Peter’s striped shirt he was wearing.
This morning we visited Mr. Raghunath, a former government official, and a born Hindu. Mr. Raghunath explained how he had spent half his monthly pension on medical bills since 2003. He had damaged both his legs 7 years ago, and never recovered. He recounted how Jesus had healed his legs last night. He invited us into the back room of his house. There a floor to ceiling shrine housed more statues and pictures of gods than I could count. He showed me a small bed where they put the gods to sleep. His wife showed me an entire fridge full of summer and winter cloths she had made for the gods to wear. She would bath and change their cloths every morning. Such devotion and dedication. True to John 3:15-17, Jesus came to save all humanity, body, soul and spirit, including Mr Raghunath. As I exited Mr Raghunath’s home, I spotted a World Impact Ministries follow up salvation booklet on their table. This is exactly what partner’s donations do. They print follow up material and the Gospel is taken directly into the homes of the unreached – thank you.
Each night a thunderous roar emits from the tightly packed crowd on the open field in Bhubaneshwar as Pastor Peter leads the crowd in the salvation prayer. A sea of hands are raised to heaven in a majestic response to God’s love revealed through Jesus for all people, regardless of cast or religion.
Tonight we enter the final night of the 5 day Gospel Festival. Government officials will be in attendance, and the field will be packed. Anticipation and excitement in the air as Pastor Peter presents Jesus to the people.