Twelve years ago, in early 1998, my heart was heavy with sorrow, because after 18 years of fruitful gospel ministry in India and more than 40 campaigns, our ministry there had come to an end. A political party, with an agenda to make India a religious state, was gaining ground, and I was charged with the “crime” of “mass conversion”, and was to be banned from the country.
Last week was a great come- back, and you made it possible. Our strategy in conducting our first gospel campaign after the return to India in Orissa was that this is the state known for its anti-christian persecution. By conducting a successful outreach here, we will be able to break down any walls of fear, because if it can happen in Orissa, it can happen anywhere . Sure enough, now invitations are coming from different cities in the country. Of course, this puts pressure on our financial situation; will we be able to handle this new season of harvest in India?
Whenever I feel pressure, I turn it over to HIM, who is capable of handling pressure, Jesus Christ himself. Let me enumerate some of the best memories from the campaign we just concluded.
Already at the press conference, the eagerness and the openness was evident, with 30 journalists questioning me about the gospel and about how Jesus applies to all people. Our approach of friendship and respect towards all people, regardless of religion, was well received. Again, at our Friendship Dinner with representatives from the Christian, Hindu, Buddhist, Muslim, Jain and Bahai religions, I presented the Gospel in an attitude of friendship and respect, and our approach met with a great response. There is no need to hit people hard or condemn them. If we just lift up Jesus Christ and what he has done for the world, the results will speak for themselves.
The pastors’ seminars met with a great openness and yet I was struck with how religious legalism has barricaded Christians behind a wall of tradition, causing an inability to reach out to society at large. I guess the same could be said for just about any country in the world. This is why the Pastors seminars are so important; to tear that wall of tradition down.
God’s faithfulness really stands out to me; in spite of weariness from long travel and little time to recuperate, God faithfully confirmed His gospel. Night after night the platform was full of people testifying of healings. Sickness can really make people lose hope, or even the sense of not wanting to live. It was beautiful to see how people with those kind of sentiments due to paralysis or blindness not only received physical healing, but their whole being was re-energized because of what Jesus did.
The announcement that our sins have been put away by Jesus’ sacrifice meets the same response everywhere on the earth. People instinctively know that they are sinners. I have deep respect for the millions of hindus that immerse themselves in the River Ganges for the forgiveness of sins. They are certainly doing their level best to find cleansing from sin. What a privilege to announce that Jesus has once for all dealt with our sins.
Partner, thank you for your support. We need your help more than ever. Send me your thoughts. –Peter Youngren.