A whole village for jesus
Fall Quarterly Newsletter 2017
Jesus told us in the beginning, “If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you.” (John 15:20) He warned us that it would not be easy to follow him. When proclaiming the Good News, we may be rejected by our family, our friends, our coworkers, and even by strangers. Pastor S. Rao faced this rejection as he tried to share the Good News with some who had never even heard the name “Jesus” before.
Pastor S. Rao lives and ministers in a remote village in Andhra Pradesh. But even his village isn’t as remote and desolate as some. Surrounding his community there are small tribal villages in the hills. Some of them had never even met an outsider, let alone heard the gospel. One day, Pastor S. Rao ventured into the hills in search of these tribal villages so he could share Jesus’ incredible love with them.
But as Pastor S. Rao came to the first village and tried to share the Good News, he encountered violent opposition. Young men from the village beat him, chased him out of the village, and threatened that if he were ever to return, they would surely kill him. They were afraid that if Pastor S. Rao talked to them about his God, their own gods and goddesses would forsake them.
Though Pastor S. Rao chose not to return to the village, he felt called to pray for them. And our mighty God was faithful to answer his prayer.
Before long, the young men who had chased Pastor S. Rao out of his village showed up on his doorstep. They told the pastor that since he left, several people in their village had fallen ill, and some had even died. They began to think their gods and goddesses had cursed them. But though they offered sacrifices, their people did not get better. Soon they began to think that the curse fell upon them for rejecting Pastor S. Rao’s message.
The young men asked Pastor S. Rao for forgiveness and to pray for their village. They also urged him to come back to their village to share the news about Jesus with the entire community. Pastor S. Rao didn’t need any more encouragement. He immediately returned with them and began sharing the Gospel. Now, 35 of the 40 family groups living in the village have accepted Jesus as their Savior!
As the church was established, IGL introduced an Adopt-a-Village program. As soon as you walk into the village, Pastor S. Rao says you can feel the change. Villagers, who once lived in spiritual bondage in a community where violence and alcoholism were rampant, are now full of life, hope and love. Families who previously lived in generational poverty, struggling to provide food are now taught how to farm and are being trained in various marketable skills. Sickness and disease that once ravaged the children are now kept at bay through healthcare and education provided through ongoing medical camps. Truly the whole village has transformed! All because Pastor S. Rao was obedient to God to share the gospel.
Yet there are thousands of villages still living in spiritual bondage and suffering from the effects of extreme poverty. The pastors in South Asia need your prayers as they undergo persecution, just as Pastor S. Rao did, while striving to reach families and villages with the Good News of Jesus Christ. Will you join us in prayer?