Small Church Adopts Small Village
“God moves people, changes people’s hearts. [The people in my church] are injected with excitement every time they hear the updates [from the church we support in India]. We want to do whatever it takes to make that church successful,” Neil said enthusiastically.
Neil Brooks, along with several others from his local church, participated in an Eyewitness trip with India Gospel League (IGL) in 2013. Afterward he presented his church with the God-sized goal of adopting an entire village. But, that was just the tip of the iceberg for him.
During Neil’s trip to India four years ago, he saw things he will never forget. While staying on IGL’s main mission base in Tamil Nadu, IGL staff and pastors traveled with Neil and his team to a number of nearby villages, children’s homes, and churches as well as IGL’s main headquarters. They saw the work of God firsthand, instead of just reading about it in IGL’s email updates and newsletters.
“It was very comforting to have that knowledge – this organization is actually doing what they say they do and using the money for a good cause and it’s affecting people’s lives for the better. You could actually put eyes on that,” he explained.
Neil was convinced: God is working through IGL and was a worthwhile investment. While still in India, Neil and his team started brainstorming ways their church could become involved with God’s incredible work in South Asia. At first, they thought adopting an entire village at $75,000 would be out of reach for a church consisting of 300 people, the majority of which are college students. But then they ran the numbers. In reality, it would only cost 50 people $50 per month to adopt an entire village over the 5-year adoption program. “We were surprised at how obtainable it was,” Neil reflected.
When he returned home, Neil shared his conviction and vision with the rest of the church leadership knowing this was a worthy cause and an obtainable request with potential for tremendous impact for the kingdom. Within months the church together committed to sponsoring a village!
Initially Neil was excited about the wonderful impact his church could have in a remote village in India. But as time went on, he realized what a profound impact this commitment was having on him and the people in his church as well.
“We also do a monthly missions prayer breakfast and it totally revitalized that. It gave us something that we ‘owned’ something that was ‘ours’ to pray for. We can pray for his specific needs, for the crops to grow, for the pastor’s wife’s recovery when she was sick. It changes the way you look at missions from praying for them to praying for ‘our’ missionaries. It’s not just a newsletter that you read once. It’s a newsletter from your pastor,” said Neil.
Since the idea became reality, six teams from his church (a total of 30 people!) have visited their adopted village. And after every trip, the team returns with a new idea and motivation about how to continue helping their adopted village and church, whether it be providing a motorcycle for the pastor or electricity for the church building, the people in Neil’s church have jumped at the opportunity to partner in specific ways.
Now with only one year left on their initial commitment to the adopted village, Neil’s church is already looking to the future and to the next project with which his church can partner with IGL.
“We are praying for God’s direction in adopting another village. We are especially interested in IGL’s newest initiatives in Nepal.,” Neil shared hopefully.
Neil’s church serves as an example that it doesn’t take a large church to make a tremendous impact in India.