February 22, 2012 by
Categories: India | International
Several weeks ago, a group of members from six Sovereign Grace churches participated in a twelve-day medical missions trip to India. The team worked with pastors in India and ran several medical camps, serving a total of around 2,500 patients during their time in India. Here’s an update from Steve Bickel, the pastor who led the trip:
We served...doing medical camps both in Ahmedabad and the southern foothills of the state of Gujarat, even going to a few remote areas where the gospel either hasn't been heard and/or there had never been medical camps before....
The team averaged around four hours of sleep per night and the amount of traveling was intense. We traveled mostly by bus and SUV for a total of over 30 hours while in the country. God’s grace and mercy truly allowed us to work those long hours together and to see about 2,500 total patients. We saw many conditions from snake bites to leprosy, HIV to scabies, lice to ear infections....
We are thankful for the opportunity we had to serve in India and also for some, the opportunity to see and experience a new culture. Most importantly though, we were able to help local leaders and pastors spread the Good News, by “softening the ground” for these pastors to go back in the villages and preach the gospel and start new churches.
Praise God for this fruitful trip! Along with Steve, we are grateful for the opportunity this team had to serve the practical needs of the people in India and help pave the way for future gospel ministry.
Photo by Flickr user mckaysavage, licensed under a Creative Commons license.
Last month, we asked for prayer for a team from two Sovereign Grace churches who were visiting one of our partner ministries in India. They were holding a conference for pastors and their wives who represent a network of more than 500 churches.
Here’s an update from one of the pastors who went on the trip:
Thanks for praying for our team and our time in India! Here are a few highlights of the things God did during our time...
- Along with staff and students, 32 leaders from eleven states attended our six-day conference. Some traveled as far as 42 hours by train. Twenty of them brought their wives.
- Despite the long travels, the men were eager and attentive during all the sessions. We were told that the material was not only personally encouraging, but would also provide them with excellent tools with which to equip their churches. The leaders were encouraged to go back to teach their churches all the sessions on membership, and then teach the material to new attendees on a quarterly schedule.
- To provide the maximum impact from the conference, teaching outlines were provided in electronic, written, and audio form with translations for the men to review, as they prepare to teach the material in turn to 500 more leaders back at their churches.
- The wives attended the same sessions as their husbands, except for three sessions designed especially for the ladies, providing grace-centered teaching on their roles as wives. Gifts were sent ahead for the purchase of saris (Indian dresses) for each wife, which was a surprise and a treat.
- The vacation Bible school outreach served 100-200 children a day for four days. The children were very responsive and well behaved.
- About 30% of India’s urban population lives in slum areas. About three years ago, a newer leader began to reach out to the slums nearby to serve and to share the good news with them. As a result, the leader and his wife have relocated to live in the slums to reach the people living there. After enduring hardships from the people, they now have been granted favor as they have served the children, and the parents have seen great results in the children’s education and character. They are now holding Sunday meetings in three areas, and are building a ministry center where they can meet weekly as well as provide education for the children daily.
- On a lighter note, we took the students to see the latest Chronicles of Narnia movie in 3D. Just getting the students comfortable going up escalators was fun to watch, much less the excitement of a McDonald’s lunch and movie!
Thanks again for your prayers.
This week, pastors and members from Grace Community Church (Souderton, PA) and Grace Community Church (Kingsville, MD) are visiting one of our partner ministries in India. While there, they'll be training and caring for 40 church leaders and their wives who represent a network of more than 500 churches. This type of international leadership training is part of what our annual Mission Fund makes possible, and is also a great example of how churches in Sovereign Grace can serve overseas. It’s amazing to think that we get to be involved with leadership training in different parts of the world.
Before the team left for India, they sent in some prayer requests. We're sharing them here to enlist your prayers and encourage you about the work that God is doing through our family of churches.
Please pray for these events:
- Teaching on the life and ministry of Jesus Christ
- Teaching and discussion on church membership
- Teaching and discussion for the wives of the leaders
- Six days of Vacation Bible School for more than 100 children living in slums
Please pray for these individuals:
- The 40 leaders and their wives wives who are being trained this week, and will then try to pass on the teaching to the hundreds of other pastors they serve
- The teaching team, who will need energy and clarity as they teach 20 sessions in five days, and hope to model biblical values throughout the trip
- The children attending Vacation Bible School, who desperately need the hope that only the gospel offers