About 2.5% of India’s population is Christian which equates to about 30 million people. Christianity is the third largest religion in India. Helping to educate and train leaders for the church is Allahabad Bible Seminary (ABSI), founded in 1942. Strategically located where hundreds of villages have not heard the Gospel, the students of this religious-cultural educational center are able to learn the best cross-cultural approaches to a wide range of people representing all major religions in India.
Each weekend, female students from ABSI are involved in holistic ministry in nearby villages, where residents are non-Christians, illiterate and living in poverty. The relief and development efforts include preaching the Gospel, social awareness teaching (family, health, hygiene, nutrition) and literacy classes. Until villagers can read and write the Bible on their own, biblical teachings are shared through skits, stories with pictures and puppet shows.
The women’s ministry is growing marvelously in the villages. Women are attending programs regularly and sharing their needs with the team, seeking solutions through God’s Word. Many villagers are committing their lives to Christ as a result. At one gathering, 140 women from nine villages attended a retreat to fellowship and grow in their knowledge of Christ. For many, it was their first time out of their villages and in a city. After messages, prayer and testimonies were shared, many committed their lives to Christ, just as the theme of the retreat exclaimed, to “arise and shine.”
Two women who are glorifying Christ through their testimonies:
Lakhmi and her husband, Prushotham, live in the Sherpur village and have been unable to have a child during their 23 year marriage. They heard about the fellowship and prayer in the village and attended a worship service and the women’s fellowship. Hearing various testimonies of other believers, they shared their problems with infertility, asked for prayer and began attending regularly. Through the prayer of the group, Lakhmi was pregnant within a few months and delivered a baby girl in December. During the Christmas worship service, the couple shared the miracle testimony and said the Lord had brought them to light after 23 years of darkness. They named their baby, Roshini, which means “light.” Through this miracle, many more people began to have faith in Christ and started attending.
Miss Kiran, a young woman who regularly attends the women’s prayer fellowship in the Khelwa village, was possessed by evil spirits for many years. “Whenever she attended our prayers, she used to roll on the floor, dance and utter meaningless words and then lose consciousness.” Through the prayer of the group, Miss Kiran was delivered from the clutches of demonic power. Seeing this miracle, her entire family accepted Christ and attends the worship services regularly. She shared her testimony at the Christmas service for many non-believing villagers.
In some places in India, the Christian population is highly persecuted. In recent reports, the Global Council of Indian Christians and the Catholic Secular Forum called for Christian protection from extremist Hindus in central India. The reports claims more than 1,000 anti-Christian incidents in five states in the past 3 years, and cites “over 100 cases of true martyrdom.” (source: CatholicCulture.com)
Despite the persecution, the church is growing and needs the support of educated and well trained indigenous church leadership. Please be in prayer for the Christians, and ABSI, in India.