God Opens Doors In Central India
“The visit of pastor Lutz Binus and his team has been a rewarding and enlightening experience to all the rural masses in and around Tandur,” noted Mr. John, a college professor in town and a devoted Christian leader. His thank you letter continued, “For more than 20 years no mission outreach has happened in this area. We are excited to see what God is doing in all the villages.” Then he added a personal note: “Years ago our Methodist missionaries were kicked out with rocks and sticks, particularly by the Hindu people of one of the towns, Kukla. Now these people have asked you to come and share the gospel. What a miracle!”
Carl Schwartz, Dave Smith, Nikki Taylor, and Binus, from the Hockinson Heights, Wash., District of the Ore. Conference—conducted an evangelistic effort in Tandur, a town of 50,000 people in a rural area 80 miles west of Hyderabad in Central India. Two weeks before the meetings started about 30 pastors and Bible workers came to the area to share the gospel with the local people. The workers went two-by-two into the villages, stayed and shared where welcome, and organized daily Bible studies in 10 villages. Their simple, spirited Bible songs opened the hearts of many people. For a total of four weeks they lived with the people, slept on their dirt floors, and shared their food. This is the key to success, identifying with them.
The pastors came in contact with a Mrs. Samson, an influential Christian lady in Tandur. She introduced them to the leaders of the other Christian denomination in town—the Methodist Church. A big meeting tent was erected on their school grounds. “Praise God, this is the first public evangelistic crusade that’s ever been held on these grounds,” the school principal noted. A close and friendly cooperation was achieved on all levels. They were happy to see Christianity spread in the area. Each night of the two weeks of meetings between 800 and 1,200 people came to share in the lively music, listen to the health messages, and the gospel.
The Jesus video in their own Telegu language captivated young and old. Smith and Taylor also worked with the children while Schwarz handled all the technical demands. “I always looked forward to the village people arriving on their crowded tractor-trailers, with singing and anticipation,” Schwarz said. “It was great to see the joy in their eyes as they saw us.”
These village people with their well-worn, yet clean clothes, and sun-baked faces, opened their hearts and lives to the gospel. They embraced the message of a living and caring Savior with joy. More than 1,200 people were baptized during the last week of the meetings. In cooperation with the local conference, follow-up plans were developed. “We wanted to make sure that these newborn Christians would get the care they needed,” the team emphasized. “We will support the four pastors/gospel workers that will move to the area and continue the work.”
Future plans include construction of church buildings, a school, and an orphanage as God opens the doors.
Samson said, “There are more than 800 villages among the Telegan people that need to be reached by the Adventists and hear the gospel.” Why was she helpful? “In my heart I am an Adventist,” she said. “When I visit my daughter in Maryland, we attend the Seventh-day Adventist Church.” No one knew—but God. •