I Saw the "Latter Rain"

For years I’ve heard, preached, and believed that just before Christ’s return the "latter rain" would fall. This would be a time, as we understand it, when God’s Spirit would be poured out in such a powerful way that previously unreached people would respond to the Three Angels’ Messages in unprecedented numbers.

I just returned, along with 55 Northwest members, from India where I was a part of the NPUC annual mission initiative. The inspired vision of the Southern Asia Division leadership is to reach 600,000 villages with the gospel. They encourage every visiting team to bring $3,500 for each village to be worked. This provides a Bible worker for a year, pays for the evangelistic meetings, provides Bibles for those baptized, and, as incredible as it may seem, covers the expenses to build a very basic church building.

The dynamics are such that these previously unreached people are so hungry for the gospel that they will respond to the first Christian denomination that comes to their villages. Only a few years ago 100 people a year were being baptized in the whole country of over one billion people. Now, suddenly and inexplicably as a result of the "latter rain," they are responding as fast as we can reach them. Dave Parks, of Gospel Outreach, says that for every $6.80 spent, we can now baptize a person in India. Truly amazing.

Why not just send money?

I said to Ron Watts, former Alaska Conference president and now the Southern Asia Division president who met with our Northwest team, that sometimes people say why not just send the money instead of incurring all those travel expenses. He emphatically responded, “We don’t just want your money, we want you to come.” Having been there, I would concur with his rationale. These people, many of whom are considered untouchables and have never been in a church, respond to the love and care of their American brothers and sisters. They affectionately showcase us in their villages and proudly announce that the “missionaries” have come.

Our particular Northwest team was responsible for 57 villages. There were other Northwest members ahead of us, and another group of NPUC members was coming in as we left. They were planning a 100-village campaign. In March our spring initiative reached another 17 villages.

The fields are ready.

But still there are 600,000 villages to reach. I have never seen the truth of Luke 10:2 more profoundly in evidence than in India, i.e. the fields are ready but the laborers are few. We are seeing prophecy fulfilled in a dramatic way. Bruce Fjarli, of Medford, Oregon, who with his family has traveled to India numerous times and has been responsible for many village initiatives, makes this powerful statement. “Someday someone is going to tell the last person on earth about Jesus, and then we get to go home.” And these people are getting ready to go home.

Without question, we’re getting closer to that reality, because I’m here to tell you I saw the "latter rain" being poured out in India.

April 01, 2005 / Editorial