EDITOR’S NOTE: The Lottie Moon Christmas Offering supplements Cooperative Program giving to support more than 5,600 Southern Baptist missionaries as they share the Gospel overseas. This year’s offering goal is $175 million. The 2009 Lottie Moon offering theme is “Who’s Missing, Whose Mission?” It focuses on overcoming barriers to hearing and accepting the Gospel in various parts of the world and the mission that the Great Commission gives all Christians to “go and make disciples of all nations.” The 2009 Week of Prayer for International Missions is Nov. 29-Dec. 6. To find resources about the offering, go to imb.org/offering.
NEW DELHI, India (BP)–As the sun sets in India, the ceremonial preparations subside. Chanting voices strengthen and join the rhythm of beating drums. Flames consume herbs and spices as golden incense burners pass among the Hindu worshippers. A marble goddess looms over the Ganges River, facing the crowds. Darkness — physical and spiritual — hovers over the multitudes.
In the midst of the worshippers is Moses — an Indian believer in Christ. He is not here to participate in rituals of the goddess worship. He is here to share the Gospel.
“Brother, there is One who loves you and is greater than anything manmade. May I tell you about Him?”
At 17, Moses suffered from debilitating arthritis. Like many devout Hindus, he petitioned various gods and goddesses for help. As his condition worsened, he began to lose hope. One day a stranger handed him a Gospel tract and Moses began reading about the Great Physician. He started attending church and soon put his faith in Jesus Christ. Fifteen days later, his arthritis was gone.
Years passed and Moses became a successful businessman. He continued to attend church, but God convicted him that he needed to do more. “The Holy Spirit spoke to my heart, asking, ‘Has Jesus healed you just to become a wealthy man?'”
Leaving behind his comfortable lifestyle and incredulous parents, Moses journeyed with his wife and children to remote Himalayan villages in northern India to share the Gospel. He traded in business suits and power lunches for a life of poverty and servanthood.
But being a Christian in India can be dangerous. Persecution of believers throughout southern Asia is on the rise. Many believers suffer discrimination and even physical abuse.
Moses understands the danger to his family as well as to himself, but something stronger compels him to take the risk.
“My real fear is if these people do not hear the name of Jesus, they will go to hell,” he says, in tears. “Then I have to answer for them before God.”
Moses has been trained by International Mission Board workers to use simple, hand-drawn pictures to share the Gospel, disciple believers and start house churches. As he visits villages, he tells residents about the one true God who loves them. In contrast to what most Hindus practice — worshipping idols out of fear or duty — the Gospel is truly Good News.
“God is moving,” Moses says. “And whenever I’m visiting the villages, people are receiving the Gospel. People are coming to Jesus. [I] tell them you have to be bold in your faith. On the very first day, you have to start sharing the Gospel. You have to start sharing with people about what Jesus has done for you on the cross.
“In front of our God, in front of our calling and in front of our mission, the persecution doesn’t matter,” Moses says. “Time is short. I must go, pray and preach the Gospel.”
Martha Richards wrote this story for the International Mission Board.