Thank you for your prayerful support for the work of Langham Preaching around the world. This week we feature the vast country of India, with this update from Praveen Bunyan, our regional coordinator.
India: Even as the number of known infections surges, even accelerates, through the one million mark over these recent days, dying of starvation remains the greater fear for the poor in India. Migrant workers make up 80% of the work force in urban India. They construct malls, hospitals, apartment blocks, hotels. They work as factory hands, delivery boys, cooks, painters, and rickshaw pullers. They stand the whole day by the side of the road selling fruit and vegetables, tea and flowers. On the night of the lockdown, a shocked nation watched images of thousands of these workers walking the highways on their way home. With the country forced to open up in the face of this starvation crisis, these workers are moving back to the cities. Then there are the millions upon millions of rural poor, with 70% of India still living outside urban areas, who have no work, no income and no hope.
Again and again, there are stories of local churches feeding and caring for the poor and for these displaced peoples. People in our small preaching movements in the various language groups (Marathi, Kannada, Telugu, Tamil, Odiya etc) are involved as well. One migrant worker, carrying his elderly mother on his shoulders and two children around his waist, asked one of our facilitators why they were helping him. “Jesus loves you and so we love you and want to help you.” The man began to weep uncontrollably.
While COVID-19 has changed the world, the message of God’s love and hope in Jesus remains constant. We’ve been encouraged by the way Paul speaks about the believers in Thessalonica: (a) commended for their hard work, founded in the hope they have in Jesus (1.2-3); (b) convinced about the gospel, with power in the Holy Spirit (1.4-5); (c) received the Lord’s message, with joy in midst of suffering (1.6-8); and (d) responded to the message by turning from idols to serving the living God (1.9-10).
Please pray for our great nation of India and for our local churches. They have a great opportunity, amidst the growing hopelessness, to be a witness to the love and hope found in Jesus Christ. Many pastors are without an income as their churches are shut down, and yet they are reaching out into the suffering. Please pray that we will continue to be faithful in our conviction and strong in our hope, like the believers in Thessalonica, and to respond with the unchanging message of love, salvation and hope in Jesus Christ.