The Great Commission in Matthew 28:18-20 tells believers to spread the message of Christ. We hold gospel meetings in rural villages throughout the southeastern areas of India. Thousands of people have heard the gospel message of salvation. 50% of India's population have never heard the good news of Jesus. Many have believed in Christ as their personal Savior. These people then attend the churches in the rural community and face persecution from family, friends, employers, and the community.
Hindu practice of sati, the burning to death of a widow on her husbands' funeral procession has been outlawed for decades but it still occurs in rural areas of India. Today, after their husband's death widows in rural India are left to fend for themselves and many go without shelter, sufficient food, and proper clothing. James 1:27 directs God's believers to care for widows. We meet the the physical need of widows and teach His love and lead them to the Lord. The widows' homes hosts 35-40 Christian women.
There are millions of orphans in India. They live on streets begging for food and clothes. Some become bonded child laborers which is a employer-slave relationship. But most are homeless, afraid, malnurished, and unloved. As Jesus said in Matthew 19:14 we want to "let the children come" to us so that we can love them, care for them and bring the Gospel of Christ to them. We have two orphanages with 30+ children in each and we praise God that the children are able to learn about Christ and His gospel.
There are just over 100 pastors with churches in rural villages throughout the southeastern region that Johnpaul provides care, training and counseling. Johnpaul has established some formal training with U.S. pastors/seminary professors through online resouces. Pastors in India face tremendous persecution from the government and community. Most must work outside their church to make ends meet, however, most employers refuse to hire pastors. About the only employment available is in the rice fields that pay $3 for a 12 hour day. Their wives and children face persecution in the marketplace and school.
The calamity and pain of any illness or disease is itself difficult to handle. Imagine being outcast from society, hated, and refused service becasue of the disease you have contracted. This is what lepers face in India today and it brings a whole new dimension to James 5:14 that says if anyone is ill for them to call on the elders (pastors) to pray. HIV/AIDS is rapidly growing in southern India primarily due to the lack of basic education and information. Once contracted treatment in rural India is almost unheard of, leaving people to die a painful and premature death.
Many of the villages we serve do not have clean drinking water and of course unclean water is the source of many illnesses and disease. In rual southern India well water is the best source of clean water. We have found that by providing a well for the village persecution tension drops significanlty. But more importanty "living water" also flows. Just like the woman who found Christ at a well in John 4, these wells are paving the way for the gospel message to be heard. Villagers who normally reject and persecute all Christians see the love of sharing water which have directly led to many conversions.