Yesterday Scott Hanberry, Jason Hardage, myself and Isaac departed from Newark, NJ and endured our 15 hour flight to New Delhi, India. This is Isaac’s 8th trip, but it is his first trip as a believer. I am so excited about this trip and the opportunity to share the Gospel and his testimony. We have been working on sharing the Gospel using 4 key words: Creation, Fall, Rescue, and Restoration. I have been helping Isaac weave his own conversion story, his Rescue, into his Gospel witness.
We spent the night in New Delhi, a city of 22 million. It is certainly a sight to see so many people in one location. The country of India has a population of 1.1 billion, which means 1 out of every 6 people in the world live in India. Sadly, the population only has a believing percentage of less than 2% and many of those 98% un-reached have never heard of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Already this morning on our taxi ride to the airport, we discussed with our driver the goddess that was on his dashboard. Hinduism boasts of more than 300 million gods and goddesses, this is extremely hard to comprehend, but seeing is believing. There is a darkness that covers the people and land. They are in desperate need of the Gospel.
We landed this afternoon and drove about an hour to Manali. The flight was incredible as we could see the Himalayas with several Mountains over 20,000 feet rising above the clouds, very impressive. We landed in a town sandwiched in between two mountain ranges with less than a few miles separating each range, to say the least it was intense. The hour drive was up a valley basin to the town of Manali, the ride was rough and crowded. Levi revealed he has mastered international driving, which means anything goes, I thought we were going to die at least 10 times.
Upon our arrival we also met a national, a believing Indian, who works alongside our partner. His story was absolutely captivating. He was born into the Upper Cast Religious System, which means he would have been a priest when he grew up. His family was extremely well off and very influential. He heard the Gospel for the first time from a believing aunt who lived in America. She invited him to come go to college in the states, and that is where he was saved. After his conversion, he moved back to India. He was renounced by his family. His father took out and add in the paper, publicly disowning him and calling on anyone who new him to do the same because of his conversion. He has had little or no contact with his family over the last 5 years. He has experienced incredible loss socially and financially, but undaunted he works in the region we are currently in sharing the gospel and planting churches. I am reminded we have no understanding of what it means to follow Jesus and suffer rejection for his name. I look forward to spending the week with him, he has already encouraged me greatly.
After dinner tonight we went to the local Temple. It was packed with people worshipping and offering sacrifices to idols. Isaac and I have been discussing all day how people who worship other gods are in desperate need of the Gospel. The catechisms that teach there is only one God and that He is a jealous God, helped Isaac understand and dialogue about this today. Sadly, many of those we saw today may never hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Already, God has raised my awareness and conviction about reaching the nations.
Our Devotion For The Night
Psalm 96:3 (ESV)
3 Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous works among all the peoples!