Dilip has dedicated his life to taking the Gospel to those who have never heard in India. But not long ago, he was on a very different path . . . Dilip used to be a Hindu priest.
His story of transformation started on the road to the largest gathering of mankind . . . the holy Hindu phenomenon of Kumbh Mela.
Once every 12 years, Hindus embark on a pilgrimage to the Ganges River in Allahabad for Kumbh Mela . . . the largest gathering on earth. And it’s happening again this year—right at this very moment.
For 55 days, 80 million Hindu pilgrims will ceremoniously bathe in the Ganges River . . .
That means that today—TODAY—millions and millions of Hindus are standing waist deep in the river trying to atone for their sins. Using brass pots to scoop up water, they then hold them above their heads and slowly pour it over themselves, hoping the ritual will cleanse their souls . . . some will even drink the water.
But the waters of the Ganges are polluted by raw sewage, trash, animal carcasses, dead bodies, and the ashes of cremated humans. Hundreds of bodies are burned every day in Varanasi, and their ashes are sprinkled in the river. Hindus believe this allows their loved ones direct access to heaven.
No one has ever told them that it isn’t the dirty, polluted waters of the Ganges River that washes away their sins, but only the shed blood of Jesus Christ.
But they have never heard of Jesus. And Dilip had not either.
While he was walking along the road, Dilip says he heard the voice of God telling him to go into a church building he was passing. Inside, he experienced the reality of the one true God . . . a moment that changed his life forever. From there, this former Hindu priest decided to dedicate his life to sharing the Gospel and has planted a church that now has 150 members.
We met Dilip while training a group of 50 Indian church planters. Collectively, they have planted 150 churches across the country, in totally unreached areas. They’ve encountered spiritual warfare and all kinds of oppression. They’ve seen people delivered from demon possession in the name of Christ. They have suffered persecution and rejection. They have been beaten, arrested, and imprisoned for the sake of the Gospel.
Several of these church planters are working in heavily religious areas, yet Christianity is rare. They have risked everything to reach out to their neighbors in love. As a result, families formerly devoted to false religions have become Christ followers and are now being discipled by our team. The power of God’s love is moving with a force that no one can stop.
Another group of church planters have dedicated their lives to reaching a people group that is considered totally “uncivilized” because they wear very little clothing and have no access to modern conveniences. The area where they live is restricted by the Indian government—totally cut off from the outside world.
But God made a way. They were allowed to enter the village because they brought medical teams with them to help the people who are suffering greatly from curable ailments. These visits have opened the doors to share the Gospel for the very first time.
Another form of slavery is being fought with more urgency than ever—sex trafficking and prostitution has infiltrated the lives of women and children in India’s lowest caste.
In many low-caste communities, the centuries-old tradition is for every firstborn girl to enter a life of prostitution on her twelfth birthday in order to earn money for the family. Generations of girls have been forced into this empty, degrading life where they are in constant danger of contracting AIDS or being abused. It’s a horrifying practice that thousands have accepted as their destiny. And it it’s been going on for over 500 years!
We’ve identified over 300 women and girls forced into prostitution in three local villages. The work is extremely dangerous, but we have been able to rescue seven girls out of the clutches of prostitution, giving them the opportunity for an education . . . one of the most crucial steps in ending this cycle of oppression.
This is why the Gospel is so urgently needed in India . . . why help and hope are so important. This is why we must continue to plant churches, train pastors, free the oppressed, educate the poor, feed the hungry, and bind up the wounds of the hurting. We have to go where no one else is willing to go.
Today, please pray that God would move on our behalf as we seek to share the Gospel with India. Pray for the safety for our staff as they continue to risk their lives so all will hear the Good News. Pray that the chains of oppression will be broken and lives would be restored.
Thank you for your continued support. Because of you, thousands of Indians now have something they never did before . . . hope in a God who loves them . . . and a destiny that’s brighter than ever before.