Why are we partnering in India?
India is the second largest country in the world by population. Red Hill has just finished a sermon series through the book of Jonah where God calls Nineveh a “great city”. He calls it great because it is filled with people, not because it has produced great things. The primary language spoken in India is Hindi, but a majority of the people there can speak English as well! This means that, particularly in the urban areas, there is a diminished language barrier for us. In this great nation, less than one percent of the population are Christians, but there is a tremendous gospel awakening taking place all across the nation. People are abandoning their idols and turning to Jesus in record numbers. Pastor Rayden was able to travel to India in 2014 with one of our supporting churches, FBC O’Fallon, MO, and while there he became connected with some International Mission Board leaders. A burdened heart for the lostness in India was developed, and a friendship between the IMB leader and Pastor Rayden continues today. We believe God has given us an open door to travel to a great nation in need of a great Savior.
Hinduism is the primary religion in India. There are a variety of sacred texts, some only “remembered” (not written down), but the thrust of Hindu belief is summed up in the four Purusarthas (objectives of human life): Dharma (ethics), Artha (prosperity), Kama (passions), and Moksha (liberation). They believe in karma (actions have consequences) and in samsara (cycles of rebirth). With more than 300 million gods and goddesses, each representing some aspect of the ultimate truth in Hindu theology, the people of India live in an incredibly religious, and yet incredibly dark, society. The most recognizable god of Hinduism is the god named Ganesh. He has multiple arms and hands, the body of a man, and the head of an elephant. It is believed that Ganesh was a real person, the son of an actual god named Shiva, and that his mother had asked him to guard the door while she bathed. His father, Shiva, had been away on a long journey, and upon returning he demanded entry into his home (he didn’t recognize his son). Ganesh refused, and Shiva cut off his head. Upon realizing what he had done, Shiva took the head of the nearest animal and gave it to his son as a replacement so that he might live again. Ganesh is worshipped by almost all Hindus, but he sits among a pantheon with hundreds of millions of gods. We are traveling to India to bring the light of the gospel to the darkest place on earth.
There are more unreached, unengaged people groups in the nation of India than in any other country in the world. The term “people group” describes individuals who share a common culture, a common language, and a common location. There are more than 1,300 distinct people groups in India. According to the International Mission Board there are 430 unreached, unengaged people groups in Bangalore, India. That means Bangalore may have more unreached, unengaged people groups than any other city in the world. To be considered unreached a people group must be less than two percent Christian. To be considered unengaged a people group must have no known indigenous gospel work happening.
The bottom line is that God has connected us with some strategic national partners; he has been strongly at work in the area already; he has presented us with the largest evangelistic need in the world; and he has given us the command to go. Our hope is to work with our national partners on the ground to reach some of the people groups that are unreached and to see some indigenous gospel work started in places where none currently exists. Would you pray that God would give our team insight and wisdom as they look for opportunities on the ground? And would you begin praying today for the millions in Bangalore who have never heard the name of Jesus?