November Prayer Points
October 31st, 2014
As we deal with the aftermath of Cyclone Hudhud — a powerful storm that swept through our city nearly three weeks ago — we have been consoled and empowered by this simple prayer found in Isaiah 33:2: “Lord, be gracious to us; we long for you. Be our strength every morning, our salvation in time of distress.”
As you have opportunity, would you ask God to strengthen us in every conceivable way? We know that He is not reluctant to do so. In fact, Isaiah reminds us that “…the Lord longs to be gracious to you; he rises to show you compassion.” Join us in laying hold of God’s grace and compassion, especially on behalf of our city. There are still so many who are suffering.
THIS MONTH, PLEASE PRAY FOR…
All those affected by Cyclone Hudhud. Thousands are still without electricity, access to potable water, and other basic necessities. Throughout the month of November, we plan to do as much as we can to help those in need. (If you’d like to make a donation, a Cyclone Relief Fund has been established.)
Pastors Marsel and Pradeep. Over the last several months, these men and their families have experienced intense persecution as they serve Jesus in the state of Odisha. Now they’ve lost their homes. Hudhud barreled through their villages and swept everything away. Using money that’s been given to the Cyclone Relief Fund, we are now in the process of helping them rebuild.
Master’s School. Our classrooms were nearly destroyed by Hudhud’s high winds and heavy rains. After assessing the damage, we went to work, removing all the debris from the classroom floors, replacing the entire roof, and fortifying the walls that sustained structural damage. Two days ago the school reopened. There’s more work to be done, but we are grateful for the progress we’ve made so far.
Our pastors. So many were impacted by the cyclone; their stories are still coming in. For those who sustained property damage, whether to their homes or church buildings, we’ve been able to offer financial assistance so that they can rebuild.
Master’s Fellowship. Unfortunately, Master’s Fellowship’s new building, which was dedicated in late August, suffered extensive interior damage. Hudhud’s high winds blew the the glass out of the windows and caused large sections of the ceiling, as well as most of the lighting, in the new auditorium to come crashing down. The church’s leaders have asked us to pray that “all be restored.”
The unreached people groups of India. What we know based on research compiled by Operation World is that “the world’s least-evangelized peoples are concentrated in India. Of 159 people groups of over 1 million people, 133 are unreached.” Pray that God would continue to use our ministry to bring the good news of Jesus to those who so desperately need to hear it.
Our church planting ministry. Last month we started new churches in the state of Odisha. Continue to pray for the safety and well-being of our pastors and their families as they venture out in faith. And pray that many will hear and respond to the Gospel as a result of their obedience.
Current building projects. There are four church buildings currently under construction, with plans to start building two more next month. We thank God for his provision for each one of these projects. Please pray for those who are overseeing construction of these new facilities.
Wisdom and strength. As we deal with the aftermath of Cyclone Hudhud and continue to plant churches, train nationals, and care for the orphans and widows in our midst we need God’s wisdom and power to rest on us.
We are so grateful for your prayers. We take great comfort in knowing that there are hundreds of you seeking God on our behalf. Thank you.
Since 1992, Vision Nationals has been planting churches, training nationals, and caring for orphans and widows in India. Through your prayers and financial gifts God has graciously sustained our work.
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After the Storm
October 28th, 2014
Sixteen days ago Cyclone Hudhud made landfall in Visakhapatnam (Vizag). With winds topping out at 130 mph it ravaged the city where our ministry’s headquartered. Countless trees were uprooted. Thousands of utility poles were knocked down. Homes and businesses were flooded. Roads were rendered impassable. Not even Vizag’s airport could withstand Hudhud’s fury.
By the time the cyclone had weakened to nothing more than a low pressure area over Uttar Pradesh, a state in northern India, it had damaged or destroyed tens of thousands of homes and affected (at least) 2.1 million families.
As storms of this magnitude often do, Hudhud made a mess of things, not only in Visakhapatnam but across the states of Andhra Pradesh and Odisha. As cleanup continues throughout the affected region, there is little doubt that things could have been much worse — mandatory evacuations and early warning systems minimized injury and loss of life.
Though our campus wasn’t immune to the damage caused by Hudhud’s high winds and heavy rains, we continue to thank God that our students, staff, and teachers were kept safe. Our children, too, were protected from the storm’s ferocity. And not one of our pastors has reported anything more serious than property damage.
With our Vision Nationals’ family intact, unharmed — which is such a gift from God — we’ve been able to concentrate on rebuilding. We’ve already removed much of the debris that blanketed our campus and started repairing what Hudhud damaged or destroyed. Like the rest of Vizag, we have a long way to go, but everyday we’re making progress.
As you have opportunity, remember to pray for us, our city, and all those affected by the cyclone. During this phase of the recovery, the needs are great, and we want to be in a position to help as many people as possible.
Help us rebuild. Give to the Cyclone Relief Fund.
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The Genesis of Vision Nationals
October 22nd, 2014
How we grew from a single church plant into a multi-faceted ministry that touches thousands of lives each year can only be described as an act of God’s pure grace.
It all started when Jesus called a young man from a Hindu family to follow Him…
“I was seventeen years old when my father, a devout Hindu, came to Christ after a miraculous healing from paralysis. From that time on he studied the Christian Scriptures and vowed that all of his family would serve Jesus Christ as the only God. Despite the miracle, I was not about to trade the gods and scriptures I had loved since my childhood for a “Western religion.” I could not deny Jesus was a god; he had healed my father, after all. But by no means would I serve Christ as the only God.
“Angry at my father’s conversion and convinced that the Bible would affirm the plurality of gods, I poured over the Bible my father had given me, looking for the evidence I needed to convince him that the Bible was consistent with our Hindu beliefs. What I found instead was: ‘You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them…know therefore today, and lay it to your heart, that the Lord is God in heaven above and on the earth beneath; there is no other.’ (Ex. 20:4-5; Deut. 4:39)
“Still angry, unconvinced and certain that the plurality of gods must be affirmed somewhere in the Bible, I studied the Scriptures for six months looking for the answer I wanted. Then one morning, I awoke a Christian. To this day I can’t explain what happened, except to say that everything changed. As I looked out my bedroom window at the people walking by, a thought occurred to me that I had never had before: ‘They need Jesus!’ And so it began that from the moment He saved me, God burdened me to plant churches to reach people with the transforming gospel of Jesus Christ.
“Together with my wife, Raji, we give thanks for all that God is doing through Vision Nationals. His faithfulness is astounding. How we grew from a single church plant into a multi-faceted ministry that touches thousands of lives each year can only be described as an act of God’s pure grace. Yet even today there are millions upon millions of Indians who have never heard the simple refrain that so many of us take for granted: ‘Jesus loves you.’ We invite you to partner with us as we carry that hope-filled message to those who so desperately need to hear it.”
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