October Prayer Points

October 1st, 2014

October Prayer Points

Recently we saw two incredible infographics produced by our colleagues at Operation World. The first one compares the population of Indian states (and union territories) to that of other nations. What it makes obvious is that India’s a big place with a lot of people, many of whom live in extreme poverty.

The second infographic focuses on the Christian population of Indian states and territories, as compared to the Christian populations of other countries. What it makes clear is that there remain millions of Indians who have never heard the simple refrain that so many of us take for granted: “Jesus loves you.”

Both infographics include a prayer focus that we want to bring to your attention: India has more human need and more unreached people groups than any other nation on earth. Believing that Christ is the key to human flourishing, we know of no better way to begin addressing these enormous challenges than through prayer. On our knees we can begin to see the needs of India (and our world) from a new perspective.


God’s continued guidance. As the footprint of our ministry continues to expand, we are constantly reminded that we need God’s help to make wise decisions that are in sync with His will. Our heart’s desire is for God to be glorified in all we do.

Pastor Dhanu Nayak. As we shared with you last month, Dhanu was rendered blind by what is known locally as “black magic.” Please ask God to restore his sight completely. There is no shortage of evil in this world, but God is greater still.

Pastors Marsel and Pradeep. With religious hostility on the rise in certain parts of India, including the state where these men live, Christians are suffering. Marsel and Pradeep have had their food rations cut off and are not allowed to access the village well. During this outbreak of persecution, ask God to protect and provide for Marsel and Pradeep, along with their families and congregations.

Pastors Surya, Satti Babu, and Anandha Paul. Two months ago, each of these men, along with their families, stepped out in faith to start new churches. Pray that many will hear and respond to the good news of Jesus as a result of their obedience.

The unreached people groups of India. According to Operation World, “The world’s least-evangelized peoples are concentrated in India. Of 159 people groups of over 1 million people, 133 are unreached.”

Our church planting ministry. Starting this month, we will begin planting new churches in Rayagada district, which is in the southern part of Odisha. Pray for the safety and well-being of our planters and their families as they venture out in faith.

Master’s College of Theology students. During the third week of October, all of our students will be involved in hands-on ministry in and around the city of Vizag. Please ask God to surround them with his favor as with a shield as they proclaim and demonstrate the Gospel during this week-long practicum.

Master’s Fellowship. After moving into a new building in late August, Master’s Fellowship, also known as Madhurawada Church, continues to flourish. Just a few days ago, through the generosity of one of our partner churches in the U.S., God provided the congregation with the financial resources they needed to buy a new sound system.

Current building projects. There are four church buildings and a school currently under construction. We thank God for his provision for each one of these projects; it has been nothing short of amazing. Pray for those who are overseeing construction of these new facilities.

Master’s Children’s Home. Our new children’s home in L.N. Peta, Srikakulam District, opened just a few months ago. Nearly two dozen kids now call it home. Pray for the children and their caregivers.

God to be glorified in all we do. As we plant churches, train nationals, and care for orphans and widows in India we long for God’s name and renown to be known and treasured among our people.

Thank you so much for praying for Vision Nationals.

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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Amy Carmichael and the Courage of Faith

September 24th, 2014

Amy Carmichael

On a weekend away to a small seaside town, I walked the grounds of a stately brick church. The front walkway was blanketed on both sides by bright white grave stones marking the resting place of long passed congregants.

Prayer Labyrinth

The Prayer Walk

I made my way to a side door admiring the stained glass while listening to the congregation sing hymns. It was there that I spotted an open area with a circular stone path built into the green grass. It was a prayer walk — a place to pray, concentrating on God while following the tightly wound path from beginning to end. As I followed the granite stones, I thought of all the people who completed the path before me, and I imagined all our prayers creating a circular pattern in the air, eventually funneling up to the sky.

I thought of my own long-prayed but unanswered prayer. I send it heavenward again and again but God remains silent, even though I know he’s listening. Unanswered prayer reminds me of a Sunday school story about the God-called missionary to India and children’s advocate, Amy Carmichael (1867-1951). The story goes that as a young child living in Millisle, Ireland, she admired the pretty blue color of her mother’s eyes. She wrote, “ I prayed…without a shadow of a doubt that my eyes would be blue in the morning. I had gone to sleep and the minute I woke, I pushed a chair to the chest of drawers on which was a looking-glass and climbed up full of eager expectation and saw — mere brown eyes.”

While Amy didn’t receive the answer she wanted or expected, God still heard her. Years later in 1895, she landed in Southern India. She took up the cause of innocent children, often rescuing them from a life of slavery in the Temples. In order to do so, she disguised herself as a National by staining her face, hands and arms with coffee.

God knew Amy was meant to have brown eyes. It was His plan all along, so he wasn’t ignoring a prayer whispered fervently with a child’s trusting faith. Instead, he knew of a far greater plan for Amy’s life; one that began to tug at her heartstrings when she was a young girl. She remembers a specific call from God as she spent the afternoon with her mother at a tea shop:

A little girl came and stood near the door and looked in…Delicious cakes and sweets were set out in that window. As we left the tea shop we saw the little girl with her face pressed close to the glass…She was a poor little girl in a thin, ragged dress. It was raining and her bare feet on the pavement looked very cold…Then I remember sitting by the nursery fire and writing in large letters on scrap paper…a little rhyme:

When I grow up and money have, I know what I will do,
I’ll build a great big lovely place
For little girls like you.

And though the little girls who were to come…were not to be the least like that little girl…they were in need…And the wonderful thought of our Father was far, far greater than mine. He had sons as well as daughters in His heart that day.

Over one hundred years and thousands of rescued children later, Dohnavur Fellowship, Amy’s life’s work and home for 56 years, stands as a testimony to God’s working through a girl from Ireland who patiently committed to His leading and plan.

My unanswered prayer is not yet realized, but I’m taking some advice straight from Amy’s pen: “Pray for the courage of faith; for the patience that waits and does not hurry on before God’s leading…”

So I’ll continue with my daily “prayer walk,” trusting in and waiting on God. In the meantime, I’m headed to India to visit the ministry of Vision Nationals. I’m anticipating what prayers will be realized while there and what new prayers will form deep down in my soul as a result of God’s leading.

This post was written by Rachel Knapp, a writer, blogger, pastor’s wife, chef, and follower of Jesus. Like Amy, she waits on God, even when the waiting is hard. Hopefully, we’ll hear from her again this November, after she and her husband, Joe, return from India.

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Master’s Fellowship Needs Our Help

September 16th, 2014

Help Master's Fellowship

UPDATE: Just a few days ago, through the generosity of one of our partner churches in the U.S., God provided Master’s Fellowship with enough money to purchase a new sound system.


One of the first churches we started in India was Master’s Fellowship, also known as Madhurawada Church. Today it’s a thriving, urban congregation with a passion to transform the city of Vizag by making disciples of Jesus Christ.

Last month we dedicated a new building for this growing church. During the inaugural service we took some time to reflect on all that God has done over the years. His guidance and care have been our constant companions. His empowering presence has been with us every step of the way. What started as a small group of committed Christians meeting in a home has morphed into a flourishing congregation that includes hundreds of first-generation believers. Only God can do that.

Master's Fellowship Exterior

One thing Master’s Fellowship needs is a permanent sound system. Right now we’re renting a sound system at a cost of $70 per week. Financially, that’s unsustainable. While Master’s Fellowship is certainly growing, it is by no means a wealthy congregation, even by Indian standards.

Ribbon Cutting

Early estimates indicate that we can purchase a complete sound system for $3,500. Would you prayerfully consider helping us buy this equipment? In a space as large as our new worship center, which can easily accommodate a few hundred people, the amplification of sound is a necessity. And you’d be amazed by how many people listen to our services, which are now offered in English and Telugu, from outside the building.

Master's Fellowship Interior

If you’d like to make a donation so that Master’s Fellowship can buy a new sound system, you can do so online, by phone, or by mail. Just let us know how you’d like your gift to be designated. Gifts given in excess of our $3,500 goal will be used to help other churches in our network buy similar equipment.

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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September Prayer Points

September 1st, 2014

Prayer Points SEP vv

There are many who have written about the spiritual life, but few have done so with as much depth and clarity as E. Stanley Jones. A passionate follower of Jesus, Jones’ missionary endeavors in India were and are legendary — and that’s a modest assessment. One well-known Bishop, a contemporary of Dr. Jones, described him as “the greatest Christian missionary since Saint Paul.” While that may sound like hyperbole, there’s a great body of missionary work to support such a stellar endorsement, including the Christian Ashram movement, which continues to this day.

Dr. Jones understood the importance of prayer and wrote extensively about it, even going so far as to say that “all reformation, individual and collective, begins in some one’s prayer closet.” Though we may have never put it as succinctly or eloquently as Dr. Jones, we have, from the earliest days of our ministry, embraced the truth that prayer changes things. It “digs the channels from the reservoirs of God’s boundless resources to the tiny pools of our lives.” There’s nothing like it in the world. For more than 22 years we’ve lived on the receiving end of unimaginable blessing, and that’s because an omnipotent God has chosen to respond to the persistent, believing prayers of his people.


The healing of Pastor Dhanu Nayak. Dhanu is a faithful servant of God and an important part of our ministry. He pastors in the state of Odisha, which over the last several years has become a hotbed for violence against Christians. Dhanu was rendered blind by what is known locally as “black magic.” We are asking God to restore his sight completely so that the villagers will know that Dhanu’s God is more powerful than the god of this world.

Our dear brothers, Pastors Marsel and Pradeep, both of whom are part of the Vision Nationals’ family. Like Dhanu, these men and their loved ones live in the state of Odisha. Because of their Christian faith, they are experiencing intense religious hostility from those in their village. Their food rations have been cut off and so has their access to the village well. Please continue to pray for the safety and well-being of Marsel, Pradeep, their respective families, and their congregations during this outbreak of persecution.

The three new churches that were started in August by Pastors Surya, Satti Babu, and Anandha Paul. Pray that the gospel will continue to take root and grow and that many in the surrounding communities will hear and respond to the good news of Jesus.

The flourishing of the Indian church, especially in those areas where religious persecution is on the rise.

God’s continued blessing on Madhurawada Church, which serves as an outpost of the kingdom of God in the city of Vizag. We thank God for providing this growing congregation with a new building and a new opportunity to minister to more people through a second worship service that is done entirely in English. As you pray for God’s continued blessing on this extraordinary church, please keep her leaders, parishioners, and not-yet-Christian neighbors in mind.

The completion of the four church buildings that are currently under construction. It is our prayer that in the months and years to come these buildings will be filled to capacity and become a testament to God’s grace in the predominantly Hindu communities in which they’re being built. Pray for Pastors Jeremiah, Joseph, and Devaraj as they oversee construction of these new churches.

The 20 kids who are now being loved and cared for at a new children’s home we opened in L.N. Peta, Srikakulam District, two months ago. As the footprint of our ministry continues to expand, please pray that God will provide the resources we need to minister to the most vulnerable, potential-laden population in India: children.

The completion of our new school, which we’re hoping to finish in the next few months. Again, it bears repeating: God’s provision for this project was nothing short of amazing, and we give him all the glory. Once it’s ready for occupancy, this new building will provide us with the space we need to educate hundreds more children, many of whom come from materially-poor families.

God’s favor to rest upon us as we plant churches, train nationals, and care for orphans and widows in India.

Thank you for praying for Vision Nationals — it “moves the arm that moves the world.”

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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India in the News | 08.28.14

August 28th, 2014

India in the News AUG

Once a month we cull the headlines to bring you stories from the world’s largest democracy — its politics, economy, culture and everyday life.

India swaps ice for rice in new bucket challenge

“The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge has morphed into a considerably warmer and drier alternative in India. Enter the ‘Rice Bucket Challenge.’ Indian journalist Manju Latha Kalanidhi, who works for the U.S.-based rice research website Oryza.com, says when she first heard about the ice bucket challenge, she got thinking. ‘Why waste water?’ she asks. ‘I felt like doing something more locally tangible.’ ” read more

Modi to launch plan for every Indian household to have bank account

“Prime Minister Narendra Modi will promise on Thursday to provide a bank account for every Indian household when he launches a major initiative that could save billions of dollars in welfare spending and help mend strained state finances. India has grown to become Asia’s third largest economy, but nearly two-fifths of its 1.27 billion people do not have a bank account.” read more

At India Fest, thousands take in culture without passport

“One indication of Minnesota’s growing Indian-American community is the ever-expanding annual celebration of India’s Independence Day. On Saturday, India Fest drew more than 10,000 people to the State Capitol’s mall, packed with henna artists, booths, food and cultural dances — the biggest event that the India Association of Minnesota has held in at least 10 years.” read more

Baseball stars plucked from poverty in India to become pro players in the US

“The amazing tale of two dirt-poor Indian boys who became pro US baseball pitchers after being discovered on a reality TV show has been turned into a Hollywood movie. Rinku Singh and Dinesh Patel grew up in rural villages and had never even heard of the game but were picked from 37,000 other Indian lads in the TV talent search. They left India for the first time and were signed to the famous Pittsburgh Pirates — just 13 months after taking up baseball.” read more

Poverty, lack of education undermining efforts to end child marriage

“India has witnessed a decline in child marriage in the last two decades, but going by the slow pace it will require another 50 years to abolish the practice from the country, according to UNICEF. ‘Child marriage has been declining at a rate of one per cent per year in the last two decades, but at this rate it will be eliminated in 50 years or so,’ UNICEF Child Protection Specialist in India Dora Giusti told PTI.” read more

Kandhamal Day recalls persecuted Christians in India

“As awareness and concern about the persecution of Christians and other religious minorities in Iraq grows, persecuted Christians in India are raising awareness of their own plight. Monday marks the sixth anniversary of the horrific violence that erupted against Christians in the Kandhamal District in the eastern Indian state of Odisha, formerly known as Orissa. It is reportedly the worst outbreak of anti-Christian violence in post-independence India.” read more

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Training Leaders in India

August 19th, 2014

training leaders in india

Training leaders is one of our passions. We love it. Other than prayer, we know of no better way to equip the church for mission in the Indian context than to invest in the ongoing development of her leaders.

As we do each July, last month we hosted a pastors’ training event at our campus in Vizag. Despite the heavy rains that blanketed our city, hundreds of Christian leaders joined us as Pastors Richard Brindley, Michael Woodall, Dustin Selzak, Jeff Potts, and Joab Rico facilitated a week-long exploration of “The Multifaceted Gospel.” Those who had the privilege of hearing these men, each of whom traveled from the U.S. to teach, were emboldened to fix their eyes on Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith.

In addition to the pastors and church planters in attendance, the faculty and student body of Master’s College of Theology also participated in the conference, as they do every year. In many ways, this event serves to strengthen and encourage the Master’s College family as they embark on another academic year, full of new challenges and opportunities.

As the week progressed a great surge of spiritual renewal swept across our campus, and by the time the last session ended there was an overwhelming sense of gratitude for what took place. In answer to our prayers, God spoke through each one of our conference speakers and saw fit to revive the call and commitment of so many of our pastors, students, and staff.

For every opportunity to train and encourage Christian leaders in India, we give God thanks. He makes it possible. But our gratitude doesn’t end there. The fact that our partners are so committed to proclaiming the gospel in all of its multifaceted brilliance that they’d be willing to travel halfway around the world to share that message with us is incredible. We are so grateful that they came.

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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To Trust God Completely: Majesh Anthony’s Story

August 12th, 2014

Majesh Anthony Story

God’s grace in the life of Majesh Anthony has been nothing short of amazing.

Now a full-time employee at Vision Nationals, Majesh’s journey to Vizag began in the southern Indian state of Kerala, where he grew up.

Born into a devout Roman Catholic family, Majesh was very religious as a boy, but his piety would be challenged when he left home to begin his undergraduate studies. No longer required to attend Mass or adhere to the teachings of the Catholic church, Majesh began drifting away from the virtues that defined his upbringing and started dabbling in alcohol and other intoxicants as a means of escape.

During this season of wandering, Majesh’s father, a day laborer, became extremely ill, and Majesh was forced to come home. With his dream of becoming a college graduate now on hold, Majesh began working in the fields, hoping to make enough money to provide for his family’s most basic needs.

A hard worker, Majesh did all he could to care for his loved ones, but his father’s mounting medical bills sent his family to the brink of insolvency. Majesh, now desperate for help, started reading the Bible. It was there, in the pages of Scripture, that Majesh began to hear the still, small voice of God. And according to Majesh, God’s instructions were unambiguous: Leave your life of sin and trust me completely. Without delay, Majesh responded to God’s gracious invitation, and a short time later, in April 2004, he was baptized.

Following his conversion, God continued to speak to Majesh, but this time he responded more slowly, cautiously. A call to vocational ministry was not what Majesh had in mind, but God made it clear on more than one occasion that Majesh’s future was in the church, serving in some capacity. Finally, in 2008, after nearly four years of running from God, Majesh surrendered yet again to the still, small voice. A year later, he enrolled in our college and began studying for ministry.

Today, Majesh holds a Bachelor of Divinity degree and works with our team in India. A bright student and capable minister, Majesh said his dream is to “go for higher studies, serve as a teacher, and get involved in church ministry.” It is our prayer that his dream will be realized.

Your generosity makes stories like these possible. By supporting our ministry, you empower us to help students from materially-poor families earn their degrees. On behalf of Majesh, Kumari, Srinu, Lavanya, Prasad, Padma, and so many others, thank you for giving to Vision Nationals.

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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