Imagine a church being established in a centuries-old community with no known Christian presence. No steeples, crosses, or church signs dotting the landscape. Not a whisper of Jesus’s name for hundreds of years. Then, suddenly, the silence is broken, the darkness pierced by someone who patiently and lovingly proclaims that Jesus is Lord, that salvation is a gift freely given to all who believe.
That story is being played out over and over again in villages throughout India. Previously untouched by the Gospel, these communities are hearing the saving message of Jesus for the first time. Many are responding in faith, and the church is growing and multiplying at an incredible pace.
As the Good News spreads, stories of life-change begin to emerge. Sometimes those stories sound a lot like the ones we find in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, and we’re reminded that we don’t live in a world devoid of the supernatural. Miracles do occur. And when they do, it provides unmistakable evidence of God’s greatness and power, often confirming the message being proclaimed by the humble evangelist who has dedicated his life to reaching those who have never heard the Gospel.
Such was the case in Duggivalasa, a village located in the heart of the 10/40 window. When Pastor Shankar Rao went there in 2007, intent on planting a church, he was met by a man possessed by an evil spirit. Unable to control himself, this man would roam from village to village, screaming, shrieking, shouting obscenities. His bloodcurdling cries constant for years.
For as little as $10 a month you can support church planting in the heart of the 10/40 Window.
Pastor Shankar would soon discover that the deranged man — the one who would ridicule him as he shared the Good News of Jesus with villagers — was actually a childhood friend. Moved by his friend’s plight, and understanding the demonic forces that were at work in his life, Shankar prayed over him, and Appadu was healed — the evil spirit gone. So dramatic was his conversion, that his entire family put their faith and trust in Jesus Christ. Others soon followed as news of what God had done for Appadu began to spread throughout the village.
A community with no known Christian presence prior to Pastor Shankar’s arrival in 2007, Duggivalasa now has a church full of first generation Christians, Appadu and his family among them. And today, on the site where a house once stood, is an almost-finished church building; the property on which it’s being built, a gift. And the donor? A man once possessed by an evil spirit, now gloriously transformed after an encounter with the risen Christ.
The growth of our church planting ministry has created an extraordinary opportunity to give towards the building of new churches. In most cases, a new church, like the one in Duggivalasa, costs around $5,000 to build. Typically the pastor oversees construction of the building, and the congregation makes a small, but sacrificial contribution towards the project. We are then able to provide a generous grant so that the building materials can be purchased and construction can commence. With dozens of churches waiting to be built, your tax-deductible donation to the Church Building Support fund can make a tremendous difference on the ground.
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