We want to take this opportunity to wish you and yours a very blessed, Christ-filled Christmas. Jesus is not only the reason for the season, but HE is the reason we PRAY and we GO. Enjoy reading about how God MOVES when we PRAY & GO… and please PRAY with us!
While I was in the Indian hospital recovering from surgery on my broken leg, I received a phone call from Hal Sacks of Bridge Builders. “Dutch Sheets has put out a call for a nationwide prayer initiative called Paint Your Borders. He has asked us to take the lead for the state of Arizona. Since you have nothing to do for a while, I want you to head this up for us. I am sending out an email to all our mailing list giving them your contact information. You can coordinate all those who want to participate.” Since I was on a lot of pain meds and wasn’t thinking clearly, I said “Sure, I’ll do that.”
Over the next several weeks my phone was blowing up as people began to contact me. Well over one hundred people, (that we know of), began to travel and pray all over Arizona. We created an online group where they could communicate with each other, saying when and where they were going, how others could join them, posting praise reports and pictures from their travels and cheering each other on as people released the Kingdom of God everywhere they went. It was an amazing thing to see so many people so fully activated to pray for our state. Several people who have lived here all their lives said they had never seen anything like it. It was truly a historic spiritual moment for Arizona.
When I got home In August, I was able to make several prayer trips and I have continued to connect with intercessors across the state. Now, moving into 2024, the Holy Spirit has given us a strategy for activating people to pray like never before. We are looking forward to what God has in store for the upcoming year here at HOME!
While the church has been growing by leaps and bounds, the persecution to try to stop it has increased dramatically. Just recently, in one northern state, nearly 90 pastors were arrested for converting people to Christianity. The police would break into their homes in the middle of the night, catching them when they were away from their congregations and trying to instill as much fear as they could. With wives and children screaming and terrified, these men were torn from their families and placed in jail to await trial. If found guilty, they face 7-10 years in prison.
Another thing the government is doing is cutting off the ability of ministries to receive foreign funds. Just recently, one of the largest Christian organizations in the country (CNI church) had the ability to receive foreign funds stripped from them. The government is trying to financially choke ministries and has threatened to confiscate their property as well.
The persecution has become very intense, but in the middle of it the believers are showing great courage and faith. They are uniting stronger than ever before, taking care of the families of the pastors who have been arrested, praying together, and encouraging one another to stay strong. They continue to preach the gospel fearlessly, fully prepared to pay the price of being beaten or imprisoned. Some have already given their very lives for Jesus Christ.
These men and women need your prayers and support now more than ever. We must continually reach out to them in any way possible to let them know they are not alone. We must be faithful to fight for them through prayer and giving to support families that have lost their husbands and fathers to persecution.
As most of you know, during my last trip to India in June, I was in an accident. I was on the back of a motorcycle high in the Himalayas when we lost control and slammed into the side of an oncoming truck. My driver, a recent ISOM graduate with a heart to start a work in this very unreached region, had three breaks in his right leg and I had two breaks in my right femur.
Shortly after my surgery in India, a police investigator came to see me. He is Hindu and has investigated many accidents on that road. He told me that according to his investigation, my driver had lost control of the bike and had crossed the lane. He said if we had not hit the truck, we would have crossed the lane and gone over the cliff 1600 feet into the river. (In fact, one day before my accident a man on a motorcycle, very near the location of my accident, did exactly that, falling to his death.)
This Hindu policeman was explaining to me that the only thing that saved our lives was the truck we hit and the fact we hit the back tires. He kept throwing up his hand toward heaven saying, “Only the hand of God saved you. Only the hand of God!” He was obviously very impressed we had lived! (We say “Thank you, Jesus, for the truck and angelic protection.”)
In the middle of all the pain, chaos of hospitals, ambulances, and surgeons during the next several days, what stood out the most to me was the love of my Indian friends. At great hardship to themselves, they covered me, protected me, and got me the best help possible every step of the way, often staying with me night and day. One dear brother held my blood transfusion against his chest trying to warm it up for me. Another went to a metal shop to have a brace made for my leg so I could travel in the ambulance.
Three weeks after my accident I was able to stand long enough to preach at an ISOM graduation in North India. It was a wonderful time as I spoke on “I want to know Christ and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in His sufferings.” Philippians 2:10
Currently we have more than 300 men and women who have fully graduated with a diploma in Biblical Studies. More than 2,600 people are enrolled in ISOM classes now and approximately 500 are due to graduate by the end of this year. The Word of God is being taught, people are being trained for fruitful ministry and the Kingdom of God is advancing in North India!
Before I had left on my last journey a good friend left me a voice message about a prophecy she felt God had given her for North India. It was about rivers overflowing, old dams being opened, unprecedented devastation and flooding. That this was going to happen in the natural but also in the spiritual. I listened to it and thought, “I have no idea what she is talking about!”
Then, as I sat in bed recovering in North India, I looked out the window and the storms came. And they kept coming. Streets became rivers, cars began floating away, landslides washed out highways and huge buildings came sliding down the sides of the mountains…and the rain kept coming. All five of the main rivers in the north were at flood stage. Dams were opened to release the overflow that brought even more destruction to the towns down river. Once again, I listened to the prophecy and watched it being fulfilled before my eyes.
The Hindu people cried out to their gods, but the temples were being washed away and destroyed. Their gods could not help them. They said it was worst flooding in known history for this area of India. Most of this flooding happened in a state where Christians are highly persecuted. It is our prayer that what we have seen in the natural truly would happen in the spiritual. Please pray that the Kingdom of God would sweep through North India like a mighty flood and millions of people would come to know the Most High God and His Son, Jesus Christ! May the believers in India minister hope to all those affected by disaster.