Every other month our CLC Board of Missions updates us with recent news from various mission fields.
Our fellow Christians in India have been on the minds of many, especially over the past year and a half. It was at the beginning of 2019 that Missionary Peter Evensen’s Indian visa was canceled, forcing the Board of Missions to reassign him to Togo. Another CLC pastor’s visa application was denied in the summer of 2019. Most recently, Missionary Todd Ohlmann was denied entry into India this past January as he was attempting to enter the country to take part in the Joint Asia Pastoral Conference (JAPC).
In 2019, India was ranked as the tenth most hostile country to Christians in the world according to Open Doors International. Other Asian countries where we have sister church bodies also find themselves on the list (Myanmar is nineteenth, Nepal is thirty-second). Yet despite the persecution, the Word of the Lord continues to spread and grow among our Asian brothers and sisters. Pastor David Reim was able to attend the JAPC in January and spend some time in the CLCI, and he had many positive and encouraging things to report on his time there.
The JAPC is a three-day conference held biannually in India. This year, there were pastors from five sister church bodies. There were pastors from the CLCI (India), BELC (India), HCLCN (Nepal), ZCLM (Myanmar), and NCLCM (Myanmar). The conference also welcomed Pastor Monotosh Banarjee from the BLCM in Bangladesh.
Much of the time in the conference was spent hearing reports about the work being done in the various church bodies. Pastor Reim reports: “Truly the Lord is doing a great work in Asia. Christ is crashing through the gates of Hades and is plundering Satan’s domain, opening the blind eyes and rescuing souls from the flames of hell. In our annual reports at home, we are happy if we can report two or three baptisms and conversions. Here report after report spoke of hundred-plus baptisms and conversions. And, for the most part, these are conversions from complete heathenism.”
After the conference, Pastor Reim was able to spend some time in the CLCI. Many of the worship services were held late at night, some of them beginning at 10:00 P.M. and going until 12:30 A.M. Despite the late hour, the people, including little children, greeted Pastor Reim with warm smiles and enthusiastically sang praises to God.
One reason the worship services were as long as they were was because of the number of prayer requests. Pastor Reim reports that one night he spent an hour and a half offering prayers for individuals. Jesus tells us in Matthew 7:7, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.” The people were not afraid to ask. Pastor Reim reports: “It is encouraging to see them come to the Lord in their need, but at the same time, it is heart wrenching to see some of their needs.” Some were seeking spiritual growth, others healing from physical maladies. Several women had been abandoned by their husbands because they became Christians. May we join them in their prayer that the Lord would provide for and take care of them.
Overall, Pastor Reim’s time in India was a joyful experience. He was able to spend time with the orphans supported by CLC Project KINSHIP, whom he described as happy, healthy, and obviously well cared for and loved. He summarized his trip by saying that despite the persecution, the Lord is doing wonderful work in India. It is exciting to see how the Lord is blessing the work of the kingdom there. Please continue to keep our brothers and sisters in India in your prayers.
Robert Sauers is pastor of Luther Memorial Church in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, and a member of the CLC Board of Missions.