India (MNN) — It’s easy to see how church planting makes a difference in a place like Indonesia. But what about in the world’s largest democracy?
For a pair of lepers in rural India, church planting was lifesaving in more ways than one.
Church planting: saving lives literally
Far Corners Missions’ Gary Bishop recently shared the story of a husband and wife in rural India, who both happened to have leprosy. Because of their disease, they were ostracized and forced to live on the village outskirts.
Lepers are social outcasts in India. As such, neither the husband nor wife could find jobs to support their daily needs.
However, the wife was a seamstress before she contracted leprosy and the disease took her fingers. One day, she figured out a way to sew garments holding an extra-large needle and the fabric between her palms, and then pulling the end of the needle with her teeth.
It was all working fine until the woman somehow swallowed the needle.
Her husband ran around frantically seeking help, but “because they were lepers and were ostracized by the village, no one would help him,” says Bishop.
“Basically, they just turned away and ignored him.”
If a church planting pastor trained by Far Corners hadn’t been there to help with the compassion of Christ, the woman likely would have died.
“The man is so overjoyed that he went around the whole village telling them, ‘No one would help me except this village pastor. And so, we’re here to tell you that you should listen to him’.”
Church planting: saving lives eternally
Today, villagers pour into the church planted by this pastor to hear the Truth of Scripture.
“The Word of God goes out in this little village because of the testimony of a Hindu leper,” Bishop shares.
While powerful, this testimony is a rare one. Church planting in rural India isn’t an easy process, and it usually doesn’t happen overnight.
“It is a difficult proposition to plant a church in a Hindu village where there are no other believers,” states Bishop.
Occasionally, church planting in a rural village happens quickly with little resistance.
“It’s almost like the Holy Spirit’s gone before us there and prepared the hearts of people; there [are] responses right away,” Bishop shares.
“Sometimes, though, it takes literally years to break through the very hardened mindsets and attitudes of the people.”
With your help, the Lord can use more events like this one to bring entire villages to Himself.
“It takes about $75 a month to support a pastor and his family in an unreached village,” explains Bishop.
Far Corners’ sponsorships are holistic in nature, “not only sending him financial support, but praying for him daily [too].
“As he goes in to that village, sometimes they’re able to integrate fairly easy, but other times they are all but thrown out.”