MNN’s Greg Yoder sits down with Gospel for Asia President in India

By July 27, 2005

India (MNN) — MNN’s anchor, Greg Yoder just returned from a trip to India, where he visited the work of Gospel for Asia. He had a chance to visit with KP Yohannan at GFA’s Asian Biblical Seminary. Here’s a portion of that interview.

Greg: “We’ve seen the tsunami zone, we’ve seen your wonderful workers who have really dedicated their hearts to Christ and are reaching out in incredible ways in the tsunami zone (and all over India), now we come to this beautiful seminary and in covering GFA for so many years, we had no clue. This is a diamond in the rough. Tell us about it.

KP: “We have 31 evangelical denominations that are represented here in the campus. We have, I think, 570-some students. And, these are people from every corner of the country and neighboring nations. And, if you take the whole student body they represent 40 to 50 languages. And, there are some students studying here that are from a people group called, ‘Mising’ – that’s the name of the people group. Forever, these people didn’t have hardly any Christian witness among them. It was four years ago, one of our graduates traveled 2,000 miles, saying that the Lord is telling me to go there. And today, we have 92 churches. Out of (those converts), he sent now two students who are studying here now at our seminary who have the potential for giving leadership to their people in the days in the days to come. People always tell exception stories to make a big case, but what I’m telling you is really the rule of the game here. It is not an exception, the incredible way in which God has allowed us to send out graduates from the seminary. About 80-percent of our graduates go to the mission field.”

Greg: In terms of the number of GFA workers throughout India. How many are there and how many have gone through the training?

KP: “We have 54 Bible colleges scattered throughout the 10 nations. And, from the seminary every year we graduate about 100-plus students. To date, we have, I think over 14, 000 full-time missionaries, pastors and evangelists scattered throughout these nations. (The) seminary is basically is kind of a place where they recruit the best from these mission fields and bring them here for further training. This is kind of become the heart that pumps the blood that keeps the ministry going. Thinking people know this, in America and Europe the church (has) begun to walk in the dark ages. I’m talking about in the 20th century. It began with the denial of God’s Word. The focus on God’s Word is not given. For India, and the neighboring nations, unless we train leaders that hang on to God’s Word, without being diluted with the liberalism, we will face the same fate in the years to come. This is the reason why we are deeply convinced we must train pastors and leaders having a deep commitment to God’s Word.

Greg: ” We have done story after story about the number of Christians being attacked by radicals in India, are you continuing to see that and do you expect it to continue.”

KP: “The number of deaths and abuse will increase. I went to serve God in 1966 to north India. And, I tell you, I was beaten, abused and persecuted, but nothing compared to what we face today. Almost every week we will have 8, 9, a dozen pastors or evangelists with broken bones, broken ribs, (who) end up in the hospital. And, I don’t know the exact number, but if I’m correct we may have close to 14 sisters living on the mission field raising their children, their husbands being martyred for their faith. One brother who planted a church with over 100 believers, converts who were baptized, one morning we found him dead on the roadside, he was poisoned to death. Even, this very week, we are talking, I think there must be about a half-dozen persecution stories came in and some are in the hospital. But, what we don’t understand sometimes there is a price they (may) have to pay, and the price many times is laying down their life. So, when we send out our graduates, we literally tell them, you are given a one way ticket. Jesus will go with you. If he gives you the privilege of laying down your life on the mission field, heaven is a much better place.”

Greg: “As we’ve been covering the work of GFA this week, seeing the work in the tsunami zone and now the seminary, what’s the message you’d like to send to Christians in the West and all over the world?

KP: “The one thing that I feel makes the Lord’s heart sad is when he sees 80,000 people died every single day and perish forever. I live with this sorrow almost every single day, when I think about 1.1 billion in India and then a half a billion in the subcontinent, people that are so hungry, so open. I mean, you realize that almost every single day we see churches come up. People hear the Gospel, they’re hungry, there’s no resistance. In spite of the persecution, people are coming to Christ. I told you about 54 Bible colleges for some 8,000 students, we could have easily 20,000 students if we had the resources, places to put these Bible schools up. It is on a finger tip that we could see millions turn to Christ. What is holding us back is the lack of resources. So, if the body of Christ is willing to become unselfish and say, ‘We have enough Bibles, we have enough music, we have enough stuff, and support these brothers and sisters. To many people, it’s a shock that with $60 or $90 a month you can help a missionary here (in India), or Nepal, or Bhutan, or Bangladesh, to go and plant a church. Within one year he’ll get a church established and when he has 100 believers he’s self-supporting, we don’t have to help him any more.

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