Doug Barclay joins us from Mission India as he talks about all of the work they were able to do in 2020!
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well good morning church family good to see you this morning my name is doug barclay i believe pastor gene may have made some introduction last week about my coming i happen to live just south of atlanta i serve with mission india we're one of your ministry partners and i have the privilege of traveling throughout the southeast part of the united states sharing what god's doing through your partnership with us and it's a privilege and blessing to be here with you this morning and uh yeah happy new year that's uh anybody ready to say goodbye to 2020 and hello to a new year good grief what a what a year what man what what a crazy nine months this has been you know something that uh well likely uh we'll never experience again we certainly hope but you know we we learned a lot of new things this past nine months didn't how many of you knew what social distancing was last january yup uh so we learned some new things we practiced some new disciplines social distancing shelter in place quarantine isolation mask up lock down some of the schools virtual learning and even some of this virtual worship and you know i think one of the reasons that we've been so frustrated and so fed up with everything it is all of these practices promote isolation but we're created for community and and when you can't do what you're created for that that builds up an inner tension and and gets us all out of whack so uh hopefully uh we're getting toward the end of uh this uh pandemic and uh we're grateful for those that uh you know are serving on the front lines and taking care of us and hopefully this vaccine or the vaccines that are coming out will take care of what we're doing we'll be able to get back to what we thought was normal there's going to be a lot of new things moving forward that are going to be a little bit different but you know it's just been somewhat of a painful reminder that every day we get up you know we're entering a battleground not a playground and we just have to be ready uh we have to realize that our enemy is out there to steal to kill and to destroy and and he wants to steal the joy that we have and and we can't let him do that and i'd like to open up by reading psalm 46 with you here and this is a passage of scripture that it was written as a song of praise and my bible says it was written by the the sons of korah and and they were the temple uh assistants uh at the time and scholars believe that this passage could have been written and jerusalem was surrounded by the assyrian army so they were facing some pretty bleak conditions when this passage was written but listen to the words and and take comfort from what god's word says so from psalm 46 god is our refuge and strength a very present help in trouble therefore we will not fear though the earth give way though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea though its waters roar and foam though the mountains tremble at its swelling there is a river whose streams make glad the city of god the holy habitation of the most high god is in the midst of her she shall not be moved god will help her when the morning dawns the nations rage the kingdom's totter he utters his voice the earth melts the lord of hosts is with us the god of jacob is our fortress come behold the works of the lord how he has brought desolation on the earth he makes war cease to the end of the earth he breaks the bow and shatters the spear he burns the chariots with fire be still and know that i am god i will be exalted among the nations i will be exalted in the earth the lord of hosts is with us the god of jacob is our fortress and we can take comfort in those words because it seems like our world is crumbling all about us uh and and you know the the turmoil the challenge the struggles that we have all faced here in the united states uh just think how that can be in a third world country like india uh how disruption and chaos you know our lives were turned upside down and we were really uncomfortable uh a bit uh fit to be tied but you know our brothers and sisters in india face situations like that all the time through persecution through the challenges that they face um you know we we're very fortunate here in the united states we live in a land of plenty uh they we live in a land of abundance and they don't have much at all and we need to be mindful and grateful for for what we do have uh but you know that doesn't mean that uh you know when troubles come uh we've got to refer back and trust in the lord as our song a previous song just said so uh yeah we have a lot to uh a lot to consider and a lot to be uh grateful for even in the midst of all the turmoil and chaos and you know is as disruptive and painful as this year has been a lot of good has taken place and by god's grace this last year mission india has enjoyed our most significant year of ministry uh in our existence and i'll share a little bit about that here in just a few minutes so uh i know there's a lot of uh challenges a lot of heartache a lot of uh hardships that we've gone through but uh through it all you know we we can come out on the end on the other other side stronger well let's talk a little bit about india uh why india you know india is on the other side of the world different culture different society different relief belief system it's just a totally different world our only focus is in india as our name might suggest and one of the reasons is the great commission you know in in matthew chapter 28 jesus after his resurrection and before he uh ascended into heaven uh for his uh final the final words that he gave his disciples some of the final words that he shared with them are in the great commission and in this passage he tells us you know that we're to go and make disciples of all nations baptizing them in the name of the father the son and the holy spirit and to teach them everything that he has commanded and uh that's that's something that we take very seriously so that's that's one of the driving forces that we have and that's why we're in india uh india is a land of 100 of 1.35 billion people uh second most populous country in the world uh one out of every six people that walks the face of the earth is in india there are over 1900 unreached people groups in india uh china is the next largest country with the most unreached people groups with about 450 so india has about three and a half times the number of unreached people groups as does china there are over 400 million people in india who have never heard the name jesus they have no idea you know what what jesus is who he is what it's about therefore india is the largest unreached nation with respect to the gospel and your partnership with us is taking the light of christ into a very dark place india is the heartland of hinduism approximately 74 of the population practices hinduism and that means that there are roughly 900 million people who do not know god they have 330 million gods and goddesses uh i can't get my hand around that i i can't understand uh how they might do that but uh we have to remember that they worship out of fear and through idolatry through superstition not out of love and devotion as you and i do looking at this map here is an overlay of the geographic map of india over the united states india is about one-third the geographic footprint that the u.s is they have four times the population so if you would quadruple the population of india or quadruple the population of the united states and move everybody east of the mississippi river that would give you an idea of what the population density is like in india very crowded people everywhere you talk about privacy that doesn't exist in many parts in india this next map is a global status of uh evangelical christianity and and the thing i want you to recognize here the red dots on this map illustrate areas where there's less than two percent presence of evangelical christians the green dots represent where there's greater than 10 percent but if you notice on this map uh the center part there is uh the country of india and that's where the most red is that's where the most unreached people groups are located this next map shows you a comparison it blows up southeast asia and shows you from the year 2010 to the year 2018 and do you notice a difference you know the uh the illustration on the right there's a little bit less red and this shows you the the extent of the gospel present or the gospel presence in india over this eight year period so to me this map is very encouraging for three reasons number one you know india is still uh the land of the greatest need it's the largest unreached nation on earth but number two god is making great inroads in india uh through what we see in this map and then thirdly this map is issued through the international mission board so this is not something that mission india has put together we're using the the statistics and the findings from other mission organizations and agencies to help promote and share our story so it's a very uh very important aspect to keeping track keep track of here open doors is an organization that ministers to the persecuted church and and persecution in india is continuing to rise every year open doors puts out this world watch list and it's a list of the top uh 50 countries where persecution against christians is most significant most severe they're going to be coming out with a new list pretty soon this is the 2020 list i think sometime usually in january they come out with their new list but last year the number one country on this list i don't know if you can see that or not maybe north korea not too surprising but india is number 10. so we need to be mindful our brothers and sisters in india they're working under very difficult situation and we need to keep them in prayer uh as they face some pretty difficult and challenging times well why mission india why would you want to partner with us what do we do what do we bring to the table what solutions do we provide what answers do we give you know why why is it important to uh to invest in this ministry once again we're driven by the great commission uh the words of jesus uh just compel us to do what we've been called to do we train and equip national workers to minister to people in their language and their culture we don't send westerners over to india to do the work number one it's much more cost effective to train a national worker to do the work and uh you know if if i had if i wanted to be a church planter in india uh you know we're probably talking 50 to 100 000 uh to send me and my family overseas plus hinduism is so complex there is no way that i would be able to understand all the intricacies uh in dealings with hinduism to be able to share uh on a real personal and intimate way uh with a national so it's much more cost-effective to do that through training the nationals by god's grace last year we saw over 2.8 million new believers come to faith in christ and uh you know it's just god continues to do yeah amen you know some of these numbers seem a little bit uh escalated or they just almost seem unbelievable but but keep in mind we're dealing with a country that's population four times is what we have here in the united states so keep things in perspective from that regard uh we saw just under 12 000 churches planted we call them worship groups because these new believers they they don't have a nice building like this to go to on a sunday morning so most of them are meeting in a house church so so we're going to call those a worship group and by a worship group we're talking a minimum of 10 baptized believers so it's not just two or three or four people getting together it's a minimum of 10 baptized believers we saw over 30 000 new prayer groups formed last year and prayer is essential to all that we do and i'll share a little bit more when i get into the church planter training but uh you know we have people praying for local communities and villages and uh getting things ready uh before our workers go in and and we have a network of over 1700 national partners that's really the sustainable function and feature of how we do ministry you know in the united states mission india has about 45 u.s workers our u.s office is based in grand rapids michigan there's about 35-40 people working out of our home office i'm in the atlanta area covering the southeast i have you know three or four other colleagues around the us covering different regions of the us but we have roughly 500 staff workers in india all nationals and they're the ones that are doing the training of our national partners and our national partners are the ones that are going out and and physically doing the work themselves our vision is to see india transformed by christ and our mission is equipping indians chris india's christians to plant reproducing churches so we have we have one focus and that's church planting but we have three different strategies children's bible clubs adult literacy and church planter training and and i'll delve into each of these here uh very briefly our children's bible clubs we have a 10-day children's bible club uh that's very similar to what we would call a vacation bible school where the children will come in you know they'll learn bible songs they'll learn memory verses they'll get a meal uh so this is this is critical because oftentimes this might be the only meal that some of these children will get that day uh and through the 10-day club uh we'll reach roughly five and a half to six million children uh during the summer months uh when these 10 day clubs are being conducted uh let's take a quick look at some of the kingdom impact that's made through the children's bible clubs you know it costs one dollar to send a child to a 10-day club and i mentioned you know last year we reached just over five and a half million children through the children's bible clubs but what we have seen in the past is one out of four children that are involved in the ten day club will come to faith in christ so you boil this down every four dollars invested in the children's bible clubs typically we'll see one child come to faith in christ that's a pretty good spiritual return on investment we're very very grateful for that well the after-school club or the year-long children's bible club it's uh conducted after school each day for they meet for two hours an afternoon the first 30 minutes they spend on team building or doing sports activities whatever working together getting along and building unity as a group then the next 60 minutes they spend doing homework and education is our platform for the after school club and even hindus know that christians have good education so they want their children to receive you know further training and instruction so they'll be you know mentoring tutored getting their assignments done making sure they understand what their what their schoolwork is and uh you know last couple years and it just depends on you know where our partners are located but typically uh we see between 250 to 350 000 children in the after school club typically we'll see one in three children in the after school club come to faith in christ in 24 we'll send a child for this one year after school program so pretty good investment again to teach these children a bit about scripture a bit about who god is and the thing is our our partners and all the volunteers they work with the children but often on the weekends they will go to the students homes and meet with the parents and the families and share with them a bit about what they're learning and that's where true one-on-one sharing takes place and the parents are are usually quite interested because they will notice an improved difference in the in their children's behavior you know we teach the children to respect their elders to respect their parents and to be able to uh you know have better manners and and just better conduct and when the parents see this changed behavior that gets their attention and they want to learn and find out more and then typically we'll see three worship groups birthed out of every five of these after-school club programs so typically a club will be 40 students uh that will be meeting and they'll have a an instructor and a few volunteers but you know the children's bible club is a very powerful way to reach india you know i look at children and youth in america that's our church of tomorrow but in india children of the church of today because they are tremendous evangelist and uh like i say their their change behavior their uh role and activity and what they learn through these bible clubs makes a tremendous impact all right the next leg of our church planning strategy is adult literacy and this is a program where adults will come and for two hours a night five days a week pretty much 52 weeks out of the year they will be enrolled in these literacy programs and they'll learn and if they they stay with the program and if they graduate they'll be able to read and write at a fifth grade level and that's significant because then they'll be able to apply for some jobs when they get through they'll be able to read and write at a fifth grade level they'll be able to read scripture in their own language you know we teach the women in particular health and hygiene so that they'll be able to take care of their families the importance of immunizing your infants and taking care of their young children and and so many of the diseases that take lives in india can be you know avoided by simple uh hygiene practices so it's a very critical component to what we do we teach basic math skills so that when they go to the market they'll be able to know if they're getting the proper change or not they'll know if they're being cheated uh we teach some basic vocational skills so they'll have some type of income generation you know once they get through uh and graduate from the program and it's uh it's a very powerful uh part of an aspect of ministry and now ideally we'd love to see everybody come to faith in christ through the literacy uh but that that's just unrealistic but in a worst-case scenario just imagine somebody being able to read and write you know what kind of life transformation does that bring and who knows the seeds that were planted you know in the year that they were in the program we don't know what happens to them afterwards uh so a lot a lot of seeds were planted uh at the beyond set well forty dollars will give an adult an opportunity to learn to read and write and what we have seen 80 percent of the graduates that enroll in our ministry will graduate with a fifth grade level education 40 percent of those graduates will put their faith in christ so it is it is another very powerful component of evangelism and then two-thirds of the classes will birth into a new worship group and we do have to be careful being in a hindu society of how overtly we share the gospel message but unashamedly all of the literacy students particularly around christmas time will hear the story the birth of jesus and know the reason you know the gospel and why christ came so so they do hear the full gospel message well then the third component of our church planting strategy is church planter training and this is a one-year program where students are very carefully selected and they have to come recommended by a pastor they have to have a home church that is recommending them to be a part of the program but what they will do in this 12-month period is the first month they come into a classroom setting they learn about evangelism then they spend three months in the field month five they come back into a classroom setting they learn about discipleship they spend three more months in the field month nine they come back for one more month of classroom training and then they'll spend the last three months out in the field and in that time frame uh they are expected to reach four to six hundred families to share the gospel message and uh here is uh you know we take a look at some of the kingdom impact through the church planter training twenty four hundred dollars two hundred dollars a month will support a church planter and his family uh because this is an intense one-year training program so they really don't have uh the luxury of having a job being by vocational during this training uh period uh so they have to dedicate their whole time and and attention to what they learn in the program but their goal is to reach 600 families establish five prayer groups baptize 20 new believers and plant two new churches so that's a pretty aggressive goal so you know here again twenty four hundred dollars and you're likely going to see two churches birth out of a twenty four hundred dollar investment uh in india and and once again you know some of the uh training that they receive it it's not full seminary training like we have here in the united states but through our partners on the ground you know some of them are are baptist some are presbyterian some are methodist uh if they want to go on and get further training then the home church comes beside them and that helps them with that additional uh work well just like here in march everything changed uh the pandemic you know no no country was left untouched and in india they went on a nationwide nationwide lockdown on march 24th and that created a humanitarian crisis because that left over 500 million day laborers without work if they don't work they don't get paid and they don't eat so what do you do you know everybody's locked down well the the infrastructure in india was nowhere capable of of handling such a crisis and our partners on the ground just came to us and pleaded for help and and we couldn't say no although relief is not our focus essentially the lockdown brought all of our ministry components pretty much we had to put them on a pause as nobody was allowed to get together and assemble and so this was really an opportunity for the church to step up and that's exactly what happened um in the relief work we had our partners and here again everything we do is through the local church through local believers and and our partners and this is what's so interesting you know god had positioned us in such a unique way the 1700 partners that we have are spread out all throughout the country so it's not as if a relief agency had to come in and set up a camp or set up a base somewhere and then distribute everything you know out of one centralized location we were located throughout the entire country so what we ended up doing is our partners figured out what would what would be needed what would be required to be most beneficial to those most vulnerable and those in need and they come up with a a relief kit that had enough food items enough hygiene items and it included a gospel component that it would sustain a family of four for four weeks and all for a cost of forty dollars during this uh distribution of these relief kits the police and the local authorities actually were helping us and and that was a first because instead of uh you know uh pursuing and creating disturbance and causing havoc with local believers police were working alongside our goal was to distribute 75 000 of these relief kits now if you take 75 000 times 40 dollars that adds 3 million dollars to our budget and this relief work was above and beyond our regular ministry budget well uh through after a couple of weeks ago as just a couple of weeks ago we had distributed now uh i just got new word over 106 000 of these relief kits so you know god is just doing some incredible work he's creating opportunities for uh you know our partners to have some exposure to people uh in a a key thing about all of this all the names and addresses of every family that received the relief kit was captured so that we can follow up with them later and and that's where we'll get into a more intimate you know conversation about sharing the gospel and sharing god's love well in this process god opened up several new doors for us uh there was a community of brahmana priests that we've never had access to before and and they had no way of getting food so we started taking some food and hygiene items and to help these this community a brahmana priest and you know who knows what's going to happen as a result of that there was a community of of uh muslim villagers that we've had access to because of the relief efforts uh we we got into a situation where we were help able to help some sex trafficking uh some human trafficking uh you know people in in that community so god has just opened some new doors for us and uh you know we're we're really looking forward to to what kind of harvest we might see uh here in the near future the government officials actually commended the work that we did number one they couldn't do it and they really made a lot of comments about the quality of food that we had and the quantity of the items that was contained in each of these relief kits so through all this you know the the government is is seeing some value in what you know we brought to the table uh and then finally you know god's people responded you know it it's great for these resources to be provided to help those that are most vulnerable but you know what we as god's people uh need to invest into kingdom work as well and uh there's a blessing that that we can receive through that so through these relief efforts um you know it is just incredible to see what god is about to do and and who knows what you know we're going to be needing to be prepared for down the road this gentleman is an example of a life change through the relief kit program dileep is his name uh and because he's wearing the turban he's from the sikh religion and uh the the sikh religion is is kind of a combination between islam and hinduism but the thing of it is that none of them get along so it's just kind of a a meld of different beliefs and so forth but uh he's from northern india and uh you know prior to march his his life was pretty good uh he was a successful businessman uh he had a grocery uh business in his sound in his town his city and uh he and his wife had two children two daughters and things were going pretty good well the pandemic hit and that essentially uh brought his business to a standstill and he didn't know what he was going to do and uh shortly you know after during the lockdown uh you know his his family started to be anxious and started to worry and dilip started to go into some depression didn't know how he was going to provide for his family what was he going to do you know how are they going to make it through and then in april some of our partners show up to buy supplies for these relief kits so they buy all kinds of groceries and and other items that went into the relief kits to package and distribute to those in need and they kept coming back week after week and uh dilip was finally curious and says well why do you keep coming back and buying these same types of items and and our partners were able to uh explain to him you know that well we're we're a christian ministry you know we're doing this in the name of jesus christ this is what we're uh doing to help you know our fellow countrymen and uh you know he he just finally told them that look he says you know my daughters are no longer speaking to me uh for some reason they they just got you know just scared of what was going on around them a couple of his brothers started cheating him and this kept driving dilip into a deeper deeper depression and he told our partners he says you know look i'm i don't know how i'm going to carry on and he was almost to the point of ending his life so our partners came along they prayed for delete uh explain a little bit more about god's love and you know shortly thereafter dilip noticed some changes in his life you know his his brother's relationship although it was strained it was starting to improve and and his daughter daughters started talking to him once again and his life started to have some type of uh meaning and purpose once again and and he attributed that to this jesus that that these men came and prayed to him in the name of and i'm pleased to report now that de leip is a follower of christ these gentlemen led him to the lord and here again all through the relief efforts of what's taking place well you know this year's been a rough year and and i i came across this just uh about a week and a half ago and and i thought it would be a good reminder uh of hardships and trials that we all face you know grapes need to be crushed in order to make wine diamonds form under great pressure over extended period of time you know diamonds are a valuable gem olives are pressed to release oil and seeds grow in darkness and whenever you feel crushed pressed under pressure or in darkness you're in a powerful place of transition we may not think it we may not like it but you know this thing says trust the process but you know you and i as believers of christ we have something better that we can trust you know we can trust the author of creation the king of kings and the lord of lords and even though we have to go through some trying times uh you know sometimes we have a difficult season that we have to go through you know this pandemic nobody saw it coming you know it's hard to fight an enemy that you can't see but yet we can take uh comfort in in god's word and then uh randy alcorn i just want to leave you with a couple of these quotes randy alcorn is an author a pastor out of uh oregon washington state of washington and he wrote this book called the treasure principle and in that couple of the quotes that really hit me abundance isn't god's provision for me to live in luxury it's his provision for me to help others live and living in a land of abundance in a land of opportunity you know why has god blessed us with the resources that he has it's not all for our good and benefit it's to help others as well and then finally god entrust us with his money not to build my kingdom on earth but to build his kingdom in heaven and uh let me just close here with a couple of quick passages one from second corinthians chapter four uh verses seven through 10 and then verses 16 through 18 and once again here paul is addressing the church in corinth and in the first part of chapter four he talks about a treasure and that treasure is the light that shines out of darkness the the the light of the knowledge of the glory of god and then he refers to here jars of clay uh in in jars of clay was a metaphor used in the ancient world to refer to human weakness so in our human weakness we still have the ability and capability to shine the light of christ and here's paul's words but we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that the surpassing power belongs to god and not to us we are afflicted in every way but not crushed perplexed but not driven to despair persecuted but not forsaken struck down but not destroyed then in verses 16 through 18 so we do not lose heart though our outer self is wasting away our inner self is being renewed day by day for this light and momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen for the things that are seen are transient but the things that are unseen are eternal and we may not understand we may not enjoy or appreciate some of the challenges that we go through but we have to remember you know this is not our home we were meant for something that's going to last forever and finally i just like to to finish with these words from first peter chapter 2 verse 9. but you are a chosen race a royal priesthood a holy nation a people for his own possession that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light and you know that's exactly what your partnership with us is doing it's calling people out of darkness into god's marvelous light and we're very grateful uh for your partnership with us your faithful uh prayer and financial support and just know that you know everything that you do what you give to us uh we have the responsibility to report back to you we we believe very firmly that uh you know accountability and transparency uh is very important in order to build trust between ministry partners and we're very grateful for your generosity to mission india please join me in prayer well heavenly father we thank you for the gift of this day and lord the start of a new year lord we have so much to be grateful for we thank you for your goodness and grace and lord as we've come through a very difficult and challenging time lord we've come through a lot of frustration we thank you lord though for the power and the promises of what your word reveals to us we thank you lord that you never leave us or forsake us and regardless of what we face of what we have to endure we know that everything goes through the filter of your hands lord we've been reminded in in perhaps some very painful ways of your sovereignty and your sovereign authority but lord help us to be mindful and to look forward and to realize that you have a purpose and a plan for each one of us you have a plan to prosper us and not to harm us a plan to give us hope in a future and for that we're grateful and father as we go about our activities of the day and in the weeks ahead lord help us to be sensitive to the needs of those around us help us to be the hands and feet of jesus help us lord to just reflect the goodness and the mercies that you've bestowed upon each one of us and lord it might point others to your unfailing and unconditional love lord we love you and we thank you and we ask these things in christ's precious and powerful name amen