The state of Punjab is located in Northeast India on the Pakistani border. We are thankful the Lord has called us to his harvest in the villages of Punjab. The indigenous population is predominately Hindu, but there is also a large number of Sikhs and Muslims. As in other parts of India, it is mostly the women who carry on the religious traditions within families because men work from dawn to dusk seven days a week. The three primary sources of family income are from small retail shops, farming and some industrial.
According to Wikipedia, “Punjab is the birthplace of Sikhism and Amritsar is the home of the The Harmandir Sahib informally referred to as the “Golden Temple”. Unlike Hindus, Sikhs are monotheistic and broke from Hinduism because of the cast system. Sikh men also have the reputation of being very militant and gospel resistant. Many men carry large knives concealed in their clothing.
The Golden Temple houses the holiest Sikh gurdwara or holy writings. Amritsar, Punjab, is just a few miles from the Pakistani border. The city was founded in 1574 by the fourth Sikh guru, Guru Ram Das. The Harmandir Sahib was designed by the fifth guru, Guru Arjan, who had the cornerstone laid by the Muslim Sufi saint Sai Hazrat, December 1588. Guru Arjan completed the Adi Granth, the holy scripture of Sikhism, in 1604 and installed it in the gurdwara. There are four doors to get into the Harmandir Sahib, which symbolize the openness of the Sikhs towards all people and religions. The present-day gurdwara (doorway to God) was rebuilt in 1764 by Jassa Singh Ahluwalia with the help of other Sikh Misls. In the early nineteenth century, Maharaja Ranjit Singh secured the Punjab region from outside attack and covered the upper floors of the gurdwara with gold, which gives it its distinctive appearance and its English name. The Harimandir Sahib is considered holy by Sikhs. The holiest text of Sikhism, the Guru Granth Sahib, is present inside the gurdwara during daytime and the holy book goes for Sukhasan during the night time. Its construction was mainly intended to build a place of worship for men and women from all walks of life and all religions to come and worship God equally. Over 100,000 people visit the holy shrine daily for worship. The Harmandir Sahib literally means the Temple of God. In 1578 CE Guru Ram Das excavated a tank, which subsequently became known as Amritsar (Pool of the Nectar of Immortality).”
This pool surrounds the temple and is always available to worshipers for the ritualistic washing away or cleansing of their sin. As you can see from the picture above, it’s a very beautiful place, but for us it was a very sad place. Thousands come every day seeking forgiveness by washing in the pool, as they pray for their families and the difficulties of their life.
Hindu Women Praying To Receive Christ in Punjab In addition to doing evangelistic feeding events in unreached Hindu villages, we also do evangelistic feeding events for Hindu women. At this women’s event our new women’s evangelist preached the gospel to approximately 200 women and 150 confessed their sin of idolatry and prayed to receive Jesus Christ as their only Lord and Savior. As you might imagine, these events can be very exciting.
So far, we have done two women’s events this year and one in December of 2014. Under The Elijah Challenge Lisa Hartman, Elijah Challenge Board Member and a very gifted teacher from Houston’s Second Baptist Church, along with her three teenage daughters preached the gospel and ministered to the sick with testimonies of miraculous healing at the December event last year. They will be teaching and ministering to the women again this coming December.
The harvest is huge and we are praying that Jesus will call many more women into his harvest field in India. If you have ever wanted to go on a missions trip and minister specifically to women, get in touch with me at 281-450-8910 and I will have Lisa call you back with additional information. If you would like to go at a different time, we can set that up also. I promise, the Holy Spirit will use you to expand God’s kingdom and your life will be forever changed. If you want to sponsor a women’s event the cost is $800, all of which is tax deductible. We started doing evangelistic women’s gospel events because the majority of those attending feeding events are women. Now God has opened a huge door for women’s ministry. Women are the key to reaching families. Please pray about helping us introduce these women to Christ.
Baptism of New Believers In Uttar Pradesh
The man being baptized above by Simon Haq, our ministry coordinator, is actually one of our network pastors. He invited Simon to come to his church and teach them about water baptism. Simon started by telling them the meaning of being immersed in water and when they should be baptized. He concluded by inviting those who had not already been baptized by immersion to raise their hands. To Simon’s surprise the pastor raised his hand too. This pastor had been baptized before he had fully understood and accepted Christ, so he wanted to be properly baptized. That day Simon and this pastor baptized over 20 men, women and children from his congregation, in the irrigation tank pictured to the left.
For new Christians to agree to be publicly baptized is a really big deal in India. To do so sometimes results in persecution from family and friends. This is especially true for married women if their husbands are not believers. None the less, the number of new Christians being baptized is growing rapidly.
Houston’s First Baptist Sponsors Outreach in Punjab
At this evangelistic event hundreds prayed to receive Christ. The men wearing turbans below are Sheiks praying to receive Christ.
The Holy Spirit has been very active in Punjab. He is opening doors that have never been open before. Many pastors have been calling wanting us to come to their village. We have already trained 30 pastors. Several pastors are seated on the stage in the picture to the left.
Directly and indirectly our partners in this ministry have made it possible for over 2.3 million Hindus to hear the gospel and pray to receive Christ. Approximately 75% of the people attending our events hear the gospel and accept Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior.
What a great and wonderful Savior we serve!
Prepared by Bill and Sammye Willis
Founders, Feeding Events India
(Bill Willis is an Elijah Challenge Board Member)