India Blessings Festival & International Music Celebrations 14-24 February, 2009
From the 14th to the 24th of February, 2009, we went to India with TRIN and a team of 70 volunteers.
This is s report from Rajkumar Ganta who is our contact person and organiser in India :
We had a wonderful time with the TRIN team during the 4 day campaign. In total 140,000 to 150,000 people attended and all heard the Gospel from evangelist Mattheus van der Steen. About the same number of people heard his message via local and national TV station broadcasts.
In total 120,000 Decision cards were handed out and 125,000 were returned to us either by people who had accepted Jesus as their Saviour, or by people who had recommitted themselves to follow Him. These cards were handed to local churches to do the follow up and disciple these people. These cards are still coming in every day in the post.
People also saw the the previous nights service on TV the following day, and we had many questions via telephone or emails asking for Decision Cards. In all 120,000 people gave their lives to the Lord for the first time in the four districts around Bhimavaram.
Many thousands of people made the decision to renew their commitment to Christ. When Mattheus gave the invitation to them, thousands of Hindu's, people from other religions and those with no religion at all, accepted Christ as their Saviour. As they stood to make their commitment with hands held high, there was a lot of repentance, healing, people being set free, and other miracles. It was wonderful to see. Praise the Lord!
To give you some idea of the preparations that went into this crusade :
In the months prior to the crusade, an intense Public Relations campaign was mounted. Most visitors to the campaign came for Andra Pradesh, and some came from as far as 275 kilometres away.
On the 1st of January, 2009, we began with daily advertisements in 8 different news papers, and for 45 days the advertisements for the crusade were also broadcast on TV and radio stations.
For one month long, 7 cars covered a radius of 75kms around Bhimavarum and handed out 300,000 flyers. 400 small and large churches, 7 different ministries, 32 evangelists, 27 Youth Groups, almost 100 full time and part time volunteers from APPLE. all worked together to make this crusade happen.
50% of the people that came to the crusade made use of the free transport APPLE provided and 70% or the people attending came from outside Bhimavaram.
Follow up report...
According to the pastors and local church elders, their churches were filled with new believers and where there was no church for local people to attend, a church was started.
These new congregations are filled with new Christians and people who had renewed their commitment to the Lord. We had many telephone calls and letters from our leaders and pastors to express how happy they were with all their new converts and those that had recommitted themselves.
Brother G.S.R worked with us on a part time basis with the young people from the universities. We handed out many invitations to the crusade and about 90% or the hostel dwellers attended the last two nights of the campaign. More than 50 of these young people accepted Jesus as their Saviour and I have been told that these youngsters are now meeting on a weekly basis. We are now getting Bibles and teaching materials together to give to them. They are also being encouraged to join their local church.
One religious pastor emailed me and told me that on the fourth night of the crusade, after hearing a short message and prayer, he started repenting, crying and then accepted Jesus Christ as his Saviour. Before he was a very religious pastor, now he is a reborn pastor! That night his bicycle was lost but he said 'Bicycle lost, but I am saved!'
One of the camera operators recording the services said he has never felt so much anointing or seen the outpouring of the Holy Spirit move so powerfully during a meeting.
Some of of our pastors go from village to village with a local pastor, church elder or newly trained youth and training pastor, who then go in search of new believers. They pray together, read the Bible and either introduce the local pastor to them or refer them to the closest church.
Where there is no church, home groups have been started. There are also a few churches who will not accept new believers from a different caste (a Hindu class system). For these people that the churches will not accept, weekly home churches or family meetings have also been started.
Please pray for the young men and women that accepted Jesus as their Saviour during the crusade and who will be writing their final exams and then returning from their hostel on campus to their homes. Many of them have Hindu parents and say they expect to encounter problems because of their new commitment to Jesus.
Rajkumar Gantu and his APPLE teams vision for the coming year :
My vision is to evangelise people and to reach the unreachable in India. The fire burns in my bones to reach the lost. Our purpose is 'Reaching the unreached and telling the untold'. Every year we want to reach 1000 villages and towns with the Gospel, working in conjunction with local pastors, evangelists and our team.
We want to do 100 large crusades and our deepest desire is to see Gods Kingdom break through in India with power.
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