2006 India Mission Report
What a challenge it is to see how the church of Christ is moving forward in countries where there is persecution and yet mighty revival. Praise God for the hospitality and the warmth of these Christians. It is exciting to be a small part of the ministry which our God has all over the world. Although I have been in missionary work for thirty-four years, this was my first time to go to the Orient.
The Revival Christian Church, Hong Kong, China:
Dennis Balcombe was the missionary I had flown half way around the world to meet! He estimates that twenty thousand people are being converted every day in mainland China! He has been arrested, and beaten. When he was denied entry during the Cultural Revolution, he would stand at the border and pray. Now he is welcomed by the Chinese authorities. He invited me to minister in mainland China the next time I returned.
Hong Kong, with a population of ten million, is now a bustling gate-way to China. The port is stacked with containers three and four high. Hong Kong is built on the rocky coast of the Pacific Ocean. My hosts took me around the city and up to the summit. Looking down from the gardens, there were towering office and apartment buildings all around.
City Harvest Church, Singapore: This church was started by Kong Hee sixteen years ago. Now the church is so large that the 20,000 members meet in a convention center. The worship service was lively and exciting with spot lights, fog, and a huge LED screen where the service was projected. That Sunday morning, Richard Roberts preached with a worship team from O.R.U. After the service, my host took me to an Oriental food court, where we sampled several dishes, including prawns, chicken, vegetables and fried rice, more than we could eat. Singapore, with a population of ten million, is situated on a flat peninsula, surrounded by ocean. The city is spread out, so clean, with many trees and parks. Many colonial buildings remain next to sparkling new glass office buildings.
First Assembly of Zion: Pastor Kenneth Pinto headed this fellowship of churches. India is a country of sympathetic contrasts. There are Hindu temples with their arrays of gods. There are well-fed cows living in the streets off the garbage. There are beautiful manicured houses enclosed by walls next to squatters living in tents. Jainists walk the highways bare-foot, monks completely naked, their nuns following, covered to the eyes with white burkas.
Bangalore is the computer capital of India. It has a population of ten million and is growing so fast that there is construction everywhere. Traffic chokes the streets. Strangely, trucks, cars, three wheel scooter taxis, and motor bikes merge, and cut in front of each other with horns blaring, without causing any accidents! When a movie star passed away, there were two days of riots.
First Assembly of Zion is located on a four lane ring road around the city, The three story building is quite impressive. The basement is for Sunday School and church hall and kitchen. The first storey will be the main floor of the sanctuary. The second will be a wrap-around balcony. The third floor will be the offices and parsonage. There is access to the flat roof. The tower will house an elevator from basement third floor making the building completely accessible for wheel chairs. Presently there are about one hundred Christians who are meeting now in the basement. Ken and his church are trusting the Lord to provide so that construction can be completed and church dedicated by December this year.
My first meeting was in Marikuppam where the mines had closed six years earlier. Eleven pastors have formed a development organization to try to bring economic growth to their area. One hundred and fifty residents came. After greetings from civic leaders and pastors, I spoke on staying in unity, working together, and respecting their leadership, if they wanted to see the blessing of God upon their endeavors. There was an altar call for salvation. Afterwards, we served everyone lunch of curried chicken, curried vegetables, and fried rice.
Friday night, Ken’s son, Stephen, took me ten hours on an air-conditioned over-night bus to Kannur, in Kelala state, located on the Arabian Sea. On the way back, the bus driver slammed on the brakes in the forest because there was a young elephant standing on the road in the dark. This church is pastored by Leslie and Beverly Pinto, Ken’s brother. About fifty Christians crowded into their living room. People left their shoes at the door in this and most other churches. Saturday morning I spoke on the Baptism of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. Saturday afternoon, Leslie took us for a stroll on the beach. He showed us the memorials of Hindus and Moslems who had martyred each other. We also saw many Maoist “hammer and cycle” signs. Leslie showed us the plot of ground he has purchased to build a church and parsonage. On Sunday morning I preached on the Resurrection, and took up a faith offering to begin construction of the church. Praise the Lord, $230 was pledged and $45 was given. On Sunday afternoon, Leslie paid for the whole church to eat fish buffet in a restaurant. We were each given a stainless tray, with all the rice we wanted. Then we were each given condiments of different kinds of curried fish, including something like sweet rice pudding.
The next Tuesday, Ken took me to the Bangalore ministers’ fellowship, where he is the president. The meeting was held at the Shekinah Gospel Fellowship. I spoke on, the Mission of the Church; orthodox doctrine, fellowship, community, and relevance. There were about one hundred brethren who gathered for the Word, fellowship, and a meal which we provided. On Wednesday morning, Ken took me to a Pentecostal church built by a Presbyterian church from Korea. I spoke on the first part of, Faithful Stewards. In this and many other churches, the people sat on the floor on mats, and stood up to pray and to sing. On Thursday evening, I preached at the Messiah Full Gospel Church on, We Would See Jesus. Afterwards, they asked me to pray for the sick.
On Good Friday morning, Ken invited me to speak at his church. I spoke on, Christ’s Seven Words from the Cross, and especially, It Is Finished! These words had more to do with our salvation being completed, than with the end of Jesus’ suffering. Then, Ken’s son, Sammy, took me to the Gospel Prayer Church, where ministers were invited from several churches to speak on Christ’s Seven Last Words from the cross.
Good Friday evening, we went to preach in a church in the slums which was pastured by Pas. Tony. Tony also was our guide to several other churches. Tony and his wife grew up in the slums. When I pointed out that there were not many men there, he replied that if their drunken husbands tried to beat their wives or keep them from coming to church, that their wives were not afraid to hit back! On
Saturday morning, we went to the Glory Gospel Church, where, if I remember correctly, I preached on the Resurrection.
On Easter Sunday morning, we were back at the First Assembly of Zion. The church basement was full with about one hundred people. There was a wonderful worship service and the presence of the Lord
was there. Eight young adults who had been baptised early on Good Friday morning gave their testimonies. Then there was Communion. When I was only given half of an hour to preach, I spoke to the young adults, on Wise Choices. Almost fifty came forward to take the vow of celibacy. Several parents came to tell me that message was really needed.
Sunday afternoon, Ken and Barbara took me home for family Sunday dinner. Shawn is married with one son. Stephen is engaged to a converted Brahman girl whom he met in college. Sammy is studying to become an air steward. On Sunday evening, I was taken to the Holy Bible Church where Bro. Susainathan is pastor. I spoke on the Resurrection when the Lord returns.
On Monday evening, Ken and I went for the inauguration of the Karnataka Worship Rallies. A group of twelve or so young men have a vision of travelling in twenty-seven districts of the state and holding worship rallies to bring revival to their state. About one hundred Christians attended with many ministers.
On Tuesday, we drove for two hours to the border of Tamil Nadu to the Shekinah Pastor’s Fellowship in Hosur. On the way, the Lord prompted me several times to speak on, the Call of God. There was a definite witness among the sixty ministers, and about thirty came forward to rededicate themselves to the Lord. Again we fed these brethren a meal after the service.
Wednesday, we drove about half the distance to Electronic City where I spoke to the National Pastor's Fellowship. I preached to about sixty ministers on Faithfulness in the ministry. The service was so anointed that my interpreter said he had tears in his eyes. We served curried chicken and onion relish.
On Thursday, Ken rented another vehicle to take five young adults from his church, and we drove the five hours to the Indian Christian Assembly, in Chengam, in Tamil Nadu state. Ken and I held a seminar for fifty pastors on Friday, and Saturday. I taught on the Temptations In Ministry. We fed them a meal each day and paid some of them transport. On Sunday morning, I preached on the Resurrection.
On Tuesday, Ken arranged my last meeting, a leadership seminar at his church in Bangalore, where I preached two sessions. Afterwards we served them a hearty meal.
I am excited about what God is doing in India! On June 4, Pentecost Sunday, the Christian churches of India will be celebrating the World Day of Prayer with prayer concerts in one hundred and forty seven cities of India. In Bangalore, the pastors are renting a parade ground and are expecting 100,000 Christians to attend. On the other hand, on Easter Sunday morning, four Christian churches were ransacked by Hindu extremists. The former police commissioner who is now a member of parliament, and a Christian, was calling for a police investigation. Please continue to pray for revival in India.
Thank you for your prayers and financial support for my first mission trip to the Orient. My ministry in India was well received and appreciated. The ministers of different Pentecostal churches where Kenneth Pinto arranged meetings welcomed me warmly and God anointed his Word. Praise God, for good health and no trouble with the food or the twenty-six hour flight each way on the plane.
Editor's Note (April 2014): Ken Pinto went to his reward in heaven in December 18, 2013. Here is part of the email that OWM sent to his wife Barbara.
"It was so amazing to watch last night all of the funeral service for your husband via your live stream from First Zion Assembly. The funeral service was so well done with the master of ceremony coordinating all of the complimentary comments of different Bangalore area pastors, and associates of Ken Pinto.
"It was good to see your sons, Samuel, Stephen, and Shawn, and their wives and children. It is great that Ken had already set in Stephen to continue as the pastor of the First Zion Assembly.
"The church is so beautiful with windows, sound system, and video monitors, musical instruments. Someone said that Ken had designed and built the church with his own hands.
Please do let us keep in touch. Hopefully, the Lord will lead me back to India once again."