Lectionary Text and Prayers for India: Matthew 13:24-30 & 36-43
Dear God, for this world of riches and beauty we give you thanks. At the same time we specially ask you to be with many who are troubled through hunger, poverty and a sense of hopelessness. We specially remember India, where you have sowed your seed amongst a multitude of people of different faiths and beliefs. Where there is persecution, corruption, and vast numbers of destitute people begging on the streets. All trying to find meaning in a country where a poor man has no label or identity, with life having little value and is far from awakening an already troubled world. Help us find the strength and love to stand out in our service and our work that we may truly be able to bring in the harvest when our time has come. Amen.
India is a country which is one third the size of the US but has one sixth the population of the whole world. In a population of over a billion, Christians are about 2% of the population. The first exposure to Christianity goes back to when St. Thomas come to India, but the main era of when Missionaries came to India and brought about great changes were in the late 1800 and early 1900. Even though the numbers of Christians in this country are few, Christ, "The Great Healer" has left a mark as even today with all the privatization of medicine, there is still a major presence of Christian Healthcare, especially when it is the poor and marginalized who seek help. It is also the field of education and social work that has been a living witness to the Indian people showing the great service and dedication of what Christ has taught us to do. Missionaries came to different parts of the country in theses times, as in our area of Chhattisgargh in Central India. Rev. Oscar Lohr was sent out by the German Evangelical Mission from the States in 1863. He came by boat from New York to Mumbai and then by train till Nagpur (the geographical center of India), lastly by bullock cart, a distance of 260 miles to Bisrampur where he built the first church which still stands as a witness today.
I work at the Christian Hospital in Mungeli, which is a about 30 miles from Bisrampur and was started 112 years ago by the Disciples of Christ. It was famous as it grew during the time of Dr. Victor Rambo. We have now been there for five years and the hospital has grown tremendously trying to cater to masses of this region. We see about 24,000 outpatients, deliver about 550 babies and operate on about 2500 patients in a year. The hospital also takes care of the Rambo Memorial English Medium High School which has about 330 children from Nursery to grade 11 and busses in children from surrounding villages traveling about 126 miles each day. God has been gracious to us in these years as we have been able to show not only the state of Chhattisgargh, but struggling medical missions all around the country how a institution can rise up to the call and truly be a living witness to the suffering and needy. The Indian Church was interdenominational as missionaries came from all over the world, but then unified to form the Church of North and South India where all the denominations got together. It is in this way like Mungeli and many more ministries of the CNI and CSI around this vast country that Global Ministries is a partner to help relieve pain and suffering to the masses of India.
We pray in India:
- That Christians can be free to serve people through the love of Jesus Christ without persecution and local violence.
- That the voice of the poor out in the villages may be heard to bring change in standards of living rather than using them or their sheer numbers to bring out false political gains.
- That the common person may be the center of our efforts as he deals with a world full of greed leading to inflation, to such a state, that we here in India still do not know what the extent is going to be.
- That the church may see a unified goal to be together to bring about change in a country full of poverty and injustice.
(Prayer by Anil Henry)
Global Ministries International Partners in India:
Besides the Church of North India and the Church of South India, Global Ministries has about forty partners in India. To view a list of those partners and a paragraph summary on each, go to: http://globalministries.org/sasia/countries/india/ and scroll down to the partner section.
Global Ministries Missionaries in India:
Teresa and Anil Henry are serving a four year term with the Synodical Board of Health Services of the Church of North India. Theresa is the anesthesiologist of the Christian Hospital of Mungeli and Anil works as a medical doctor there.
Nancy Lott Henry is serving as a long-term volunteer with the Church of North India. She is working as a teacher of nurses for hospitals in their eastern region.