JANUARY UPDATE 2016
Thank you so much for praying for and partnering with me and our team in Asia and in the USA. Happy New Year to you! It has been a very busy end of 2015 and beginning of 2016.
In December, I flew to India to investigate the situation and to minister there. It had been a goal of mine for many years to go there. In partnership with a local network of churches in India, I held seminars over two days for around 30 pastors and their wives. I got to speak to a group of nursing students, preach in a local church and share with several other small groups of people. I was hosted by a missionary from America and his Indian wife, who were very gracious to me. The part of the trip that impacted me the most, however, was not in what I attempted to give, but in what I received.
I heard the woman’s story, (we will call her Lauren) and how she had been put in prison for sharing her faith. I asked to have breakfast with her and was humbled to hear the story of how she and her church friends were sharing the Gospel in a local neighborhood when radical Hindu police arrested them and imprisoned them for their activity. What impacted me most was that she and her church friends were still going out every Thursday to share their faith in the local neighborhoods. Their prayer request was not for their safety, but that those with whom they shared would receive the Good News of Jesus Christ.
During the pastors’ conference, the wife of the host missionary showed me a text she had received from a friend. The friend and some of her church friends were going out sharing the Gospel when they were stopped by radical Hindu police. The police took their Bibles, tracts, and Christian literature and set it all on fire. Then, they beat some of the Christians in the group. I saw the pictures of one of the men who had been beaten and had to go to the hospital.
I was able to talk with one of the leaders in that group, a business woman we will call Ann. Ann told me about what had happened and asked me to pray for the man who was in the hospital. But she did not ask me to pray for their safety or protection. She asked me to pray that the next time they went out, people would receive the Good News of Jesus Christ.
Meeting heroes like this is what made that trip so special. God showed me many things there, and I returned to the Philippines with a renewed passion to make genuine followers of Jesus Christ, reminded that the call to follow Jesus is a call to lay our lives down.
“Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.” – Luke 9:23
Of course, the promise is that on the other side of any cross is a glorious resurrection and reward. I feel confident these Indian disciples have great rewards.
India is ranked number 17 in the world for most difficult places for Christians.*
The churches and school in the Philippines are doing well. Certainly, there are problems as all churches and people tend to have, but things continue to grow and develop and move forward in a way that I am pleased with.
I am overseeing the whole network myself in 2016 so Joseph can just focus on pastoring. Pastoring two churches and investing in his family are a lot, so this will be better for him.
This will be a heavy load for me, but it is the right thing for right now. I would greatly appreciate your prayers for wisdom and grace as I take on a heavier load.
More Pictures Are Below from India
On behalf of Encounter Generation and the churches in the Philippines, we thank you so much.
– David Gilliam
Encounter Generation, Inc.
P.O. Box 523
Marion, VA 24354