World MAP Seminars in India
NOTE: The following article is gleaned from the trip journal of Dr. Frank Parrish
OUR JOURNEY BEGINS
Sept 27th, 2014
I am excited to be on my way back to India! It has been several years since Wold MAP has held seminars there and I have so missed being with our Indian brothers and sisters.
Jorge Lara (World MAP Media Coordinator) and I board a shuttle in Prescott, Arizona in the midst of torrential, monsoon rains. It will be “only” 34+ hours until we arrive at the location of our first seminar in Ranchi, Jarkhand State.
A bit of a slow start, as the first of our three flights is delayed due to mechanical issues. We text our wives and we all begin to pray. It is quickly resolved, and we are in the air!
Sept 28th, 2014
We arrive in London, where we meet up with Pastor Vic Torres of Reach Out Church in New York, who is also on the ministry team. After a 6-hour layover, we all board our second flight of 8 more hours to Delhi.
Though I should catch some sleep, I am wide awake anticipating the great things I sense the Lord wants to do in the lives of pastors and leaders. Amen!
Sept 29th, 2014
We arrive in Delhi and await our third and final flight to Ranchi. Delhi airport is strangely quiet. Turns out Kashmir has experienced devastating rains, halting all tourist and business travel into that region. Lord, cover all that concerns us…
We are met in Ranchi by our good friend, Brother Velu, a key World MAP ministry partner and head of India Bible Literature (IBL).
Ranchi is overcrowded and, at first glance, very poor. It is located in Jarkhand state, which was formed just 14 years ago from various areas of surrounding states.
There are 32 separate tribal groups and languages in Jarkhand – many of which are entirely unreached with the Gospel!
As a reminder of God’s timing, we learn that our seminar in Ranchi will coincide with a festival celebrating Kali, the goddess of death and destruction in the Hindu pantheon. Businesses, schools and government offices are all closed for the week. We thank the Lord that even though the populace celebrates the goddess of death, we celebrate, worship and lift up the Lord of life and the Lord over death, Jesus Christ! Hallelujah!
1ST SEMINAR – RANCHI, INDIA
Sept 30th, 2014
The conference begins today. We are feeling pretty jet-lagged, and glad that so many back home are praying for us. God will make us able!
World MAP has rented a large Assembly of God church complex to house and feed the 400+ pastors who have come from a widespread network of rural villages for the seminar. Most of them have n
ever experienced a pastors’ gathering of any kind! As Pastor Vic notes, “we are fulfilling World MAP’s mission to reach pastors where others do not go.”
As I conclude the first main session about being Kingdom pastors, it is clear this group is attentive, spiritually hungry and very responsive. Though most have very little means by worldly standards, they have a full measure of the joy of the Lord! It was our privilege to break open the Word of life with them.
Oct 1st, 2014
The morning session begins with wonderful worship. I speak on Kingdom ministry values, while Dr. Torres begins unfolding his series on God’s call and confidence in ministry. We share with pastors about their heavenly citizenship, reminding them that as ambassadors of the King, they have His authority and power to do His work.
We learn that the majority of pastors at the conference are baptized in the Holy Spirit, and often see miracles and healings in their ministries. They do a lot of evangelistic work, with signs and wonders that validate to unbelievers the truth of Jesus Christ.
Oct 2nd, 2014
Despite sitting in hard plastic chairs in sweltering heat and humidity, the pastors are attentive and faithfully taking notes throughout the full day of teaching sessions.
I teach the final session on Anointing, and encourage the pastors to quietly wait upon the Holy Spirit to receive from Him. It does not remain quiet for long as the pastors lift their hands and are touched
and filled. At one point, there is a word of knowledge that God was breaking chains off of many. The response is overwhelming as new-found freedom is experienced!
Much more is taking place as the Holy Spirit moves, but hard to record it all. What a joy to enter into the Lord’s presence with these hungry pastors. A great day with much fruit to the glory of God!
Day 4 Oct 3rd, 2014
As we drive to the conference for the final day, we pass large statutes of Kali (the Hindu goddess of death and destruction) being carried throughout the city. The festival is devoid of anything spiritual or devotional; it is more like a big party. However, some people line up to receive the “blessing” of Hindu leaders wearing evil-looking death masks.
Throughout the week, we joined with pastors to pray against the deception of false religions and pray for the truth of the Gospel to be revealed in their city and state.
After the final sessions, our World MAP pastors’ conference closes with great joy as the ministry team prays blessing over the attending pastors, evangelists and church leaders. They were genuinely appreciative for the gift of seminar and The Shepherd’s Staff, and for our great week together![/learn_more]
TRAVEL TO OUR 2ND LOCATION
Oct 4th, 2014
The team flies back to Delhi to pick up another flight to Bangalore, the site of the next World MAP seminar for pastors. While at the airport, we talk with Brother Velu about recent changes in India causing great concern.
The new Prime Minister (Narendra Modi) is popular with many, but his political background is with the BJP and RSS political parties – these are Hindu nationalist groups that are against the practice of any religion in India other than Hinduism. These groups have already worked to pass anti-conversion laws in six Indian states.
The net result of these laws is violence and coercion in persecuting Christians and Muslims. Because Christians are an easier target (they tend to not strike back), they receive the worst opposition. Though Modi has thus far made no overt moves to enforce a radical Hindu nationalist agenda, Christians are concerned and praying. They are also asking believers in western nations to keep India in prayer.
Oct 5th, 2014
The team takes time for rest and study to prepare for the Bangalore seminars. In conversation with the leadership, we learn that doors are still opening for Christians to share the Gospel with unreached people groups in India.
We are surprised to learn that of the 6500+ still unreached people groups in the world, fully 1/3 of them (2230) are in India. IBL ministries and a number of other groups are heavily invested in reaching these groups for Christ. The conversion rate is rising in India, with estimates of 8,000-10,000 people coming to Christ every 24 hours!
With this incredible open door and moving of the Holy Spirit in bringing people to Christ comes the potential for heightened persecution – we must pray for India!
Oct 6th, 2014
Our hotel in Bangalore is in a Muslim neighborhood, with views of large Muslim markets. We see vast herds of goats being inspected and bartered, and soon learn that the Islamic holy days of Eid-Al-Hadha are about to begin. This is a time when Muslims celebrate Abraham’s intent to offer Ishmael as a sacrifice, contending that Ishmael was the real son of promise (not Isaac) and that the Arabs are to be the inheritors of God’s promises, not the Jews. Of course, this is contrary to the Bible’s account.
During these holy days, each Muslim family is to sacrifice an animal to Allah and give the meat to other family and the poor. We are told Muslims can become easily agitated during this time, especially with foreigners.
As it happens, the Wi-Fi in our hotel is not working which prevents us from doing necessary work and posting seminar updates to World MAP social media sites. Thus, we must move the team to a different hotel in another part of town, and we gratefully accept the new location!
2ND SEMINAR – BANGALORE, INDIA
Oct 7th, 2014
The Bangalore seminar begins in a huge Roman Catholic Seminary facility. Some rural pastors have traveled into Bangalore for the conference, but most are from the city.
Because Bangalore is a major tourist destination, and also known as the “Silicon Valley” of India, there is more exposure and availability to conferences for pastors. In addition, large ministries have held big events here, contributing to a “spectator” mentality that can present its own challenges.
Day 2 Oct 8th, 2014
The second day begins with a strong time of worship led by a pastor and his team from Mysore, India. The teaching is very well received as the team ministers on God’s Kingdom, the pastor’s call, and the spiritual nature of ministry.
Dr. Torres observes, “This group of leaders was at first more reserved. But soon they recognized that we are here as servants of the Lord, with a message to help encourage and equip them to do the work of ministry more effectively. They are embracing the team and the message of hope and confidence we are bringing to the nation of India.”
Though World MAP has not previously held a seminar in Bangalore, it quickly feels as if we are with “family”. What a joy and privilege to be here with God’s “called, chosen and faithful” leaders!
Oct 9th, 2014
Another full day of ministry from early morning until evening. I teach several sessions about making genuine disciples, which resonates with the pastors. This teaching brings clarity about the purpose of the church and the goal of every pastor, freeing them from the pressures of misconceptions and misplaced priorities in ministry.
Pastor Vic continues his series on confidence in the call, hearing God and walking in faith – practical and immensely helpful teachings for any church leader.
The day concludes with the teaching on Anointing, followed by a strong move of the Holy Spirit in response to the openness and desire of the pastors to receive. Many indicate a new sense of joy, freedom and release from burdens, fears, discouragement and lies from the enemy.
Some of the pastors also receive visions and a new confidence to believe the Lord to bring to fruition the things they felt He had placed within their hearts. A good day in the Lord!
Oct 10th, 2014
We end strong on this final day in Bangalore. The pastors receive the word that they are pastors of God’s eternal Kingdom, men and women through whom the Lord desires to display more of His love and power. Amen!
Pastors are overjoyed to receive the more than 300 Shepherd’s Staffs given out in four different languages to those who did not already have one. They hold them carefully as if they are a fragile, valuable treasure. It is a joy to hand them these books, confident that they will use them well and often.
As I always do, I remind these pastors that The Shepherd’s Staff is a great tool, but that no book will ever compare to the one and only Word of God. They must daily read and study their Bible and receive that which is “spirit and life” (John 6:63). They readily understand, cheering as I lift my Bible up before them.
Many pastors invite World MAP to come to their cities to hold seminars. May the Lord grant strength and provision!
This year’s seminars in India were wonderful and fruitful; I am eager for World MAP to return. They have asked for women’s conferences also, so please pray with us about that possibility.
Thank you for praying with and for us, and for your generosity that makes these seminars possible. For the majority of these pastors, attending a World MAP seminar is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to gather with other pastors in this fashion.
World MAP feeds and houses the pastors, as well as helping with their cost of travel to attend. In Ranchi, it was a rare treat for the rural pastors to actually have more than their typical one sparse meal a day.
But beyond the practical provision, the things our gracious Lord teaches and imparts to these dear brothers and sisters encourages and equips them to serve Him with confidence and faith. And the Shepherd’s Staff they receive gives them teaching materials and help in ministry for years to come.
Thank you again. We are grateful for you – and to the Lord of the Church Who has given us the privilege and responsibility to serve His shepherds around the world.
-Dr. Frank Parrish