SIT REPORT: God is Still at Work- India

By Ron Pearce

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When hard times hit and people are searching for hope, a phrase we commonly hear in the West is: There is light at the end of the tunnel.” We are beginning to hear that the peak of the pandemic has been reached in some countries and certain situations; and now these areas are laying plans as to how to reopen their economies. The people of the world are praying and hoping that human governments will lead them out of the darkest days we have seen for decades.

I would draw your attention to this truth from the Word of God found in 2 Corinthians 4:16 – 18 (NASB). (Bold emphasis and underlining are mine.)

Therefore, we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.

The light at the end of the tunnel for myself and all believers is not a worldly confidence found in the wisdom of man. Rather, our Hope is in heaven, sitting at the right hand of God the Father. In some manner, we will emerge from this present crisis. But there may be more serious disasters and plagues waiting for us in the future. This is why, no matter what is thrown at us, it is not world leaders who will solve our problems, but rather it is Jesus in whom I put my faith — the true Light at the end of this tunnel, and all tunnels.

I was taught this lesson several years ago by a leader of millions of believers in the house church movement of China. We were sitting together looking out over Haifa, Israel. I asked him how believers handle severe persecution in China. He explained that one of the first lessons taught to new believers is that whatever befalls them in life — physical persecution, mental torment or any other personal struggles — that they must look to and depend totally upon Jesus — the Light at the end of the Tunnel of Life.

And this is especially true for the country of India today — a country of over 1.3 billion people or almost 20% of the world’s population.

The light at the end of the tunnel for myself and all believers is not a worldly confidence found in the wisdom of man.


Note: This synopsis of the situation was obtained through a recent call with the national leader of one of the largest evangelical church planting denominations in India.

Current Situation

<p>Indian woman wearing a mask</p>
At the time of writing, there are 13,835 known cases of coronavirus in India with 452 confirmed deaths.

The Good News

Note: A Jesus Festival is a large gathering of believers held in areas of rural church clusters to provide training, new believer discipleship, water baptisms, and weddings. Just a few years ago, the largest of these had 200 believers attending. Today, the smallest gathering is 2,000 Christians.

Panic is growing among the Indian people — but trust is growing among the people of God. Not one pastor has said that they are worried or scared. They know God is sovereign. One pastor said, God is up to something and we have to pray for God’s will.’ Another said, It is time to bring God’s people back to Him. India has been sliding into materialism and we need to come back to putting Jesus first.’ And one other pastor said, Maybe this is God’s way of bringing us back to what is truly important in life. We need to be still and watch God work. If God could provide for Elijah in a time of testing, He will also provide for us.”

At the end of our phone conversation the leader of this massive church planting network shared with me these thoughts:

A Recent Story Revealing Gospel Lift” in India

Satabi is the name given to a cluster of villages tucked into the crevices of mountainous east-central India. Inhabited by the Dora tribes, these villages still maintain centuries-old customs and practices. Untouched by civilization and highly dependent on the surrounding forest, these tribesmen are independent, self-sufficient, and loyal.

Modern health care services have not yet reached most of these villages; electricity is slowly infiltrating the area; roads are absent in most places. Hunting and farming on small strips of land cleared from forests, are still the primary vocations of the men in these communities. The village women often bear tattoo marks on their faces, and are fearless and industrious providers for their families.


The Satabi villages are known as dangerous places, filled with violence, injustice, and murder. Appaswamy, one of the elders of the tribe, said, We were plagued with killings. There was no year when several murders were not committed by our men. Villagers killed residents in other villages, and even sometimes killed their own people.”

The killings might happen for any reason. Breaking the village laws, quarrelling with a neighbouring tribe, or even a minor bout of jealousy could lead to murder, sometimes resulting in the deaths of multiple family members.


There was a time when enemies trapped by Dora tribesmen would be slaughtered, and their bodies would be kept in a big basket, serving as gruesome reminders of the wrath and cruelty of the Satabi villagers.

Even demons feared us,” said another man with a sharp axe in his hands.

But this was before the footprints of the Gospel entered our village,” reminded Appaswamy with a smile.


Appaswamy was one of the first villagers to hear the Gospel. According to his tribe’s culture, at the age of 15 or 16, a young man is encouraged to marry an older girl. When he reached his mid-teens, he chose a young lady and they married. After several years together, the couple did not have any children. Because polygamy is permitted in the Dora tribe culture, Appaswamy chose a second wife. My second wife could not conceive either,” he said. This brought considerable shame on his manhood.

I went to every temple, did every possible sacrifice, eventually even going to the healing man with the knife that heals,’” said Appaswamy, referring to a physician in a nearby city who examined his wives. But nothing changed.”

He was humiliated, with no children and no answers. One day, Appaswamy went to visit the nearby village market, where he encountered an evangelist. He came to Appaswamy and said, You look tired, young friend. What is the matter?”

The two talked for several hours and the evangelist shared the Lord Jesus Christ. Finally, Appaswamy asked, What can your God offer that mine cannot?”

The evangelist replied, A peace that passes all understanding.” Curious, Appaswamy began a two-hour trek on foot through mountain trails to the closest church.

Appaswamy continued to visit the church, and one day he met a tall man who was speaking from the Word of God. This evangelist — leader of a national church planting ministry — was visiting the village to conduct an open meeting. Several hundred had gathered.

Appaswamy sat in a corner listening to the Word of Life. My heart was deeply moved. I bent my head that evening and decided to follow Jesus Christ. And, as I was told, a peace that passes all understanding immediately engulfed me.”


Appaswamy trekked back to his village in the mountains with a light heart and a song on his lips. He began meeting with the village pastor to be discipled in his new faith. And soon his transformation was noted by other villagers. Appaswamy was no longer filled with rage and hopelessness. And to everyone’s surprise, that very year, he and his wife had a beautiful daughter. Appaswamy remarked, My Lord was enough for me. But he decided to be gracious and also bless me with a child. Praise be to our God and Lord.”

As the villagers began to see the transformation in Appaswamy’s life and the presence of God uplifting him, they started inquiring about the God to whom you now offer your worship.” When the evangelist started visiting the Satabi villages, he found the peoples’ hearts were open to receive the Gospel. Soon, a congregation of more than 150 believers was planted in this once unreached village.


These believers are now bringing the Gospel to other villages in the Satabi cluster. The pastor ministering in this region said, We now have churches in each of these villages. The central church is in the village where Appaswamy lives. And God is transforming these communities. The peace of the Gospel that penetrated the life of Appaswamy has now flowed into each of the villages of the Satabi mountains.”

Appaswamy nodded, adding, We have had no murders in our villages for the past several years. The villages which were the most dangerous in this state are now the most peaceful.”

He credits the Gospel of the Lord for this transformation. The police could not control them, and the government could not change the people. Only the Gospel could transform the Satabi villages from within.

This is the Good News as to what God is doing during the dark days of COVID-19 in India.

Thank you for standing with Empower and the national church around the world. The Gospel is penetrating into the darkness and the Light of Jesus Christ is shining everywhere!

I went to every temple, did every possible sacrifice, eventually even going to the healing man with the knife that heals,’” said Appaswamy, referring to a physician in a nearby city who examined his wives. But nothing changed.”

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