Tuesday, October 23, 2012


Pastor Sadavir Patel (not his real name*) hides from the police in a darkened room, lost in contemplation. He wistfully thinks of his wife, whom he married only six months earlier. He aches to be with her, to resume his life and ministry, but at this point, no one knows when that will happen.

Patel’s journey to this moment began in 2006. A student at the ER- sponsored School of Evangelism (SOE) in Chhattisgarh organized an evangelistic meeting in Patel’s remote village, which he and his parents attended. Ministry to his family continued for two days with prayer and fasting for deliverance from the bondage of sin. Breakthrough finally came, and Patel and his family accepted Christ. They were discipled and received baptism…  and then persecution began. His entire family was excommunicated, uprooted from their home and forced to move. Yet the hardships did not deter Patel or his family from pursuing their new-found faith.

Two of Sadavir Patel’s sisters enrolled in seminary, and he attended an ER Portable Bible School. Later he decided to enter the SOE for more training. While there, a burden began to grow in Patel’s heart to return to his home village to proclaim the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ. 

Patel made only very slow progress. But as his former friends and acquaintances heard the Word of God, they also began to be delivered from demon possession and sickness. When the power of God began to flow, Patel found himself once again a part of the fabric of social life, accepted where once he had been rejected.

But Satan is never idle. Opposition began to come from Hindu militants. They contend that, especially in rural areas, people are lured, forced, or fraudulently enticed to convert to Christianity.  Preaching the basic Christian doctrine of eternal life is enough to be charged with “enticement.”  In Chhattisgarh, which is less than 2% Christian, Hindus have enough political clout to enact laws aimed at stemming the tide of people receiving Christ. Anti-conversion laws are a powerful deterrent to Christian evangelism, and conviction carries a potential sentence of a fine, a two-year prison sentence, or both. Recent political developments include attempts by Hindus to strengthen these laws, and increased enforcement has led to increased persecution of pastors like Patel.

Patel’s success in winning his former neighbors to Christ put a target on his back. Eight people lodged false complaints against him with the police, and in September of this year (2012) he was arrested and jailed for fifteen days. The SOE Director and other believers posted bail and got Patel released, but Hindus responded by lodging new charges. When he learned that another arrest was imminent, Patel went into hiding until arrangements for a second bail can be approved.  He also bears a burden of isolation, since being accompanied by his bride would make him much easier to find.

The Church is responding in love, supporting Patel and his family financially. Meanwhile believers are warring on their knees for Sadavir Patel and another local pastor who is being similarly persecuted. Ramping up the pressure, Hindu militants have now targeted the SOE Director himself, who must be approved by the High Court for bail by the end of November or go to jail.  The Director wrote to us just last week, saying, “The Lord, who has always been good to us, will be clearing the way for us now in this trouble. If it is His will that we should be in prison, even for the wrong reasons, we are ready.”

Such amazing courage in the face of persecution is common among many of Evangelism Resources’ partners in ministry overseas. Will you join us in supporting these dear brothers in prayer and asking God to move mightily in and through them?

*This pastor’s real name has been withheld for security purposes.

Learn more about the ministries of Evangelism Resources at our website:  www.erinfo.org

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Bonds of Unholy Matrimony

Nakusa was frightened. Only eight years old, she had been torn from her mother’s arms and placed in the care of the Hindu priests at the local temple. Confusing, horrible things had been done to her and she had no idea why. More than anything she wanted to return to the life she had known, but there was no going back.  Now she was devadasi.

Thousands of young girls in India are still subjected to the practice of Hindu temple prostitution. Although the custom has been officially outlawed by the government since 1934, old ways are hard to eradicate from a culture pervaded by them. When economic pressures come to bear on the families of young girls, they see the devadasi custom as an acceptable escape.

The name “Nakusa” in Marathi (the language of Maharashtra, India) literally means “unwanted.” (Recent news stories told of thousands of young girls with this name seeking legal means to change it.) The financial burden of a dowry necessary for marriage is unattainable to many poor families. Girls are seen as a liability, especially if they are the first-born. If there are no sons in the family, girl children may be dedicated to devadasi life, and the income from their prostitution then becomes the family’s livelihood. Property rights are also ensured by the status of the girl, who is considered a “son.”

The term devadasi  literally means God’s (Dev) female servant (Dasi). Considered to be given in marriage to the gods, she is never eligible for marriage. She provides “services” to the priests and other men of money and power in the villages, and these acts are considered sacred. Even if she should somehow escape the lifestyle, or if she ages to the point that she is no longer considered desirable, society will not accept her. She is condemned forever to a life of rejection, sexual abuse, poverty and disease. There is no escape.

Except…. Many Christian ministries have begun to reach out to the devadasi with the love of Jesus, and Evangelism Resources is one of them. The Director of the ministry in the state of Karnataka, and those trained in the School of Evangelism there, have been moved by God to bring hope to thousands of women who are actively or formerly bound in slavery as devadasi.

As this blog entry is being posted, a conference attended by thousands of devadasi is being conducted in a remote village, whose location is not being disclosed for security purposes. Government officials have sanctioned this outreach, even though they know it is Christian, because of the “political correctness” of trying to outlaw temple prostitution.  The theme of the conference? “You Are Precious!”

Can you imagine the life-changing truth of the gospel for a woman like Nakusa? There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1). If anyone is in Christ, he (she) is a new creation. The old has passed away, the new has come (2 Cor. 5:17). Do you know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are bought with a price (1 Cor. 6:19), but not the price of an abuser… you are bought with the blood of Jesus and set apart for life as His bride (Rev. 22:17).

It’s hard to imagine the gospel of Jesus Christ being better “news” to any other people group! Will you pray as the conference takes place right now (through October 18) and in the following days and weeks, that many thousands of women will be set free from their bondage, receive new life in Jesus Christ, and learn how to share this wonderful news with others who are yet in slavery?

“How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace,  who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, ‘Your God reigns!’” 

– Isaiah 52:7

Visit the website of Evangelism Resources at:

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Lazarus Goes Forth to Minister...

Lazarus could not believe his ears. Had he truly heard the words just spoken by the bishop? 

Miraculously healed by the Lord in his childhood from certain death (read this story in our previous blog), Lazarus’ mother had dedicated him to ministry. “You will minister from village to village, just as the man who prayed for your healing,” his mother had said. 

Lazarus had broken free from the educational boundaries of his people, becoming the first among them to complete schooling all the way through earning an advanced degree in seminary. Now the bishop was offering him a prestigious position as pastor of a large church. Certainly no Banjara tribesman had ever aspired to such a lofty goal!

But as he considered the offer, his mother’s words rang in his ears the mandate was inescapable. After only a brief moment, Lazarus thanked the bishop but reiterated his calling. “Please send me as an evangelist to the Banjara people.  I will go village to village with the Good News.”

That is exactly what Lazarus did. Little by little, street by street, hut by hut, he began to shine the light of salvation in Jesus Christ to the members of his tribe. Banjaras are in India a “scheduled tribe,” meaning they are recognized by the government as being very disadvantaged socially, politically, and economically. The Gypsies of India, their villages move about as opportunity dictates, the people barely eking out an existence, primarily in agriculture.

Even so, the Banjaras are a vibrant people. Joyful and boisterous, their colorful garb and intricate dances are legendary. Their oral tradition of storytelling was harnessed by Lazarus as he introduced the life and ministry of Jesus along with other Bible stories. It wasn’t long before the numbers of Banjara putting faith in Jesus began slowly to grow.

Lazarus (R) baptizes a Banjara convert
And then Lazarus connected with Evangelism Resources. Already in his 15-year ministry, he had seen more than 2,000 Banjaras come to Christ and complete their journey by receiving baptism. After undergoing training in a School of Evangelism and implementing what he had learned, the next fifteen years of ministry yielded 65,000 converts! And this report was five years ago! The numbers continue to grow exponentially. This explosive growth means that today Lazarus leads one of the largest Christian ministries to the Banjara in existence. Outreach through orphanages and medical missions are combined with leadership training through ER’s Portable Bible Schools, Schools of Evangelism, and the youth revival movement, Great Commission Challenge Camps.

Now the Banjara in the state of Andhra Pradesh where Lazarus ministers have a vision for reaching the  Banjara in the state of Rajasthan, which is described as their “Jerusalem.” 

Be sure to check in with this blog in a few days… you’ll not want to miss the next chapter of this remarkable testimony as you learn what happened to Lazarus’ own son, Sagar. And if you missed the first installment of this testimony, check out the blog entry listed at the right entitled, "Banjara Miracle."

To hear an audio recording with this testimony given by Lazarus' son, Sagar Bhukya, follow the link below to ER's website:

To learn more about Evangelism Resources, or to financially support the training of evangelists like Lazarus, visit our home page at www.erinfo.org.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Banjara Miracle

Typical Banjara woman in tribal dress
The Banjara mother wept and cradled her young son. He was dying, and none of the sacrifices she had offered to her gods were bringing the healing she sought. Desperate to save him, she had turned to witch doctors and every potion, fetish, and ritual she knew, hoping beyond hope that some god would answer her anguished cries.

Some had told her to seek help at a hospital. Though few people ever did such a thing, she bravely took her son for consultation. The doctors shook their heads. There was nothing they could do. They sadly announced that she should take her son home, and prepare within three or four days to bury him.

As she sat in her home, penetrating the thatch walls she heard a loud voice in the village. A man was telling the story of a man named Jesus. Strange… she had never heard this name before. As she listened, she began to hear that this Jesus made lame people walk and blind people see.  He even raised a man named Lazarus from the dead! Hope sprang in her heart and she rushed to the side of the preacher, begging him to come and visit her son.

The evangelist stood over the small child, looked into the woman’s Gypsy eyes, and said, “I have no power to heal your son, but I will pray for him. I do not know for certain what God will do, because healing is up to Him.” He prayed briefly, then taught the woman a one-sentence prayer, “Lord Jesus, heal my son.”
Rocking, weeping, pleading, the woman repeated over and over those precious words.  Three days passed, then four…. then a week and a month. There was no dramatic breakthrough, but it became apparent that her child would live.  

She presented the information to her husband that Jesus had healed their son.  Disbelieving, he insisted that she should remember all the prayers and sacrifices to the village gods; surely one of them had answered, but not this Jesus.  His ultimatum to her was, “NO Jesus!” But the woman would not be shaken; she was now a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ. She replied, “ONLY Jesus!”

She dedicated her son to Jesus, and told him that one day he should do as Anand, the evangelist who had prayed over him. He should commit his life to following Christ, traveling from village to village and ministering in His name. He was renamed Lazarus, because he was literally brought forth from a certain grave.

And now the rest of the story… (apologies to Paul Harvey).  This woman prayed for eight years until her husband came to salvation. Lazarus became the first of his tribe to receive an education for becoming a minister, and today he leads one of the largest ministries to the Banjara (Gypsy) tribe in the nation of India.  Lazarus' son? You read about Sagar Anand Bhukya yesterday, the second generation descended from a Banjara woman who learned a one-sentence prayer.

This story is years old, but many others like it are happening right now in nations where the gospel is still being preached to people who have never heard the name of Jesus Christ. Evangelism Resources is actively equipping evangelists like Anand to pierce the darkness and bring hope to some of the neediest souls on earth. Will you pray for them? Will you give to support their training?

Hear this story, recounted in an 11-minute interview with Sagar Bhukya by ER President Dr. John Musick on September 28, 2012, on our website by clicking on this link:

Lazarus Lalsingh prays a blessing on a Banjara man

Visit ER's website at:  www.erinfo.org

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Welcome to Our New Blog!

It's time for Evangelism Resources to expand our horizons in the new world! We are looking at this medium, blogging, as a way to communicate our message to a wider audience, so that many more people may learn of the amazing advances for the gospel of Jesus Christ which are happening today.

Sagar Bhukya teaches at the SOE in Hyderabad
We recently received in Wilmore our Director of the School of Evangelism in Hyderabad, in the state of Andhra Pradesh in India. In one of his speaking opportunities, Sagar Bhukya said, "I'll be speaking to you this morning from Acts Chapter 29." Those listening eagerly opened their Bibles, only to find that the scriptures end with Chapter 28!  Chapter 29 is being written line by line, event by event, as the miracles continue to flow unabated in the name of Jesus. Sagar shared about his ministry among the Banjara tribe, the gypsies of modern-day India, and his insights were inspiring!

We hope that you will continue to check in with this blog.  We'll be recounting real stories of real people in real time, keeping you in touch with the acts of today's believers as they work feverishly to bring in God's Harvest, knowing that the time is short until the Day of His Appearing.

You may visit our website for more information at www.erinfo.org.