The atmosphere in the hall was electric. Four hundred young people gathered in Patna, Bihar October 23-25, 2012 and the movement of God’s Spirit is still being felt across the region.
"Mission Possible–With Sacrifice"
|October 2012 Youth Conference participants|
Young people worldwide have heard the slogan, “Mission: Impossible.” The blockbuster movies from Hollywood have made it well-known. The giant banner in Bihar adroitly turned the phrase, as written above, challenging the group to consider undertaking a task so large it might seem impossible to many. Focusing on evangelism and discipleship, the mission placed before the youth was nothing less than the total transformation of the State of Bihar through the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Bihar has a population of almost 100 million people; only one in a thousand is a Christian. The state is 83% Hindu and 16.5% Muslim. Bihar has long been known as the “graveyard of missions” because of widespread poverty, illiteracy, and persecution. The 2010 edition of Operation World calls the state “one of the least-evangelized mega-populations in the world.” 90% live in rural villages, one of the world’s highest rates. 22 people groups with more than 100,000 souls each remain unreached. How could this mission be deemed “possible?”
One startling statistic holds out hope for Bihar: 60% of the population is under 25 years of age. “Let NO ONE despise your youth,” intoned Dr. S.D. Ponraj, quoting from 1 Timothy 4:12. A sea of young faces listened quietly. Ponraj had their attention.
Later that same day, following a presentation of the gospel and an invitation, approximately 150 of the 400 received Christ as their Savior. Most of them were from a Hindu background. The next day the same pastor taught about Christian growth, holy living, and the Spirit-filled life. Those who were there experienced first-hand the meaning of Joel 2:28, “I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh. Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men will see visions.” Healing, joy, and peace began to flow as young people cried out for God’s mercy and power! The transformation had begun.
Small group sessions encouraged those from the same regions to get acquainted. They shared their challenges and questions while experienced pastors and youth leaders offered guidance and prayer. Strategies were developed by these small groups for coordinated, organized outreach. When the final service was over, a goal had been set to start Christian youth clubs in 150 villages and to hold more conferences like the one they had just attended.
But would it make a difference? How could 400 youth have an impact on 100 million people? The answer to these questions is becoming evident. The transformation is beginning one life at a time. The following testimonies were received by e-mail on November 21. Names and locations have been omitted to protect young people who might be targeted for persecution.
- Four girls from JG village went home, shared the gospel, and brought six other girls to the pastor for baptism.
- SK, a 16-year-old young woman, was under demonic power and sought out the main speaker at the conference for prayer. She was miraculously and instantly delivered. When she went home she witnessed to her family; they all accepted Christ and are now ready for baptism.
- GD from a small village dedicated His life to God at the conference. Upon returning home he was baptized. As his personal transformation became apparent to family and friends, many came to the Lord.
- AK, 19 years old, carried the gospel home to her village. Six have been saved and baptized already, and three more are completing discipleship classes in preparation for baptism.
- VK was not attending church, even though his parents were Christians. At the youth conference he was wonderfully touched by God. Now he is very active in serving the Lord through the church in his village.
- SK went home from the conference and began sharing her testimony. Five youth accepted Christ and were received into the church through baptism by the local pastor.
Reports show that in less than one month these 400 youth have brought 206 people to Christ: 50 have been baptized, 61 are ready for baptism, and 95 continue in discipleship in preparation for baptism. 63 of the 150 youth clubs have already begun!
Let no one despise the youth of these Bihari Christians. Trickles of response have already begun. The Kingdom principle of multiplication means that soon those trickles will become streams, and then mighty rivers of souls will be coming to Christ.
An ER-sponsored GC3 conference was held in Bihar in 2010. Indigenous church leaders like Dr. S.D. Ponraj perceive the vast potential of young people to evangelize; they are continuing to work on their own initiative to keep GC3 momentum, working tirelessly to equip the young generation. Pray for these young people as they participate in discipleship, Bible training, and evangelism. Ask the Lord to help them fulfill their mission–the total transformation of Bihar.
Learn more about the youth movement in India on ER's page at this link:
If you are enjoying this blog, please be sure to share our link on your Facebook page, or send our address to your friends by e-mail!