(Watching Matt. 4:16 Unfold in India)
"Although your people live in darkness, they will see a bright light. Although they live in the shadow of death, a light will shine on them."
Evangelist Julie Young and Young Ministry Group (YMG) returned from southern India after completing a campaign in a Hindu Shrine city, in early February 2004. Nearly 900 people made commitments to Christ over the 8 days of events. The following are the highlights of the mission:
The YMG Team was joined by the India Power Team, led by the “Strongest Man in Asia”, Manoj Chopra. Each night of the campaign the 7 Tae Kwon Do black belts performed power feats and exercises of skill, and then a drama of Jesus’ crucifixion, which was the first time many in the city had ever seen or heard of Jesus. Manoj, at 6-ft. 5-inches and 313 lbs., tore 4-inch thick phone directories, rolled up steel frying pans, ripped car license tags in two, bent steel bars and blew up hot water bottles like balloons until they burst. A final stunt had team member Kumar tied between two small taxis and holding his ground between both of them.
The stunts drew large crowds, and were followed by the preaching of the gospel by evangelist Julie Young. Each night people came forward to respond to the call to be saved. Gospel for Asia (GFA) students filled the roles of counselors. The triumph of the gospel in the very heart of a shrine city is attributed to focused, strategic prayer, unity among believers, and the powerful anointing on the team as they ministered in the city.
The site of the campaign was on the municipal grounds in the very center of the city. The YMG team acted on the knowledge that strategic prayer must be made; in a place dominated by demonic presence for hundreds of years the powers must be broken in prayer. Fasting and prayer took for weeks before the campaign. Prayer-walking by team members and pastors preceded the events; the team prayed specifically as the Spirit led them in taking authority over the demonic strongholds present. The success of the mission in rescuing 900 people out of the darkness of idolatry was also due to sustained, faithful, and obedient praying by support teams in eight countries around the world.
On the second night as Julie preached from Mark 5 on the Gadarene demoniac, a woman ran from the back of the crowd screaming. She propelled herself into a group of women seated near the front, causing pandemonium. She was carried, convulsing, from the front and prayed over by the team, and was wonderfully delivered by the Lord. Her husband returned a night later to thank the team and tell them that his wife was "in her right mind."
There were many healings, including a five year old girl healed of blindness, several deaf being healed, a young Bible School student with slurred speech was able to speak clearly after prayer, a woman with severe female problems also healed. Many more necks, heads, back and leg problems were also healed as the team prayed each night.
As Julie preached in a church located on the main pilgrimage road, people gathered outside to listen. The unusual occurrence of hearing a woman’s voice brought in a young medical student named Vinak, who gave his life to Christ. The woven bands of idol-devotion were cut from his wrists. A Brahmin man and the studio technician filming the campaign surrendered their lives to Christ.
"This campaign was all about the body of Christ coming together to accomplish something for God. It wasn’t one big name or one denomination or organization. We were all working together, west and east, male and female, large and small, to bring about God’s designs. The blessing of God is best seen in the unity we shared and in the lasting impact on the city and the nation," noted Julie.
The impact was much greater than a series of meetings or large numbers. YMG worked with 47 pastors who testified to seeing real conversion in the Hindu people who were saved. The campaign meeting in which a woman was dramatically delivered as Julie preached was filmed and made into a VCD (like a DVD). It will be distributed throughout the state and further in India, and placed in libraries, video shops, and homes.
YMG held 2 Schools for Evangelists where 750 men and women crowded the buildings. These native evangelists will cross the socio-ethnic barriers that people from the west may not cross. The impact of encouragement, teaching, and empowerment by the Spirit of God touched their lives. 400 evangecubes were given out after instruction in how to use them. (To see evangecubes, go to: http://www.evangecube.org) Readers wishing to help supply indigenous evangelists with evangecubes through the work of Young Ministry Group, contact YMG at email@example.com.
At the Women’s Conference, women were trained and encouraged to witness and pray for others. YMG gave out 175 shoulder bags filled with the gospel in Telugu to participants. Their joy was evident; the GFA leader reported that their women workers often had no means of carrying their literature into the villages to do gospel work. Many of the women, it is reported by local pastors, have already emptied their bags in visiting door-to-door in their localities.
"It is first time that people were amazed to see how God used women in evangelism. Almost every day even now I hear people talk about the boldness of ministry in proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ. For the first time the people in the city saw Power Team and their feats. After the meetings it was discovered that many people watched the campaign from the roads and from the top of their houses. As the venue of campaign is in the heart of city many people had opportunity to hear the message even from very far from the campaign. Later I was told that the message was heard... about half a kilometer away from the campaign place."
"A team of seven pastors who came from distant state told me by phone that they shared their blessings in the following Sunday. Six pastors talked together that here afterwards they should release their women for ministry. Because they saw how God used the women. Pastor Rajan, who is the chief of pastor of the team, told me this statement by telephone."
"I personally thank God for your passion for the souls. As an evangelist I am greatly encouraged by your ministry in the public campaign and especially for your ministry in the hotel, (Your presentation of John Gospels to the staff of hotel). I know many preachers around the world but very few like you who can share the gospel to every available person. I wish every evangelist follow the same that they may share the gospel not only in the public meetings but also in person as you did in our city."
For photos accompanying this story, go to: ftp://ftp.ymg.org/IndiaPhotos/