When the Free Church of Scotland shipped missionaries to India in the 19th century they disembarked in the south and confined most of their labors to that region. If you hanker for more of that story, you can dip into several histories and biographies available to modern readers. You will profit from the perusal.
But to appreciate the relevance of these posts, I must transport you deeper and higher into the mainland. India consists of 29 states, much like our 50 states in America. If you peak at the map, you will see that Ahmedabad sits as the principal city of the state of Gujarat (pronounced Goo-ja-rat). All of the men attending classes this week hail from the Northwest of India, which encompasses a wide area containing over a half billion souls. Logos (the training center) sends trainers/teachers to 14 different states in the North, representing about 700 main churches (or 2000+ places of worship). These ministers shoulder heavy responsibilities, serving in local churches simultaneous to training other men in ministry. While their teaching equips men preparing for ministry, a significant portion consists of “continuing education” for pastors already in the saddle. They point to the model of 2 Timothy 2:2, “And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.”
They conduct classes at the center in Ahmedabad on a quarterly basis, but they rotate who attends so that only a portion gather at one time. If they did not protect the men by factoring in their time constraints, the classes could crush many already burdened with heavy work loads.
So Logos functions as a decentralized, multi-tiered, mobilized church-planting Bible college . . . of sorts. The structure may defy familiar Western categories, but my heart cheers to see them launch a biblical gospel and basic Reformed doctrine across the landscape of this needy nation.
In an effort to bring all of this closer to home, I include below pictures of a sampling of a half dozen individual ministers, along with a small piece of their story.
- Vinod lives in the city of Agra, the location of the famous Taj Mahal (The children can google pictures of this Muslim masterpiece, but Nish tells me that once you have toured the Taj Mahal, pictures will never again suffice.) Vinod serves as a trainer over his state of Uttarpradesh (UP). He is married with seven children.
- Emmanuel lives with his wife and two children in Sirsa. He serves as a trainer for the state of Hariyana. They recently purchased land and hope to erect a new building.
- Sohan resides in Banswada and has five children almost identical in ages to my own. He bears responsibility for the state of Rajasthan, which includes 32 main churches — with multiple places of worship attached to each of those.
- Arjun lives in Ranchi in the state of Jharkhand and carries responsibility for training men in his state.
- Charles hails from Roorkee in the state of Uttarkhand. He is a regional trainer over 5 states, which includes about 150 churches plus additional places of worship.
- Manoj, who lives in Jejepur, the state of Chhattisgarh, requests prayer regarding the persecution and isolation Christians are facing from the Hindus in his area.
I hope this further information broadens your vision and deepens your prayerful interest in the Great Northwest of India.
The sight of your faces and the sound of your voices via the Skype arrangement this morning (Thurs. morning here; Wed. night there) provided a great boon for me. The singing of Psalm 67 placed icing on the cake. Thank you for your ongoing prayers.
With all Christian affection,
Pastor Rob McCurley