by Jessey Vemula, missionary in India
Christmas Outreach in India
Christmas is an important time to many Christians around the world. To Indian Christians it is a big celebration. Churches in India have many activities and preparations to do in the months of October and November. The church is painted and decorated with lights, balloons, garlands, paper stars and a Christmas tree. Other than decorating, members can also be involved in caroling.
Caroling is a common form of outreach during the whole month of December. Calvary General Baptist ministries has done caroling since the ministry began. During the Christmas season there are less persecutions from unbelievers, which makes this the perfect time to preach the Gospel. The old way of caroling was going from street to street singing the gospel songs, playing musical instruments, dancing with Santa Claus and giving candy, and preaching the gospel for ten minutes. Unbelievers would come outside to see Santa, why we were singing, or to hear the preaching. However, we decided to do something different in 2016.
A New Plan for Outreach
This year our caroling method involved more planning and work. A couple of new things were going to village elders and asking them to come and celebrate Christmas with their village people, also the Jesus film. Total we went and asked permission from 22 villages around the Siddipet district. Only eight of the 22 gave permission. This may seem like a low number but we were blessed to do outreach in this many villages. Caroling in the villages involved a whole new method of outreach. The event lasted three hours or more and included preaching, a visit from Santa, traditional dancers (told Jesus story in a cultural way), showing Jesus film, and a cake cutting to share with everyone.
Outreach this year allowed us to share the gospel to 450-500 new people. In the coming years we hope to do this more and get more response. Our best response came from Boggulabanda, where many raised their hands to receive Christ. We were very thankful to have six new families attend our Christmas day service. They were given free bibles. We will continue to help them grow spiritually in the Lord.
Thanks to God and Supporters
Many seeds have been sown this Christmas season. We thank the many supporters who prayed for this outreach. An outreach like this does have risks and persecutions as well. One of the eight villages called Appanapalli had given permission but after the gospel team arrived in the village the elders changed their mind. Only after a Christian family (our church members) went to the police, we got the permission to do the outreach two days later. We are thankful that everyone involved did not get hurt.
Please start praying for 2017 and upcoming events. Prayer has helped CGBM India to be able to do great things this year, but greater things will come in 2017. We ask you to continue to pray for us and the ministry in India and, consider sponsoring shares to help this ministry make a difference in the lives of people in this needy place. May God bless you all and continue to use you for His kingdom in 2017.
Visit: Calvary Grace General Baptist Churches of India on Facebook for more photos and videos from Christmas
Jessey and Brittany Vemula serve as missionaries to India.