by Dr. David Robbins, AIM President/Founder

I have been challenged by a man with a huge heart to ‘refuse to give up’. This man has devoted his life to bringing the Gospel to the unreached in Jammu and Kashmir. It is a place where at times the thought of giving up is appealing. Located in the most northern part of India, it is an ongoing war zone, as I have seen during my three visits there; it is the longest continuous war in the world.

It is to this war-torn state of Jammu and Kashmir that Santosh Thomas was taken as a boy of six months by his parents, P.M. and Christy Thomas, where they took over a mission station operated by WEC mission. He grew up learning six languages: Hindi, English, Urdu, Kashmiri, and two tribal tongues.

Today Santosh is in his late forties and is gaining momentum as a seasoned indigenous mission leader. He serves as Director of Kashmir Evangelical Fellowship (KEF) with his wife, Shimona, and two children, Andrew 18 and Christine 13.

Santosh has become a leader of many independent missionaries scattered throughout the state. He is also a chaplain in the Indian army with incredible opening for service throughout the forces, especially during the Christmas and Easter seasons. He is in perpetual motion conducting meetings and mobilizing the missionary force to maximize these wonderful windows of ministry.

The mission work does not proceed without opposition. Santosh informs us that recently there have been 3 occasions when the mission work was threatened by radical fundamentalist groups in the region. Issues such as legal technicalities can also be considerable stumbling blocks for moving forward.

Despite opposition and challenges, Santosh reports that they have seen an extraordinary response this past year: 850 new believers and over 1,300 baptisms. New churches have been established in 45 locations with 85 missionary/pastors joining their team. Four leadership training seminars, hosting a total of 1,250 delegates, have been conducted.

KEF is just one example of a Mission with which AIM works. It is inspiring to learn about how the Lord is building His church in the midst of the horror of war and conflict. The Lord has prepared leadership like Santosh and the missionaries with KEF to demonstrate the doctrine of the perseverance of the saints - for truly, in due time the harvest will be gathered in the ripened fields.

posted Fall 2008
Advancing Indigenous Missions 2013