by Dr. David Robbins

Bishop UC Pattnayak and his son, Pappu, surprised us by picking us up at the train 2 hours earlier than expected. A short cut to a small town 30 minutes away from Jeypore was taken. On the way to our hotel, Brother UC and Brother Pappu left no doubt about the excellent timing of our visit and our two-day Leadership Seminar.

"Things are very difficult in India. You must come next year for sure. You may not be permitted to come much longer. Our 80 delegates have so little resources that we seldom gather together. Loneliness and isolation is our greatest enemy. You are the only group that comes to serve alongside us. You must come back each year. Six years since the last visit is too long."

Being back in Jeypore, a city (town in India) of 500,000, brings back so many memories. Brother UC is one of the three from Orissa who spoke to me in Seoul back in 1995 at the Global Consultation on World Evangelization (GCOWE). He has 85 missionaries working in a large area of his state and two other states. Hundreds and hundreds of villages have no missionary. No one comes to see them. This is one of the most important decisions AIM has made: we are determined to visit each mission we work with each year, Lord willing.

The missionaries take heart following a honing of skills like this and a dramatic increase of church planting takes place. This is why we are urged so strongly to return for Leadership Seminars (LS) every year.

Dr. John Crozier, AIM Maritime Representative, immediately recognized the Orissa Missionary Movement (OMM) Centre in Jeypore as being the very complex that was burnt twice and practically destroyed each time during the great outbreak of persecution eight years ago. National TV Networks covered the story. Hundreds of pastors were killed, many more churches were burnt, 1,000 believers' homes were destroyed, and tens of thousands were chased into the jungle becoming homeless. Incredibly, authorities stood by and watched. Our brothers and sisters in Christ had no choice but to flee for their lives. My dear brothers and sisters, we cannot miss this opportunity to reach the tribes in this vast area of 9 million. They are simple people that will be forced and cajoled to become Hindus unless we reach them quickly.

Brother UC, a former Hindu, has been working as a dynamic mission leader in this city for nearly 50 years. His two sons are 42 and 37 year-old with a quiet and confident demeanor.

The call in this Newsletter to expect great things from God and to attempt great things for God is epitomized by Brother UC and his army of church planters. When the call was given for commitment to enter new villages with the Gospel, the altar was flooded with ninety percent of the delegates who knelt humbly before the Lord. We prayed for each of these experienced missionaries who have been getting discouraged. I prayed with them two at a time for the next hour. Everyone went home so encouraged, revived and blessed.

These 85 mission couples are planting churches in a huge radius where these millions are suddenly more reachable because of the much improved roads.

Praise our Lord that these messengers refined by persecution and poverty returned with determination and confidence in the enabling of the Holy Spirit.

Many new villages will be visited by messengers who know the language of these villages. These heralds of the Gospel live at the same economic level, and are often related to many in their own genetic networks. Supporting a missionary couple on a monthly basis can even be as low as $55 in a village setting (usually costs increase as the size of the place of residence increases). Would you pray with us about coming alongside this dynamic church planting mission by providing the needed support of a missionary family?

posted on August 15, 2018
Advancing Indigenous Missions 2018