AN UNSETTLED TIME
By Dr. David L. Robbins

We are in a season of intense warfare in India. The COVID-19 virus is affecting 2.46 million as of August 14th with alarming community surges. One of our partners tells us that incidents of persecution of believers in India are up 40.87% this year in spite of the recent four month nationwide lockdown. Restricted international and domestic travel has been imposed indefinitely.

Indigenous leaders are reporting these compounding problems with clarity. For example, Pastor Santosh Thomas wrote from the state of Jammu and Kashmir on July 29: "These past four months were the most challenging time in the history of our ministry and likewise it may have been for you also over there....but I wanted you to assure you that your constant prayers and generosity have not been in vain." Pastor Raman and Pastor Danish are missionaries in North India that AIM supports who both confirm. The God of Elijah, who fed him with food brought by ravens each day, has provided similarly through our relief packages already received. These testimonies cause us to weep with joy. We are so glad we responded immediately.

Our Covid-19 relief began with a goal of $10,000. It soon grew to $30,000 with each goal exceeded quickly. By August 11th AIM has received $70,749 with other large gifts already coming. Our leadership is prayerfully seeking to send $250,000 by December 31 because the need is so immense (see article "How our Partners are Faring Through COVID-19"). Pastor D.B. Hrudaya reports that difficult to reach areas are responding dramatically to the love and prayer focused. "In one part of Odisha 84 families have received Christ as Saviour." Pastor Philemon Chhetri sent pictures from Nepal of such joy as Pastor Habil provided 10 kilos of rice to 152 families. Sadly 78 families had to go back to their remote villages with no rice in their hands as the supplies ran out.

The New Testament was written in an unsettled time, as well. Slavery was common. Oppression and false religious systems abounded. However, the Body of Christ was established. The Church grew and grew with the strong winds of opposition in her face. The striking opposition to the Apostle Paul was no different.

Paul the Transparent
Second Corinthians contains a wonderful glimpse into the heart of a man who is fully committed to serving God and others. Two incredibly amazing lists summarize the marks of the ministry in 2 Cor. 6:4-10 and the sufferings of Christ in 11:22-29 that Paul gladly endured to take the Gospel to the unreached. How well these lists describe the indigenous leaders and their missionaries that we know.

Serving
I counted 28 marks of Paul in his service to Christ: “(1) in much patience, (2) in tribulations, (3) in needs, (4) in distresses, (5) in stripes, (6) in imprisonments, (7) in tumults, (8) in labours, (9) in sleeplessness, (10) in fastings; (11) by purity, (12) by knowledge, (13) by long suffering, (14) by kindness, (15) by the Holy Spirit, (16) by sincere love, (17) by the word of truth, (18) by the power of God, (19) by the power of righteousness on the right hand and on the left, (20) by honor and dishonour, (21) by evil report and good report; (22) as deceivers, and yet true; (23) as unknown, and yet well known; (24) as dying, yet behold we live; (25) as chastened, and yet not killed; (26) as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; (27) as poor, yet making many rich; (28) as having nothing, yet possessing all things.”

Suffering
Paul had the credentials, equal or beyond, of the remaining detractors in the church of Corinth. He was a Hebrew, an Israelite, and of the seed of Abraham.

However, these so called ‘ministers’ did not have the 23 sufferings of Christ to recommend them that Paul did: (1) in labours more abundant, (2) in stripes above measure, (3) in prisons more frequently, (4) in deaths often. (5) From the Jews five times I received forty stripes minus one. (6) Three times I was beaten with rods; (7) once I was stoned; (8) three times I was shipwrecked; (9) a night and a day I have been in the deep; (10) in journeys often, (11) in perils of waters, (12) in perils of robbers, (13) in perils of my own countrymen, (14) in perils of the Gentiles, (15) in perils in the city, (14) in perils in the wilderness, (16) in perils in the sea, (17) in perils among false brethren; (18) in weariness and toil, (19) in sleeplessness often, (20) in hunger and thirst, (21) in fastings often, (22) in cold and nakedness - besides the other things, what comes upon me daily: (23) my deep concern for the churches.

The COVID-19 virus, intensifying persecution and severely restricted travel call each of us to utter humility when we consider hundreds of millions being tested so severely.

Come and serve. Come and suffer. Give yourselves to prayers and fastings on Tuesdays and/or Thursdays (joining together with AIM staff), while our untouchable and outcaste family members in Christ are being tested. Walk with us in our daily "deep concern for the churches" in India and Asia today.

May the hand of the Lord enable us to be a blessing to them during this unsettled time. Amen!

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COVID-19 Relief
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updated September 23, 2020
Advancing Indigenous Missions 2020