The India Connection organization consists of 100 churches across northern India. While India is making rapid advances economically, most of our people still face the challenges of poverty, disease and illiteracy. Please keep our pastors in prayer! They are leaders in their communities, tasked with responsibility for their flock – body, mind and spirit.
Village life in India is lived communally. Because there is very little contact with the outside world, village people rely on each other for everything. While individual families tend their own plots, typically half the land is held in common and everyone works together to cultivate and share in the harvest. If there is a crisis, they face it together.
The church in Manipur
In the northeast state of Manipur, we have many pastors from small villages in the hill country. These are isolated places that for the past 200 years have relied on the cultivation of rice in the large paddies surrounding each village. Everything they eat is locally-grown and organic, since there is no money for fertilizer and villagers rarely leave the village and never go to a grocery store!
In these remote places there are often no schools or health care facilities, and the people have many needs. Our pastors must take on a much bigger role than is common in America. As one of the few educated people in the area, they open schools, care for the sick, and help run the affairs of the community as village elders.
Connecting across cultures and oceans
In 2009 I had the opportunity to visit our churches in Manipur along with Pastor Ray, Pastor Ben, Pastor Joseph and several others. This is the trip that featured our walk across the rickety “Indiana Jones bridge” over a raging mountain river. Video of our visit can be viewed on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H74FIoO4oeg.
Our host in Manipur was Pastor Ashang, his wife and young family. Ashang organized a statewide church conference that featured teachings by members of our U.S. delegation and worship by some talented young people. We were impressed by the growth of Ashang’s network of churches, his administrative abilities and heart for God.
I have continued to correspond with Pastor Ashang over the last 7 years as he shares his challenges, hopes and dreams in Facebook posts and messages. During that time he has organized many outreaches in Burma, where Christians are often actively persecuted. He makes the arduous trek along narrow mountain paths to literally “reach the unreached, and teach the untaught’ – which is the mission of India Connection.