Posted by: Tom Gaddis | July 25, 2009

The Lure of India

A street scene in Delhi, India.

A street scene in Delhi, India.

India can lure you. The sights, sounds, and smells in the streets of Delhi are like nowhere else in the world.

Those bone-shaking roads—clogged with cows, rickshaws, beggars, bicycles, litter, dogs, and cars—are a microcosm of the country itself.

India is a study in contrast—rickshaws and BMW’s competing for the same lane, modern malls standing next to ancient temples, cities filled with millionaires living in the midst of a country containing a full third of all the worlds poor, and the Hindu tolerance for millions of gods, unless His name is Jesus.

India 2009 001

Me, Perry Knorr, Tom Ferrell, Kevin Ferrell, Jerry Hickman

In March I was part of a five member team from several local churches that flew the 7,668 miles from San Francisco to Delhi in seats suited for a circus contortionist. The day after our arrival we set out on a 4000 mile in-country journey by car, bus, plane, train, rickshaw and camel traveling to villages in northern India assisting a young church planting movement.

This group of dedicated Indian pastors and church planters was raised up by God ten years ago to reach northern India with the Good News of Jesus Christ. Their God-sized goal: the planting of 100,000 churches in the thousands of villages that as of yet have no Christian presence.

They are making remarkable headway according to their 2008 ministry report:

  • 676 new churches planted
  • 256 church planters trained
  • 8,760 people baptized
Don't try this at home....

Don't try this at home....

These statistics are all the more amazing when seen against a backdrop of murder and persecution being waged against Christians by militant Hindu vigilantes. Last August the world watched their fiery rampage—churches burned, pastors killed, and people in the thousands forced from their homes—earning this part of India the status of being the most dangerous place for a Christian to live. Being a Christian here could cost you your life.

This is why I’ve taken the precaution of erasing all names of individuals, areas, or the ministry we were involved with, in order to protect our brothers and sisters from any further harm.

Steet scene in India

Steet scene in India

But though persecuted, the church is not defeated. “We feel as Christians that this has turned out to be a great blessing, because God has used it to raise up people all around the world to pray for India. We believe God is going to do something great here in answer to these prayers,” declared an Indian pastor I interviewed.

Several local churches here in Atascadero sent finances with us to help those still suffering in the aftermath of these recent hostilities. Besides giving relief money we were invited to dedicate two new training centers and do some training of regional overseers of this movement. But one of the high points was the privilege of teaching classes to young men just days away from going forth to plant churches.

Given the hardships they will most certainly face, we found ourselves anxious for them. Averaging 18-25 years old—they seemed too young—and way too inexperienced having only known the Lord on average: five years. How could they ever impact a culture entrenched in idolatry and darkness?

Dehli, India

Dehli, India

But incredibly it’s been men like these who in the last decade have already planted more than 2,700 churches. And soon we knew why.

On several occasions we heard their unforgettable stories of courage and unwavering commitment to Jesus. Many had been rejected by their Hindu families for becoming Christ-followers. Disinherited of family, houses, and land, they nonetheless were eager to spend themselves beginning new churches among the unreached of northern India.

A Hindu god

A Hindu god

Returning home, we felt honored to call these many men and women we had come to know, our “brothers and sisters and fellow-laborers in the gospel.”

While on sabbatical I was pondering: What now? Was this just a one time trip and now off to other things or is the Holy Spirit calling for long term commitment from me?

 Two weeks ago I had dinner with the Indian leader from this movement and was asked to lead a team in March 2010 back to India. I am writing this blog to ask for your prayers. I’m looking for answers: Is this something the Lord is calling me to do? Who would be on this team? Let me know if God puts India on your heart.



  1. that’s an awesome picture of the cobra… just thought I’d say…

  2. hi kati

    the owner of the cobra asked me if i wanted sit where he was and he would take my pic with the snake. my response: not in this lifetime thank you!

    So i paid him a dollar to take his pic with said snake which was much better.


  3. Good to know that there are people interested in the rich culture of my country, and working hard to bring it on the world view. Cheers for your wonderful blog. Even I’m a published poet. You can catch glimpse of some of my works here-

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