February 2005

Written by Mairin McCuistion on . Posted in Prayer Letters

Beloved Ones in Christ:

Warm greetings to you in the Precious Name of our Lord from the land of India.

I arrived in India on December 28.  Later on, Mariamma, Dayan & Sheela Mathai, Dr. Richard & Kathy Phipps and their daughter Julie, Dr. Richard Imholte, Dr. Bob Carpenter, Ron Leonard, and Jan Sieker joined me.

The tsunami struck on December 26.  As I wrote you in the emergency prayer letter, we visited the tsunami-affected sites about 18 miles from our campus.  We witnessed horrible devastation and saw the effects of the powerful waves.  Dead bodies were put into pits in large numbers and cremated.  Most of those who died were children.  We saw many mothers and fathers who were mourning the loss of their children.  In India alone more than 10,000 people died, and hundreds of thousands are displaced.  A great number of people are sheltered in refugee camps.

The Lord burdened our hearts to help these people who are homeless and mourning the loss of their dear ones.  IEM has prepared special kits containing necessity items such as clothing, blankets, sheets, eating utensils, soap, toothbrush, rice, etc. and distributed them to hundreds of destitute families.  IEM is also planning to adopt a village and provide some housing, as well as share the Good News.  We request our prayer partners to pray for these suffering people—for their comfort and that they can be provided for properly.  If you feel led of the Lord, please participate financially to rebuild the lives of these dear people.  IEM will send you a report of how the funds were utilized in this project.

In spite of the tsunami disaster, our IEM crusade this year was the most effective and blessed one ever.  Close to 6,000 people attended the crusade for four nights.  We had special seminars during the day and evangelistic meetings in the evening.  The Lord especially anointed His servants to preach the Word, and we saw souls respond to the life-changing gospel.  About 650 people filled out decision cards indicating that they had committed their lives to Christ during those nights.  As a matter of fact, the entire community heard the gospel through the speaker system.  We are making special arrangements to do follow-up work with these new believers.  Many people were fortified to pray for this Convention in India and in the States.  I thank you for your prayers and financial help to see and witness a mighty moving of the hand of the Lord.

We had 47 students graduate from the Bible College this year.  Our student body represented eight states of India and the country of Nepal.  These students are now traveling to reach their respective places.  It will take some of them more than 5 days via train.  They will be divided into several groups, then go to villages and conduct house-to-house visitation, open-air preaching, Bible studies and Vacation Bible Schools during their 3-month mission trip. They will also conduct mini crusades in some of the states.  I ask my faithful prayer partners to uphold them in your prayers, that they will be protected from the power of the enemy and that they shall be effective in the ministries they perform.  Also please pray for their provision and financial needs.

All our children in the Children’s Home have returned from their Christmas vacation.  Some of the children returned late because they were affected by the tsunami.  Some of their homes were washed away, and some of the parents were seriously injured.  But by the grace of God none of them are lost.  Many of these people are sheltered in refugee centers.  I have stories to share about how some Christian families were spared from death.

I have shared in the past from personal experience how that God will protect and preserve His own. The enemy cannot snatch them out of His hand.  It is evident from the testimony of some of the tsunami survivors that God has spared their lives, even though all was lost materially.  Psalm 46 assures safety and security to those who trust in Him.  “Who is so great a God as our God?” (Psalm 77:13).

The American doctors and other friends who visited IEM in January were a great blessing to both the physical and spiritual needs of the community.  IEM conducted a one-day dental clinic hosting Dr. Richard Imholte, and he extracted teeth from 75 people who attended the event; many had multiple extractions.

In addition to the tsunami survivors, please also pray for . . .

  • The new believers from the IEM crusade, that they will grow strong in the Lord.
  • Upcoming crusades in some area villages where I will be speaking.
  • The Bible College students and their summer ministries.
  • The completion of our new Bible College building project which will accommodate a larger library and enhanced staff quarters.

My heart is overwhelmed with gratitude to the Lord for answered prayers and especially for the salvation of many souls.  I am so grateful for our faithful prayer partners who have prayed and who continue to pray for the Lord’s work through IEM.  I also thank you for your sacrificial financial support to bring souls into the Kingdom, as well as to alleviate the suffering of the people in India.  May the Lord richly bless you and prosper you and fill your hearts with His perfect peace and joy.

Yours in fulfilling the Great Commission of Christ,

G.V. Mathai

January 2005

Written by Mairin McCuistion on . Posted in Prayer Letters

EMERGENCY PRAYER LETTER

Dear Prayer Partners:

Warm greetings in the precious Name of Jesus Christ our Lord.

I am writing this letter from India to give you an update about what is happening here as a result of the tsunami. The Arabian Sea is about 18 miles west from where our Bible College and Children’s Home are located.  An area of about 130 miles of coastal area, towards the south where the Indian Ocean and Arabian Sea meet, is where the ferocious tidal waves destroyed many homes and swallowed up many lives.  Over 10,000 people died along the southern coast.

During the Christmas season, IEM gave vacation time to the children in the Children’s Home, and most of those with parents went home for about 6 days.  Some of the children have parents who live in this coastal area.  The students were supposed to return on December 30.  Several have not yet reported back to the school.  Please pray for their safety.

On Sunday morning, January 2, one of the girls, Aswathy, came with her father, Mohan, and told us about their encounter with the tsunami.  Mohan is a Hindu.  Aswathy shared her family’s experience, and it was an emotional moment for the father, as he turned away in tears.  Just a few hours before the tsunami hit, Aswathy wanted to go to the house of her mother’s family, which is about 30 miles interior.  A couple hours later the Arabian Sea showed its anger, and waves rolled over into the coastal area and wiped out many of the homes.

While Aswathy and her father were gone, their house collapsed and the mother was trapped underneath. It happened at 12:00 and they finally discovered her at 4:00 in the afternoon with severe injuries to her head and body.  She is still in a local hospital but is in stable condition.  Aswathy’s younger sister, who is 7 years old, was found on the roof of another house.  Presently Mohan is staying at a relief camp, and Aswathy has returned to the Children’s Home.

Yesterday Mohan took us to his village to see where many homes were washed away. Thirty-two people died in their village, and in the area nearby 170 died.  At the site of Mohan’s house, there was only a washed-out indentation where the house had once stood.  The edge of their house had been about 50 feet from the water. Though there were large rocks piled up at the seaside, the fierce tsunami rolled over the top and struck its woeful blows.  A few men who survived in the tragedy gathered as we visited the site.  They told us their horrible stories.  Their wives and children are still in the hospital.  The emotional wounds are deep.  One man had received three packages of food for the day, but they were all laying there unopened and uneaten.  It is just too much for him to bear.  He has no desire to eat.

Mohan’s desire is to build a new home.  What IEM would like to do is to help him build a small dwelling place for his family, as well as for other families in his community.

Another day we visited a refugee camp with Arlen Miller and Dr. Rick Phipps and his daughter Julie.  The sight was heartbreaking.  One cannot leave the area without shedding some tears. The injured had broken limbs and other kinds of physical challenges.  We saw hundreds of people sitting on mats on a concrete floor, where they spend the nights without much cover to prevent the cold, hard concrete from chilling their feeble bodies.

Some of the flood victims lost their children.  Women lost their husbands.  And many men lost their wives and children.  One lady shared with tears how the powerful waves rolled over while she was clutching her young child in her arms, but the child was “snatched” from her and was gone.  Most were asking the question, “Why were we spared, while our family members were taken?”  Some of them said they would have rather died with their children or spouses than to live and suffer what they are now experiencing.

The India Evangelical Mission is preparing to go to many of these crowded shelters and help the survivors with sleeping mats, blankets, sheets, clothing, and food.  Some have been wearing the same clothing for a week.  Most will be released after their injuries are healed, but they have no place to go.  As funds become available, we would like to help build some dwelling places for these destitute people.

We who love the Lord have been given the opportunity to pray for these suffering people and also to help alleviate their suffering by sharing with them our material blessings.  While doing this, we will be able to share with them God’s love and His redeeming grace through Jesus Christ.

My wife Mariamma, son Dayan, daughter Sheela, Jan Sieker, Dr. Bob Carpenter, Dr. Richard Imholte, and Ron Leonard arrived safely here today.  Please pray for God’s protection and provision, that many souls shall be saved, and that God will be glorified.

Please pray how the Lord would have you be involved in the relief effort.  If you wish to contribute, you may earmark your gift “Tsunami.”  Please send it to IEM, PO Box 1633, Lakewood, CA, 90716-0633.

May God bless and protect you and watch over you while we enter into the New Year 2005. May His grace abound towards you.  We are grateful to you for your prayers and financial support.

God bless you,

G.V. Mathai

December 2004

Written by Mairin McCuistion on . Posted in Prayer Letters

Beloved Ones in Christ,

Isaiah 61:1 says, “The spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; He hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives…”

God sent His only Son into the world to save sinners.  The world is torn apart with sorrow, grief, sickness, abandonment, loneliness, and rejection.  As a result there is confusion, chaos, violence and hopelessness.  Many people are brokenhearted.  But God, who is rich in mercy, has made provision by sacrificing His Son, Jesus Christ, that we might be redeemed and have a purposeful life.  The message of the Gospel is the only comfort and consolation for a sin-sick world.

Let us rejoice and thank God for the gift of salvation!  May the joy of Christmas fill your hearts.  God intended that all people should rejoice in the birth of the Lord Jesus.  We who believe in Him have the responsibility to share the Good News.

God has been faithful over the years to help us reach the people of India with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  When we consider that one out of every five people on the face of the earth are Indian, we realize that the need is great.  Will you make a New Year’s resolution to faithfully pray for the people of India.

God willing, I will be in India from January through March.  We will be holding our annual Crusade & Workers’ Conference.  Many people are praying in India for these upcoming meetings.  Dr. Bob Carpenter, Dr. Richard Imholte, Dr. Richard, Kathy & Julie Phipps, Jan Sieker, Ron Leonard (our mission rep), and Doug Whitney will be joining Mariamma, Dayan, Sheela and me on this trip.  Please pray for our safety and health and that the Lord will cause our ministry to bear much fruit.  Join your hearts with the believers in India in praying that many will be saved through the Crusade and that the Lord will open new ministry opportunities.

We have special financial needs for:  the Crusade, the completion of the new library/dormitory, and for the Bible College students’ mission trip in late January.  Please prayerfully consider making a generous year-end gift for the ministry.

May the Lord uphold you with the right hand of His righteousness, and may His face shine upon you.   WE WISH YOU ALL A BLESSED CHRISTMAS & A HAPPY, PROSPEROUS NEW YEAR!

Yours in His Service,

G.V. Mathai