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,