“At least 75 percent of them are Hindus,” Pastor Clarence Muruthia, our lead host and local superintendent of the Assemblies of God churches informed us. He was not exaggerating. For India’s Christian population only comprises 2% of the national population. Scores of them bore the bindi, the traditional Hindu dot, on their foreheads, a sign that they had prayed to their Hindu gods that morning. Here, shoes off their feet, sitting close to each other, men on one side and women on the other to comply with the cultural norms, they quietly listened to the message of Christ. Somehow they felt an attraction to Jesus Christ.
The mood of the audience seemed to echo the centuries-old Hindu Sanskrit prayer, “From untruth, lead us to truth! From darkness lead us to light! From death lead us to eternal life! Let there be peace!” This prayer captures the ancient longing in the hearts of humanity from all ages to find truth, light and eternal life. The men and women of South India are no exception.
I spoke from the Gospel of Luke 18:35-43, expounding and demonstrating the gospel through the story of the blind Bartimaeus. The audience seemed to take in every word, several closing their eyes in a deep meditative state.“Here was a blind beggar living on the fringe of society. He had physical disabilities. He was weighed down by the daily and constant darkness that characterized his life. He longed for a day when he could see. He hoped for a season when he could be freed from the limiting chains of blindness. He anticipated a time when God’s true light would dawn on him. He wanted to he heard and listened to. Thank God that on this day on the streets of Jericho, his longing was to be met at last by none other than Jesus Christ Himself. At last God stopped for the man!” I explained.
“Today, Jesus, the Son of God, is visiting Palaymkotai, Nazareth, and Tenkasi, here South India. Today, you too can find hope, forgiveness and eternal life!” I continued. “Jesus wants to answer your prayer from the ancients. He says, “I AM the way, I AM the Truth, I AM the Eternal Life, and I AM the Prince of Peace!”
I made the invitation to those needing a saving relationship with Jesus Christ. Two-thirds of the audience raised their hands, several with tears streaming down their cheeks. God’s Spirit was moving over them and they responded with great intensity and openness to the forgiving grace of God. To the glory of God, almost 60,000 thousands were raising their hands to make a commitment to follow Jesus Christ.By the end of our week-long mission, almost 100,000 people had directly heard us share the gospel of Jesus Christ with through the festival events and special sessions on four different Universities, two High Schools and three Primary Schools. All together, nearly 70,000 people had given their lives to Christ for the first time. To God be the glory!