People incarnate the message of the Gospel. In one of our very successful ministry services, the Adopt a Village program in rural Bangladesh, transformation is brought to large rural communities because there are trained, committed and dynamic Christian couples living in the village. How they live before the village is as important as what they bring as a message.
Large parts of the world where Partners International Canada (PI Canada) works in providing holistic mission service through locally-led Christian ministries have little to no idea of what the Christian message contains. They may have large biases against Christians, seeing the beliefs as foreign, dangerous or blasphemous. Yet, when obviously educated people choose to live in a rural context and raise their family and live out their marriage in front of their neighbours, walls are broken down. People are intrigued and sometimes attracted to this different way of thinking and living. Yes, they bring programs that help the village with clean water, better schooling for their children and economic development. The government sometimes does some of these things as well. But, the big difference is the life of peace and love lived out. When the village persecutes them, they respond with prayer for those people. In contrast to the view of women being of little intrinsic value common in these places, the Christian worker shows esteem and commitment to his wife’s well-being.
Over the 13 years that I have served with PI Canada I have been impressed again and again with the level of commitment and the calibre of character represented by those who choose to serve under the organization that we partner with. Amit and Sutapa is an example of this. Amit has over time come to direct a region in north India where he oversees 180 churches. However, his wife has not been idle and has begun Bible studies in Calcutta’s notorious red-light district. When he is not traveling Amit accompanies her. This led to a new ministry for them as some of the women working as prostitutes begged Amit and Sutapa to help their children to not remain in the district as they were destined for a life of crime or prostitution. After a time of prayer and counting the cost, they decided to take 6 children into their home. This is done purely out of a sacrificial and loving response to the pain of others. I could tell many more stories of similar sacrifice and dedication.
As Canadians, we like to support clearly defined projects that help people, like wells and medical services. However, none of this gets done without workers on the ground who live out the meaning of the actions and who are ready to share Good News to those who are seeking. If you want your charitable gift to have a great impact, invest in the people who incarnate the message. Support an indigenous Christian worker ministering in the least reached, least resourced parts of the world through Partners International Canada.