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From Hate to Healing: The Story of Lundan and Eliphan Gomango, IET missionary in India

IMG_4749Lundan lived deep within the forest, in the village of Kharbana just outside of a highly populated coal mining town. Lundan lived with hate in his heart and he lived with a painful skin disease. “My skin had grown as thick and rough as that of a water buffalo,” said Lundan, “It had become rough and I was itching. I needed to go to the doctor to get some pain relief.” He spent all of his meager savings on the best hospitals in the state. He saw doctor after doctor, but found no relief from his painful condition. He even went to the local tribal magicians looking to relieve his pain. They offered animal sacrifices and chants, but Lundan could not find any relief.

His pain continued, and so did his hate. He began to direct his hate towards Gomango, a Christian missionary from a nearby town. Gomango was no stranger the Kharbana village. He had scaled the mountainous area of his homeland and descended into the forest looking for villages where the name of Jesus had not been heard. Kharbana, Lundan’s village, was once such a place where the Gospel of Jesus had not been preached, at least, not until Gomango arrived. When he first entered Kharbana, the villagers looked at him with great suspicion. They questioned who this outsider was and why he was talking about a new religion. Suspicion turned to anger as Gomango challenged the village to turn away from their alcoholism and turn in faith to Jesus.

Lundan’s anger had turned into hate. He loved the locally-brewed alcohol in the village. He did not like the presence of this outsider. He did not like him talking against their alcohol and talking about this unknown God, Jesus. Lundan’s heart was hard and filled with hate. He devised a plan. He would sharpen his arrows and prepare his bow and kill Gomango the next time he came to the village. Lundan thought, “Surely no one will find out if I kill this one man in the forest so far from his home.”

On his next visit to the village, Gomango showed up unannounced. Lundan did not have time to position himself in a place to carry out his plan to kill him. Instead he had to look at him face-to-face in the presence of others in the village. Gomango called out to Lundan calling him “Uncle.” He said, “Uncle, you should pray to Jesus.” Gomango knew of Lundan’s painful skin condition. He knew Lundan longed for some relief from the pain. Indeed Lundan was making plans to visit another doctor in a nearby town. He left the village with words of Gomango repeating in his head “Pray to Jesus…pray to Jesus…pray to Jesus.”

As he continued his trek to see the doctor, Lundan began to speak the words, “In Jesus’ name.” He did not know how to pray to Jesus, so he just continued to say, “In Jesus’ name…in Jesus’ name…in Jesus’ name.” He continued repeating these words as he entered the clinic to see the doctor. After the doctor examined him, he gave Lundan the same sad news he heard from all the other doctors—nothing could be done. Lundan asked the doctor if he could give him a shot with some kind of medicine. He was confident Jesus would heal him. With an uncertain smile, the doctor gave him the shot. As Lundan made the long walk back home he continue saying, and at times shouting, “In Jesus’ name…in Jesus’ name.” He made it home safely and went to bed trusting Jesus to heal him.

The next morning, he woke up without pain. He stepped out into the sun completely healed of his skin condition. At that moment he put his faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. He began to tell others what Jesus had done for him and his entire household began to believe in Jesus too. The story of Lundan’s healing spread throughout the village and now there is a group of 70 believers who gather together to worship Jesus. Lundan plays the village drum during their times of worship. He says with a smile, “These hands that rose to kill the missionary will now only worship the living God.” Gomango’s faithfulness to reach this unreached village with the Gospel of Jesus Christ combined with the wonderful grace of God has combined to see the birth of a new church where Lundan and others can discover the goodness of God.

Indian Evangelical Team (IET) is a multi-dimensional Christ centered ministry, whose primary call is to share the love of Jesus Christ with those who have never heard His name and disciple them to be devoted followers of Jesus Christ. To learn more about IET or to f how you can support the work of the gospel in India go to www.getmissions.org

 
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Posted by on December 7, 2012 in Ministry

 

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The Comforts and Commands of Christ

Jesus rose from the dead. We believe it, but now what?

We are now in the second week of Easter. The celebration known as Easter is not just one day, but it is a season, a seven-week celebration of living life in light of the resurrection. We celebrated on Easter Sunday. We got dressed up. We went to church. We sang songs about the empty tomb. We reflected on resurrection Scriptures. We met the living Jesus through communion. We went home, ate our chocolate bunnies and marshmallow peeps (my personal favorite). We rightly celebrated on that one day, but where do we go from here?

In Matthew’s account of the resurrection of Jesus, the two Marys met the resurrected Jesus after they saw the empty tomb. Jesus instructs them to go tell his disciples to meet him in Galilee. When Jesus appeared to his disciples there, they worshiped him and he said:

All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age. (Matthew 28:18-20)

After his resurrection, Jesus tells his followers to go. This command answers the “now what?” question for us, his followers some 2,000 years removed from his resurrection. Once we have celebrated, it is time for us to go and do.

Jesus intended there to be movement in the new community he was building. He has declared to us that he has received all authority in heaven and on earth. This authority is not spiritual power, but civic power, not religious power, but political power. In raising Jesus from the dead, God has made him Lord and King. Jesus is now the planet’s new reigning ruler. The first bill he signed into law in his new government was one to get his citizens up and moving and “back to work.” And the work we are called to do is to make disciples. This call and command to make disciples is not for a select few ministerial professional; it is for all of us who are following Jesus. It is for all of us basking in the light of the resurrection. We have entered into the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus through baptism. We have experienced (and are experiencing) forgiveness, reconciliation, peace, healing, and all the other benefits received from this resurrection life, but we cannot receive the comforts of Christ without following the commands of Christ.

Jesus commands us to make disciples, but he doesn’t stop there.He even helps us with how we are we do carry out this disciple-making mission. We go and make disciples by baptizing them and teaching them. Baptizing and teaching become the two pedals propelling our disciple-making mission forward. We baptize people into the Jesus story of death, burial, and resurrection. We baptize people not just IN the trifold name of God, but we baptize people INTO the life of God who is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. God himself is a holy community of persons: Father, Son, and Spirit. When we baptize people, we are immersing them into a community of self-giving love, which is why we celebrate at every baptism. We are celebrating and welcoming people into the life of God (Trinitarian community) and the life of the church (humanitarian community).

Following baptism we teach. Certainly, we do more in church life than teaching, but the ministry of teaching is foundational to making disciples. We are to teach the newly baptized to observe everything Jesus has commanded. We do not teach in such a way to help people “apply things to their lives.” Jesus did not ever say that he was giving us “biblical principles” that we are to teach so people can apply them to their lives. He gave us commands; he gave us proclamations; he gave us descriptions of the kingdom of God, and then he told us to go and do. His teaching does not have application, but it does have motivation. We are not to try to figure out how we can fit his teachings into our lives, but we are called to adjust our lives and orient ourselves around his teaching. This uncomfortable re-adjustment we call repentance is not merely an intellectual exercise, but it implies action, rethinking things in order to live differently.

In the end, Jesus gives us a promise. He does not just give commands, but he gives commands with a promise. He promised to be with us, to help us, to guide us. Every Sunday we gather to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus. He is present as we gather in his name. He is present as his word is proclaimed. He is present at the table in the bread and in the cup. He promises to be with us by his Spirit, so we have power to carry out his command. So we as the community of faith living in the light of the resurrection carry out his instructions by make disciples. We do this by his empowering presence in the light of his resurrection.

 
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Posted by on April 20, 2012 in Ministry, Theology

 

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