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Tag Archives: P.G. Vargis

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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Books & Praying for India

My book Shape Shifters arrived last week and so I have been busy finishing up the newly redesigned www.derekvreeland.com (thanks Dave-O!) in order to promote the book.

I have had to transition from author to salesman, which is no fun. When you self-publish, you are your own marketing department. I like the creative side to writing and publishing, but I don’t care much for the sales and marketing side. I feel a bit like a infomerical salesman when I am talking to people like the book. Oh well. All I can do is cast the vision for the book and hopefully it will sell itself. You can order copies from www.derekvreeland.com and amazon.com.

So if you read this blog, congratulations you have just joined my marketing department. Buy a copy of the book and then tell your friends.

I will be holding two book signings in October:
>>>Friday, October 3 at Word of Life Church in St. Joesph, Missouri &
>>>Thursday, October 9 at the Asbury Seminary Bookstore in Wilmore, Kentucky

Other speaking engagements and/or book signings will be posted on my website.

I have been reading J.P. Moreland’s Kingdom Triangle, an integrated approach to the Christian life integrating a Christian intellect, transformed soul, and the Spirit’s power. I have worked through his critques of naturalism (philosophical materialism) and postmodernism. So far, JPM is right on. I am interested to read his take on spiritual transformation, (which if you haven’t heard is the them of my book!).

One final thought….pray for India. Persecution in the Indian state of Orissa (and other states) is at an all time high. The Indian government and the world community seems to be turning a deaf ear to oppression of Christians in India. Christians make up about 2% of the congregation and yet they are being attacked, and homes & churches are being burned by Hindu radicals. They need our prayers for justice. An Indian-born member of our church told me that the local police are calling these church (and home) burnings “petty theft.” They claim that buglers are breaking in to steal from them and then burning their homes.

Here is a email I received from P.G. Vargis:

Respected brethren in the Lord Jesus Christ,

Greetings in the sweet name of our Savior who said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” – Matthew 28:18-20

The nation of India is perplexed. The Church of God, irrespective of denominational difference, is attacked by the state governments, police, anti Christians – the enemies of the Cross. The national government, that is supposed to protect us, is a silent spectator. The enemy is determined to destroy us and wipe out the Church. One of their leaders boldly said after visiting Orissa that ‘Christianity was birthed and flourished with the death of Jesus Christ. But now it will die in India with the death of our swami.’

The effects of the violence in Orissa:

ð 14 of 30 districts affected

ð In 14 districts of Orissa, 300 villages attacked and Christians are reeling in pain

ð Over 4,000 houses destroyed

ð Over 50,000 people affected

ð Over 40,000 people are hiding in forests

ð Over 12,000 are in Government refugee camps. A further 1,000 in private camps.

ð 5 people missing

ð 45 confirmed dead

ð 10 Pastors/Priests/Nuns seriously injured

ð Over 18,000 men & women injured (most in the forests)

ð At least 56 churches attacked, and still counting

ð 4 Schools and colleges attacked

The violence spread to Karnataka and MP. Now even Kerala has been attacked.

What should we do?

Will this happen in other pockets too? What the church should do?

Let us pray for the heads of churches, Para churches, missions and heads of social work to come together and make stategies.

Facts speak.

But is any one hearing? How can they hear when they are filled with hatred?

Let us pray for those who are attacking us.

Let us pray for those who are suffering.

PG Vargis

 
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Posted by on September 25, 2008 in Life, Theology

 

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Vacation and P.G. Vargis Week Two

I am posting today from Panama City Beach (PCB). We are staying at a nice condo on the far end of the strip, away from all of the crazies. It is funny. When I told people that we were vacationing at PCB, their noses wrinkled and they said, “Why would you want to go to PCB!?!” It is nice though. We like it here. We know all the good places to eat and we know our way around. Honestly, I don’t really care as long as I have a good book to read and cold Diet Coke. On this trip I am reading:

Restless Pilgrim: The Spiritual Journey of Bob Dylan

Life Together by Bonehoffer

The Trinity by Fr. Joseph Girzone

Last week, I was with P.G. Vargis in Botkins, Ohio (Only Believe Ministries) and my hometown of St. Joseph, Missouri (Word of Life Church). I spent two weeks (off and on) with PG and it was a rewarding experience for me. I had met with him in India a few times and email with him a few times a year. He has prayed for me and my family over the years. I have loved him from a distance and prayed for him often. During these last two weeks, I can say that I know him. He has a deep passion and love for Jesus and Jesus’ mission. He loves Jesus in a real authentic way. He isn’t pretentious or other-wordly. He is grounded, funny and a warm-hearted soul.

His passion for reaching India seems to ooze out of all that he does and says. The motto of IET – reaching the unreached at any cost – is not a cleaver catch phrase. It is the single motivating passion of his life. He has given his life, his family, his money (or the money that is given to him…he doesn’t keep much for himself), for the sake of the gospel. Even at 65 (?) he is still giving everything for the gospel in India. He even resigned as president of IET so that he could travel and speak on behalf of the group and work in some of the hardest areas of India. I love him and his passion. I consider myself fortunate to be invited into the IET family.

Ok enough blogging for know…I need to get back to vacation….

Yesterday, I preached a message entitled Eat This Book on the art of spiritual reading. I invited my congregation to take God with them on vacation and take The Book too. I told them that I was going to bring The Book with me. This morning I was eating The Book in the valley of vision (Isaiah 22) .

Chewing…eating…meditating on God’s judgment on the pride of the pompous. The Book is making my humble. I need to be rescued…more today than yesterday. Not that I have sinned more today, but because I am more aware of my own fallen-ness. My own pride. My own lust. My own sin. I need his saving grace.

Saving Grace
Bob Dylan
Saved (1980)

If You find it in Your heart, can I be forgiven?
Guess I owe You some kind of apology.
I’ve escaped death so many times, I know I’m only living
By the saving grace that’s over me.

By this time I’d-a thought I would be sleeping
In a pine box for all eternity.
My faith keeps me alive, but I still be weeping
For the saving grace that’s over me.

Well, the death of life, then come the resurrection,
Wherever I am welcome is where I’ll be.
I put all my confidence in Him, my sole protection
Is the saving grace that’s over me.

Well, the devil’s shining light, it can be most blinding,
But to search for love, that ain’t no more than vanity.
As I look around this world all that I’m finding
Is the saving grace that’s over me.

The wicked know no peace and you just can’t fake it,
There’s only one road and it leads to Calvary.
It gets discouraging at times, but I know I’ll make it
By the saving grace that’s over me.

Copyright © 1980 Special Rider Music

 
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Posted by on July 3, 2007 in Ministry

 

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New books & P.G. Week One

I had a good day today. I got back home yesterday from travels with P.G. and Lily Vargis (see below). Today, Jenni, the boys and I spent the day in Columbus, Georgia. Jenni had a shower to go to and the boys and I played at Burger King and Hollywood Connection. I also hit three book stores (Lifeway, B&N and Books-a-Million). And yes, new books was the reason that this was a good day…the books and the fact that I got to spend it with the family. I added the following books to my library:

Confessions of A Reformission Rev. by Mark Driscoll

The Wounded Healer by Henri Nouwen

The New International Commentary on the New Testament: The First Epistle to the Corinthians by Gordon Fee

God’s Greater Glory by Bruce Ware

Traveling with P.G. this week was rewarding. We were in two churches and we had time to talk about India and the ministry. The two sermons that P.G. preached were based out of the same text and they had the same points but different feels. The first one was passionate but light-hearted. The second one was equally passionate but heaver. It left the pastor — and others — in tears. You cannot helped but to be moved to pray for, give into and go to India to join those that are giving their all for the sake of the gospel. In the first 150 days of 2007, there were 125 recorded attacks on Christians by non-Christians in India. They need our prayers.

We will be in Botkins, OH and St. Joseph, MO next week. Pray for P.G. and Lily. Pray for India. Pray for IET. I will blog more about our travels next week.

Here is P.G. and Lily in the Houston airport enjoying a little Starbucks.
Lilly: tall black tea (hot)
P.G.: tall regular coffee, cream, no sugar
Derek (not pictured): tall Carmel Macchiato

 
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Posted by on June 24, 2007 in Ministry

 

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Random Thoughts: P.G., Writing, Dylan, Hybels & PDAs

Traveling with P.G.
I am getting ready to travel with P.G. Vargis to a few churches over the next couple of weeks. P.G. is an incredible man. He is the founder and now “chief mentor” of IET the largest and fasting growing indiginous church planting movement in India. He is the only real “apostle” that I know. He is apostolic not because he carries the title, but because he functions as one.

Over the next two weeks we will be in Harlingen, TX; Chicago, IL; Botkins, OH; and St. Joe, MO. P.G. is speaking in churches and I am beginning my work establishing relationships with pastors that want to work with IET. I enjoy being around P.G. He is wise, eccentric, passionate, funny, energetic, full-of-faith, a visionary…all rolled into one. Check out his site at http://www.pgv.com/

Writing a book
I am developing a book proposal that I am going to pitch to a few publishers. A part of the proposal is the first the chapters which I am working on. I will do some of the work while traveling the next few weeks. All of my article proposals have been shot down. One editor from an academic journal said that my dissertation work is flirting with tautology. (I had to look that one up!) Writing is hard work. People will always criticize what you write, but I am going to continue on. If I can’t get a publisher to buy into my book idea, then I am going to self publish. Grisham started that way!

Bob Dylan
So I have been plunged my self into Dylan’s music recently. I just added four albums to my iPod. I have had two of Dylan’s Christian albums in my collection for years, but discovering Dylan’s wider work has been like being reunited with a long lost fiend. I listen to his music and feel like I know this guy from somewhere. Maybe it is because a number of his songs have been covered by other bands over the years. Maybe it is because the poetry in his songwriting has such an earthly-humanly feel.

Ain’t Talkin’ Just Walkin’
I am finishing my teaching series “Just Walk Across the Room” teaching series this Sunday. I am traveling over the next two weeks, but will be home on Sunday mornings. JWATR was developed by Bill Hybels and Willow Creek. Good stuff…really. There are a ton of bloggers who are critical of Hybels, but they are of course ignorant. Literally, they are without knowledge. Hybels is not my favorite writer or teacher in terms of style, but he is passionate about evangelism. His passion for lost people is contagious! Hybels is biblical, spiritual and real. Check out the Just Walk Across the Room website at http://www.justwalkacrosstheroom.com/ and ignore all of the watchdog sites that ignorantly label, criticize and condemn Hybels.

BTW “Ain’t Talkin, Just Walkin’” is from a Dylan song.

Me, Bill and Bobby are all “practicing a faith that’s been long abandoned…Ain’t no altars on this long and lonesome road.”

PDAs
I just restarted by Dell Axim x50. It was locked up for a few months and I was frustrated with it, but I did a default restart and it works! It sure is handy…especially when traveling. Guess what I am using for wallpaper on my pda? Click here for the answer.

 
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Posted by on June 20, 2007 in Ministry

 

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