On behalf of the disciple-making movement in North India, Ethan* and Nicole* report:
“We’ve shared much with you about the persecution faced by the churches in India. Our last report was especially hard. It hurt to share the news about the woman’s martyrdom, and it probably hurt you to read it.
“Recently. we heard from Sanjay* concerning the status of the work for January. More people received baptism in January, and more house churches were established than during the last six months of 2022. Six months’ fruit in just one month! How?!
“Here’s what Sanjay said:
“‘By God’s grace, we are experiencing intense persecution, but the work has increased! One thing we’ve seen is people more quickly want baptism and to be identified with Jesus. Before, we were often baptizing in larger groups [20, 30, even 50 people] in localized gatherings. With persecution, we need baptisms happening in every home, and [the people] want it quickly. They no longer wait until [another] community is ready to join them in a baptism event. Now they just get it done. They don’t need to wait for those larger baptism events, and they really can’t gather like that anymore [anyway]. It’s too visible.’
“In other words, in response to persecution, leaders are choosing to move ahead and quickly do what’s commanded (‘baptize them’ in Matt. 28:19). They feel the urgency of obedience. And the new disciples are feeling the same urgency.
“Early in the Gospels, we see this same urgency. Jesus gave responsibility and authority to His disciples (who knew very little) to baptize others. [Jesus] ‘was making and baptizing more disciples than John (though Jesus Himself was not baptizing, but His disciples were)’ (John 4:1-2, bold mine).
“Our brothers and sisters in India don’t want you to elevate them or raise them up as heroes. They are normal people, with families, jobs, and the concerns and stresses of life. They are simply obedient to the commands of Jesus.
“Please celebrate with us what God is doing in India — what only He can do — and also pray for these brothers and sisters. It’s a daily battle there. I am not talking about a battle between religions. I am talking about the battle to obey Jesus, love Him, and persevere and love one’s enemy when faced with beating, arrest, even death. To live out Hebrews 10:36-39 requires God’s abundant grace, every day. What a relief, that what is impossible with us is possible with God.”