India is the seventh largest country by area and the second most populous with 1.3 billion people. It is a most ethnically diverse nation with over 2,500 distinct people groups. Community and identity are based on caste as much as on race and language.
India is shaped by seemingly unyielding poverty, both rural and urban. There is a rapid growth of the newly rich and middle class, but hundreds of millions are living in rural poverty or urban slums. About 60% of the population live below the poverty line, coping on less than $3.10 a day.
The need for the Gospel is massive. Hinduism is by far the leading religion of India with 80% of its residents identifying as Hindu. There is also a strong Islamic presence with over 200 million Muslims. Although Hinduism is entrenched and has a strong cultural appeal for many, others search for fulfilment and purpose, longing for true communion with their Creator. Only two percent of the population identifies as evangelical Christian.
World Link Ministries has two pastoral training centers. One is in Chennai, a city of approximately 11 million people, located on the Bay of Bengal in southeastern India in the state of Tamil Nadu. The other is in Guwahati, a city of approximately 1.1 million people in northeastern India in the state of Assam. To date we have trained 227 pastors who have faithfully planted more than 1,000 churches. Their high success rate is especially encouraging because people trapped in Hinduism represent desperate spiritual need.
One method of evangelism that has been extremely successful in India is drilling borewells. Tens of millions of people live with compromised or even contaminated water supplies. Our trained pastors are using these sites as extremely effective evangelistic hubs. At an average cost of $400 per borewell. We have completed 90 wells so far, and our hope is to drill another 150 borewells in the next year. This exciting part of the ministry allows us to supply the living water Jesus spoke of, not only for meeting physical needs, but for spiritual needs, including baptisms in the clean and life-giving water of Christ.
Another method of reaching communities in recent times has been through relief efforts from the start of the pandemic. Within the first few months of the lockdowns poor living conditions and already extremely low incomes rapidly worsened. Through the relief efforts, by July, 2020, the gospel was shared with 31,000 people with 5,140 making decisions to trust in Christ as their Savior! The love of Christ has stood in stark contrast to their gods and their “karma.”
To date, we have planted over 1,000 churches in India. We have the infrastructure in place and potential workers waiting for funding. All we need is ‘sending’ partners to come alongside us in this exciting new mission field that holds so much potential for a rich harvest.
Please pray for the 98% of Indians who are lost and desperately in need of the savior in this poverty-stricken land. Please consider funding a field worker in India for only $50/month. Also, please consider supporting the Peterson family as they diligently work stateside to expand the training of pastors, evangelism, and church planting efforts throughout the country.