Based on a story submitted by Pastor Ankur Roland Thakor
Heal the Sick, Cleanse the Lepers, Raise the Dead, Cast out Devils: Freely ye have received, freely give. (Matthew 10:8)
The Methodist Church Bhaner Pastorate of Gujarat Regional Conference of the Methodist Church in India is the first ever village-based church to start evangelism and mission outreach work in the areas of Minawada and Pithai villages (Interior villages of the state of Gujarat, India) during the Hindu deity festivals. New and integral perspective and mission objectives were used and thousands of people heard about the Lord Jesus Christ for the first time. The Campaigns were arranged by the village churches and congregation with the help of surrounding city churches. The Mission objectives were completely ecumenical and integral and were based on service to all people to help break the caste-based discrimination system in the villages.
This campaign provided the ground for contemporary objectives and methods to reach out to the communities of other faiths and bridge the gap between old and new generations. The scripture Matthew 25:40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me,” (NIV) was fulfilled in the services of the campaign where thousands of people were served, free of charge, with hot tea and refreshments, energy drinks and lemonade, medical aids, resting places and pure drinking water in the times of heavy rains and drinking water shortages.
The congregation of this particular church consists of poor families, but have learned to share the Love of God, and they have shown their generosity through their donations, hard-work and service to the campaign. The work has been appreciated and recognized by local government leaders and agencies, being the first time a village-based church demonstrated such a tactic toward justice-seeking and peace-building, eliminating discriminating structure of Caste and bridging the gap between multi-faith communities.
During the service and campaign a member of the congregation named Mehul Mahida went to the Lord due to a road accident. He was a new believer and came from another faith background. It was a very difficult time for the church to stand, especially when many anti-Christian elements confronted them, but God has opened the doors for the Pastor and Congregation to stand firm in faith.
Here are some of the moments of the campaign and service to the people of other faith. (click a photo to view a larger image)