|GFA-supported missionaries celebrate India’s Independence Day by participating in a flag-raising ceremony.|
On August 15, Gospel for Asia-supported missionaries raised the Indian flag in honor of their country, and then set out to celebrate their nation’s Independence Day by reaching out to their communities. Many members and pastors of local churches also participated in the festivities.
The GFA-supported missionaries and believers divided up into small groups for community service projects, street drama programs and tract distribution. The Indian people responded positively to the work the missionaries were doing in their communities.
“Every year we do this kind of thing on Indian Independence Day, because we want to bless our country and give back in some way,” said K.P. Yohannan, Gospel for Asia’s founder and president.
The day started with flag-raising ceremonies, a traditional part of Indian culture. This year’s ceremonies were particularly festive, because they marked the country’s 60th anniversary of independence from Great Britain. The GFA-supported missionaries attended the special ceremonies, where guests of honor hoisted the flag to the top of the pole and shared patriotic speeches. Some GFA Bible colleges even planned their own flag-raising ceremonies to kickoff the day.
“We encourage our GFA-supported missionaries and staff to be loyal citizens of their communities and of the nation of India,” Yohannan said. “They looked forward to celebrating Independence Day with their neighbors.”“We encourage our GFA-supported missionaries and staff to be loyal citizens of their communities and of the nation of India,” Yohannan said. “They looked forward to celebrating Independence Day with their neighbors.”
Following the ceremonies, each group went out to touch the lives of individuals in their communities. One group in the capital city of Himachal Pradesh, India, worked to clean up the local police station. Another group helped with landscaping and planted more than 90 trees. Several government officials and local political leaders expressed their gratitude to the GFA teams.
GFA-supported missionaries and believers in Kerala spent their day doing street evangelism. The groups performed skits, dramas and talent shows in villages throughout the state. The events drew large crowds, and during the performances they shared the story of Jesus. Afterward, the missionaries handed each person in the audience a Gospel tract.
Groups from an other Bible College spent their days cleaning up at railway and bus stations. The bus station officials were so happy with the work the students had done, they drove them all home on the bus for free.
|Gospel for Asia Biblical Seminary students reach out to the community by cleaning up a bus station in Kerala.|
Maharashtra state received rain on the days leading up to Independence Day, but the believers and GFA-supported missionaries prayed for clear skies on the holiday so they could conduct outreach. They awoke the morning of the festivities to pleasant weather throughout the state.
The Maharashtra groups distributed thousands of pieces of Gospel literature and New Testaments in public venues like railway stations and village markets. A tract titled “Real Freedom,” which was created specifically for the Independence Day outreach, was particularly well-received.
As a result of the love shown during the Independence Day outreach, many people throughout India decided to follow Jesus. The GFA-supported missionaries were also blessed as they had an opportunity to make a difference in their communities, while celebrating their country’s freedom.
“Gospel for Asia is part of the Indian culture. We reach our own people with the love of Christ,” Yohannan shared. “When we can bless the poor and needy in our country or lend a helping hand to our neighbors, it is truly a joy. That is what we were able to do on Independence Day.”