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Idols of Clay Are Melting Away

Rich and Jo Ann Davis on September 29, 2006

The Hindu Goddess Kali The Hindu Goddess Kali

Melting Idols

Recently, Jo Ann and I were in northern India and noticed a newspaper article lamenting the fact that the monsoon rains were coming down so hard and long that the newly manufactured clay idols representing the Hindu goddesses Durga and Kali were melting. An important Hindu festival was about to begin and it wouldn't be possible to manufacture enough idols to meet the demand. It would all be comical if it weren't so sad! We were reminded of the cry of Demetrius against Paul (Acts 19:21-41) for jeopardizing their business and the reputation of Diana of the Ephesians.

Kali is the goddess of dissolution and destruction. Her name means "The Black One" and the city of Calcutta (now Kolkata) is named in her honor. Kali is fearsome in appearance. She has wild eyes, a protruding tongue, and she wields a bloody sword. Kali also holds the severed head of a demon, and she wears a belt of severed heads. Jo Ann and I learned of terrible things that demons demanded of her followers. The spiritual oppression and battle in this place is almost beyond description.

We had the privilege of spending some time with several faithful servants of the Lord who are causing the idols to fall in a powerful spiritual sense. We were with a couple of Peruvian missionaries whom we know from our years in Lima along with an international team of missionaries including Indians. What a joy it was to see a new church starting in Calcutta (Kolkata) just like our New Life churches in Lima started in missionaries' houses. Please check out one of our new Photo Albums entitled "Faithful Servants in Calcutta"

It was also a huge blessing to visit the church started by William Carey over 200 years ago. Carey has been such an inspiration to Jo Ann and me especially since the Lord called us to India this year. If you would like to see some images of the Carey Baptist church as it is today check out the new Photo Album "Carey Baptist Church".

Victoria Palace - In Honor of Queen Victoria Victoria Palace - In Honor of Queen Victoria

Milieu of Cultures

For many years the British governed India from Calcutta (Kolkata) and until the capitol was moved to Delhi many landmarks and monuments were built testifying to the glory of days gone past. It is overwhelming to see a city with so many contrasts of cultures, religions and spiritual needs. We humbly acknowledge the courage of the servants of Jesus Christ who represent Him in this place.

While the spiritual battle is great, so are the victories that Christ is constantly winning in India. One Indian pastor told me that the percentage of Christians in India may seem small compared to the total population. However, in actual numbers there are more Christians in India than there are people in all of Canada! To enjoy a quick view of Calcutta, see the "Streets and Scenes of Calcutta".

Don & Viv Bond Don & Viv Bond

Melting Hearts

The victories in the School of Missions are also encouraging to report. We have now completed about 60% of the training for the students and the practical work that they are doing in the villages is constantly gaining ground from the evil one. The hearts of many in the villages are softening to the gospel and some are placing their faith in the redemption that only Christ can give.

The growth in the villages is not as rapid as our early projections anticipated, but the development of mature leadership among the local village people requires time and patience. It would be highly unusual to see a new Christian brought to maturity in Christ without time spent learning the Scriptures and then gaining experience in serving our Lord. Paul warns Timothy not to place a novice (recent convert) as pastor of the church (1 Tim 3:6). At this point we are only developing cell group leaders in the villages, but even that level of leadership requires spiritual maturity. To see some of the actual cell groups in action, see "Growth in the Villages". The pictures are not the best quality as they were taken with a cell phone, but what they represent is truly exciting.

Speaking of spiritual maturity, we are greatly encouraged by the arrival of Don & Viv Bond. Don will be sharing the teaching load with Rich in the School of Missions during this next cycle. After 50 years of church planting experience in Peru the Bonds have much to contribute for the Great Commission here. They may not move as quickly as they once did, but their heart for serving the Lord is as strong as ever. What a testimony they are to us!

Rich & Jo Ann with national partner Rich & Jo Ann with national partner

Mighty Challenge

As we look forward to the fantastic ministry that the Lord has for us after India we are greatly humbled. For over 30 years many of you have been supporting Jo Ann and me in prayer and with finances. When this adventure began those many years ago we never imagined anything like the possibilities that await us now. If nurturing a church planting movement and starting 16 churches in one country seems exciting, how does it sound to do the same thing simultaneously in many countries? That is just what the Lord is laying before us to do along with you!   

Soon Jo Ann and I will be concentrating on developing the Great Commission in Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean. "Quick Praise & Prayer" page that we have prepared for easy prayer reference.