[vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”” use_theme_fonts=”yes”][vc_single_image image=”116128″ img_size=”full” add_caption=”yes” alignment=”center”][vc_column_text]04/30/2020 Washington, D.C. (International Christian Concern) – In November 2018, International Christian Concern (ICC) launched an ambitious campaign to help bring the Gospel to India’s rural and unreached communities. We called this the Bibles and Bikes for India Initiative.
Through this initiative, ICC set the lofty goal of equipping 1,000 rural evangelists with a new bicycle and 100 Bibles. With these simple tools, evangelists are empowered to bring the Gospel to rural communities previously beyond their reach.
To date, ICC has empowered almost 700 rural evangelists. While their outreach work has been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, as well as India’s national lockdown, ICC remains in close contact with these evangelists, providing support and following up on their ministries.
Pastor Boini John was among the beneficiaries of the Bibles and Bikes Initiative who received a bicycle and 100 Bibles in March 2019. Since then, Pastor John reports that his ministry in southern India has significantly increased.
“I am really thankful for the bicycle I received a year ago from ICC,” Pastor John explained. “After receiving the bicycle, more house churches are being planted in a short span of time.”
“Before, my ability to travel to new villages was very limited,” Pastor John continued. “I used to go on foot and sometimes used public transport.”
Since receiving the bicycle, Pastor John travels to 23 villages for outreach and to distribute Bibles. He has also started three house churches and has brought 15 people to Christ. Before the pandemic, Pastor John was traveling nearly 50 miles a week.
While Pastor John has seen a lot of success in the last year, he also reports that he has faced growing persecution.
“The place I serve is a tough place for Christians,” Pastor John told ICC. “Several times, I have been taken to the police station on false charges. This year, in 2020, a portion of one of my churches was demolished by radicals, and I was beaten up. The Bibles were torn and burnt by the radicals.”
In the face of this persecution, Pastor John continued his ministry in the rural villages in southern India. However, like many other church planters, the COVID-19 pandemic and India’s national lockdown has cut Pastor John off from his congregations since March 25.
“I feel sad for the congregations that I lead as I am unable to travel to them to lead worship and prayers,” Pastor John told ICC. “This lockdown has affected my ministry because I shepherd those that are illiterate and cannot read the Bible on their own. Personal counseling is a big part of my ministry. Now that I cannot go, I am worried.”
The coronavirus pandemic and India’s national lockdown will likely continue to affect many of the evangelists empowered through the Bibles and Bikes Initiative. However, ICC will continue to follow up with these evangelists to support them and record the impact their ministries are having on India’s rural and unreached communities.
For interviews, please contact Olivia Miller, Communications Coordinator: firstname.lastname@example.org. [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]