Onward Christian Soldiers: Day One of Mission Aurangabad
“Whenever you give an evangelist a microphone, you gonna have church.” I’d heard a world famous evangelist declare it at a home-going service of Pastor John Osteen. I was wondering, what would happen if “You send out more than 30 young evangelists with a license to go shout out His Name to the lost!” I got the answer at Mission Aurangabad!
Dates 13th through 15th December 2013 will hold a special place in the hearts of a few young souls from Mumbai. It was, to put it mildly, their tryst with destiny. It was their time to walk into the list of historymakers! For those were the days they revealed the Saviour to the very heart of Maharashtra.
While the preparations for ‘Mission Aurangabad’ had been on for more than a month, with frequent prayers topping that list, no one quite knew what to expect from God. And they wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. Who doesn’t love a bit of a surprise?
On Our Marks…
Mumbai was just welcoming its winter. But we experienced the true meaning of winter only when our train smelt the air at Aurangabad. Shawls, jackets, sweaters, mufflers, gloves became our extra line of defence against the dropping mercury as we greeted Pastor Daniel, our ‘boss’ during the trip, during the early hours of Friday, the 13th.
The Youth Hostel close to Aurangabad station would become our base for the next couple of days. Nothing can be more refreshing that echoes of praise to wake one up. As the brothers sang in tandem from the boys’ dormitary, the fact that we got only two hours of sleep did not bother many. For the next hour and half, it was all about beating the ice-cold water and the tiredness of travelling. If an early morning shower did not freshen up the young ones, the worship and devotion most certainly did.
Day 1: Be ready. Keep your lamps burning!
“Fasten your girdle. Keep your lamps burning” was the encouraging Word of God from Luke 12:35 that the team got before they set foot on to the mission fields. A few instructions from the senior pastors of later, this team of enthusiastic souls were on their way to its first village.
Jogeshwari (not to be confused with Mumbai’s Jogeshwari) was our first stop – a village, where a year back, about 20 odd youngsters had helped in establishing a church. Today, the church is very much active in the area. We divided ourselves into teams of 6-7, chose our ‘target areas’, distributed the gospel literatures, whilst also inviting the villagers for a special Christmas meet happening at noon. Some of the teams were invited for prayer in the houses of some who needed them. A lame man who needed help to even get up was prayed for by one of those teams. Result? Jesus touched him. He moved his hands and legs, stood up all by himself and even walked a couple of steps, much to the shock of those who’d seen him immobile thus far.
If any further proof was needed of God moving powerfully, there was more to come! At a believer’s front yard, an open-air meeting saw about 40 odd people attending as the worship team started ministering. The gospel was preached as tears swelled down some of the the listeners’ cheeks. Many demon possessed were set free in Jesus Name. Holy Spirit’s revelations to a few youngsters meant that those hesitating to come forward to pray were left with no choice, but to request for prayers. The spirit of deformity was fighting a losing battle, as God started touching them. Tears of joy were visible among the audience, and even among the people of the ministry team. So powerful was the movement of the Holy Spirit that the meet that was to last only for an hour, went on for two and half hours.
After a well-deserved lunch at a believer’s home, we were on our way for our first real ‘street gospel meeting.’ What was probably a foundation of a new house doubled up as our stage at Ranjangoan – our second Missions destination. The worship team got into action as some volunteers went around distributing literature to houses nearby and inviting them for a special Christmas programme. We’d all equipped ourselves with basic Marathi through which, we could at least invite the citizens of the land. It worked. By the time, the street play started, we had a good audience, including a local politician, laughing and listening. A short gospel message that connected to the skit was delivered, along with an invitation to a public meeting at the local school ground.
Sometimes, delivering the gospel is also about delivering it with the right strategy. It was at Ranjangoan that the ‘Aika Aika Aika’ (Translated to ‘Listen Listen Listen’) strategy was born. With one person leading the shouting, and the other 30 odd following suit, from that ‘open stage’ till the school ground, the youngsters made sure that every house heard about the special programme happening from 6 PM!
The meeting at school ground saw a good gathering of children and elders alike. Praises to the Living King echoed across the ground and its surroundings. Choreography and skit engaged the audience. A testimony in Marathi was sooting to the ears of the localites. Gospel was presented in an atmosphere of worship, and God was moving powerfully. People were desperate to find a God who’d give them peace. Tears were the order of the night, as many submitted their lives to Jesus. Every member of the team was busy in ministering to lost souls. Marathi Bibles were falling short. The little congregation that used to happen every week would surely see an increase from the coming weeks, as Ranjangoan experienced the movement of the Holy Spirit.
Each youngster came back enriched after Day One, and was expecting an even powerful Day Two, as lights were switched off for a well deserved rest!
Do go through some more pictures from our first day in Aurangabad. [Click the thumbnails to view an enlarged version of the pic]. For more pics, visit our Mission Aurangabad album on the Rebuilders FB page.