When was the last time you went to church at 1 a.m.–for a training session?
One day last December, more than 200 members of a church in south India met from 1 to 3 a.m. to be trained as “Matthews” for My Hope India. Matthews, like the Apostle Matthew in the New Testament, invite friends to their home to introduce them to Jesus Christ–in this case, through My Hope television broadcasts shown throughout India the week of Christmas.
After months of mobilizing churches throughout the nation, My Hope organizers were heading into the final weekend before broadcasts would begin. But churches were still coming on board and would need training.
One pastor contacted the local My Hope coordinator and insisted, “We want to have training–we need to have the training.”
“We’re all booked,” said the coordinator. “I’ve got every trainer out working, and I’m out of town–I won’t be back until late evening.”
“Well, do it then,” the pastor pleaded.
They settled on 1 o’clock Sunday morning, and 250 people showed up. The pastor said that after the session, they all went home for a couple of hours’ sleep before returning for Sunday morning services.
This is one example of the dedication many Indian Christians have to see their friends and neighbors come to Jesus. And as people have heard and responded to Christ, their changed lives demonstrate the grace and power of God.
In northern India, a family watched one of the My Hope programs and committed their lives to Christ. They threw away their idols and stopped their old practices. The small temple in front of their house has become desolate, and they now travel six kilometers on foot to attend church regularly. They also have begun witnessing for the Lord, and some of their neighbors have shown interest in the Gospel. Opposition has arisen because of this, so local coordinators are asking for prayer that the family will be able to bear these things and grow in their faith.
On Dec. 23 a My Hope coordinator and a friend visited someone in the hospital. After their visit, they wanted to watch the My Hope broadcast, but they knew they wouldn’t make it home in time. So they stopped at a house along the road and asked if the family had a TV. They did, so the coordinator said, “Do you mind if we come in? There’s a special program we want to watch.” The family agreed to watch the program with their visitors. The message touched them; it was the first time they had heard about Christ and His salvation. They did not accept Christ but said they were very interested in this message.
On Dec. 24 a man who was a member of a religiously radical political party viewed the My Hope program called “Journey to Hope,” which featured a message by Billy Graham. The man decided to follow Jesus and removed all the idols from his house. He has begun attending church and sharing his testimony.
Among the other stories of God’s grace:
- One church reported that more than 40 families participated in My Hope. More than 500 people watched the program, and 50 percent of them committed their lives to Christ. The pastor is starting 15 Bible study groups for these new believers.
- A Christian man invited 40 executives to his home for one of the broadcasts. All of his guests accepted Jesus Christ, and the man will disciple them through a new home group.
- A doctor invited 15 friends to her house for the program, and all of them accepted Christ.
- A pastor reported that about 15 families who did not have televisions in their homes rented a television together so they could invite friends to watch the program. As a result, more than 120 people have come to Christ, and many have expressed interest in joining the church.
- The pastor of a house church reported that 12 people accepted Christ after watching one of the programs in one home, and 14 accepted Christ in another home.
Although the initial phase of My Hope India has ended, the effort continues. Christians and churches are now following up with those who made commitments to Jesus Christ; many new believers have begun attending discipleship groups and/or local churches.
Also, thousands of video discs of the program are being circulated throughout the nation. And thousands of churches are using them to hold seeker conferences, complete with an invitation to receive the Lord Jesus Christ. During the next two months, hundreds of thousands of people will watch the My Hope programs at these seeker conferences.