Below is an interview with Randy Cole, President of Asian Partners International (API). Here’s a great, real life example of God multiplying His disciples in North India.
1. I’m sure there are countless examples, but could you share a specific story of how God has used ordinary believers in Northern India to make disciples in this difficult region?
In 2011, a young man about 18 years old accepted the Lord as his Savior, and was being discipled and mentored by one of our Community Learning Center leaders in the state of Uttar Pradesh. He was uneducated but very trainable. He was hungry and thirsty for the Word of God, and was open to learn the basics of disciple-making. About three months into his training, before he could actually complete it, this man told his mentor that he had to move to another town to take a job working in a brick-making factory. Two months later, he contacted his mentor. He reported that there were 70 new believers from this factory who wanted to be baptized. He asked, “What should I do?” His mentor said, “Train them to go and make disciples just like you were trained, and I’ll be there in a couple of days to assist you.”
2. On a practical level, how is API intentional about instructing new believers to think of themselves as disciple-makers?
Rather than just telling people what to do, we teach them to understand and obey verses like Matthew 28:19. We do this by using what we call the Discovery Bible Study process. One of the first “discoveries” of new believers using this process is Matthew 28:19-20.
We ask people to look at a biblical passage and take the following steps:
1) Write your own paraphrase of the verse. Do you know what it says?
2) Write down the application that the Spirit is teaching you from this passage. Do you understand what it says?
3) Write down how you will obey this application by answering the following questions: “What will I change?”, “What will be the cost?”, and “Are you willing to take action and follow-through on the teaching?”
4) Finally, write down the person(s) in your circle of influence that needs to learn this. Are you willing to multiply the teaching?
3. What specific challenges has API faced in making disciples in Northern India?
The people groups that we serve are the 100 million Bhojpuri, 30 million Awadhi, 30 million Magahi, 20 million Maithili, and 30 million Muslims residing in North India. These people groups are located in over 172,000 villages and urban communities. This is the heartland of India, and the region is characterized by political unrest, illiteracy, poverty, and disease. North India has been called the “graveyard of missions and missionaries” as many have tried and failed over the past 200-300 years to spread the gospel in this area. To summarize, we have language/cultural barriers, logistics issues, literacy barriers, poverty, disease, and persecution to overcome.
4. How can we pray for the efforts of API as it seeks to make the gospel known in Northern India and throughout Asia?
Our Vision is that by 2018, 30 million new believers are added to His Kingdom from North India, and that each of the 172,000 villages and urban communities has at least one house church planted. The Lord is moving in this part of the world! Over the past 18 years, we believe the Lord has added more than 6 million North Indians to His Church.
- Pray that God would continue to pour out His Spirit in this area of the world.
- Pray for the vision of seeing 30 million new disciples in India by the year 2018.
- Pray for CLC leaders and their families.
- Pray for the female population in this area. Each year, more than 1 million female children go “missing” between the ages of 0-6.
- Pray for God to provide his divine protection and wisdom to new believers from Hindu, Islam, and Maoist backgrounds.
- Pray that we continue to multiply disciples, leaders, churches, and teaching.