Marshall’s Report on India Ministry, 2008

Dear Friends,

This past November for the 1st time a team member came with me from Oregon. Matt Petz (31) has a genuine love for Jesus. His life has some great challenges, but I sensed even with them, INDIA ministry would fuel his passion to see people won to Jesus. Mission work stretches us all in different ways and Matt was no exception. At times we feel so inadequate but this is where God want us, dependent on Him. Our flesh cries out for mercy, our adversary the devil demeans and accuses us, but our spirit rejoices because God has allowed us to participate in the unseen war for the souls of men.

A common sight on the India back roads

Matt’s job was to be a member of whatever team he was assigned. He would be there to assist in testimony, dental presentations, or just loving on the people. Typically the team leader preaches the main message and assigns the members their roles. I made sure Matt and I roomed together as there would be questions, uncertainties, etc. and hopefully I could help. He was on my team for his first experience. He did great because, as always, if we will but obey and step into the water, God will part the Jordon River (figuratively speaking). As the week went by God continued to use him. I believe God has specific designs on his life. Time will manifest this.

Our first morning was spent going out to visit with the orphans at the SAMRAKSHA SOCIETY compound.  It has grown from 10 children (my first year) to 100 beautiful boys and girls now.  This year the work was finished on a building that will house up to 200 total.  I felt this was the best year ever.  It seems that as the years have gone by the children realize how truly blessed they are to be there.  Matt’s mother Cathy, though anything but rich, had sponsored 13 of these orphans.  This year God called her home, and Matt and his 3 siblings have assumed responsibility for those kids.  When we walked into the new building a table was set up with a beautiful picture of Cathy and some candles.  We could not hold back the tears.  During the service Matt and I prayed prayers of thanks for Cathy’s infectious ministry and also for her kids.  Matt got to meet and play with them all (photo ops, etc) and they called him ‘big brother’.  It was a wonderful service and clearly the children were appreciative of the generosity shown them.

A Jesus Well Blesses the Children

Next came a program put on by the children with dramas and songs about Jesus, reciting of memorized scripture.  They receive a great education, a balanced diet, their own dishes and few changes of clothes and a roof over their head, plus LOVE.  They are always very presentable, but make no mistake, they are kids!  Leaving this year was the hardest yet.  The children clung to our legs, crying, telling us “thank you, please come back and bye.”

Also on the compound this year was the annual Pastors conference with 375 pastors present (up from 350 in ’07, and 304 in ’06).  These pastors come from all over the region with converts from the village preaching, crusades and JVT’s being turned over to them.

Our teams preached in several villages this year.  As I think about Paul’s missionary journeys I realize that at times he traveled to new areas to reason in the synagogues in order to make disciples and establish churches, while at other times his mission was to strengthen the churches where he had already been.  Both are critical needs.

I am an evangelist at heart, but I also have a strong desire to see people become all that God purposed for them to be.  To walk in the works that God has ordained for them.  (Eph 2:10).  This year I did some of both as I visited some villages where many were already Christians.  The joy of The Lord was so obvious and so I shared with them the stories of many Old and New Testament people, men and women just like us, but used greatly of God.  How God would love someone as lowly as the woman at the well (John 4).  She was low and despised, with seemingly no hope of good coming her way, only misery and heartache.  Still God used her to win many in her town.  And those same people who despised her in this life will thank her for all eternity because she told them about The Savior.  God still uses this lowly lady to this day.  Oh, how God can give meaning and purpose to our lives.  One could see the hope rise in their hearts.  I shared how God’s love took Him all the way to the cross.  Then the invitation.  Usually even in this setting a few Hindu’s or Muslims friends and neighbors would be sitting in.  They would stand up indicating their desire to turn from idols and follow Christ. We would rejoice together!  It was so precious!

They are as beautiful inside as thier clothes on the outside
My night preaching assignments were evangelistic.  One night we went to a large enclosed school yard with 1 opening.  I was so tired that I could barely keep my eyes open.  Not wanting to be lethargic I prayed to God ‘give me strength, give me zeal, give me your words’.  The crowd kept growing larger and larger, to several hundred.  God answered my prayers and as I stood up to preach a local Christian told me “preach over the top of the walls, uou can’t see them but hundreds who won’t come in will be listening.”  God gave me power and energy!  When I gave the invitation too many hands to count were raised.  People waited to receive and sign decision cards.  Then I addressed the people on the other side of the wall.  Sharing with them “I understand your reluctance to come inside, but many of you have a witness in your heart that you heard the truth tonight.  You understand you can’t pay for your own sins.  That is why Christ came to earth to give His life a ransom for many.  To redeem us from the slave-block of sin and satan’s death grip.  It is not too late to turn to Christ.  If there was any other way for men to be reconciled back to God, Christ would not have come to earth to die the brutal, tortuous death on the cross.”  It was very late at night (11:35) and we were many miles from our hotel.  So after greeting some of the people, praying with others, we were ushered to our vehicle to head home.

Our morning devotional and next assignment would come early!  The next day as we drove to another assignment, my interpreter Jesu Padem (‘at the feet of Jesus’) received a phone call.  I did not get all the details, but those left at the scene last night said the response to repent of sin and place their faith in Christ alone was very large!  I can only assume that some from the ‘outside’ came in expressing a desire to turn to Christ.  The caller told my interpreter “it was like a mini crusade!’  The Lord speaking through the prophet Isaiah said “my word shall not go out void but it shall accomplish what I please.”  It is His words, not ours, that sway the hearts of man.

Speaking of crusades, I preached 1 of 3 regional crusades moving out each year further from our base of operations.  I preached the 1st and 3rd night while Pastor Truman spoke the 2nd night while I gave the crowd a ‘greeting’ that night.  All 3 nights: Sherry and Mary sang their hearts out, Martin Goodall gave an excellent testimony, and Ruben Garcia and Matt greeted the crowd gathered.  The last night is always the largest by far.  About 3 minutes before I was to go up to speak I found myself sitting on the platform suddenly feeling God wanted me to change my lengthy introduction which was key to the rest of the message.  I have learned to try no matter how difficult to yield to my Masters leading!  “But God only 1 song to go”… I spoke of ‘the fall of man’ and our subsequent heart condition.  Jeremiah said “the heart is desperately wicken, deceitful above all things, who can know it?”  God described it as a heart of stone, a hard heart, and a deaf heart incapable of fellowship with God. I told that precious crowd that all men are born with a serious heart condition.  The diagnosis has been made.  Our disease is fatal.  The examination has been made by the Word of God and there is only one solution: not only do we need a new heart…we need a heart donor.  But not just any donor will do.  It must be one who has been untouched by the deadly spiritual contaminant of sin.  (Gen 2:7) In the day you eat thereof you shall surely die.  (also Rom 5:12)

There is only one suitable donor.  Unfortunately there is no amount of money or sacrifice that could purchase such an operation.  It is beyond our ability to pay.  Not only is there only one donor who can save us, but the costly procedure will have to be a ‘gift.’  Who would love us enough to offer such an unspeakable gift?  The answer, I told the audience, was Jesus Christ.  He so loved the world that He endured the great contradiction of taking the sin of the world upon Himself.  He suffered the wrath of God’s judgment against sin on The Cross of Calvary.  What a donor!  He died in order that we might live!  He died in order that we might have the opportunity to have a heart transplant!  Yes, He died that we might live!

There is only one Lamb of God.  That is why there is only one mediator between God and man (1Tim 2:5).  The Lamb slain before the foundation of the world was the only sacrifice that God would accept as payment of sin.  Only the pure, precious, innocent blood of Christ would do.  Life is in the blood – His blood. In the book of beginnings (Genesis 3), God established the principle of blood sacrifice for sin.  When Adam & Eve sinned they understood they were exposed before a Holy God (they knew their nakedness) and they sought to cover their sin (their nakedness) with fig leaves.  Notice, God removed their fig leaves and covered them with an animal’s skin.  An innocent animal died.  Blood was shed as a covering for them.  It was His work; they had no part but to receive.  Fig leaves are representative of mans attempt to cover his sin, to make up for or hide his sin by something he can do for God (religion).  This is not God’s way, and this truth is represented in Genesis 4 when Abel approaches God by the way of faith (blood sacrifice) and Cain comes the way of works (offering the work of his own hands/effort).  Abel’s sacrifice (a lamb from his own flock) prefigures the incarnate Christ, an innocent offering.  But animal skin and blood is only a temporary sacrifice and only a covering, not a taking away of sin. But in Christ we have a permanent, one time offering for all sin forever (see Heb 10:12,14).  Not a covering for sin but a complete satisfaction of the sin debt (see also Col 2:14).  His words on the cross say it all:  IT IS FINISHED!  (John 19:30)  PAID IN FULL!!!

When we try to vindicate ourselves by any other way we show 2 things:
We don’t understand our desperate deadly heart condition
We don’t understand that the Holy wrath of God could only be appeased, could only be satisfied one way.  The Cross was not just another idea, it was the only way.
Ascetisim, discipline, money, sacrifice, vows, pilgrimages, long prayers, or religious sincerity are not substitutes to appease or pay for, in any way, the judgment for sin which will one day be culminated with the return of Christ. To offer anything other than, or try to add anything to, Christ’s finished work is to trample underfoot the precious blood of Christ.

The wisdom of this world offers and advances the idea that there are many ways to be reconciled back to God and be saved from sin.  This is in direct contradiction to the words of Christ when He said (John 14:6) “I am the way the truth and the life.  No one comes to the Father but by me.”  Was Jesus wrong when He spoke of the narrow way that leads to life and few there be that find it and of the broad road that leads to destruction?  Is it possible that His theology was not evolved enough?  Or did he care enough to speak the truth?

(Rom 10) How shall they call on Him of whom they’ve never heard and how shall they call unless a preacher be sent.
(Rom 6)  The wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ.
(Eph 2:8,9) For by grace (unmerited favor) are you saved through faith and that not of yourselves it is the gift of God, not of works, lest any man should boast.

This is why I feel so passionate and grateful for the opportunity to take the message of Christ to the ‘uttermost parts of the earth’.  Perhaps I have preached to the choir, but we need to see that soon “the night cometh when no man can work.”

Never, never allow ‘The Cross’ to be diminished in your heart or in your theology.

Back to the crusade:  A gift can be offered, spoken about in our churches and even be acknowledged as a good thing: we can even know people who have the gift, but a gift is not really ours unless and until it is received.  That which cannot be earned must be a gift.  It is not bought in part by ritual observance, rule keeping, or religious fervor.  It was bought and paid for with Blood.  We cannot say we have faith without works but it is not our works which justify us.  They are the reasonable service (Rom 12:1) of a grateful bond servant saved from certain judgment, and the natural byproduct of a heart transplant.  Over the 3 nights we preached to an estimated 11,000 people with 1929 responding immediately to the gospel invitation, signing decision cards and being assigned to the nearest of the local pastors, who were there present at the crusades.

To God Alone Be the Glory!!

Past Reports:

Click to read past reports:

India 2007

India 2006

India 2005