Many of you probably saw the devastating effects of India's experience with COVID-19 in your daily news. When the Delta variant surged in India in early 2021, churches and church networks were burdened with the great need to take care of their pastors and members. Feelings of hopelessness spread throughout the country and discouragement swept through church communities as leaders struggled to guide and shepherd the thousands of people who lost family members, jobs and their daily wages.
Top Indian church network leaders voiced their plight to BILD’s Michael Vos and Jeff Reed during their regular executive education meetings that were being held online. The distress of the Indian leaders was felt throughout the entire BILD network as Michael shared these prayer requests with top leaders from other church networks.
As the leaders from one large church network were learning about the biblical ways in which churches fund the progress of the gospel, they realized they could implement those ideas and raise money for the Indian churches in the same way churches and benefactors participated in the New Testament.
Execution of this idea took weeks of planning and was not without obstacles. Michael shared that to even transfer the money out of one country and into the other country would be very difficult.
However, through the diligence and commitment of Michael, Jeff, and BILD’s global partners, they figured out a way to get it done. These leaders labored and grew together during the process that not only benefited the Indian church networks, but also unlocked a unity and one-mindedness among the global church partners.
Michael said the gift to help the Indian churches would not have happened without BILD, the vast network of unified leaders in the benefactor country, exceptional businessmen who understand the vision, and network leaders in India who administered the distribution of the gifts to people.
Over the course of a few weeks the equivalent of 600,000 USD was raised for distribution among the Indian partner churches that were hit the hardest by COVID.
“We all were united in the idea that when Christians in one part of the world are really struggling, we have an obligation to help,” Michael said. “Only the Spirit can bring unity, but BILD brought the need to the forefront and said this is what we need to consider.”
Giving sacrificially to help ease the burdens in BILD’s global network is a demonstration of the outcome of leadership development centered around key New Testament principles. These principles are being implemented by many of BILD’s partner networks around the world today. When referring to the exchange of this monetary gift between these two networks, Michael said, “It helped give them a sense that they’re collectively responsible for each other, that they truly are a global family.”
The responses from the Indian church networks were filled with gratitude and thanksgiving. Ration kits were distributed to pastors and families in different parts of India and included food and basic necessities that would last families a couple months.
In one network, nearly 500 pastors benefited from the gift. Rev. S. Duraiswamy from the Evangelical Church of India thanked his church network leaders, BILD and those who gave sacrificially. “For the people who prayed and the people who were behind this entire project, we just want to thank you and appreciate you and remember you in our prayers,” he said.
The outpouring of support was also felt by Badavo Banjara Phozear Trust (BBPT) and the Banjara Church of India that assisted in the distribution of ration kits that helped nearly 20,000 people. This included 4,670 families in both the states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana which collectively include 260 villages.
A.P. Sagar Singh Bhukya from BBPT said that during the COVID crisis he never expected God would help them in such a way and open the doors for BBPT to serve so many thousands of people. “We praise God that the pastors and those in challenging times have been helped through this provision,” he said.
To express such gratitude was not without emotion for Sagar and his father, who was also helping distribute ration kits. “Thank you so much,” his father said. “As we always pray for you, and we appreciate your generous contribution. We understand how much you love us.”
It is a work of the Holy Spirit that a global church network, like-minded in New Testament principles, would so generously give to church networks in another country that was suffering greatly.
Sagar said, “I want to thank [BILD] and all others who have walked along with us. We are looking forward to many more opportunities in the future so that we can share the love of Christ.”