Short Stop, Long Story
by Jim Fleming, Global Coordinator
Change, the only constant in life, remains a global reality, one that is especially evident in India. Politics radicalize the government. Violent protests work to diminish the power of caste structures. The population has increased drastically. Education spreads to the masses, enabling people to go further in life. Living standards slowly and steadily improve. Internet now reaches many of the villages. These political, social, and cultural changes have enabled Emmaus to further its outreach in India. During my April trip to the Middle East, I flew to India for several nights. What I witnessed in that country humbled me.
My first day in India I attended a crucial Emmaus board meeting. I worked through several issues with eleven Emmaus leaders. I served as an arbitrator while the leaders debated possible changes and improvements. By the end of this board meeting, we established a detailed 5-year vision. Our shared passion to reach new segments of the population drove this vision forward. We set in motion our plans to reach the illiterate and to offer a formal, accredited program. We also created a working board to be run by the leaders themselves, along with an advisory board that could annually setup and maintain policies.
During my second day in India, I attended the annual All-India Emmaus Conference. Over seventy Emmaus workers traveled by train to attend the meeting in Bangalore, the capital of the southern Karnataka state. Some of them traveled over fifty hours to reach the conference.
During this meeting, believers shared how God was working in most of the states of India. Leaders shared countless testimonies and stories of how people are being saved through the use of Emmaus courses and are now being discipled. Believers continue to share the gospel in and take courses to isolated villages, high schools, and prisons with spiritually thrilling results.
The Emmaus courses have spread throughout much of India as several formal programs and ministries have started using the courses. Just one exciting example: Talmid House is a ministry in Tamil Nadu that houses Christian university students who come to their city to study. The unique feature is that the residents are signing up for a 3-year discipleship program run by the Talmid leaders, and Emmaus courses are the curriculum textbooks!
My experience in India humbled me. I saw how the country is changing. I witnessed the dedication and faith of believers willing to risk everything. In this world, the one thing that does not change is the love of Jesus Christ. Hebrew 13:8 assures us that “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, and today, and forever.”
Although everything around us continues to change, the gospel remains true. By God’s grace, the Emmaus ministry in India continues to grow.
Emmaus India Board
The joy of seeing the younger generation take on leadership positions in India!
Jim teaching at the conference.