Ministering in India is much different than in the United States. The USA is a secular, materialistic society where God and spiritual things are peripheral at best. But India has a reputation for being a ‘spiritual’ country. Many travel there to find spirituality, to learn meditation, to practice Yoga or to attend a meditation retreat in an ashram. It’s one of the most popular reasons for visiting India because India and Indians are very ‘spiritual’ people with a great variety of spiritual disciplines from which to pick and choose.
Every major world religion is represented in India. Additionally, Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism all originated in India. In fact, India has the largest population of Hindus, Sikhs, Jains and Parsees of any country in the world.
About 80% of Indians are Hindu. Muslims are the largest minority in India and form approximately 13% of the country’s population. In fact, India has the third largest population of Muslims in the world, after Indonesia and Pakistan.
India has more mosques (300,000 mosques) than any other nation in the world. And the third largest Muslim population in the world.
The Tirupati Balaji temple and the Kashi Vishwanath Temple both receive more visitors than the Vatican City and Mecca combined.
Cows can be found freely wandering the streets of India’s cities. They are considered sacred and will often wear a tilak, a Hindu symbol of good fortune. Cows are considered one of humankind’s seven mothers because they offer milk as does one’s natural mother.
To avoid polluting the elements (fire, earth, water, air), followers of Zoroastrianism in India don’t bury their dead, but instead leave bodies in buildings called “Towers of Silence” for the vultures to pick clean. After the bones dry, they are swept into a central well.
I thank God for my Christian heritage, for parents who took me to church and for growing up in a country where Jesus was recognized and Biblical principles were incorporated into daily life. The pastors we train and Christians we talk to in India are from Hindu, Muslim or animist backgrounds. They lack the exposure to Christian truths I had growing up. How different my life would have been had I been born into a Hindu or Muslim family!
1 Thessalonians 5:18 “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
1 Chronicles 16:34 “Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever!”
Philippians 4:6-7 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
How would YOUR life have been different had you been raised in a Hindu or Moslem country?
Thank God for those who have been influential in teaching you about Jesus. Pray for them and if they are still alive thank them as well.
What can you do today to impact the life of someone you know for Jesus? Pray and ask God to tell you who and how. Patiently listen to Him and write down what He says.