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In India there are several large, densely populated cities, but most of the people live in villages, which are everywhere.  Many people still live in remote areas, often steep, with lots of vegetation.  The government owns the trees but will grant a one acre plot for a family to live on.  Houses are usually small, made of woven coconut branches with thatched roofs and dirt floors. 

 A few banana plants and maybe a few papaya trees supplement the principal diet of rice and curry.  Meager income is derived from the sale of wild spices, harvesting sap from rubber trees, doing 'cooli works' (day labor) in rice or tapioca fields nearby, or however one can survive.  Among these people, most need help, many will listen to the story of Jesus, and some will trust Him.



Joyous Christians gather beside this beautiful lake to celebrate the baptism of new believers from the tribal area of the distant hills.  They realize how important it is to bond and support.


In many lands it requires courage and a willingness to suffer rejection and persecution for following the Lord Jesus in baptism. Yet, with excited hearts they come ... one by one.


It doesn't start at the lakeside.  Missionary students from Evangelical Bible College often make their way into the remote hill tribe areas with the message of life and joy in Christ.  At the end of this section we'll take you to meet some of them and see their training center. 


Everything they will need for the day must be carried on their backs.  It is often very hot and dry, so water is essential.  Even though this is part of the Bible College training, it becomes very personal and heartfelt to these you missionaries.

Whew!  Several kilometers and it's time to rest!  Today will be a 'feast' day for some new believers, so the sacks are heavy with rice and other goodies.  Though a regular part of their hands-on mission training, hearts made tender by our Lord is their real motivation for their day-after-day searching out the lost.

On today's journey the destination is in the rugged hills beyond the lake.  Everyone must wade out and climb into a hand-paddled 'ferry' to get across.  The 30-minute trip will give the young missionaries time to rest before climbing the steep trails to where the hill tribe people's huts are scattered throughout the jungle.

On the far end of picture with a rose turban and loin cloth is the boat owner.  He is very friendly to the missionaries who frequently travel with him, but fears he would lose too much business or suffer retaliation from Hindu patrons if he trusted Jesus to be his savior.  So, they will just keep loving him and telling him the old, old story about a wonderful new life in Christ. 

In a clearing beside someone's house the feast is prepared.  Banana leaves, plentiful and inexpensive, are often used to eat on.  Rice is cooked in a large pot on a smoldering outdoor fire.  Each person receives a generous portion along with a small ladle of curry sauce, perhaps a piece of bread, and a cup of water, maybe even a fresh banana.  --  Next, groups of two or three will wind their way along the trails, lovingly presenting the message of hope to hopeless souls who live here.

     After trusting Christ a man added a shed to the side of their dwelling as a meeting place for the first church on this mountain. --  Notice the tallest man standing at the far end.  He was the first one in this area to accept Jesus.  He earns $1 a day collecting sap from rubber trees.  His house is built high in a tree to keep the marauding elephants from destroying it.  He is very active in helping reach others and establish churches.

First the seed, then the plant, then the fruit...that is God's order.  Reach one, reach a few, establish a church...  Here is the 'tent' of cocoanut branches where new believers can meet to worship and fellowship.  You can have a part in this work.  Listen to your heart. 


Nurturing is essential.  People from the more established village churches often ride crowded buses and walk long distances to encourage their new brothers and sisters.  In this picture the new tent is being dedicated to God.   



Can you picture yourself here?  Undeterred by distance, insects, dirt, there is rejoicing!  In a way, each of us who helps to train and send the missionaries, or purchase the little plots to erect a building, or buy a Bible or a bicycle or a pair of sandals, can rightly picture ourselves here.  




As the missionaries minister and the church grows, perhaps one day the temporary thatched building can be replaced with a permanent one like this.  What a wonderful opportunity to help for those God has blessed financially .




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REACHING OUT, INC. -- P. O. BOX 902 -- ATHENS, TN 37371-0902 

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