Neighborhoods To Nations Pt. 1 - India And The Bay Area

Global Lessons We Can Learn From Gospel Ministry In India.

Saji John
Oct 18, 2020    32m
In this message, Guest Speaker Saji John shares global lessons that we can learn and apply to God's calling in our lives. He shares stories from his Gospel ministry in India to inspire us to get involved and give. Video recorded at Los Gatos, California.

messageRegarding Grammar:

This is a transcription of the sermon. People speak differently than they write, and there are common colloquialisms in this transcript that sound good when spoken, and look like bad grammar when written.

Tim Lundy: 00:00 Well, welcome Venture, it is faith promise time. It's that special time of year, where as a church, we specifically focus out. We take our eyes off ourselves and we look, how are we serving around the world? What are the regions where we're making an impact? What are the ways that we can get involved and get in the game? And one of the things I love about this time of year, is we get to hear from different partners who are serving around the world.

Tim Lundy: 00:28 This weekend. I want you to pay particular attention. We have a message from Saji John, and Saji serves in Northern India. And given the nature of the work, I'm not going to give a lot more detail than that, he'll tell you a lot of what they're doing. But here's why I want you to pay attention, you know, some people are worth paying attention to because of the power of their words, some people though, it's not just the power of their words, it's the power of their lives. And I'm telling you, Saji is making a difference in the ministry, in the lives rescued, in the entrepreneurial endeavors that they're doing, so many ways that he has stepped out by faith. And so I want you to take to heart his message, not just because of the words he's saying, but because of the example and the power of his life.

Saji John: 01:19 Hello everyone, what a year 2020 has been for all of us. I was hoping to be with you in person, but this tiny little virus has changed life for all of us. Although, I'm glad that I can be with you all today through this amazing technology. I want to take this opportunity to express our gratitude for all your prayers and financial support over the many years through the John Foundation Ministries, your prayers and financial support help us provide a home and education for 2,232 orphan children, and now in our 21 children homes.

Saji John: 01:57 One such child is Mahalakshmi who lost her father to Dengue Feuer in 2009, her mother had no money to pay her school fees, and that she had to drop out of school, and every day Mahalakshmi had to accompany her mother who worked as a garbage picker. Through their neighbors her mother and she came to know about John Foundation Ministries, and her mother brought her to John Foundation one day. Although initially very lost, Mahalakshmi soon began to make friends in John Foundation campus, and soon began to Excel in her studies in the school as well. Over the time, she also started to realize God's love for her, and she often requests us to pray for her mother who is sick, and for our own studies. And we are glad to say in January, 2020, Mahalakshmi was awarded as the best student of the year in our school, and what a joy to see a girl who was a garbage picker transformed into the best student of the year in the school.

Saji John: 03:02 And this is the power of your partnership, this is the power of your participation. I'm also glad to say in the last five years in a row, that our children have topped the school, and the district, in their high school final examination. Thank you for praying for them, thank you for partnering with us in making this transformation in the lives of these orphan children. We are also glad to say that your partnership helps us to help support the education of 655 children of single moms. These are children who have lost their father in a road accident, or due to sickness, and the single mother not being able to pay the school fees, they drop out of the school. And as a result, they have lost schooling for three months, or in some cases, even six months of schooling is being lost. And we identify such children, and take them back to the school and pay their school fees, and allow them to continue their school and complete their high school education. And we'd want to thank you for making this difference in the lives of 655 children of single moms.

Saji John: 04:12 And your prayers and financial support also helps us to provide two hours of tutorial for 700 plus kids who are in our 22 tutorial centers. These are children of parents who cannot read and write, their parents work in the farm, or work as a carpenter, or an electrician, but they do not know how to read and write. And when they come back home, the children don't have any help in terms of education, in terms of their questions being answered. And when they go back to the school next day, they have not completed their homework and people make fun of them, and these children drop out of school. And our 22 tutorial centers take these children for two hours after their school and help them with any questions that they have, help them with their studies so that they don't drop out of school, but excel their schools. And all together, including our children home, and the children of single moms, and the children in our 22 tutorial centers, we have nearly 1,600 children under our care in these three children programs. And we want to thank you for your partnership, we want to thank you for your prayers, which has made all of this possible, and we are so grateful to you for your partnership.

Saji John: 05:31 I also want to say that your prayers and financial support helps us to provide employable skills to 2,250 school dropout girls every year, these are girls who are vulnerable to traffickers. And over the years, we are praying over 6,800 of these girls, and all of them are doing very well, and nearly 89% of these girls are employed today.

Saji John: 05:58 One such student was Lolita, she was just 18 years when she got married. Initially her husband was a very loving and kind to her, but over the few years, she realized that he became very abusive, he started to scold her, beat her and abused her physically as well. And later, she realized that her husband was in a relationship with another woman, and she was very heartbroken and hurt, and she moved out of that house into her parents' house. For six months, she was sitting at her parents' house, very hurt and not being able to cope with the situation that she is in. She thought of killing herself, and suicidal thoughts were going through her mind, that is when somebody introduced her to Asha Skills Training Institute. And she was brought to our training Institute, to the John Foundation campus. Her time in the John Foundation campus not only taught her employable skills, but she started to draw closer to God. She became very close to God, she started loving the Bible, she started reading the Bible and soon she started to ask our tutors and the fellow students, if they would pray with her so that somehow her husband would return back to her. So our tutor started praying with her, and one day she walked into our campus, walked into her classroom so glad and happy. And she told everyone that God had answered her prayer because the previous night her husband had returned back home, and he had come asking forgiveness and said he's sorry. And he wanted to be reunited with his wife, and wanted to build a family.

Saji John: 07:44 My friends, in our campus we are constantly amazed at what God can do when we come together as a staff in our staff meeting and pray for these hurting people, pray for these people who are going through painful experience. And we are seeing how God intervenes and dealing with them, and brings them hope, and provides them hope, and provides them an assurance that God is with them. And your prayers and financial support also helps us in rescuing anywhere between 170 to 280 young girls, who are trapped into sex trade, into temple prostitution, and at any given time, we have 78 to 80 of these girls in our campus.

Saji John: 08:31 Supriya is one of that such girl, and her dad had passed away due to illness when she was still in the primary school, left with no other option, her mother took up to prostitution work. As a child she remembers many men coming into her home every evening later, her mother put her into a hostel, and she completed her 12th grade studying in a hostel. When she returned back home after her 12th grade, her mother introduced her to a man saying he was a paternal uncle, her mother often went out with him and came back late at night. One day when her mother was out of town, this uncle of hers told her that he wanted to take her for a movie. So they rent out for a movie, after the movie both of them went back to a house, this uncle of hers told her that he was his friend. But later in the night she realized that man had come into her room and was trying to rape her. She screamed for help, but instead of coming and helping both her uncle, and this friend of her uncle, came into the room and beat her so bad, and she became unconscious. And later in the next morning, she realized that she was sexually abused and raped, and she realized that both the men had left the house, and she was very disturbed and hurt, she didn't know what to do. Somehow she came to know about John Foundation, and she called our awareness campaign team who was able to go and rescue her and bring her to John Foundation campus. And she came to our campus and she did her computer and spoken English course, and today she's working as an office assistant in a very nice office. And she's also part of the local church, and we are so glad for the transformation this has brought into the life of this sweet little girl, and we are grateful for your partnership in making this possible.

Saji John: 10:33 And I want to share the story of another girl. Maya is another such girl who comes from a very poor family, and struggled when her father was diagnosed with HIV/AIDS, huge medicals left the family broke and there were struggling financially. When her dad died a few years later, her mother was forced to work as a daily wage laborer. And when there was no income, when the income was not sufficient, she went into sex trade as well. All of this situation had that deep influence and deep impact on the life of Maya, and she was very vulnerable to the sex traffickers. During an awareness campaign by John Foundation Ministries, she came to know about the skills training program in our campus. Maya jumped at this opportunity and she called for our help, and our team was able to go and rescue her, and bring her to our campus. And in October, 2018, Maya was graduating and she got a job as a marketing executive. Maya was very diligent in her work, she worked very hard and gave her best. And I am glad to say that recently she was awarded as the best sales executive of the year for 2019 and 2020.

Saji John: 11:53 Now my friends, it is our mission, it is our goal to see that our students are truly self-sustainable. They not only come to our campus and obtain a skill, but we want them to have the dignity, we want them to stand on their own legs, we want them to be self-sustainable. And not only that, we use our prayer, and we use every opportunity to share the love of Christ with them, so that they can experience the love of God in their lives as well. The girls who are rescued from sex trafficking and temple prostitution are rehabilitated in our 21 employable skills that we provide, 15 of these skills are government certified. So that when they finish that course, they get the government certificate, so that they can get a job anywhere and live a dignified life. And we want to thank you for helping us with these employable skills training programs.

Saji John: 12:51 The [inaudible] has helped, all of this has helped so many girls to be liberated from sex trade. And not only liberated, but to come to know Christ, and then to go on to, some of them have gone on to Bible college. I'm so glad to say many of the girls whom you rescued from sex trafficking are studying in the Bible colleges today. Some of them have married local pastors, and they help their husband in pastoral ministries, and have also started pioneering church ministries. And we are so grateful for what God has done in their lives.

Saji John: 13:28 I want to say this today, that your prayers and financial support also helps us to train 48 to 50 young men and women in the church planters training program every year. These are young men and women who will come to know Christ from Hindu or Muslim backgrounds. And because of their faith in Christ, the home where they were staying, they're kicked out of their homes, kicked out by their own parents, and they have no place to go. And we take such men and women under our care, and we give them a shelter. And while they are with us during that time, we train them as church planters. Not only train them as church planters, but we also train them in electrician, welding and plumbing courses, so that when they go back to their own community, go back to their own village, they are not only church planters, but these skills provide them an avenue to network with the local people, and also to have the needed income to self-sustain themselves.

Saji John: 14:34 And one such person is [inaudible] who had a desire to plant a church in his own community, he came to know God from a Hindu background. And he went back to his community after his graduation in 2015, after his training went there and he worked. And I'm glad to say that he started doing evangelism, he started to see people come to know Christ, and today he has a church of around 90 people attending his church every Sunday morning.

Saji John: 15:05 Raju is another student who we had in 2018, who got graduated from our church planters training program
in 2018, and he went back to his village. And he had this tremendous desire to see his family, his villagers, to come to know Christ, but unfortunately, the villagers did not like him. They, and the relatives together, kicked him out of the village, but Raju did not lose hope, Raju did not give up. And he moved to the next village, he started evangelism in the next village that is next to his own village, and for six months he did not see any results. He went through hunger, he went through financial struggles, he was sick almost to the point of death, but Raju never gave up. He knew the Lord who had called him was faithful, and one day he will bring it to pass the promise that God had given to Raju, that he will use him to build a church in his own village. Raju continued his evangelism, after six months God brought one [inaudible] man his way, who gave his heart to Christ. And together with that [inaudible] man, Raju and his friend started to play cricket and volley ball with the local children. The children love the Bible story that Raju was sharing, and this brought an opening into the homes of these children and their parents were interested to hear, and soon they started to come to his place to hear more stories. And I'm glad to say today, he has a church of about 30 members who are coming together every Sunday, worshipping Christ in his small little hut there in that village where he began his church planting work.

Saji John: 16:48 And we want to thank you for helping us with the support, so that we can continue to train [inaudible] men and women who will come to know Christ from non-Christian background. Train them in church planting, send them out so that they can go out and plant churches in their own community, in their own villages, so that people can come to know the living God.

Saji John: 17:10 And I want to also say that your prayers and support have helped us to help support 24 people who are affected with HIV AIDS, we have two homes in which we take care of 24 children and ladies who are affected with HIV AIDS. Bhavani is one is one such lady who is HIV positive, and she works as a daily wage labor in our own village. And during the recent lockdown, there was no food, there was no medicine available. Our team went to the village where they were distributing grocery package to all the single moms and the people who are affected with HIV AIDS. And when our team met with Bhavani, Bhavani started to cry. The reason why she was crying was she did not have any supply of ARV tablets, because there were no ARV tablets available. And she was looking at the two small children and she was crying, and she was saying, what will happen to my children if I die? And our team took it upon themselves, took it as a challenge, and for two days, they went around the city of Hyderabad and finally found the ARV tablets for Bhavani. And they went back to the village, and they handed over the ARV tablet bottles to Bhavani, and Bhavani started to cry. And this time, this cry was not from pain, but out of a glad, grateful heart. And she was so happy she was able to get these tablets, so that she knew that she can be okay and she can take care of her children.

Saji John: 18:46 Now, my friends in all of these programs, whether it is children, young girls being school dropout, young girls rescued from sex trafficking. In all of this programs, our main objective, our goal, is to somehow to share the love of Christ, because we believe strongly that it is only Jesus who can truly bring hope to the hopeless. Yes, the education is important. Yes, the skills training program helps them to have freedom and dignity and to stand on their own leg. But we all know that true freedom, true dignity, and the true hope, comes from the one who gave his very life for these precious people. So we make every effort to make Christ known to them, through our sharing testimony, through the evangelistic Christian movies, by sharing the gospel, and we give all of these students Bible as a graduation gift. This has helped us to see an average up to 267 people come to know Christ every year, and we see anywhere between 65 to 67 people taking water baptism every year, all of these are brand new believers who have come to know Christ from non-Christian backgrounds. These are first generation Christians in their community. Friends, we believe this is true empowerment, we believe this is true transformation, where people not only are freed from slavery and poverty, but provided with spiritual freedom as well, because that's where the joy is, that's where the hope is. And we believe by providing that, we provide them a wholesome freedom, we bring dignity in a wholesome manner to their life.

Saji John: 20:37 To help support all of these ministries that God has given to us, we have started also income generation projects. We have two large garment factories that provide garments all over the world. We stitch and send them to the US, Europe, and other parts of the world. And we also have a large Bible warehouse with distributors that distributes Bible all over India, Nepal, and Sri Lanka, and the whole of Southeast Asia. And the income generated from these businesses go towards the operational costs of all these ministries, which God has given to us. We really need to be expanding our garment factory, I really want to say that God is really blessing us with tremendous amount of orders in our garment factory. Please pray with us, as we pray to God in seeing some more sewing machines, at least 10 more sewing machines added into our garment factory. So that we not only can provide jobs to 10 more [inaudible] girls, but also can help support the ministry and bring in lot more girls, rescue a lot more girls from sex trafficking. And we will appreciate your prayers and partnership towards that as well.

Saji John: 21:52 Friend's lives are truly being transformed in the John Foundation campus, they are truly being empowered, physically, socially, and spiritually, because of your prayers and sacrificial giving. But the mission is not yet over, we still have orphan children who need a home, there are girls who are still trafficked and who needs to be rescued from sex trade, who needs to be delivered. We have [inaudible] men and women who needs to be still praying to reach out to their own community, and to plant a church in their own community, and in their own village. So we need to continue this good work together. We need to continue this work, would you please continue your partnership with us through your prayers and through your financial support, so that we can continue to empower and transform lives?

Saji John: 22:44 Friends, all of us know that we live in a very hurting world, and God needs each one of us to be his hands and his feet, showing forth his love and compassion to this hurting world. It's not just in India that people are hurting, as all of us know, even right here in the US people are hurting. People are deeply hurting, they're being abused, they're looking for someone who can bring hope and comfort to their lives. God has gifted each one of us uniquely, and he longs for us to use those gifts, and to show forth his love and mercy to others. All that needs is a little help, all that needs is a little help for someone who is hurting, to go up to them and to show his love and his compassion to them.

Saji John: 23:39 I want to ask you today, my friends, would you partner with God? Would you partner with God and extend the hands of Jesus to those that are hurting, extend his hands to people who are longing for someone who can come and be their friend? Can you please be that hand of Jesus to them, can you please be that comfort of Jesus to those who are hurting? But it even hurts the heart of God more, not just seeing the people who are hurting on the street, not just seeing the people who are hurting in the neighborhood, but it even hurts more the heart of God, when we, the children who are called by his name, look at these people who are hurting and walk away as though nothing has happened. And we don't care, we feel that is not our ministry, that is not our problem, and we tend not to do anything about what is going on in our society. And some Christians say they do not have peace about getting involved in this sort of work, it is too risky, it is too complicated, I will pray about it, and when I have peace, I will get involved.

Saji John: 24:50 Friends, if you are waiting for peace, and right time, it will never come. Take the example of Moses, when God called him to go and rescue the Israelites. Did Moses have peace about it, did he feel comfortable and excited about his assignment? No, but he simply had to obey, and he took the risk and he got [inaudible]. Take the example of Noah, when God asked him to be the Ark. Did they have peace about it? Did he feel comfortable when the hall people made fun of him? No, but he believed God, and did what God wanted him to do. If they all had waited till they had peace about what the Lord had asked them to do, they would never accomplished, they would never achieved what God wanted them to achieve. They simply had to be obedient to the call of God, and partner with him to become God's agent of change and transformation. And that's my prayer for each one of us this morning, that may we participate and partner with God in becoming his agents of change and transformation in a hurting world, such as ours. It's not about whether we feel comfortable about it or not, but it is about us being obedient to the call of God upon our lives. Friends, when God calls us to his work, he shall provide.

Saji John: 26:17 I have had my own share of faith building experience, that is exactly what happened when God called me into ministry when I was studying to become a medical doctor. My dad was so upset, he did not want me to return back home for two years, he didn't talk to me for two years, he did not allow me to go back home, and I decided that I will not ask him for any financial help. And one day when I had to travel from my place in the Philippines to Papua New Guinea, I was asking God, I need a suitcase. And I was crying out to God, I said to God, God, I won't tell anybody, but you know my heart, you know my need, you shall provide. And that Sunday when I went to preach in a small little church in the Philippines, they probably came up to us and said, can we take you out for lunch? After the lunch, David dropping me back at the ship in which I was staying. And on the way, the man who was driving the car said he wants to come and see me again. I told him no, we are leaving within one hour, you can't come back to the ship. But he insisted he wants to come, so when he dropped he went back, 30 minutes later, I saw him at the sea side with these big blue suitcase. And he told me when he was driving, that God had showed him a blue suitcase, and told him that Saji needs that suitcase, and he went and bought this for me.

Saji John: 27:43 God has done many miraculous things like that in my life. Is God faithful? Can God provide when he calls? And I want to tell you that it was the same story when I, and Cynthia, started the John Foundation Ministries. When we moved out from our well-paying job to take care of the two girls who were left on the streets of Hyderabad in June, 2007. You know, by the end of 2007, we had 16 children, but by now we are all 1,600 children, and more than 1250 young girls who go through our training program every year. We didn't have all the answers when we took those two children, but did God provide for our needs? Yes, he did. Was God there with us in all of this? Yes, he did. God was there, we didn't have all the answers, we simply had to be obedient to the call of God in our lives. And I want to tell you there were challenges, it is not that we didn't have challenges. Yes, there were challenges, but in all of that, God was alive, in all of those situations, God proved to be a faithful God. God wants us to be part of his big plan, whether it is full-time ministry, part-time ministry, by vocational sharing to the neighbors and beyond the borders of this country, he has no other plan except you and me in the plan of reaching the nations. God is ready, but are we ready, are we willing, are we obedient and faithful to the call of God upon our lives?

Saji John: 29:27 Brothers and sisters, if there are some of you who may be feeling that you are a misfit, a failure, a good for nothing, and feel you have messed up your life. Remember, to God you are not misfit, to God you are not a failure, but you are a partner in accomplishing the will of God upon this earth. So would you please partner with God in this divine purpose? If the gospel has to reach everyone, then we all have to play our part, and it is my prayer that all of us will be conscious of this calling and play our part. We can't just be spectators, but we need to be part of the game. We are playing this game to win, and this is one game in which we know that the victory belongs to us. So friends let's get into the game, let's play the game together with God, and let's be part of this winning team. And that's my prayer for all of us here in this church, and for all Christians around the world, may God make us useful vessels in his [inaudible]. May God bless each one of you. Amen.

Tim Lundy: 30:40 What a great message. And I want to echo what Saji said, it's time to get in the game, I don't care if there's a pandemic, I don't care about COVID. Part of faith promise, is we step out by faith, we look for ways that we can serve and ways we can get involved. Now this week in the mail, you'll get a faith promise packet. And in it, it will be all the materials you need to make your pledge for this coming year. This is the time that we make a pledge, by faith, of what will give over and above our regular giving so that we can support ministries like Saji's all around the world. So when you get that packet, please pray, please put it back in the mail, or go online, but let's take a step of faith together, and let's look at how we can get in the game. Guys COVID has maybe made us a little passive in way, maybe made us pull back in ways, but COVID has also opened opportunities around the world and in the Bay area. And I think if there was ever a time for the church to step forward, it's now. Join me, I'm praying, Lea and I are praying, we're going to send in our pledge card, join me in making your pledge, join me in taking a step. Join me, as together, we get in the game, because we believe that our God is on the move.

Recorded in Los Gatos, California.
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Venture Christian Church
16845 Hicks Road
Los Gatos, California 95032