July 9, 2019

City in India Enriched Through Local Church Outreach

Andrew McChesney, Adventist Mission

How do you reach an enormous city in a country like India?
Church members in one of those cities took the approach of reaching out in their community by serving in practical ways. Members organized temperance rallies to help people stop smoking tobacco, drinking alcohol, using drugs, and chewing paan, an addictive substance comprised of paan leaf and areca nut. Children chanted pro-health slogans at the rallies, and health professionals spoke on street corners.
People crowded around for the lectures, which typically lasted about five minutes. Small puppet shows also were organized and proved popular.
Then members donned T-shirts bearing the church’s name for a citywide clean-up day. Equipped with gloves and brooms, they swept the streets and sidewalks.
“People knew they were from the church, and this created a good feeling in the community,” said an outreach leader. “People came to us to ask, ‘Why are you doing this? Tell us more about you.’”
A series of sporadic mini-health fairs were organized with blood sugar tests and fresh fruit and vegetable juices. Gospel workers offered body massage and hydrotherapy. The free fairs attracted considerable attention, an outreach leader said.
“People were astonished and asked, ‘What kind of people are here?’” he said.
The gospel workers ended each session with prayer, leaving a strong impression on the patients, he added.
Church members decided to place a major emphasis on the mini-health fairs and scheduled them for every Sunday. Booths were set up beside busy roads to provide free medical checks.
As the number of people helped by the activities increased, so did the prayers of church members.
“We needed to pray a lot,” said the outreach leader. “Every Monday we fasted and prayed.”
Following the activities, members have a greater confidence in the power of prayer coupled with community outreach. They praise God for what He is doing.