20 Jun An Odyssey for Unity
It is an important mission. The project is to take off now. The organisation has to embark on this significant task without any further deferment. Some people already went to setting up the infrastructure. The next team should proceed immediately to carry out tests before the trial run begins. This stage is crucial.
Milan is asked to proceed with the team. He is not prepared to move to the field station. He is bothered by a lot of apprehensions. His responsibilities at home and ministry will remain unattended to in his absence. What is the family going to do without him? Will they be able to take care of themselves? The fellowship just started here! Who will guide it? Many questions bothered him. This sudden displacement will destabilise his personal and spiritual life. He is not able reconcile with the possible change. During the break he reclined in his chair and closed his eyes for a moment. A still small voice whispered. . . “I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit . . .” “Am I hearing the right voice,” he quipped himself. He silently committed the matter in prayers and gently got over his hang-ups. The family at home was shocked to hear about his transfer. They could not comprehend the sudden shift and were hesitant about the resultant consequences they may have to face in the days to come. In the evening, the fellowship friends got together with family and prayed over Milan to send him off on his journey to the new place.
His journey to the unknown place commenced. It is quite far from his home. His mind was full of anxieties. Will his life at the new place be comfortable and good for him? Will there be any fellowship and church? Or shall he consider it as his new mission field? He has no knowledge about the place and the people. He only knows that God has His own plan and purpose behind every move. He fully surrendered himself to God. After a long journey by air and train he reached the field station. He stayed at an arranged accommodation in the town.
Next day he headed to his work place a few kilometres away, near the sea shore. Long hours of work from morning to late evening kept him busy every day. A few months passed, but he did not come across even a single believer. On Sundays he has seen church buildings. But language was a great barrier. With hesitations and fear in his mind, he did not understand how to start to share God’s love to the native people. Struggling in mind but with confidence in his heart, he decided to distribute tracts on one Sunday evening in a busy street corner. Many passers-by accepted; a few rejected, and a few others asked his identity. That evening he realised the great need of reaching out to the people.
Lavey and Prakash were returning from college that evening by the same road. They stopped seeing a stranger distributing gospel tracts. They looked at each other. They have never seen this gentleman before. Probably he is new to the town. They waited till the tracts distribution was over for the day. They introduced themselves to Milan and informed him of their small fellowship and invited him to the fellowship meeting. Milan’s joy knew no bounds. It was a great surprise for him. He did not know that believing students were also here in this part of the world. That night Milan thanked the Lord and found a ray of hope in God’s plan for his transfer to this distant town.
Soon, Milan became a regular part of the fellowship of students. Milan encouraged students in reaching out to other students in their colleges. Outreach programs were held in the nearby colleges by the students. Gradually they decided to introduce the ministry to the churches in the town. It was not an easy task. The churches expressed that the separate students’ ministry was not complimentary to their ministry. Moreover some of them had youth fellowships. It was tough to penetrate their bastion. Lavey and Prakash approached Milan to accompany them to the church leaders. With prayers and persuasion, permission for first Sunday service meeting came through. For Milan it was the first Sunday preaching at a church in the new town. Subsequently, he received several invitations to preach in other churches in the town.
In church life, there was great distance between people of one church and congregation of another church. They all believed in the same Lord and their doctrines were almost close. But they were apart. Churches did not have any outreach programs. Reaching out to others outside was thought to be improper and inviting only problems. Spiritual dryness gripped the people all around. Milan started sharing the spiritual needs with a few believers. Milan concentrated on the High priestly prayer of Lord Jesus: “ . . . they may be one as we are one. I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.” He emphasized that believers, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another. Initially there were differences among them and they were not in line. It was like ducks living in different ponds that did not like each other and as such confined separately to their territories.
One day a heavy downpour of rain levelled all their habitations into one. He explained to everyone that they have to be of one accord and one spirit for God to do His supernatural work in the town. The monthly prayer meeting turned into a weekly event as believers from all congregations gathered to pray for unity among them. Prayers in one voice placed in them burdens of reaching out to people of other faith. Leaders of all the denominations and organizations decided to continue to pray for revival of the town as they were convinced from the early Church history that as disciples gathered and prayed in one accord and mind, many souls were saved and added to the Church. The churches were ready to grow. No spiritual stagnation. No stealing of folks from the other congregations.
Fervent united prayers gave birth to the conducting of a weeklong evangelistic campaign called “Festival of Peace” for the first time in the town. Milan was asked to be the convenor of the festival. He was not prepared for such a crucial responsibility. He first hesitated as to whether he would be able rise to the occasion along with his responsibilities in office project. The spirit in him reminded God’s promise and call before he stepped into this town. He humbly accepted the role. Core and sub-committees were formed. Leaders of all the congregations, organisations and believing students extended their support and helping hand to the arrangements of the festival. Special prayer meetings for the festival ensued. Prayer walks were done in every area and around educational institutions. Committee meets were held time to time. After one year of prayerful preparation, ‘festival of peace’ time approached. There was phenomenal excitement. Unity in spirit and mind among believers was exhibited before and during the festival. It was wonderful to see hundreds of people attending the festival throughout the week. The Lord moved in a mighty way in every service. Many were transformed and blessed. The festival changed the whole atmosphere. Revival continued. New believers were distributed to the regional churches. Leaders were trained to mentor them. Church and spiritual lives made a difference all around. Many leaders were born to take care of the multi-fold dimensions of ministry. Many believers were sent out from the churches to the ministry and some youths committed to full time ministry.
Months passed by. Milan also witnessed successful trial run of his office project in the range. Suddenly, one day he received his transfer order back to his base office. It was time to bid adieu to the town and its wonderful people. It was a hard time to leave fellowship of loving and caring people. They made him quite at home here. On the final day, many leaders came to see him off at the station. As the train chugged out, Lavey and Prakash were waving at him with placard, “Make every effort to keep unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.”
Milan looked up with a thankful heart and a voice in silence echoed, ‘Mission accomplished’.
Scripture References: John15:16, 17:23, Rom 12: 5 and Eph 4:3
Dr. NANDA DULAL, works as Group Director in an organisation in Bangalore.