03 Feb Trekking in the Himalayas for Christ
Jesus preached about how the end of this world will come and the signs of His return. One such sign is. . . “And this gospel of the Kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations and then end will come.” Matt. 24: 14 (ESV)
Every tribe and nation needs to hear the Gospel to glorify the Lamb of God in Heaven. Mission mobiliser Oswald J. Smith said, “We talk of the second coming; half of the world has never heard of the fi rst.” According to the Joshua Project, “33% (or 2,350) of the world’s 7,150 remaining unreached people groups live in India.” (http://joshuaproject. net/). We are called to share the Gospel to our nation where there is a great need. It is a call from the Heavenly King to preach and proclaim the Gospel among the people groups.
Luke Vinod Titus and Pynshailang Iawphniaw are among the many who have responded and obeyed this call.
Luke Vinod Titus: “I was born in a Christian family on 14 October 1961. My mother, who is a devout follower of Jesus, prayed even while I was in her womb. Sincethe day I was born she kept singing praise songs of Jesus and kept telling me the Bible stories. She kept repeating who Jesus is and how He is the Saviour of all mankind. Though I did not know who really Jesus was at that time, I knew that He is the God who loves me and whom my dear mother had
known personally by experience. Years passed by in school and college, and I was regular in church, Sunday school and VBS. I respected teachers and parents though I was a naughty youngster. I used to read the Bible, and was
acquainted and fascinated with the missionary biographies as well. I had never surrendered my life to Him. The inner conviction that I was a miserable sinner grew from 17 years of age, and ultimately while I completed my 21st year, and was entering my post graduate studies (October – November 1982), my Lord Jesus miraculously touched my life and I repented and completely gave my life to Him in whole-hearted surrender. That’s the beginning of my new life in Christ.
In November 1982, my Lord Jesus gave me His Word as a motto in my life, ‘A life not to be served but to serve, and be a blessing to many’, from Mark 10: 45. Though I did not understand the full implications of His Word to me, I knew that I would serve Him in some way. In my 23rd year after my postgraduation I was on the lookout for a good job and career. In January 1985, again my Lord touched me and called me to go out as a fulltime missionary. I was joyful and received the call and was ready to go. But in the same month my Lord made me to understand that I was not ready for His task and that I needed His preparation, and then I waited on Him for ten and a half years (January 1985 to June 1995).
Nine years out of this, I worked as a Management Executive in various capacities in the Travancore Rubber and Tea Company Limited, in Kerala, and I stood as a witness for Christ Jesus in a secular environment led by prominent Brahmins. In the midst of all this, I was waiting and asking my Lord when He would call me out to go for His task. My Lord always answered, “Be in the place where I have placed you now.”
Then in June 1994 He led me to apply to Indian Evangelical Mission (IEM), and in May 1995, I resigned from the job and went for the cross-cultural missionary training in Outreach Training Institute (OTI) in June 1995. During this period, the call was clear to go and serve the Lahauli people in Himalayan range in northern most in Himachal Pradesh. They live in six valleys of Lahaul district and each valley has a different language. Most of them are highly educated, rich and selfsufficient. Their main occupation is agriculture. They cultivate only once in a year because half of the year is covered with snow. The roads which connects Lahaul to other districts are closed for 6 to 7 months a year, and hence, they are cut off from the rest of the world during winter. The temperature in Lahaul during winter goes down to almost -30° to – 40° C. Because of the harsh and hostile condition in Lahaul valley many families have migrated to Kullu District.
Their main religion is Buddhism. “I shared the call to serve the Lahauli people with the Mission leaders and they encouraged me. In the fourth month of the training I was diagnosed with very high blood pressure, and in a thorough check up it was found that I had Mitral Valve prolapse in the heart; had a minor heart attack in the recent past; Asthma; ten times more Esonophilea; and joint pains. As I was weak and in tears asking my Lord why this has
happened to me as I was on the threshold of entering His service, He answered me that He is sending me not in my strength but in His grace. That settled everything. Seeing my medical report my Mission leaders in January 1996
refused to send me to a place like Lahaul where medical help would be limited and scarce. I requested them to send me to the place where God wanted me to go, and not to send me on medical considerations, where I may not survive. After four months of prayer and deliberations my leaders decided to send me to the Lahauli people. I always keep praising my Lord Jesus who has kept me these last 18 and half years in good health and strength, in spite of my weakness. Not even one day has He allowed me to be in bed Hallelujah!!! I have covered more than 5,300 kilometres on foot on the Himalayas to visit the villages and meet my Lahauli contact families during summer all these years. Villages are situated at 7,000 feet to 14,000 feet above the sea level, where oxygen is less. He is sustaining me and will sustain me till I fulfi l His will among the dear Lahauli people.”
Pynshailang Iawphniaw: “I was born in a Christian family in June 1982 in Shillong, Meghalaya. I have 5 brothers and 2 sisters. I completed B.Com. We stayed in Umpling and are a member of Umpling Presbyterian Church. I wasn’t regular to the church till we moved to our own house which is near a church at the age of 15 (Oct 1997). Though my
mother forced us to attend, slowly I made new friends and I liked going to church. I was active in choir and began leading the youth fellowship. I was also addicted to smoking, alcohol and other bad stuffs. When the church and my
family came to know my double life, they were disappointed. I thought that life on earth is useless and it’s not worth living.
God had spoken to me many times, yet, I always postponed His calling and kept running away from Him. I give thanks to God, who never gave up on me. He kept calling me and reminding His love for me. In the year 2004, I responded to His love, put my faith in Jesus and received His forgiveness and salvation. After I put my faith in Jesus, my life was changed and all the old things passed away, everything became new in my life.
Then God started working in me by putting a burden in my heart for lost souls. I started reaching out to my friends who were lost and prayed for the lost souls in our country. It was in 2005, I received a call from God to move out and preach the Gospel to those people who have never heard. So I obeyed His call to be a missionary and God brought me to serve Him through IEM in January 2009. When I was in IEM Head Office, Bangalore as a candidate under
training, I first heard about the Lahauli people group in Himachal Pradesh.
The ministry among the Lahauli people was started by the Moravian missionaries from Germany way back in 1854 and continued till early 1940s. Almost 90 years of ministry and the surprising remark from one of the missionaries was that, he said, ‘not even a handful of Christians were there when we left Lahaul valley.’ In the year 1996, IEM started ministry among the Lahauli people. I was moved to know that even after 13 years of ministry there is still not even one believer. I was challenged and told God that I was willing to take this challenge to win Lahauli people for Christ if He sent me among them. I started praying for them since then. After my training in OTI, God answered my prayer and was sent to minister and preach the Gospel to the Lahauli people. They have a very strong social and religious set up which binds them together. It hinders them to respond to the Gospel. Though it’s a hard ground we are toiling in, we know that God is at work.”
Will you pray for the Lahauli people and the missionaries who are toiling there? Hudson Taylor, a missionary to China said, “The Great commission is not an option to be considered; it is a command to be obeyed.” Will you also obey God and be a part of His great commission?
1.http://joshuaproject.net/ accessed on 22/10/14 on 12.40pm
2.Personal testimony write up of Luke Vinod Titus dated 10th October2014
3. My testimony write up of Pynshailang Iawphniaw got it on 3rd March 2014