quinta-feira, 14 de abril de 2011


I have not read this entire book, but I'm enjoying it.

Readers Re spond to
in World Missions
“I have just read Revolution in World Missions. This book greatly
ministered to me and stirred me in a way no book has ever
done. How can we order more copies?”
—Pastor J.P., Lakeside, Oregon

“Your book stirred me to tears and drove me to prayer!”
—Miss J.S., Towson, Maryland

“I have read Revolution in World Missions twice, and now I am
more convinced than ever that investing in native missionaries
and Bridge of Hope children will yield better returns than silver
or gold. Thank you for waking me up, Brother K.P.”
—Mr. K.G., Calgary, Alberta

“I read your book and think it is one of the most dynamic,
down-to-earth books that I have ever read. I want to give a copy
to our pastor, each board member and selected other people at
our church.”
—Mr. P.W., Santa Margarita, California

“K.P. Yohannan’s book draws the Church back to the very heart
of what Christ has called us to do. I would urge every Christian,
and especially every pastor, to read this book with a humble
heart before the Lord. I’m reading it through again, and it’s still
a heart-stirring blessing.”
—Pastor M.W., Worthing, England

“We have been challenged and convicted by Revolution in
World Missions. We believe that our Lord Jesus is offering us the
chance to share in His work in Asia—a chance we don’t want
to miss!”
—Mr. and Mrs. M.D., Pacifica, California

“We both read K.P.’s book and were very moved to change part
of our lifestyle to further the Gospel. I hope we can do more as
we get braver!”
—Mr. and Mrs. D.F., Los Alamos, New Mexico

“I am currently reading Revolution in World Missions and am
blown away by what I read. My wife and I have been longing for
the Lord to reveal what is our next step. This book has helped
—Mr. D.M., East Victoria Park, Western Australia

“After reading Revolution in World Missions, I am convinced our
small amount of money can do more good in this mission than
many others we participate in.”
—Mrs. I.T., Houston, Texas

“I was a missionary in Nigeria for 20 years and understand what
this book is all about.”
—Mrs. D.T., Kearney, Arizona

“If I had to pick eight books outside the biblical canon that
every Christian should read, Revolution in World Missions would
be one of them.”
—Mr. J.L., Stockport, England

“There are many that talk a good message, but not too many
who actually live it out. Gospel for Asia is serious about the
challenge of reaching unreached people groups. . . . The 10/40
Window is where the Gospel needs to go. And GFA is a major
force today standing in the gap. They represent the primary
unreached peoples on planet Earth. GFA has what it takes to
penetrate the 10/40 Window.”
—Luis Bush, Director, World Inquiry


“Gospel for Asia has become one of the more significant pioneer
missionary agencies, with a good accountability structure.
. . . They are doing an excellent job.”
—Patrick Johnstone, Author, Operation World
“Gospel for Asia is not a movement, but a phenomenon. GFA
has become one of the most significant mission organizations
of this century.”
—George Verwer, Founder and former International
Director, Operation Mobilization
“Every once in a while God gives to His people a man who is
qualified to cut us open, give us a diagnosis and prescribe a remedy
for our healing. K.P. Yohannan is such a man. K.P. is impatient
with intellectual knowledge unless it translates into holy
living and a single-minded determination to see the Church
around the world grow for the glory of God. And he practices
what he preaches. If you listen to him carefully, you will leave
with eternity stamped on your heart.”
—Erwin Lutzer, Senior Pastor,
Moody Church, Chicago, IL
“Although there are many fine Christian groups working worldwide,
I’ve found Gospel for Asia to be unique. A very small
amount of money can fully support an evangelist to effectively
present Jesus Christ to eager listeners abroad. I have worked
with these men . . . and have learned from the values of commitment
and wholesale dedication. K.P. Yohannan lives and
breathes integrity. This integrity has filtered to the very fiber of
his ministry. I am honored to be a partner with GFA.”
—Skip Heitzig, Senior Pastor, Calvary
of Albuquerque, Albuquerque, NM
“K.P. Yohannan leads one of the largest, if not the largest
missionary movement, working across the nation of India in
evangelism and church-planting work. As Gospel for Asia has
grown and established itself, the ministry has become balanced
and is now involved in a host of cooperative efforts with other
mission agencies. The impact of GFA’s ministry in India is very
significant, especially in their evangelistic training, radio and
church-planting work.”
—Joseph D’Souza, Executive Director,
Operation Mobilization India
“Revolution in World Missions is one of the great classics of
Christian literature. It is essential reading for those who desire
to obey the mission of Jesus Christ. We get so used to apathetic
and halfhearted ideas about missions . . . and then K.P.’s book
turns our world upside down!”
—Paul Blackham, Associate Minister, All Souls
Church, Langham Place, London
“To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light,
and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive
forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are
sanctified by faith that is in me.”
Acts 26:18

K.P. Yohannan
in World Missions
Revolution in World Missions
© 1986, 1989, 1992, 1998, 2002, 2004
by K.P. Yohannan
All rights reserved.
No portion of this book may be reproduced in any form without prior
written permission of the publisher.
Scripture quotations are from the King James Version of the Bible.
ISBN: 978-1-59589-001-6
Published by gfa books, a division of Gospel for Asia
1800 Golden Trail Court
Carrollton, TX 75010 USA
phone: (972) 300-7777
fax: (972) 300-7778
Printed in India
First printing, July 1986
Second printing, November 1986
Third printing, May 1987
Fourth printing, December 1987
Fifth printing, July 1989
Sixth printing, May 1991
Seventh printing, January 1992
Eighth printing, June 1992
Ninth printing, August 1993
Tenth printing, March 1994
Eleventh printing, June 1994
Twelfth printing, March 1995
Thirteenth printing, October 1995
Fourteenth printing, May 1996
Fifteenth printing, October 1996
Sixteenth printing, March 1997
Seventeenth printing, July 1997
Eighteenth printing, January 1998
Nineteenth printing, August 1998
Twentieth printing, November 1998
Twenty-first printing, March 2000
Twenty-second printing, April 2001
Twenty-third printing, November 2001
Twenty-fourth printing, June 2002
Twenty-fifth printing, October 2002
Twenty-sixth printing, May 2003
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Twenty-eighth printing, March 2004
Twenty-ninth printing, July 2004
Thirtieth printing, January 2005
Thirty-first printing, January 2006
Thirty-second printing, May 2007
Thirty-third printing, October 2007
For more information about other materials, visit our website www.gfa.org.
This book is dedicated to George Verwer, founder and
former international director of Operation Mobilization, whom
the Lord used to call me into the ministry and
whose life and example have influenced me more
than any other single individual’s.

Foreword 13
Acknowledgments 15
Introduction 17
1. Only the Beginning 19
2. “O God, Let One of My Boys Preach!” 25
3. The Seeds of Future Change 33
4. I Walked in a Daze 39
5. A Nation Asleep in Bondage 47
6. What Are You Doing Here? 53
7. “It Is a Privilege” 67
8. A New Day in Missions 77
9. Is Missions an Option? 85
10. God Is Withholding Judgment 93
11. Why Should I Make Waves? 101
12. Good Works and the Gospel 111
13. Hope Has Many Names 117
14. The Need for Revolution 131
15. The Real Culprit: Spiritual Darkness 137
16. Enemies of the Cross 143
17. The Water of Life in a Foreign Cup 151
18. A Global Vision 157
19. The Church’s Primary Task 167
20. “Lord, Help Us Remain True to You” 175
21. Facing Tests 185
22. The Vision of Asia’s Lost Souls 195
Conclusion 203
Appendix 1: Questions and Answers 209
Appendix 2: What Sponsors Say 225
Appendix 3: Contact Information 227
Notes 229
We all are skeptical of Christians with big dreams. We don’t
know why exactly—perhaps we have met too many who pursued
visions but whose personal lives were nightmares.
The first time we remember meeting K.P. Yohannan we
brought him home for dinner, and our family dragged this
slight Indian along with us to a high school gymnasium to sit
through an American rite of passage—an all-school spaghetti
supper. Across the paper tablecloth, the garlic bread and the
centerpieces—shellacked lunch sacks filled with an assortment
of dried weeds and pasta (created by members of the Mains
family!)—we heard of a dream to win not only India but all of
Asia for Christ.
Since that evening in the noisy gymnasium in West Chicago,
Illinois, there have been many more shared experiences—phone
calls from Dallas; trips to the cities and backwaters of India; pastors’
conferences in open thatched-roofed, bamboo-sided pavilions;
laughter; travel on Two-Thirds World roads; and times of
Very simply said, we have come to believe in K.P.
And we believe in his plan for evangelization that, with the
profundity of simplicity, bypasses the complexity of technology
and challenges Asians to give up their lives to win their fellow
countrymen to Christ.
R e v o l u t i o n i n Wo r l d Mi s s i o n s
This book, Revolution in World Missions, reveals one of God’s
master plans to reach the world before the end of time. With
absolute confidence we know we can endorse the integrity of
its author, a man of God, and we are thrilled with the work of
Gospel for Asia.
You can read knowing that those evangelists traveling into
the unreached villages of Asia have more heart, more fervor,
more passion to spread the Gospel of Christ than most of us
who are surrounded by the comforts and conveniences of our
Western world.
We know because we have seen them and talked with them,
and they have put us to shame.
Internationals are the new wave of the missionary effort.
K.P. Yohannan’s book paints the picture of how that dream is
becoming reality.
This is one dreamer of whom we are no longer skeptical. We
think you will find reason to believe as well.
David and Karen Mains
Hundreds of people have had an impact on this volume—
from those who have made suggestions, to those who have
given encouragement, to those who have influenced my life
and ministry. I want to thank all of them—and all of you—and
thank the Lord for placing you in my path.
Of those especially close to me during the long writing, editing
and review of this manuscript, I would like to thank David
and Karen Mains and Gayle Erwin for their honest criticism
and unwavering support of this entire project. Special thanks
also are due Margaret Jordan, Heidi Chupp and Katie McCall,
who typed the manuscript. And thanks to my secretary, Teresa
Chupp, and her assistants, for their hard work in this updated
edition. Thanks.
And my special thanks to Bob Granholm, former executive
director of Frontiers in Canada, for his suggestions for the revision
that helped bring balance and clear up misunderstanding.
Most of all, of course, my greatest debt is to my wife, Gisela,
for her careful reading and for suggestions that made the critical
difference in several passages. Her emotional and spiritual
support made the writing of this book possible. Without her
standing beside me and encouraging me during these eventful
years, this book—and the message it proclaims—would not
have been possible.

Before the second half of the 1980s rolled around, most
evangelical Christians in Western countries tended to view mission
history in terms of only two great waves of activity.
The first wave broke over the New Testament world in the
first century as the apostles obeyed the Great Commission.
It swept through the Jewish and pagan communities of the
Roman Empire, bringing the message of salvation to all of the
Mediterranean world, much of southern Europe and even some
parts of Asia.
The second wave was most often dated from William Carey’s
pioneer work in 18th-century India. It began a flood of 19thand
20th-century missions to the colonies of the great European
powers. Although World War II marked the end of this colonial
era, it still frequently defines the image of missions for many
Western Christians.
But around the world today, the Holy Spirit is breaking over
Asian and African nations, raising up thousands of dedicated
men and women who are bringing the salvation story to their
own people. And millions of lost souls in closed countries
would probably never learn about the love of God by any other
means. These national Christians—humble, obscure pioneers
of the Gospel—are taking up the banner of the cross where
colonial-era missions left off. They are the third wave of mission
history—the native missionary movement.
R e v o l u t i o n i n Wo r l d Mi s s i o n s
As Christians in the West gradually develop a greater understanding
of what this third wave means to world evangelism, we
feel a potent challenge to our attitudes and lifestyles. Thousands
of individuals and churches are praying for and supporting
native missionaries on the frontiers of faith.
Revolution in World Missions has undergone various revisions
over the years. I have sought to clarify basic areas of misunderstanding
surrounding the native missionary movement, such
as the changing role of Western missionaries and standards of
accountability in native missions.
The impact of this book continues to grow. Pastors have
written us, testifying of the dramatic changes their church’s
mission programs have had. Fathers and mothers—and their
children—are learning to live more simply and creatively in
order to support native missionaries. Young adults, faced with
eternal matters, are choosing to make their lives count for the
kingdom rather than succumb to the climb up the ladder.
I believe we will see this generation reached for Christ as this
exciting third wave of mission leadership unites with concerned
Christians, churches and mission agencies around the world. As
we draw nearer to Christ in unity, feeling His heartbeat for lost
and dying souls, we realize that we are all serving one King and
one kingdom. May this book serve to bring greater unity and
cooperation among all God’s people, as we seek to obey His
will together.
Only the Beginning
The silence of the great hall in Cochin was broken only by
soft, choking sobs. The Spirit of God was moving over the room
with awesome power—convicting of sin and calling men and
women into His service. Before the meeting ended, 120 of the
1,200 pastors and Christian leaders present made their way to
the altar, responding to the “call of the North.”
They were not saying, “I’m willing to go,” but rather “I am
They made the choice to leave home, village and family, business
or career and go where they would be hated and feared.
Meanwhile, another 600 pastors pledged to return to their
congregations and raise up more missionaries who would leave
South India and go to the North.
I stood silently in the holy hush, praying for the earnest pastors
crowded around the altar. I was humbled by the presence
of God.
As I prayed, my heart ached for these men. How many would
be beaten and go hungry or be cold and lonely in the years ahead?
How many would sit in jails for their faith? I prayed for the blessing
and protection of God on them—and for more sponsors
across the seas to stand with them.
They were leaving material comforts, family ties and personal
ambitions. Ahead lay a new life among strangers. But I also
R e v o l u t i o n i n Wo r l d Mi s s i o n s
knew they would witness spiritual victory as many thousands
turned to Christ and helped form new congregations in the
unreached villages of North India.
With me in the meeting was U.S. Christian radio broadcaster
David Mains, a serious student of revival. He had joined
us in Cochin as one of the conference speakers. He later
testified how the Lord had taken over the meeting in a most
unusual way.
“It would hardly have been different,” he wrote later, “had
Jesus Himself been bodily among us. The spirit of worship filled
the hall. The singing was electrifying. The power of the Holy
Spirit came upon the audience. Men actually groaned aloud. I
have read of such conviction in early American history during
times like the two Great Awakenings, but I had never anticipated
experiencing it firsthand.”
But the Lord is not simply calling out huge numbers of
native workers. God is at work saving people in numbers we
never before dreamed possible. People are coming to Christ all
across Asia at an accelerated rate wherever salvation is being
proclaimed. In some areas—like India, Malaysia, Myanmar and
Thailand—it is not uncommon now for the Christian community
to grow as much in only one month as it formerly did in
a whole year.
Reports of mass conversion and church growth are being
underplayed in the Western press. The exciting truth about
God’s working in Asia has yet to be told, partly because the press
has limited access. Except in a few countries, like Korea and the
Philippines, the real story is not getting out.
Typical of the many native missionary movements that
have sprung up overnight is the work of a brother from South
India—a former military officer who gave up a commission and
army career to help start a Gospel team in North India. He now
leads more than 400 full-time missionaries.
Like other native mission leaders, he has discipled 10
“Timothys” who are directing the work in almost military precision.
Each of them in turn will be able to lead dozens of additional
workers who will have their own disciples.
With his wife he set an apostolic pattern for their workers
similar to that of the apostle Paul. On one evangelistic tour that
lasted 53 days, he and his family traveled by bullock cart and
foot into some of the most backward areas of the tribal districts
of Orissa state. There, working in the intense heat among people
whose lifestyle is so primitive that it can be described only as
animalistic, he saw hundreds converted. Throughout the journey,
demons were cast out and miraculous physical healings
took place daily. Thousands of the tribals—who were enslaved
to idols and spirit-worship—heard the Gospel eagerly.
In just one month, he formed 15 groups of converts into new
churches and assigned native missionaries to stay behind and
build them up in the faith.
Similar miraculous movements are starting in almost every
state of India and throughout other nations of Asia.
Native missionary Jesu Das was horrified when he first visited
one village and found no believers there. The people were all
worshipping hundreds of different gods, and four priests controlled
them through their witchcraft.
Stories were told of how these priests could kill people’s
cattle with witchcraft and destroy their crops. People were suddenly
taken ill and died without explanation. The destruction
and bondage the villagers were living in are hard to imagine.
Scars, decay and death marked their faces, because they were
totally controlled by the powers of darkness.
When Jesu Das told them about Christ, it was the first time
they ever heard of a God who did not require sacrifices and
offerings to appease His anger. As Jesu Das continued to preach
in the marketplace, many people came to know the Lord.
O n l y t h e B e g i n n i n g
But the priests were outraged. They warned Jesu Das that if
he did not leave the village, they would call on their gods to
kill him, his wife and their children. Jesu Das did not leave. He
continued to preach, and villagers continued to be saved.
Finally, after a few weeks, the witch doctors came to Jesu Das
and asked him the secret of his power.
“This is the first time our power did not work,” they told
him. “After doing the pujas, we asked the spirits to go and kill
your family. But the spirits came back and told us they could
not approach you or your family because you were always surrounded
by fire. Then we called more powerful spirits to come
after you—but they too returned, saying not only were you surrounded
by fire, but angels were also around you all the time.”
Jesu Das told them about Christ. The Holy Spirit convicted
each of them of their sin of following demons and of the judgment
to come. With tears, they repented and received Jesus
Christ as Lord. As a result, hundreds of other villagers were set
free from sin and bondage.
Through an indigenous organization in Thailand, where
more than 200 native missionaries are doing pioneer village
evangelism, one group personally shared their faith with 10,463
people in two months. Of these, 171 gave their lives to Christ,
and six new churches were formed. More than 1,000 came to
Christ in the same reporting period. Remember, this great harvest
is happening in a Buddhist nation that never has seen such
Documented reports like these come to us daily from native
teams in almost every Asian nation. But I am convinced these
are only the first few drops of revival rain. In order to make
the necessary impact, we must send out hundreds of thousands
more workers. We are no longer praying for the proverbial
“showers of blessings.” Instead I am believing God for virtual
thunderstorms of blessings in the days ahead.
R e v o l u t i o n i n Wo r l d Mi s s i o n s
How I became a part of this astonishing spiritual renewal in
Asia is what this book is all about. And it all began with the
prayers of a simple village mother.
O n l y t h e B e g i n n i n g

“O God, Let One of My Boys Preach!”
Achyamma’s eyes stung with salty tears. But they were not
from the cooking fire or the hot spices that wafted up from the
pan. She realized time was short. Her six sons were growing
beyond her influence. Yet not one showed signs of going into
the Gospel ministry.
Except for the youngest—little “Yohannachan” as I was
known—every one of her children seemed destined for secular
work. My brothers seemed content to live and work around our
native village of Niranam in Kerala, South India.
“O God,” she prayed in despair, “let just one of my boys
preach!” Like Hannah and so many other saintly mothers in the
Bible, my mother had dedicated her children to the Lord. That
morning, while preparing breakfast, she vowed to fast secretly
until God called one of her sons into His service. Every Friday
for the next three and a half years, she fasted. Her prayer was
always the same.
But nothing happened. Finally, only I, scrawny and little—
the baby of the family—was left. There seemed little chance
I would preach. Although I had stood up in an evangelistic
meeting at age eight, I was shy and timid and kept my faith
mostly to myself. I showed no leadership skills and avoided
sports and school functions. I was comfortable on the edge of
village and family life, a shadowy figure who moved in and out
of the scene almost unnoticed.
Then, when I was 16, my mother’s prayers were answered.
A visiting Gospel team from Operation Mobilization came to
our church to present the challenge of faraway North India. My
90-pound frame strained to catch every word as the team spoke
and showed slides of the North.
They told of stonings and beatings they received while preaching
Christ in the non-Christian villages of Rajasthan and Bihar
on the hot, arid plains of North India. Sheltered from contact
with the rest of India by the high peaks of the Western Ghats,
the lush jungles of Kerala on the Malabar Coast were all I knew
of my homeland. And the Malabar Coast had long nourished
India’s oldest Christian community, begun when the flourishing
sea trade with the Persian Gulf made it possible for St. Thomas
to introduce Jesus Christ at nearby Cranagore in A.D. 52. Other
Jews already were there, having arrived 200 years earlier. The
rest of India seemed an ocean away to the Malayalam-speaking
people of the southwest coast, and I was no exception.
As the Gospel team portrayed the desperately lost condition
of the rest of the country—500,000 villages without a Gospel
witness—I felt a strange sorrow for the lost. That day I vowed to
help bring the Good News of Jesus Christ to those strange and
mysterious states to the North. At the challenge to “forsake all
and follow Christ,” I somewhat rashly took the leap, agreeing to
join the student group for a short summer crusade in unreached
parts of North India.
My decision to go into the ministry largely resulted from
my mother’s faithful prayers. Although I still had not received
what I later understood to be my real call from the Lord, my
mother encouraged me to follow my heart in the matter.
When I announced my decision, she wordlessly handed over
25 rupees—enough for my train ticket. I set off to apply to the
mission’s headquarters in Trivandrum.
R e v o l u t i o n i n Wo r l d Mi s s i o n s
There I got my first rebuff. Because I was underage, the mission’s
directors at first refused to let me join the teams going
north. But I was permitted to attend the annual training conference
to be held in Bangalore, Karnataka. At the conference I first
heard missionary statesman George Verwer, who challenged me
as never before to commit myself to a life of breathtaking, radical
discipleship. I was impressed with how Verwer put the will
of God for the lost world before career, family and self.
Alone that night in my bed, I argued with both God and my
own conscience. By two o’clock in the morning, my pillow wet
with sweat and tears, I shook with fear. What if God asked me
to preach in the streets? How would I ever be able to stand up
in public and speak? What if I were stoned and beaten?
I knew myself only too well. I could hardly bear to look a
friend in the eye during a conversation, let alone speak publicly
to hostile crowds on behalf of God. As I spoke the words, I realized
that I was behaving as Moses did when he was called.
Suddenly, I felt that I was not alone in the room. A great sense
of love and of my being loved filled the place. I felt the presence
of God and fell on my knees beside the bed.
“Lord God,” I gasped in surrender to His presence and will,
“I’ll give myself to speak for You—but help me to know that
You’re with me.”
In the morning, I awoke to a world and people suddenly different.
As I walked outside, the Indian street scenes looked the
same as before: Children ran between the legs of people and
cows, pigs and chickens wandered about, vendors carried baskets
of bright fruit and flowers on their heads. I loved them all
with a supernatural, unconditional love I’d never felt before. It
was as if God had removed my eyes and replaced them with His
so I could see people as the heavenly Father sees them—lost and
needy but with potential to glorify and reflect Him.
I walked to the bus station. My eyes filled with tears of love. I
“ O G o d , L e t O n e o f My B o y s P r e a c h ! ”
R e v o l u t i o n i n Wo r l d Mi s s i o n s
knew that these people were all going to hell—and I knew God
did not want them to go there. Suddenly I had such a burden
for these masses that I had to stop and lean against a wall just
to keep my balance. This was it: I knew I was feeling the burden
of love God feels for the lost multitudes of India. His loving
heart was pounding within mine, and I could hardly breathe.
The tension was great. I paced back and forth restlessly to keep
my knees from knocking in fright.
“Lord!” I cried. “If You want me to do something, say it, and
give me courage.”
Looking up from my prayer, I saw a huge stone. I knew immediately
I had to climb that stone and preach to the crowds in
the bus station. Scrambling up, I felt a force like 10,000 volts of
electricity shooting through my body.
I began by singing a simple children’s chorus. It was all
I knew. By the time I finished, a crowd stood at the foot of
the rock. I had not prepared myself to speak, but all at once
God took over and filled my mouth with words of His love. I
preached the Gospel to the poor as Jesus commanded His disciples
to do. As the authority and power of God flowed through
me, I had superhuman boldness. Words came out I never knew
I had—and with a power clearly from above.
Others from the Gospel teams stopped to listen. The question
of my age and calling never came up again. That was 1966, and
I continued moving with mobile evangelistic teams for the next
seven years. We traveled all over North India, never staying very
long in any one village. Everywhere we went I preached in the
streets while others distributed books and tracts. Occasionally,
in smaller villages, we witnessed from house to house.
My urgent, overpowering love for the village people of India
and the poor masses grew with the years. People even began to
nickname me “Gandhi Man” after the father of modern India,
Mahatma Gandhi. Like him, I realized without being told that
if the village people of India were to ever know the love of Jesus,
it would have to be brought by brown-skinned natives who
loved them.
As I studied the Gospels, it became clear to me that Jesus
understood well the principle of reaching the poor. He avoided
the major cities, the rich, the famous and the powerful, concentrating
His ministry on the poor laboring class. If we reach the
poor, we have touched the masses of Asia.
The battle against hunger and poverty is really a spiritual
battle, not a physical or social one as secularists would have us
The only weapon that will ever effectively win the war against
disease, hunger, injustice and poverty in Asia is the Gospel of
Jesus Christ. To look into the sad eyes of a hungry child or see
the wasted life of a drug addict is to see only the evidence of
Satan’s hold on this world. All bad things, whether in Asia or
America, are his handiwork. He is the ultimate enemy of mankind,
and he will do everything within his considerable power
to kill and destroy human beings. Fighting this powerful enemy
with physical weapons is like fighting an armored tank with
I can never forget one of the more dramatic encounters we
had with these demonic powers. It was a hot and unusually
humid day in 1970. We were preaching in the northwestern
state of Rajasthan—the “desert of kings.”
As was our practice before a street meeting, my seven coworkers
and I stood in a circle to sing and clap hands to the
rhythm of Christian folk songs. A sizeable crowd gathered, and
I began to speak in Hindi, the local language. Many heard the
Gospel for the first time and eagerly took our Gospels and tracts
to read.
One young man came up to me and asked for a book to read.
As I talked to him, I sensed in my spirit that he was hungry to
“ O G o d , L e t O n e o f My B o y s P r e a c h ! ”
R e v o l u t i o n i n Wo r l d Mi s s i o n s
know God. When we got ready to climb aboard our Gospel van,
he asked to join us.
As the van lurched forward, he cried and wailed. “I am a terrible
sinner,” he shrieked. “How can I sit among you?” With that
he started to jump from the moving van. We held on to him and
forced him to the floor to prevent injury.
That night he stayed at our base and the next morning joined
us for the prayer meeting. While we were praising and interceding,
we heard a sudden scream. The young man was lying on the
ground, tongue lolling out of his mouth, his eyes rolled back.
As Christians in a pagan land, we knew immediately he was
demon-possessed. We gathered around him and began taking
authority over the forces of hell as they spoke through his
“We are 74 of us. . . . For the past seven years we have made
him walk barefoot all over India. He is ours. . . . ” They spoke on,
blaspheming and cursing, challenging us and our authority.
But as three of us prayed, the demons could not keep their
hold on the young man. They came out when we commanded
them to leave in the name of Jesus.
Sundar John was delivered, gave his life to Jesus and was baptized.
Later he went to Bible college, and since then the Lord has
enabled him to teach and preach to thousands of people about
Christ. Several native Indian churches have started as a result of
his remarkable ministry—all from a man many people would
have locked up in an insane asylum. And there are literally
millions of people like him in Asia—deceived by demons and
enslaved to their horrible passions and lusts.
This kind of miracle kept me going from village to village
for those seven years of itinerant preaching. Our lives read like
pages from the book of Acts. Most nights we slept between villages
in roadside ditches, where we were relatively safe. Sleeping
in non-Christian villages would expose us to many dangers. Our
team always created a stir, and at times we even faced stonings
and beatings.
The mobile Gospel teams I worked with—and often led—
were just like family to me. I began to enjoy the gypsy lifestyle
we lived and the total abandonment to the cause of Christ that
is demanded of an itinerant evangelist. We were persecuted,
hated and despised. Yet we kept going, knowing that we were
blazing a trail for the Gospel in districts that had never before
experienced an encounter with Christ.
One such village was Bhundi in Rajasthan. This was the first
place I was beaten and stoned for preaching the Gospel. Often
literature was destroyed. It seemed that mobs always were on
the watch for us, and six times our street meetings were broken
up. Our team leaders began to work elsewhere, avoiding Bhundi
as much as possible. Three years later, a new team of native missionaries
moved into the area under different leadership and
preached again at this busy crossroads town.
Almost as soon as they arrived, one man began tearing up
literature and grabbed a 19-year-old missionary, Samuel, by the
throat. Although beaten severely, Samuel knelt in the street and
prayed for the salvation of souls in that hateful city.
“Lord,” he prayed, “I want to come back here and serve You
in Bhundi. I’m willing to die here, but I want to come back and
serve You in this place.”
Many older Christian leaders advised him against his decision,
but being determined, Samuel went back and rented a
small room. Shipments of literature arrived, and he preached
in the face of many difficulties. Today more than 100 people
meet in a small church there. Those who persecuted us at one
time now worship the Lord Jesus, as was the case with the
apostle Paul.
This is the kind of commitment and faith it takes to reach the
world with the Good News of Jesus Christ.
“ O G o d , L e t O n e o f My B o y s P r e a c h ! ”
R e v o l u t i o n i n Wo r l d Mi s s i o n s
One time we arrived in a town at daybreak to preach. But
word already had gone ahead from the nearby village where we
had preached the day before.
As we had morning tea in a roadside stall, the local militant
leader approached me politely. In a low voice that betrayed little
emotion, he spoke:
“Get on your truck and get out of town in five minutes, or
we’ll burn it and you with it.”
I knew he was serious. He was backed by a menacing crowd.
Although we did “shake the dust from our feet” that day, today a
church meets in that same village. In order to plant the Gospel,
we must take risks.
For months at a time I traveled the dusty roads in the heat
of the day and shivered through cold nights—suffering just as
thousands of native missionaries are suffering today to bring
the Gospel to the lost. In future years I would look back on
those seven years of village evangelism as one of the greatest
learning experiences of my life. We walked in Jesus’ steps,
incarnating and representing Him to masses of people who had
never before heard the Gospel.
I was living a frenetic, busy life—too busy and thrilled with
the work of the Gospel to think much about the future. There
was always another campaign just ahead. But I was about to
reach a turning point.
The Seeds of Future Change
In 1971 I was invited to spend one month in Singapore at a
new institute that had been started by John Haggai. It was still
in the formative stages then—a place where Asian church leaders
would be trained and challenged to witness for Christ.
Haggai was full of stories. In them all, Christians were overcomers
and giants—men and women who received a vision
from God and refused to let go of it. Diligence to your calling
was a virtue to be highly prized.
Haggai was the first person who made me believe that nothing
is impossible with God. And in Haggai I found a man who
refused to accept impossibilities. The normal boundaries others
accepted didn’t exist for him. He saw everything in global terms
and from God’s perspective, refusing to accept sin. If the world
was not evangelized, why not? If people were hungry, what
could we do about it? Haggai refused to accept the world as it
was. And I discovered that he was willing to accept personal
responsibility to become an agent of change.
Toward the end of my month at the institute, John Haggai
challenged me into the most painful introspection I have ever
experienced. I know now it implanted a restlessness in me that
would last for years, eventually causing me to leave India to
search abroad for God’s ultimate will in my life.
Haggai’s challenge seemed simple at first. He wanted me to
go to my room and write down—in one sentence—the single
most important thing I was going to do with the rest of my life.
He stipulated that it could not be self-centered or worldly in
nature. And one more thing—it had to bring glory to God.
I went to my room to write that one sentence. But the paper
remained blank for hours and days. Disturbed that I might not
be reaching my full potential in Christ, I began at that conference
to reevaluate every part of my lifestyle and ministry. I left
the conference with the question still ringing in my ears, and for
years I would continue to hear the words of John Haggai, “One
thing . . . by God’s grace you have to do one thing.”
I left Singapore newly liberated to think of myself in terms of
an individual for the first time. Up until that time—like most
Asians—I always had viewed myself as part of a group, either
my family or a Gospel team. Although I had no idea what
special work God would have for me as an individual, I began
thinking of doing my “personal best” for Him. The seeds for
future change had been planted, and nothing could stop the
approaching storms in my life.
While my greatest passion was still for the unreached villages
of the North, I now was traveling all over India.
On one of these speaking trips in 1973, I was invited to teach
at the spring Operation Mobilization training conference in
Madras (now Chennai). That was where I first saw the attractive
German girl. As a student in one of my classes, she impressed
me with the simplicity of her faith. Soon I found myself thinking
that if she were an Indian, she would be the kind of woman
I would like to marry some day.
Once, when our eyes met, we held each other’s gaze for a
brief, extra moment, until I self-consciously broke the spell and
quickly fled the room. I was uncomfortable in such male-female
encounters. In our culture, single people seldom speak to each
R e v o l u t i o n i n Wo r l d Mi s s i o n s
other. Even in church and on Gospel teams, the sexes are kept
strictly separate.
Certain that I would never again see her, I pushed the thought
of the attractive German girl from my mind. But marriage was
on my mind. I had made a list of the six qualities I most wanted
in a wife and frequently prayed for the right choice to be made
for me.
Of course, in India, marriages are arranged by the parents,
and I would have to rely on their judgment in selecting the right
person for my life partner. I wondered where my parents would
find a wife who was willing to share my mobile lifestyle and
commitment to the work of the Gospel. But as the conference
ended, plans for the summer outreach soon crowded out these
That summer, along with a few co-workers, I returned to all
the places we had visited during the last few years in the state of
Punjab. I had been in and out of the state many times and was
eager to see the fruit of our ministry there.
The breadbasket of India, with its population of 24 million,
is dominated by turbaned Sikhs, a fiercely independent and
hardworking people who have always been a caste of warriors.
Before the partition of India and Pakistan, the state also had
a huge Muslim population. It remains one of the least evangelized
and most neglected areas of the world.
We had trucked and street-preached our way through hundreds
of towns and villages in this state over the previous two
years. Although British missionaries had founded many hospitals
and schools in the state, very few congregations of believers
now existed. The intensely nationalistic Sikhs stubbornly
refused to consider Christianity because they closely associated
it with British colonialism.
I traveled with a good-sized team of men. A separate women’s
team also was assigned to the state, working out of Jullundur.
T h e S e e d s o f F u t u r e C h a n g e
On my way north to link up with the men’s team I would lead,
I stopped in at the North India headquarters in New Delhi.
To my surprise, there she was again—the German girl. This
time she was dressed in a sari, one of the most popular forms of
our national dress. I learned she also had been assigned to work
in Punjab for the summer with the women’s team.
The local director asked me to escort her northward as far as
Jullundur, and so we rode in the same van. I learned her name
was Gisela, and the more I saw of her the more enchanted I
became. She ate the food and drank the water and unconsciously
followed all the rules of our culture. The little conversation
we had focused on spiritual things and the lost villages of India.
I soon realized I had finally found a soul mate who shared my
vision and calling.
Romantic love, for most Indians, is something you read about
only in storybooks. Daring cinema films, while they frequently
deal with the concept, are careful to end the film in a proper
Indian manner. So I was faced with the big problem of communicating
my forbidden and impossible love. I said nothing
to Gisela, of course. But something in her eyes told me we both
understood. Could God be bringing us together?
In a few hours we would be separated again, and I reminded
myself I had other things to do. Besides, I thought, at the end of
the summer she’ll be flying to Germany, and I’ll probably never
see her again. Throughout the summer, surprisingly, our paths
did cross again. Each time I felt my love grow stronger. Then I
tentatively took a chance at expressing my love with a letter.
Meanwhile, the Punjab survey broke my heart. In village after
village, our literature and preaching appeared to have had little
lasting impact. The fruit had not remained. Most of the villages
we visited appeared just as illiterate and lost as ever. The people
still were locked in disease, poverty and suffering. The Gospel,
it seemed to me, hadn’t taken root.
R e v o l u t i o n i n Wo r l d Mi s s i o n s
In one town I felt such deep despair I literally sat down on a
curb and sobbed. I wept the bitter tears that only a child can cry.
“Your work is for nothing,” taunted a demon in my ear. “Your
words are rolling off these people like water off a duck’s back!”
Without realizing I was burning out—or what was happening
to me spiritually—I fell into listlessness. Like Jonah and Elijah,
I was too tired to go on. I could see only one thing. The fruit
of my work wasn’t remaining. More than ever before, I needed
time to reassess my ministry.
I corresponded with Gisela. She had, in the meantime,
returned to Germany. I decided I would take two years off from
the work to study and make some life choices about my ministry
and possible marriage.
I began writing letters abroad and became interested in the
possibility of attending a Bible school in England. I also had
invitations to speak in churches in Germany. In December I
bought an air ticket out of India planning to be in Europe for
Christmas with Gisela’s family.
While there I got the first tremors of what soon would become
an earthquake-size case of culture shock. As the snow fell, it was
obvious to everyone I soon would have to buy a winter coat and
boots—obvious, that is, to everyone except me. One look at the
price tags sent me into deep trauma. For the cost of my coat and
boots in Germany, I could have lived comfortably for months
back in India.
And this concept of living by faith was hard for Gisela’s
parents to accept. Here was this penniless street preacher from
India, without a single dollar of his own, insisting he was going
to school but he didn’t know where and, by now, asking to
marry their daughter.
One by one the miracles occurred, though, and God met
every need.
First, a letter arrived from E.A. Gresham, a total stranger from
T h e S e e d s o f F u t u r e C h a n g e
R e v o l u t i o n i n Wo r l d Mi s s i o n s
Dallas, Texas, who was then regional director of the Fellowship
of Christian Athletes. He had heard about me from a Scottish
friend and invited me to come to the United States for two years
of study at what was then the Criswell Bible Institute in Dallas.
I replied positively and booked myself on a low-cost charter
flight to New York with the last money I had.
This flight, it turned out, also was to become a miracle. Not
knowing I needed a special student visa, I bought the ticket
without the chance for refund. If I missed the flight, I would
lose both my seat and the ticket.
Praying with my last ounce of faith, I asked God to intervene
and somehow get the paperwork for the visa. As I prayed, a
friend in Dallas, Texas, was strangely moved by God to get out
of his car, go back to the office, and complete my paperwork
and personally take it to the post office. In a continuous series
of divinely arranged “coincidences,” the forms arrived within
hours of the deadline.
Before leaving for America, Gisela and I became engaged. I
would go on to seminary alone, however. We had no idea when
we would see each other again.
I Walked in a Daze
As I changed planes for Dallas at JFK International in New
York, I was overcome at the sights and sounds around me. Those
of us who grow up in Europe and Asia hear stories about the
affluence and prosperity of the United States, but until you see it
with your own eyes, the stories seem like fairy tales.
Americans are more than just unaware of their affluence—
they almost seem to despise it at times. Finding a lounge chair, I
stared in amazement at how they treated their beautiful clothes
and shoes. The richness of the fabrics and colors was beyond
anything I had ever seen. As I would discover again and again,
this nation routinely takes its astonishing wealth for granted.
As I would do many times—almost daily—in the weeks
ahead, I compared their clothing to that of the native missionary
evangelists whom I had left only a few weeks before. Many
of them walk barefoot between villages or work in flimsy sandals.
Their threadbare cotton garments would not be acceptable
as cleaning rags in the United States. Then I discovered most
Americans have closets full of clothing they wear only occasionally—
and I remembered the years I traveled and worked with
only the clothes on my back. And I had lived the normal lifestyle
of most village evangelists.
Economist Robert Heilbroner describes the luxuries a typical
American family would have to surrender if they lived among
the 1 billion hungry people in the Two-Thirds World:
We begin by invading the house of our imaginary American
family to strip it of its furniture. Everything goes: beds, chairs,
tables, television sets, lamps. We will leave the family with a few
old blankets, a kitchen table, a wooden chair. Along with the
bureaus go the clothes. Each member of the family may keep in
his wardrobe his oldest suit or dress, a shirt or blouse. We will
permit a pair of shoes for the head of the family, but none for
the wife or children.
We move to the kitchen. The appliances have already been
taken out, so we turn to the cupboards. . . . The box of matches
may stay, a small bag of flour, some sugar and salt. A few moldy
potatoes, already in the garbage can, must be rescued, for they
will provide much of tonight’s meal. We will leave a handful of
onions and a dish of dried beans. All the rest we take away: the
meat, the fresh vegetables, the canned goods, the crackers, the
Now we have stripped the house: the bathroom has been dismantled,
the running water shut off, the electric wires taken out.
Next we take away the house. The family can move to the tool
shed. . . . Communications must go next. No more newspapers,
magazines, books—not that they are missed, since we must take
away our family’s literacy as well. Instead, in our shantytown we
will allow one radio. . . .
Now government services must go next. No more postmen,
no more firemen. There is a school, but it is three miles away and
consists of two classrooms. . . . There are, of course, no hospitals
or doctors nearby. The nearest clinic is ten miles away and is
tended by a midwife. It can be reached by bicycle, provided the
family has a bicycle, which is unlikely. . . .
Finally, money. We will allow our family a cash hoard of
five dollars. This will prevent our breadwinner from experiencing
the tragedy of an Iranian peasant who went blind because
he could not raise the $3.94 which he mistakenly thought he
needed to receive admission to a hospital where he could have
been cured.1
This is an accurate description of the lifestyle and world from
R e v o l u t i o n i n Wo r l d Mi s s i o n s
which I came. From the moment I touched foot on American
soil, I walked in an unbelieving daze. How can two so different
economies coexist simultaneously on the earth? Everything
was so overpowering and confusing to me at first. Not only
did I have to learn the simplest procedures—like using the pay
telephones and making change—but as a sensitive Christian, I
found myself constantly making spiritual evaluations of everything
I saw.
As the days passed into weeks, I began with alarm to understand
how misplaced are the spiritual values of most Western
believers. Sad to say, it appeared to me that for the most part
they had absorbed the same humanistic and materialistic values
that dominated the secular culture. Almost immediately I sensed
an awesome judgment was hanging over the United States—and
that I had to warn God’s people that He was not going to lavish
this abundance on them forever. But the message was still not
formed in my heart, and it would be many years before I would
feel the anointing and courage to speak out against such sin.
Meanwhile, in Texas, a land that in many ways epitomizes
America, I reeled with shock at the most common things. My
hosts eagerly pointed out what they considered their greatest
achievements. I nodded with politeness as they showed me
their huge churches, high-rise buildings and universities. But
these didn’t impress me very much. After all, I had seen the
Golden Temple in Amritsar, the Taj Mahal, the Palaces of Jhans,
the University of Baroda in Gujarat.
What impresses visitors from the Two-Thirds World are the
simple things Americans take for granted: fresh water available
24 hours a day, unlimited electrical power, telephones that work
and a most remarkable network of paved roads. Compared to
Western countries, things in Asia are still in the process of development.
At the time, we still had no television in India, but
my American hosts seemed to have TV sets in every room—and
I Wa l k e d i n a D a z e
they operated day and night. This ever-present blast of media
disturbed me. For some reason, Americans seemed to have a
need to surround themselves with noise all the time. Even in
their cars, I noticed the radios were on even when no one was
Why do they always have to be either entertained or entertaining?
I wondered. It was as if they were trying to escape from
a guilt they had not yet defined or even identified.
I was constantly aware of how large—and overweight—most
Americans seemed to be. Americans need big cars, big homes
and large furniture, because they are big people.
I was amazed at how important eating, drinking, smoking
and even drug use were in the Western lifestyle. Even among
Christians, food was a major part of fellowship events.
This, of course, is not bad in itself. “Love feasts” were an
important part of the New Testament church life. But eating can
be taken to extremes. One of the ironies of this is the relatively
small price North Americans pay for food. In 1998, personal
expenditures in the United States averaged $19,049 per person,
of which $1,276 (6.7 percent) went for food, leaving a comfortable
$17,773 for other expenses. In India, the average person
had only $276 to spend, of which $134 (48.4 percent) went for
food, leaving a scant $142 for other needs for the entire year.2
I had lived with this reality every day, but Americans have real
trouble thinking in these terms.
Often when I spoke at a church, the people would appear
moved as I told of the suffering and needs of the native evangelists.
They usually took an offering and presented me with a
check for what seemed like a great amount of money. Then with
their usual hospitality, they invited me to eat with the leaders
following the meeting. To my horror, the food and “fellowship”
frequently cost more than the money they had just given
to missions. And I was amazed to find that American families
R e v o l u t i o n i n Wo r l d Mi s s i o n s
eat enough meat at one meal to feed an Asian family
for a week. No one ever seemed to notice this but me, and
slowly I realized they just had not heard the meaning of my
message. They were simply incapable of understanding the
enormous needs overseas.
Even today I sometimes cannot freely order food when traveling
in the United States. I look at the costs and realize how
far the same amount of money will go in India, Myanmar (formerly
Burma) or the Philippines. Suddenly I am not quite as
hungry as I was before.
Many native missionaries and their families experience days
without food—not because they are fasting voluntarily but
because they have no money to buy rice. This occurs especially
when they start new work in villages where there are no
Remembering the heartbreaking suffering of the native brethren,
I sometimes refused to eat the desserts so often served to
me. I am sure this made no difference in supplying food to hungry
families, but I couldn’t bear to take pleasure in eating while
Christian workers in Asia were going hungry. The need became
real to me through the ministry of Brother Moses Paulose, one
of the native missionaries we sponsored.
Millions of poor, uneducated fisher-folk live along the thousands
of islands and endless miles of coastal backwaters in
Asia. Their homes usually are small huts made of leaves, and
their lifestyles are simple—hard work and little pleasure. These
fishermen and their families are some of the most unreached
people in the world. But God called Paulose and his family to
take the Gospel to the unreached fishing villages of Tamil Nadu
on the east coast of India.
I remember visiting Paulose’s family. One of the first things
he discovered when he began visiting the villages was that the
literacy rate was so low he could not use tracts or printed materi-
I Wa l k e d i n a D a z e
R e v o l u t i o n i n Wo r l d Mi s s i o n s
als effectively. He decided to use slides, but had no projector or
money to purchase one. So he made repeated trips to a hospital
where he sold his blood until he had the money he needed.
It was exciting to see the crowds his slide projector attracted.
As soon as he began to put up the white sheet that served as
a screen, thousands of adults and children gathered along the
beach. Mrs. Paulose sang Gospel songs over a loudspeaker powered
by a car battery, and their five-year-old son quoted Bible
verses to passersby.
When the sun had set, Brother Paulose began his slide presentation.
For several hours, thousands sat in the sand, listening to
the Gospel message while the sea murmured in the background.
When we finally packed to leave, I had to walk carefully to avoid
stepping on the hundreds of children sleeping on the sand.
But the tragedy behind all this was the secret starvation
Paulose and his family faced. Once I heard his long-suffering
wife comforting the children and urging them to drink water
from a baby bottle in order to hold off the pangs of hunger.
There was not enough money in the house for milk. Ashamed
to let the non-Christian neighbors know he was without food,
Paulose kept the windows and doors in his one-room rented
house closed so they could not hear the cries of his four hungry
On another occasion, one of his malnourished children fell
asleep in school because he was so weak from hunger.
“I am ashamed to tell the teacher or our neighbors,” he told
me. “Only God, our children, and my wife and I know the real
story. We have no complaints or even unhappiness. We’re joyfully
and totally content in our service of the Lord. It is a privilege
to be counted worthy to suffer for His sake. . . .”
Even when the teacher punished his children for lack of
attention in class, Paulose would not tell his secret suffering and
bring shame on the name of Christ. Fortunately, in this case, we
were able to send immediate support to him, thanks to the help
of generous American Christians. But for too many others, the
story does not end as happily.
Is it God’s fault that men like Brother Paulose are going hungry?
I do not think so. God has provided more than enough
money to meet Paulose’s needs and all the needs of the Two-
Thirds World. The needed money is in the highly developed
nations of the West. North American Christians alone, without
much sacrifice, can meet all the needs of the churches in the
Two-Thirds World.
A friend in Dallas recently pointed out a new church building
that cost $74 million. While this thought was still exploding in
my mind, he pointed out another $7 million church building
going up less than a minute away.
These extravagant buildings are insanity from a Two-Thirds
World perspective. The $74 million spent on one new building
in the United States could build nearly 7,000 average-sized
churches in India. The same $74 million would be enough to
guarantee that the Good News of Jesus Christ could be proclaimed
to a whole Indian state—or even some of the smaller
countries of Asia.
But I rarely spoke out on these subjects. I realized I was a
guest. The Americans who had built these buildings had also
built the school I was now attending, and they were paying my
tuition to attend. It amazed me, though, that these buildings
had been constructed to worship Jesus, who said, “The foxes
have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of
man hath not where to lay his head” (Matthew 8:20).
In Asia today, Christ is still wandering homeless. He is looking
for a place to lay His head, but in temples “not made with human
hands.” Until they can build a facility of their own, our newborn
Christians usually meet in their homes. In non-Christian communities,
it is often impossible to rent church facilities.
I Wa l k e d i n a D a z e
R e v o l u t i o n i n Wo r l d Mi s s i o n s
There is such an emphasis on church buildings in the United
States that we sometimes forget that the Church is the people—
not the place where the people meet.
But God has not called me to fight against church building
programs—we try to provide adequate church buildings for
the small but growing Asian churches whenever possible. What
troubles me much more than the waste is that these efforts often
represent a worldly mindset. Why can’t we at least earmark 10
percent of our Christian giving for the cause of world evangelism?
If Christians in the United States alone had made this
commitment in 2000, there would have been nearly $10 billion
available for Gospel outreach!3
A Nation Asleep in Bondage
Religion, I discovered, is a multi-billion dollar business in
the United States. Entering churches, I was astonished at the
carpeting, furnishings, air-conditioning and ornamentation.
Many churches have gymnasiums and fellowships that cater to
a busy schedule of activities having little or nothing to do with
Christ. The orchestras, choirs, “special” music—and sometimes
even the preaching—seemed to me more like entertainment
than worship.
Many North American Christians live isolated from reality—
not only from the needs of the poor overseas, but even
from the poor in their own cities. Amidst all the affluence live
millions of terribly poor people left behind as Christians have
moved into the suburbs. I found that believers are ready to get
involved in almost any activity that looks spiritual but allows
them to escape their responsibility to the Gospel.
One morning, for example, I picked up a popular Christian
magazine containing many interesting articles, stories and
reports from all over the world—most written by famous
Christian leaders in the West. I noticed that this magazine
offered ads for 21 Christian colleges, seminaries and correspondence
courses; 5 different English translations of the Bible; 7
conferences and retreats; 5 new Christian films; 19 commentaries
and devotional books; 7 Christian health or diet programs;
and 5 fund-raising services.
But that was not all. There were ads for all kinds of products
and services: counseling, chaplaincy services, writing courses,
church steeples, choir robes, wall crosses, baptisteries and
water heaters, T-shirts, records, tapes, adoption agencies, tracts,
poems, gifts, book clubs and pen pals. It was all rather impressive.
Probably none of these things were wrong in themselves,
but it bothered me that one nation should have such spiritual
luxury while 40,000 people were dying in my homeland every
day without hearing the Gospel even once.
If the affluence of America impressed me, the affluence of
Christians impressed me even more. The United States has
about 5,000 Christian book and gift stores,1 carrying varieties
of products beyond my ability to imagine—and many secular
stores also carry religious books. All this while 4,845 of the
world’s 6,912 languages are still without a single portion of the
Bible published in their own language!2 In his book My Billion
Bible Dream, Rochunga Pudaite says, “Eighty-five percent of all
Bibles printed today are in English for the nine percent of the
world who read English. Eighty percent of the world’s people
have never owned a Bible while Americans have an average of
four in every household.”3
Besides books, 8,000 Christian magazines and newspapers
flourish.4 More than 1,600 Christian radio stations broadcast
the Gospel full-time,5 while many countries don’t even have
their first Christian radio station. A tiny 0.1 percent of all
Christian radio and television programming is directed toward
the unevangelized world.6
The saddest observation I can make about most of the religious
communication activity of the Western world is this: Little,
if any, of this media is designed to reach unbelievers. Almost all
is entertainment for the saints.
The United States, with its 600,000 congregations or groups,
is blessed with 1.5 million full-time Christian workers, or one
R e v o l u t i o n i n Wo r l d Mi s s i o n s
full-time religious leader for every 182 people in the nation.7
What a difference this is from the rest of the world, where more
than 2 billion people are still unreached with the Gospel. The
unreached or “hidden peoples” have only one missionary working
for every 78,000 people,8 and there are still 1,240 distinct
cultural groups in the world without a single church among
them to preach the Gospel.9 These are the masses for whom
Christ wept and died.
One of the most impressive blessings in America is religious
liberty. Not only do Christians have access to radio and television,
unheard of in most nations of Asia, but they are also free
to hold meetings, evangelize and print literature. How different
this is from many Asian nations in which government persecution
of Christians is common and often legal.
Such was the case in Nepal, where until just a few years ago
it was illegal to change one’s religion or to influence others
to change their religion. In those days, Christians often faced
prison there for their faith.
One native missionary there served time in 14 different prisons
between 1960 and 1975. He spent 10 out of those 15 years
suffering torture and ridicule for preaching the Gospel to his
His ordeal began when he baptized nine new believers and
was arrested for doing so. The new converts, five men and four
women, also were arrested, and each was sentenced to a year
in prison. He was sentenced to serve six years for influencing
The prison where they were sent was literally a dungeon of
death. About 25 to 30 people were jammed into one small
room with no ventilation or sanitation. The smell was so bad
that newcomers often passed out in less than half an hour.
The place where Brother P. and his fellow believers were sent
was crawling with lice and cockroaches. Prisoners slept on dirt
A N a t i o n A s l e e p i n B o n d a g e
floors. Rats and mice gnawed on fingers and toes during the
night. In the winter there was no heat; in summer no ventilation.
For food, the prisoners were allowed one cup of rice each
day, but they had to build a fire on the ground to cook it. The
room was constantly filled with smoke because there was no
chimney. On that inadequate diet, most prisoners became seriously
ill, and the stench of vomit was added to the other putrefying
odors. Yet miraculously, none of the Christians was sick
for even one day during the entire year.
After serving their one-year sentences, the nine new believers
were released. Then the authorities decided to break Brother
P. They took his Bible away from him, chained him hand and
foot, then forced him through a low doorway into a tiny cubicle
previously used to store bodies of dead prisoners until relatives
came to claim them.
In the damp darkness, the jailer predicted his sanity would
not last more than a few days. The room was so small that
Brother P. could not stand up or even stretch out on the floor.
He could not build a fire to cook, so other prisoners slipped
food under the door to keep him alive.
Lice ate away his underwear, but he could not scratch because
of the chains, which soon cut his wrists and ankles to the bone.
It was winter, and he nearly froze to death several times. He
could not tell day from night, but as he closed his eyes, God let
him see the pages of the New Testament. Although his Bible had
been taken away, he was still able to read it in total darkness.
It sustained him as he endured the terrible torture. For three
months he was not allowed to speak to another human being.
Brother P. was transferred to many other prisons. In each, he
continually shared his faith with both guards and prisoners.
Although Brother P. continued to move in and out of prisons,
he refused to form secret churches. “How can a Christian keep
silent?” he asked. “How can a church go underground? Jesus
R e v o l u t i o n i n Wo r l d Mi s s i o n s
died openly for us. He did not try to hide on the way to the
cross. We also must speak out boldly for Him regardless of the
Coming from India, where I was beaten and stoned for my
faith, I know what it is to be a persecuted minority in my own
country. When I set foot on Western soil, I could sense a spirit
of religious liberty. Americans have never known the fear of persecution.
Nothing seems impossible to them.
From India, I always had looked to the United States as a fortress
of Christianity. With the abundance of both spiritual and
material things, affluence unsurpassed by any nation on earth,
and a totally unfettered Church, I expected to see a bold witness.
God’s grace obviously has been poured out on this nation
and Church in a way no other people ever have experienced.
Instead I found a Church in spiritual decline. American believers
were still the leading givers to missions, but this appeared
due more to historical accident than the deep-set conviction
I expected to find. As I spoke in churches and met average
Christians, I discovered they had terrible misconceptions about
the missionary mandate of the Church. In church meetings, as I
listened to the questions of my hosts and heard their comments
about the Two-Thirds World, my heart would almost burst with
pain. These people, I knew, were capable of so much more. They
were dying spiritually, but I knew God wanted to give them life
again. He wanted His Church to recover its moral mandate and
sense of mission.
I didn’t yet know how. I didn’t know when. But I knew one
thing: God did not shower such great blessing on this nation
for the Christians to live in extravagance, self-indulgence and
spiritual weakness.
By faith, I could see a revival coming—the Body of Christ
rediscovering the power of the Gospel and their obligation to
it. But for the time being, all I could do was sense how wrong
A N a t i o n A s l e e p i n B o n d a g e
R e v o l u t i o n i n Wo r l d Mi s s i o n s
the situation was—and pray. God had not given me the words
to articulate what I was seeing—or a platform from which to
speak. Instead He still had some important lessons to teach me,
and I was to learn them in this alien land far from my beloved
What Are You Doing Here?
The Bible says that “some plant” and “others water.” The living
God now took me halfway around the world to teach me
about watering. Before He could trust me again with the planting,
I had to learn the lesson I had been avoiding in India—the
importance of the local church in God’s master plan for world
It really started through one of those strange coincidences —a
divine appointment that only a sovereign God could engineer.
By now I was a busy divinity student in Dallas at the Criswell
Bible Institute, intently soaking up every one of my classes.
Thanks to the scholarship God had so miraculously provided,
I was able to dig into God’s Word as never before. For the first
time I was doing formal, in-depth study, and the Bible was
revealing many of its secrets to me.
After my first term, Gisela and I were married, and she joined
me in Dallas at the beginning of the next school term, October
1974. Except for preaching engagements and opportunities to
share about Asia on weekends, I was fully absorbed in my studies
and establishing our new home.
One weekend a fellow student invited me to fill the pulpit at
a little church he was pastoring in Dallas. Although it was an
American congregation, there were many Native Americans in
R e v o l u t i o n i n Wo r l d Mi s s i o n s
Gisela was especially thrilled because through much of her
childhood she had prayed to be a missionary to “Red Indians
on the Great Plains of America.” While other schoolgirls
dreamed of marriage and a Prince Charming, she was praying
about doing ministry work among Native Americans. Much to
my surprise, I found she had collected and read more than 100
books about the tribal life and history of Native Americans.
Strangely challenged and burdened for this little congregation,
I preached my heart out. Never once did I mention my
vision and burden for Asia. Instead I expounded Scripture verse
by verse. A great love welled up in me for these people.
Although I did not know it, my pastor friend turned in his
resignation the same day. The deacons invited me to come back
the next week and the next. God gave us a supernatural love
for these people, and they loved us back. Late that month the
church board invited me to become the pastor, at the age of 23.
When Gisela and I accepted the call, I instantly found myself
carrying a burden for these people 24 hours a day.
More than once, I shamefacedly remembered how I had
despised pastors and their problems back in India. Now that
I was patching up relationships, healing wounded spirits and
holding a group together, I started to see things in a wholly
different light. Some of the problems God’s people face are the
same worldwide, so I preached against sin and for holy living.
Other problems, such as divorce (an epidemic in the West but
almost unheard of in India when I first came to this country), I
was completely unprepared to handle.
Although my weight had increased to 106 pounds, I still
nearly collapsed when I attempted to baptize a 250-pound convert
at one of our regular water baptisms. People came to Christ
continually, making ours a growing, soul-winning church with
a hectic round of meetings that went six nights a week.
The days passed quickly into months. When I wasn’t in
classes, I was with my people giving myself to them with the
same abandonment that characterized my village preaching in
North India. We learned to visit in homes, call on the sick in
hospitals, marry and bury. Gisela and I were involved in the
lives of our people day and night. Because we had several Native
American tribal groups represented in the congregation, as well
as “anglos,” we soon found we were ministering to several different
cultures simultaneously.
The “staying power” and disciple-making were what my
ministry in North India had lacked. I saw why I had failed in
Punjab. Holding evangelistic crusades and bringing people to
Christ are not enough: Someone has to stay behind and nurture
the new believers into maturity.
For the first time I began to understand the goal of all mission
work: the “perfecting” of the saints into sanctified, committed
disciples of Christ. Jesus commanded us to go to all the nations,
baptizing them and teaching them to obey all the things He
had revealed. The Gospel-team ministry I had led in India was
going, but we weren’t staying to do the teaching.
The church—a group of believers—is God’s ordained place
for the discipleship process to take place. God’s Plan A for
the redemption of the world is the Church, and He has no
Plan B.
As I shepherded a local congregation, the Lord revealed to
me that the same qualities are needed in native missionary
evangelists, the men and women who could reach the hidden
peoples of Asia. In my imagination I saw these same discipleship
concepts being implanted in India and throughout Asia.
Like the early Methodist circuit riders who planted churches on
the American frontier, I could see our evangelists adding church
planting to their evangelistic efforts.
But even as the concept captured me, I realized it would take
a host of God’s people to accomplish this task. In India alone,
Wh a t A r e Y o u D o i n g He r e ?
500,000 villages are without a Gospel witness. And then there
are China, Southeast Asia and the islands. We would need a million
workers to finish the task.
This idea was too big for me to accept, so I pushed it from
my mind. After all, I reasoned, God had called me to this little
church here in Dallas, and He was blessing my ministry. I was
getting very comfortable where I was. The church supported us
well; and with our first baby on the way, I had begun to accept
the Western way of life as my own, complete with a house, automobile,
credit cards, insurance policies and bank accounts.
My formal schooling continued as I prepared to settle into
building up the church. But my peace about staying in Dallas
was slipping away. By the end of 1976 and early in 1977, I heard
an accusing voice every time I stood in the pulpit: “What are you
doing here? While you preach to an affluent American congregation,
millions are going to hell in Asia. Have you forgotten
your people?”
A terrible inner conflict developed. I was unable to recognize
the voice. Was it God? Was it my own conscience? Was it
demonic? In desperation, I decided to wait upon God for His
plan. I had said we would go anywhere, do anything. But we
had to hear definitely from God. I could not go on working with
that tormenting voice. I announced to the church that I was
praying, and I asked them to join with me in seeking the will of
God for our future ministry.
“I seem to have no peace,” I admitted to them, “about either
staying in the United States or returning to India.”
I wondered, “What is God really trying to say to me?” As I
prayed and fasted, God revealed Himself to me in a vision. It
came back several times before I understood the revelation.
Many faces would appear before me—the faces of Asian men
and their families from many lands. They were holy men and
women, with looks of dedication on their faces. Gradually,
R e v o l u t i o n i n Wo r l d Mi s s i o n s
I understood these people to be an image of the indigenous
church that is now being raised up to take the Gospel to every
part of Asia.
Then the Lord spoke to me: “They cannot speak what you
will speak. They will not go where you will go. You are called
to be their servant. You must go where I will send you on their
behalf. You are called to be their servant.”
As lightning floods the sky in a storm, my whole life passed
before me in that instant. I had never spoken English until I was
16, yet now I was ministering in this strange language. I had
never worn shoes before I was 17. I was born and raised in a
jungle village. Suddenly I realized I had nothing to be proud of;
my talents or skills had not brought me to America. My coming
here was an act of God’s sovereign will. He wanted me to cross
cultures, to marry a German wife and live in an alien land to
give me the experiences I would need to serve in a new missionary
“I have led you to this point,” said God. “Your lifetime call is
to be the servant of the unknown brethren—men whom I have
called out and scattered among the villages of Asia.”
Knowing that at last I had found my life’s work, I eagerly
rushed to share my new vision with my church leaders and
executives of missionary societies. To my utter bewilderment,
God seemed to have forgotten to tell anyone but me.
My friends thought I was crazy. Mission leaders questioned
either my integrity or my qualifications—and sometimes both.
Church leaders whom I trusted and respected wrapped fatherly
arms around my shoulders and counseled me against undue
emotionalism. Suddenly, through a simple announcement, I
found myself alone—under attack and forced to defend myself.
I knew that had I not waited for such a clear calling, I would
have collapsed under those early storms of unbelief and doubt.
But I remained convinced of my call—certain that God was
Wh a t A r e Y o u D o i n g He r e ?
R e v o l u t i o n i n Wo r l d Mi s s i o n s
initiating a new day in world missions. Still, no one seemed to
catch my enthusiasm.
Secretly I had prided myself on being a good speaker and
salesman, but nothing I could do or say seemed to turn the
tide of public opinion. While I was arguing that “new wine
needed new wineskins,” others could only ask, “Where is the
new wine?”
My only comfort was Gisela, who had been with me in India
and accepted the vision without question. In moments of discouragement,
when even my faith wavered, she refused to allow
us to let go of the vision. Rebuffed but certain we had heard
God correctly, we planted the first seeds by ourselves.
I wrote to an old friend in India whom I had known and
trusted for years, asking him to help me select some needy
native missionaries who already were doing outstanding work.
I promised to come and meet them later, and we started planning
a survey trip to seek out more qualified workers.
Slowly, a portion of our own personal income and
resources were sent as missionary support to India. I became
compulsive. Soon I could not buy a hamburger or drink a cola
without feeling guilty. Realizing we had fallen into the trap
of materialism, we quietly sold everything we could, pulled
our savings out of the bank and cashed in my life insurance.
I remembered how one of my seminary professors solemnly
instructed his class of young “preacher boys” to lay aside money
every month for emergencies, purchase life insurance and build
equity in a home.
But I could not find any of this in the New Testament commands
of Christ. Why was it necessary to save our money in
bank accounts when Jesus commanded us not to lay up treasures
on this earth?
“Haven’t I commanded you to live by faith?” asked the Holy
Left: K.P.’s moth er faithfully
prayed and fasted every Friday for
three and a half years, asking God
to call one of her sons to be a missionary.
Her prayer was answered
when K.P. began to serve the Lord
at the age of 16.
below : K.P. yohannan (fifth
from left) with an Operation
Mobilization evangelism team
in 1971. Next to him is Greg
Livingstone, international director
of Frontiers.
Millions of souls in many Asian nations worship countless gods and
goddesses. Deeply religious and sincere, they offer all they have to these deities,
hoping to find forgiveness of sin.
Gospel for Asia’s U.S. Home team staff —2006. These dedicated brothers
and sisters serve as a vital link between thousands of Christians here in the West
and a host of native missionaries on the mission field. Similar home team staffs
serve with GFA in Australia, Canada, Germany, Korea, New Zealand, South Africa
and the United Kingdom.
THIS TRIBAL WOMAN represents many unreached people groups who have never
heard Jesus’ name. Located in the heart of the 10/40 Window, India has the largest
number of unreached people groups in the world today.
above: K.P. and his wife, Gisela, were both 23 when the
Lord brought them together to serve Him with one purpose and
one goal—to live for Him and to give all they had to reach the lost
world. That was in 1974. Today they joyfully continue on—that this
generation may come to know the Lord Jesus Christ.
Left: Their children,
Daniel and Sarah, prayed
from an early age that the Lord
would call them to be missionaries.
After finishing high
school, they went on to study
at Gospel for Asia’s seminary
and now serve the Lord on the
mission field.
So Gisela and I conformed our lives literally to the New
Testament commands of Christ regarding money and material
possessions. I even traded in my late model car for a cheaper used
one. The difference went straight to India. It was a joy to make
these little sacrifices for the native brethren. Besides, I knew that
it was the only way we could get the mission started.
Please understand. It is not necessarily wrong to have life
insurance or a savings account. This was the way the Lord was
leading my family. How the Lord leads you may be different.
This is what is important—each one of us is responsible for how
we obey what He has said and follow Him alone.
In those early days, what kept me going was the assurance
that there was no other way. Even if people did not understand
that we had to start a native missionary movement, I felt an
obligation to the knowledge of God’s call. I knew Western missions
alone could not get the job done. Because my own nation
and many others were closed to outsiders, we had to turn to the
native believers. Even if Western missionaries somehow were
permitted back, the cost of sending them would be in the billions
each year. Native evangelists could do the same for only a
fraction of the cost.
I never told anyone that I eventually would need such huge
sums of money. They already thought I was crazy for wanting to
support 8 or 10 missionaries a month out of my own income.
What would they think if I said I needed millions of dollars a
year to field thousands of native missionaries? But I knew it
was possible. Several Western missionary societies and charities
already were dealing with annual budgets that size. I saw no
reason why we couldn’t do the same.
But as logical as it all was in my mind, I had some bitter lessons
to learn. Giving birth to a new mission society was going
to take much more energy and start-up capital than I ever could
imagine. I had a lot to learn about the United States and the way
Wh a t A r e Y o u D o i n g He r e ?
R e v o l u t i o n i n Wo r l d Mi s s i o n s
things are done here. But I knew nothing about that yet. I just
knew it had to be done.
With youthful zest, Gisela and I went to India to do our first
field survey. We returned a month later, penniless but committed
to organizing what eventually would become Gospel for Asia.
Soon after our return, I revealed my decision to the congregation.
Reluctantly we cut the cords of fellowship and made plans
to move to Eufaula, Oklahoma, where another pastor friend had
offered me some free space to open offices for the mission.
On the last day at the church, I tearfully preached my farewell
sermon. When the last good-bye was said and the last hand was
grasped, I locked the door and paused on the steps. I felt the
hand of God lifting the mantle from my shoulders. God was
releasing me of the burden for this church and the people of
this place. As I strolled across the gravel driveway, the final mystery
of Christian service became real to me.
Pastors—like missionary evangelists—are placed in the
harvest fields of this world by God. No mission society, denomination,
bishop, pope or superintendent calls a person to such
service. In Gospel for Asia, I would not presume to call the
native brethren but simply to be a servant to the ones whom
God already had chosen for His service.
Once settled in Oklahoma, I sought counsel from older
Christian leaders, listening eagerly to anyone who would give
me advice. Everywhere I went, I asked questions. I knew God
had called me, and much of the advice I got was destructive.
I found we had to learn most of our lessons by painful trial
and error. The only way I escaped several disastrous decisions
was my stubborn refusal to compromise the vision God had
given. If something fit in with what God had said to me, then
I considered it. If not—no matter how attractive it appeared—I
refused. The secret of following God’s will, I discovered, usually
is wrapped up in rejecting the good for God’s best.
One piece of advice did stick, however. Every Christian leader
should have this engraved in his subconscious: No matter what
you do, never take yourself too seriously. Paul Smith, founder of
Bible Translations on Tape, was the first executive to say that to
me, and I think it is one of the best single fragments of wisdom
I have received from anyone.
God always chooses the foolish things of this world to confound
the wise. He shows His might only on the behalf of those
who trust in Him. Humility is the place where all Christian service
Wh a t A r e Y o u D o i n g He r e ?

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