Church Alive in the Foothills of the Himalayas
YWAMers from India and other Asian countries teamed up to reach the unreached in the early ’90s. From the beginning, they wanted to see a Disciple-Making Movement (DMM) flourish in the foothills of the Himalayas. The team ministered to the neediest people in the community–migrant laborers from a neighboring country. Through a combination of health care and evangelism, multitudes of people began to respond. The love of God was demonstrated. A Disciple-Making Movement began.
People Were Desperate For More
When the team reached the area, they found that the people were helpless and without hope. They were demon-possessed, diseased, and distressed. There was no quality medical treatment. The YWAM-FM workers committed themselves to see God moving in the lives of people from this group.
The team preached the good news of the gospel from one mountain to the other. They trekked long distances, walking for many hours to share Jesus with those who had never heard.
As people came to faith, the power of God clearly worked in the new believers. The YWAMers ate with them, slept in their homes, and preached the gospel to them with passion. These migrant laborers there were hungry for something that worked. They heard the good news of the gospel and believed it. Hearts opened widely to Jesus’ love. The power of the Holy Spirit was demonstrated through signs and wonders.
Gathering to Form a New Church
The new believers were taught how to obey the basic commands of Jesus. Matthew 28:20 came to life in this region of North India. They listened, believed, and obeyed.
“Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end to the age.” Matthew 28:20
They gathered together to form a new church in the area made up of this unique ethnic group. God’s blessing was on the YWAM team. The church began to flourish with new life. Through faith and obedience, the church grew rapidly as more and more believers joined the fellowship.
A New Plan
Problems became obvious in the midst of church growth. There were about 30 believers attending the church service. Although the local believers gathered for church, they were not participating. The YWAM team always led worship and preached. It was time to make a new plan. The team and the local believers came to a unified agreement. They decided to stop having large meetings led by outsiders. They formed three house churches, which only the locals attended. Every week a YWAMer met with elders from each of the house churches. They gave reports on the progress of the church, they prayed and made plans. Key people received coaching, and leaders began to be trained.
The Movement Became Self-Sustaining
God was working in each individual life. Evangelism and ministry began to be done by the believers themselves. Within a short time multiplication started to take place. They were experiencing the beginnings of a Disciple-Making Movement. The local believers shared generously with one another. They went out to preach the gospel with boldness, and strong testimonies. Visible fruit was being produced in their lives. The new believers had passionate stories of their transformed lives. The house fellowships learned to give and the movement became self-sustaining. They even began to support missionaries they sent out! They intentionally limited outside money coming in to help the movement grow.
The believers were so grateful for the power of God that changed their lives. They served Jesus with passion and zeal. Though poor, giving of their resources was not a problem. They now understood the need to give. They gave on their own with gratitude for all God was doing among them.
Local elders were commissioned from among them. They expanded their fellowships. There are now many places in this region with a large population of believers. The believer’s testimonies are impacting whole communities. The Disciple-Making Movement was now practically unstoppable and was growing organically.
In one case, a new believer came to the YWAM leaders because he did not know what to do. After preaching the good news in his community, he had 60 new believers. “What do I do now?” he asked. The leaders coached and trained him in how to disciple them to also become disciple-makers.
The house churches grew in numbers. There were now ten house churches with a total of 100 baptized believers. There were church teams formed by local believers going out to plant churches. Now, not only the YWAMers were planting churches, but local disciples were starting to do so too.
In the area where the movement began, there are now 18 weekly services and a rapidly growing number of house groups. But the movement has spread to other regions as well.
Growing in the Word
The movement has 100 elders and thousands of believers. The movements’ elders desire for some of the leaders to have more solid Bible knowledge. Some of the leaders are now learning the Word through YWAM’s School of Biblical Studies. This will help the movement to be sustained and strengthened.
Many believers are going into the country they migrated from where there is the beginning of a movement starting as well.
“ Go, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name if the Father and he Son and the Holy Spirit.” Matthew 28:19
Expansion Brings Challenges
The vision of this movement is for all believers to become disciple-makers. The movement expanded. Thousands of believers are in house churches in this Himalayan area. But there are many big challenges as well. One of the first local disciples is now overseeing the work in the region. He wants to see strong discipleship among the leaders and a well equipped local eldership. Their ongoing prayer is for quality leaders to grow in their understanding of the Bible while still keeping their passion to reach new areas.
That’s how launching and sustaining a Disciple-making Movement in the foothills of the Himalayas looks!
The Laborers Are Few
One movement was launched with great impact, but there are many people groups and areas near this one where little work has been done to reach the unreached. More workers are needed, those who will pioneer in new places as this team did so many years ago. Maybe God is stirring your heart to be a part of launching a DMM in the Himalayas. It starts with prayer! Sign up below to receive prayer updates about the work in South Asia. Write to us to find out about new areas where pioneer teams are needed.
Let us pray: “Lord, thank You for what You continue to do among believers in the Himalayas. We pray that more workers will join Your harvest in North India and other parts of South Asia. We ask for new YWAM teams, as well as many others to respond to the call to go. Mobilize many new disciple-makers Lord. Amen!”