In May of 2015 I was able to visit the two groups of Seventh Day Baptist churches in India with Nicholas Solomon from the Salem SDB church in West Virginia. One was the established SDB World Federation conference in Andhra Pradesh (the Kerala, India, conference was no longer active). The other was the group that had just started holding services in January of 2014 in the remote Indian state of Manipur bordering the country of Myanmar.
The Manipur group had their start from a visiting Indian pastor at a conference in Seoul, South Korea, when I was there meeting with Seventh Day Baptists in late 2013. The Indian pastor was invited by my hosts to come and learn more about our beliefs and polity from sessions I was going to be giving to the Koreans. He came and quietly listened, introduced himself, and I expected that was going to be the last I would hear from him. To my surprise a few weeks after my return to the office, I received emails from a far eastern part of India that contained images of meetings being held with a banner advertising sessions regarding the teachings and beliefs of Seventh Day Baptists. Today their group has two churches on each side of the Indian-Myanmar boarder. They are anxious to reach people of Burmese descent in the region, particularly in areas where Christianity is a tiny minority.
This was not the only amazing event regarding this visit. Even before entering the country, I had been praying that the Holy Spirit would open the hearts and minds of the Indian SDBs to a closer walk with Jesus by better understanding and applying His true love in their lives and ministries. Then the first morning there before I was going to be speaking with a congregation, I was reading a Bible scripture passage as a devotional and found it articulated just what I had been praying for the Seventh Day Baptists in India. This was the prayer from the third chapter of the book of Ephesians:
14 For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
15 Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named,
16 That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;
17 That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,
18 May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height;
19 And to know the love of Christ, which passes knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God.
For me this was a blessing and a miracle for multiple reasons. One reason: it affirmed to me that morning this was a worthy prayer for me to be praying for the struggling churches in India — because Paul, the apostle, had been praying this prayer for the early Church in Ephesus. Also, because Paul had written it about two thousand years earlier, what I wanted them to clearly understand was available and already converted by others into the local languages by Bible translators. Both of the groups I visited embraced this prayer for them and requested that others pray for this and their ministries. Please, consider making these groups a priority in your regular prayers. I would like to find each of these groups a prayer partner congregation to share each other’s challenges and victories. Maybe your church could be the first to ask to be a partner with them?
- For the July/August 2015 Sabbath Recorder click HERE
~ Clinton R. Brown, Executive Director