Himachal Pradesh, is known as the “Abode of Snow”. It is a state located in the northern part of India, dominated by the great Himalayas. Himachal is sometimes referred to as “God’s own Abode”. The entire region of Himachal Pradesh is characterized by hills and forests. The majority of the people in Himachal Pradesh are Hindus (95.9%), followed by Muslims 1.7%, Buddhists 1.2%, Sikh 1.1%. The percentage of Christians in the state is only 0.09%. Himachal Pradesh has long been India’s least evangelized state. It is a centre for Hindu pilgrimages, and every mountain is named after a god and there is much devotion to idols.
The Lord paved the way for Harvest Mission to the Unreached to start ministry in this least evangelized state since the year 2009. The Almighty is blessing the ministry and the work is progressing. On November 4, Pastor Joy Varghese, a senior minister working with Harvest Mission, visited the mission fields in Himachal Pradesh. Along with few other servants of God, he reached a place called Madhuani at night 9.30, one hundreds miles away from capital city Shimla.A prayer meeting was arranged in this particular place and people from different hills and valleys were waiting. After having a swift fresh-up, the servants of God had gone to the meeting place. The Spirit of God moved mightily in the meeting, setting people free from the bondage of evil spirit and sickness. Almost everyone who came for the prayer had one or the other problems in their lives. Moreover, all of them were bounded by the demonic spirits. When the servants of God prayed, the demons threw the people to the ground and were screaming loudly. However, through prayer and the ministry of the Word, God delivered all of them completely. By God’s rich grace and mercies, the meeting went up to two in the morning.
Then the team went to a village called Noula, where Pastor Devender Singh Negi, (HMU Missionary) is ministering. There too people from different places were gathered and the Lord helped His servants to minister powerfully. Hence, the Lord healed the sick and delivered the demon-possessed persons. People were able to experience the touch of God in their lives in a fresh way.
The next destination was Garasu, where the HMU’s missionary Pastor Deshraj is ministering. To reach his place (Garasu), the team had to walk about three and a half kilometers. They walked through the narrow roads and sometimes climbed the hills with the God-given strength. Physically they became very tired and when they reached the actual destination, their legs were swollen and ached with pain.
The prayer meeting in Garasu was a great blessing. An old woman, a regular attendee of the church lives in a distant village on a hilltop. Some years ago, when Pastor Deshraj visited her house with the Gospel, she received Christ as her Savior. Along with her one of her sons named Satish also received Jesus into his heart. But, he failed to have a steady walk with the Lord. However, his mother was kept on praying for him to have a close walk with God. Moreover, Satish was always inside the room, not doing any work. So, his mother wanted the servants of God to come to her house and pray for him. Although her house was on a mountain top, the Lord enabled His servant to climb up to there and speak to Satish from the Word. As they spoke to him from the Word lovingly and authoritatively, he began to have a change in his attitude. The Spirit of God then convicted him of his lost state. Toward the end of the conversation, with tears he admitted his failures and the need for the Savior. He then surrendered his life completely to the Lord, asking Him to be his Master. He also decided to obey the Lord in water baptism. His life took a new turn and was filled with lasting joy and peace. On seeing the tremendous change in Satish, his mother’s joy was untold.
Many people from the neighborhood attended a prayer meeting conducted at night in the residence of Pastor Deshraj, where the regular Sunday worship service is being arranged. A woman came for the prayer from a place which is nine kilometers away from the meeting place. She was suffering from a severe headache since a long time. When God’s servants prayed for her, the Lord touched her. She was fully tormented by the powers of darkness. But through prayer, God delivered her completely from the evil bondage. She then became very happy and was overwhelmed with heavenly peace and joy. She returned to home as a new person.
Everywhere the team went, the presence of God was so real and He healed the sick, delivered the demon-possessed and broken families were united. As a result of their ministry ten persons made a solid commitment to obey the Lord in water baptism. Pray for them to be firm in their decision and for the continuous growth of the ministry in Himachal Pradesh. Now the winter snow is raining in these places, and hence the water baptism is not possible, till the winter is over, or arrangements needs to be made to take these candidates, who has taken decision to witness the lord in water baptism to elsewhere, where cold is not much severe.
This state is now ruled by the Bharatiya Janata Party, who oppose the Christian propagation in the state and on several times the local leaders of the party warned our missionaries and final warning is served to them to stop the worship and not to share gospel with anybody. However, our missionaries are bold in their decision to do the ministry, God called them for.