Men of Valor traveled to the far northeastern Indian state of Assam in April (2011), and Bruce Campbell from Reston Bible Church and I led three Men of Valor conferences to 230 rural pastors and Bible college students.
Pastor Johnson Devakumar of Reach & Build arranged for Men of Valor to return to speak to pastors, Bible school students, and Christian leaders. Brad had originally spoken on men’s issues in 2005 at Zion Bible College, and Pastor Pranay Daimari told me that they had since developed a Men’s Ministry course for the Bible college using those materials!
Our host, Pastor Puhor Daimari, is director of the Boro Baptist and North Bank Baptist Associations, representing some 900 churches in a state that’s larger than Texas. Church leaders have over 150 church plants in process, with an estimated 100,000 Christians among 31 million Indians in this largely rural area.
The messages went well and the pastors were nodding their heads and coming to us with thanks. They are very poor, earning $2-4/day, working full time as teachers, farmers, or in the government, and serving their congregations of 50-1000 as they can on their time off work. Johnson encouraged the men to “Look up to the Lord”, and 20 came forward for prayer. Their ministry is challenging.
Of all things, Bruce came down with shingles but healed very quickly thanks to some potent, locally available medicine and lots of prayer.
We closed the conferences by challenging the pastors to build strong friendships with other pastors, and many stood in commitment to form men’s small groups. On Sunday, after teaching three times in two churches, we were treated to cultural tribal dances and the soothing sounds of wooden flutes and harmonium before heading back.