Topic / Patrons

Every Village In India


Film Transcription Below



Ed: I’m Edward Foster. I’m a doctor. In truth I never had that much interest in medicine. I had the grades and mum and dad really encouraged me to go for it. And everyone says, “Don't do medicine because your parents tell you to do it.” I was that person.

Yeah, I think my parents wanted me to have a good living so I could have a nice middle class life and be able to buy nice things and have nice holidays and be secure and comfortable. I didn't want that. No, I've never wanted that.

Alex: Around when I was about 21 or 20 maybe even, I was sort of halfway through university and I was starting to think really I need to decide now what am I going to do with my life? I'm doing an engineering degree, but what am I gonna do? How am I going to use this?

I was thinking well maybe I should try and do something that isn't going to be done if I don't do it.

Worker Stories


Ed: When I was growing up our parents would get us together and they would read to us from the Bible and worker stories. And these stories were just incredible adventures. Men and women would sacrifice everything and give up all their wealth, get on a boat travel for six months, travel across the seas to share the gospel. Entire communities and peoples and nations were transformed as a result.

Growing up I just thought, “I want to be like those people. Those people haven't just found something worth dying for. They seem to have discovered the secret of living as well. Real incredible purposeful lives.” I thought, “That's what I want.”

Ed Meets Indian Man


Ed: When I was 18 years old and my Gran said to me, “Ah, Eddy, hi. There's this Indian worker guy speaking in our church tonight — small village church just outside of Cambridge — do you want to come along?”

I said, “Well, I've got nothing better to do tonight. Okay.”

So I get there and I go into this tiny little church. There he was telling all these stories of what workers in India were getting up to, how they were risking their lives, travelling, facing adversity, but winning people, changing communities.

And I said, “This sounds like the stories I had read to me growing up.” I thought people like these didn't exist anymore. I thought they were locked away 100 years ago.

So when the Indian man said, “Look, does anyone want to come and see this?”

I said, “Boy, are you kidding me? I spent my whole life wanting to meet people like these and learn from them.”

Six months later I got on a plane and I traveled to India. I met with the Indian man and we travelled around the worker fields.

Indian Man's Testimony


Indian Man: One day, a pastor walked into our village, and he came and knocked at my door. And I was sick that day. My sister is struggling to breathe.

This man of God gave the gospel and said, “Jesus is the healer.” So Mama opened the door took the leaflet, “Jesus is the healer. No way. Why are my children like this? Why all this problem here? Is it really true?”

He said, “Yes it is. It is true.”

And she said, “I don't know. Then you show me is it true.”

So he said, “Can I come in?” And she said, “Yes.”

I was sick, bedridden on the floor. My sister is struggling to breathe. So he shared the gospel and asked, “Can I pray for them?”

She said, “Of course.” He prayed. My sister got instant healing and I was healed and then I realized I need this Jesus.

Visiting A Village


Indian Man: I went to Bangalore to do my studies.

We, the students of the college, went to north part of the country and it amazed me to see thousands and thousands of villages do not know Christ. Pepsi's there. Coca-cola reached, no Jesus.

Ed: We visited a village and the worker painted such a bleak story about them, he said, “Look, no one will employ these tribal people because they're so reviled. So the men rely on begging. The women rely on prostitution. This is all that they have.” It sounded pretty bleak.

They’re the people whom Hinduism left behind. They worship spirits. You know, it’s a real primitive level. To the rest of the Indian people, they are worse than the bottom rung of the caste system, they’re worse than the untouchables cause they’re not even within that system.

I remember going to see this village and it was just not at all what was described. I said to this Indian worker, “Are these the same people?”

And most of the village surged out to meet and greet us and they were singing and they were praising and I said, “Why, this is amazing!”

And the worker explained to us he said, “Well we came and we shared the gospel with them and they were just so excited to hear it they came to faith really fast.”

Not just that, we taught them to start washing themselves to help them buy new clothes taught them some basic things. Suddenly people went for work and they got jobs because the surrounding people didn't realize they were from that same tribe, they were unrecognizable. So we saw these people had come to know Jesus, but the whole community and social situation had been transformed as well.

Five years previously the gospel had never come to this place and there I was worshipping with the church there and I just thought, “This is history in the making.” A sociologist may say, “This is nothing; this is a tiny church in a tiny village in the middle of nowhere.” But if that place has never had the gospel come to it and now there's a church there that's history in the making.

50 Pounds A Month


Ed: So I said to myself, “Right, scrap all of my plans were because they're rubbish. I wanna be a part of what is going on here.”

I said, “Look Indian man, This is amazing. How can I help?”

So Indian man said, “Well the tragic thing is that a lot of these people aren't getting into action because their own churches are too poor to send them.”

I said, “What? You mean this is the coolest thing I've ever seen and it's not happening because of a shortage of money. I mean money is the one thing our church really does have. That's one thing I can easily give. This isn't happening for money?”

So I said, “Indian man, how much do these guys need?”

He said, “Well, uh...in your terms about 50 pounds a month.”

“50 pounds a month! I mean that's nothing. I could go out with a friend both get a meal both get a couple of drinks that's 50 pounds right there or a new pair of shoes 50 pounds or fancy phone contract 50 pounds.”

The thought that someone isn’t being sent to an unreached village to plant a church for that much money. That's madness. That's crazy. That's the saddest thing I've ever heard.”

Sacrificial Living


Ed: At that point in time I just said right, “Let's try and ramp up this level of sacrificial living because every ten pounds I can save is a fifth of a worker’s monthly support in India. That’s amazing.”

I went to Cardiff. I found the cheapest halls of residence I could live in. I bought all the cheapest food I could. I refused to buy any new clothes whatsoever. I mean I just went completely overboard, completely over the top.

It was okay for my first year of University because my clothes were there and they had to last for a year, but by the second year it was a disaster. I had these shoes, which were falling apart. They had a big hole in the bottom so I got some duct tape and I just wrapped it round and round, taped ‘em up.

To be honest that worked quite well so long as it was dry, but unfortunately I was in Cardiff, I was in Wales and it rains a lot. And every time it was wet the moisture would seep up through this hole and percolate up into my feet. I had such wet feet. It was a nightmare. I was lucky I didn't get trench foot or something.

I wanted to go and be a worker myself, but actually what the unreached need is my financial empowerment to support indigenous workers.

India motivates my work as a doctor. The other day I was offered to do a shift and they said, “Ed, we can pay 50 pounds an hour.” So I said, “Well that means if I do 12 hours that's 600 pounds.”

In a night I've just paid for a worker for a year. I mean that's incredible.

Training


Indian Man: The need in the country so great. The answer is send workers. But the problem is we don't have workers to go. Solution is to train young people, place them into those worker fields so that gospel will be preached, churches will be established.

That made me to think about starting this training center.

Ed: We went to the training center and what we realized was that all the lads at the training center they were from the newly planted churches in the previously unreached villages.

And this is when God really started to speak to us because we said, “This is a model, which can replicate. It can scale. If you can send someone to where the gospel's never been and not just plant a church, but raise up new leaders; you can multiply; you can be unstoppable.”

And that was when God spoke to us and we had the vision for 500,000 churches. That was the goal.

We don't think anyone should be without access to the Gospel. And to have access to the gospel they need to have access to the church. So that's our vision: five hundred thousand churches, a church in every village in India.

Partnership


Alex: Ed's always been my like guiding light with all this.

Ed: Partnering with my brother in this work has been such an amazing thing.

Alex: But I think it was seeing Ed being so passionate and so just totally on fire that really got me going.

Ed: We’re fighting for something together. And he’s just been the greatest blessing in that.

Alex: And he was talking about these guys in India and about this stuff that is going on and you know, I’m a business guy, I like numbers and he was talking to me about numbers and I started saying that's really amazing.

And after a while I fell into this idea that maybe one of the big gifts that I've been given, which most people don't like to talk about, this is Britain, we hate to talk about money, maybe one of the big gifts I was given was access to wealth.

And then the idea was simple, it was just earn money, give it away, don't keep it. And a lot of people thought this was a crazy idea.

This came through Ed, I mean, you know, I thought it was a good thing for a long time and then I started helping out. That was when I sort of started getting passionate about it and saying, “Well actually this is really important. And this is something that you know we should be doing and actually we shouldn't just be saying let someone else do it.”

It turns out that my skills as an entrepreneur are very useful for advancing the kingdom.

Indian Man: The work was having a very slow progress till I met Ed and Alex. And at this stage we have workers working in 600 plus villages, and as a work we b@ptized more than 6,000 people and more than 13,000 people are coming to these churches.

I strongly believe our partnership together is broadening the horizons. Now we look back and say, “Thank you, Jesus for making them come here to India.”

Ed: It's not just about the giving. Yes, the giving is so important. And I think that is the crucial need. But even more than that there is this incredible relational aspect, and that's, that's a great treasure that I've discovered and learned.

The Indian man has been there in some of my darkest moments and he has discipled me and taught me so many great things. And it's been wonderful to hear from him how you know we, though we're such young men, how we've been able to be there and be a rock of encouragement to him and give him a lot of wisdom which he wouldn't have had otherwise. And I would never have dreamed at the onset that that was the case.

B@ptizms


Indian Man: I plead unto you in the name of Jesus. If you haven’t accepted Jesus in your life, this hour is your hour!

Ed: We were there and Indian Man was in the water b@ptizing some of the believers and he was there just, just speaking truth, speaking the gospel:

“Do you believe that God created the heavens and the earth?
Do you believe that you have need of a savior?
Do you believe that Jesus Christ came and died for your sins and that through Him you can be forgiven and that the Holy Spirit will come and indwell with you and that Jesus Christ will come back and then you will reign with Him forever and ever?”

There he was speaking the gospel and there people were joyfully hearing it and that incredible action of just being submerged under water and then coming back up a new creation.

And the Indian Man said, “We've b@ptized a few people, does any one more want to be b@ptized?”

And people came forward, “Yes I do. I want this for myself.”

And I saw that and I thought, “This is what it's all about. The fruit, which we're interested in, is people coming to know Jesus. It's about people. People encountering Jesus, having their life transformed forever and living forever with him.”

Conclusion - The Gospel Saves Lives


Ed: And they say medicine is an amazing thing because you have the chance to save lives. But the truth is doctors don't save any lives. All of our patients still die. All we're doing on our best days is postponing the inevitable, is putting death off.

But the gospel really can save lives. So the same reason that people think medicine's amazing they should be even more excited about the gospel because that can save someone's life for ever and ever and ever.


John Rinehart ,
John Rinehart , Founder & Leader of gospelpatrons.org
and the author of the book Gospel Patrons
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