“And how shall they preach, except they be sent? As it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the Gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!’” (Romans 10:15)
What is a Pioneer Missionary?
Pioneer missionaries are young people who graduate from Bible College and are sent out into the mission field as missionaries. When funding is possible, they leave with a “launch kit” consisting of a one-way ticket, a new Bible, a bicycle for transportation when they get to where they are going, some bedding and cooking utensils. The one-way ticket sends them to remote areas within India and beyond where people have not heard about Jesus and the gift of eternal life. These young missionaries will come across villagers who will resist the Truth; others will persecute and even kill those carrying the message of Christ’s love.
Gospel Plants in India…
Gospel plants (fellowships) in India are not like those in the United States. Congregations in the U.S. support the pastor and his family through tithes and salaries. If there is a building project, the membership raises the money and/or helps through regular gifts so the debt can be repaid.
HERE IS THE DIFFERENCE!
Most of the fellowships consist of the poorest of the poor! They barely have enough to feed themselves and their families, so they are not in a position to help the pastor. If they have a garden they will bring the pastor some fruit or vegetables. If they have some chickens, they will bring him eggs. These people live in mud huts or shelters they have constructed out of tin and cardboard. Some even live under trees! If they live in a building, it is usually one room approximately 8’ x 10’ shared by at least three generations.
Pioneer Missionaries are in desperate need of buildings to hold worship services, but not having one does not stop them from preaching the Word. They will share the love of God outside under a tree if need be; and many do. The pastor and his family have no better living conditions than those in the congregation. We want to help provide shelter and clean water for the pastor, his family and for the brothers and sisters in the congregation. When we are able to drill a well for a Pioneer Missionary, the clean water is offered to the nearby villagers. This act of generosity gives the pastor an opportunity to share the love of Christ. We are calling upon the Body of Christ in the U.S. to help the Body of Christ around the world. When we have, but our brothers and sisters in Christ have not, the love of Christ compels us to lend a hand!
The Danger is real….
Pioneer Missionary #1…
December 23, 2006, the voices of children singing Christmas carols were abruptly interrupted by unspeakable violence! Filled with hatred, anti-Christians stormed into an unsuspecting village and began burning buildings, beating and killing anyone who got in their way. Neighbors of the local Hope Home helped the pastor and his wife get the orphans into the jungle where they could hide until the violence passed. There were 68 children between the ages of six and sixteen. They could hear the piercing screams of those who did not escape in time. They could see the smoke from the village – their home and the homes of neighbors being burned.
Many pastors and Christians from surrounding villages died during the month of December 2006. The target was Christians. The anti-Christians goal was to extinguish the name of Jesus along with anyone who worshipped Him.
The terrorists stayed in the village for three days ransacking every building, burning the children’s clothing and eating any food they found. They would then move onto the next village and do the same to it. Terror reigned as villages were attacked all across India for nearly a month!
When the pastor felt safe enough to emerge from the jungle and bring the children back to the Hope Home, they not only saw all the destruction, but they also saw 20 dead bodies – neighbors and friends – Christians and non-Christians scattered throughout the village. It took 15 days of pleading and begging from the pastor and village leadership before the police would come and provide some protection for the village in case the terrorists returned. There were almost 3000 Christians killed including pastors all across India; roughly 700 churches of all denominations were destroyed during this period.
The pastor and his congregation now celebrate Christmas one week in advance. They give God all the glory for protecting them as they rebuild and protect the children. The pastor said, “Christmas will always be celebrated! Jesus does not care which week we do it. We need to celebrate His birth every day of the year!”
Support a Hope Home – to build one $25,000 Hope Home – to support an existing one
As a young man I thought Dad should only have the brightest students graduate from Bible College. I remember looking at Dad one time and asking, ‘Why are you doing this? Why don’t you only allow the smartest kids into the Bible College?’ He said, ‘Son, my goal is not to raise great theologians or great defenders of the faith. My goal is to raise boys and girls who will simply love Jesus and obey the Lord without any question.'”
Dr. Samuel says, “He was so right; I’ve seen his way of training Pioneer Missionaries work over and over again. An excellent example of Dad’s wisdom is John’s story.”
John* was not a very good student. Regardless of how hard we tried to teach him English, he just couldn’t get it. We tutored him, but he couldn’t pass the tests required to graduate. But Dad knew something in his spirit that the rest of us didn’t understand. Because of Dad, this young man managed to graduate with the rest of the Bible students.
John left Bible College and became our first missionary to serve in an undisclosed nation! He wasn’t there long before he was put into prison for 11 years – not 1 year – 11 years! But God was so faithful. His wife did not leave him; she waited for him those 11 years. They now have five children and he pastors a 200 member church. He has established 11 additional churches throughout the region. Dad was so right! I am constantly reminded that God is not looking for the most qualified; He is looking for the available and then He equips them! John, like so many of our orphans, made himself available and God is now using him greatly for the Kingdom.
“I praise Thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because Thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes” (Matthew 11:25).
Bible Students – Orphan Leaders…
Dr. M. A. Thomas loved the graduation ceremonies for one reason! Every class launches hundreds of new orphan leaders – Pioneer Missionaries – into remote areas of the world where the name of Jesus is lifted up. Today, Dr. Samuel Thomas says:
Like my dad, I continue to be amazed at how God gives those who are considered the discarded fragments of society – a term dad used for the orphans – the honored position of being Kingdom ambassadors all over India and beyond. I praise and thank God every day for the wisdom He imparted to my dad!”
Hungry for 17 days…
Pioneer Missionary #2
After completing Bible College in 1999, Pioneer Missionary Andi* and his three brothers moved to a district of India where they thought they would be the first Christians. It was a very long trip and they used up what little money they had between them. Other than water, they did not eat for 17 days. To their surprise they met two Christians in the village! Hungry but excited, they began visiting homes and praying for people. Pastor Andi said, “The Lord cast out a demon spirit from two people that first day! The news of that miracle spread very quickly.” The next day several non-Christians came to visit the young pastors. Some of them were just curious, but several continued to come back and listen to the message of hope for eternal life with Jesus. Pastor Andi said: “They were searching for peace in their lives.”
Today, Pastor Andi is still serving God in that same area of India. He has established a church and is preaching the Word of God to as many as will listen. His goal is to build a Hope Home. “There are so many orphaned and abandoned children living on the streets. There is no where for them to go!” Once he has the funds to build an orphanage, he wants to build another church in a neighboring village where he travels regularly to minister.
Martyrdom: risk and a privilege…
On August 25, 2006 around 3 PM, some anti-Christian extremists came to our village shouting slogans, carrying axes, knives, kerosene and diesel. They were wearing red bandanas and black masks. Some of the villagers heard in advance about the possible attack and ran into the nearby forest. Before we could escape, my husband was caught and they beheaded him. I had made it into the forest with my Bible, but he never came after me. It was three days later when I learned that he had been killed. He was only 25. I cried a lot and was filled with despair and loneliness for a while.
I was born into a Christian home and I desire to go into ministry one day. My prayer is that all of this persecution will cause revival to come to my country so that more people will come to know the love of Christ. Please pray for my future!” – Widow of a martyred pastor
This young widow is being provided for by Hopegivers International.
At graduation and before Bible students leave to start their lives as Pioneer Missionaries, each takes the Martyr’s Oath. These young people understand that within the Indian culture, living for Christ in some areas of the country will mean dying for Christ. If they are afraid, you cannot tell from the smiles on their faces as they take this oath. They love Jesus and can’t wait to share with others the love He showed them through Hopegivers.
One Act of kindness…
Pioneer Missionary #4:
Pastor Joshua* is a young man who was brought to one of our Hope Homes when he was just five years old. Dr. M. A. Thomas met his family when they were living under a tree. He could see the parents’ extremely impoverished living situation and the obviously malnourished condition of their son. Dr. Thomas offered to take their young son and raise him in an orphanage. In a Hope Home their son’s physical needs would be met and he would get an education.
Today, Pastor Joshua is 35 years old, a Bible College graduate, and a Pioneer Missionary. After graduation he married one of the orphan girls and left to spread the Word of God. They now have a church established with 24 members. He is praying for help so he can build a Hope Home for the hundreds of orphaned, abandoned and at risk children he comes across daily.
It took one act of kindness by Dr. Thomas and the courage to let go of their young son so that many lives would one day be impacted for all eternity. Joshua was raised to be an orphan leader who would serve God in a quest to send One Million Arrows to preach the Word of God to the ends of the earth!
A privilege to suffer….
Pioneer Missionary #5:
Pastor Moses* has been a pastor with Hopegivers for the past 18 years. He has a Hope Home with 50 children – and he is adding more every year. Today, he has 135 pastors under him with over 5000 believers in all the churches under him. The church he personally pastors and his personal home is a one hour walk from the Hope Home. Every Sunday he walks the hour from his home and returns the hour with all 50 children in tow so they can attend church. His desire, to insure the safety of the children, is to one day build a church on the same grounds as the Hope Home.
Pastor Moses is a Christ-follower who has suffered greatly for the privilege of sharing the Gospel. He was falsely accused of a crime and imprisoned for one year in 2007. The anti-Christians hoped the prison experience would discourage him and the believers in the village. He was tortured nearly every day of his stay in prison. They would score the bottoms of his feet with a sharp knife and then ask him what gain he received by maintaining his belief in his Jesus. In spite of all he was put through in prison, he never lost his faith in the Lord. His reply to those who tortured him was always: “I get peace by doing this!” He continued to preach the Gospel in prison to nearly 2000 men. He secretly baptized ten of them while he was still in jail.
Although he is now suffering from injuries to the brain due to the many beatings he experienced in prison, there is no sadness in his voice. He tells all who asks, “I will not leave preaching the Word, even if I am threatened with death!”
WE are their LIFELINE…
These Pioneer Missionaries are working in some of the darkest areas of the world and lifting up the name of Jesus to those who have never heard of Him. Most of us cannot go where they go, but we can certainly help those who have been called to put their “boots on the ground” in missions.
- We can help support a pastor for two years;
- We can help build a Hope Home so these pastors can care for children left to die on the streets;
- Build a building where they can hold worship services;
- Build a well.
- Provide a “Launch Kit” so they have the basics to start life in the mission field
The most important action you can take is to pray for these brave young people! Jesus will return one day. By helping these Pioneer Missionaries take the truth about Jesus Christ and the gift of eternal life to the “ends of the earth” you and I impact millions for the Kingdom.
*Name changed to protect the pastor
“A doctor is called to delay the inevitable; followers of Christ are called to change the inevitable! That is why I keep going back to India.”. — Luke J. (MS)