Report from Siliguri, India February 2017

Home again from a very rewarding and interesting start of the new PLT project in Siliguri, India. Siliguri is a city of about i million people in northeastern India, in the state of West Bengal. It´s a place one hour´s drive to Nepal and then about another hour to start climbing the Himalaya and its beautiful views. There we have now started the PLT together with AnnaSara and Diwas Lama, who are leading a work called ”Friendship Church Ministries”.

Diwas started this work which is primarily a church planting movement. He started a few years ago, reaching his own village up in the mountains, the village where he a few years earlier had been expelled from when he became a Christian. Now more than half the villge consists of devout Christians and Diwas´cousin is their pastor. Today the movement consists of about 20 churches, most of them in the Himalaya region, mostly in India but a few also in Nepal. Alao, at the Bhutan border there is a church that finds ways to reach across the borders. They also long to reach into Bangladesh.

There have been thoughts of starting training for the pastors for a long time. These thoughts developed more, when Hans Sunberg contacted AnnaSara and Diwas, offering them co-operation with the PLT. It was a great grace for me to get to be part of this work, but it was also an answer to a desire I had had to get to help with the teaching of these wonderful pastors and leaders, alongside my own daughter AnnaSara.

We started on Monday February 13 with some 30 hungry pastors and leaders. It was no mistake that they were hungry for the Word of God. Many of them didn´t have much education, ordinary schooling, let alone theological training. On the last evening when they thanked us teachers, they didn´t have words enough to express how happy and grateful they were and how much they had learned during the two weeks. As for me, I felt very humble and thankful, thankful for being part of this very important process in their lives and ministry.

The subjects for this first session were: going through the history of the OT and a summary of the books of the OT. For this they had found – miraculously- a 31 year old man from the south of India, Issac, who just happened to be in Siliguri. An amzing GT theologian. His brother-in law Philip took on the life of Paul, and then Philip´s wife mrs Dakkem (AnnaSara´s Nepali teacher) , who went through 1 and 2 Thessalonians. As for myself, I had the privilege of taking on Galatians and 1 Corinthians. It was very instructive for an old Pentecostal pastor like me, who hitherto had only delivered thematical sermons as an active pastor. To systematically go through the books in the Bible, forces you to deal with things you may have skipped before. AnnaSara and Diwas have of course also contributed to the teaching – AnnaSara with a fantastic introduction on the importance of the Word for your life and ministry. Three 60-minute lessons a day, smaller group sessions before dinner and a concluding evening session. It was a great challenge for these leaders to sit down to talk about the training, since they were used to just listening and never questioning. However, as time went on, they became more and more used to this, I think.

My time spent there was concluded with personally being able to come along to one of the most isolated villages. There I got to meet the church and preach on ”the freedom in Christ”, a subject I realised was much needed. This was a church that had just recently joind the Friendship Church Ministry and had been without a pastor for many years and had developed a rather legalistic and old testament faith. As far as I could understand this subject was received with open hearts and marked the start for their new pastor to go on exploring this subject.

Now we are looking forward to the next session, some time around the end of October, start of November, so we are very grateful for all prayers for this work. Pray for AnnaSara and Diwas who right now are negotiating to acquire a site, where they can build a center equipped to meet he growing work there.

Best wishes! P-M Börefelt