Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ! I am blessed to be sharing this update of my recent series of trainings, “Operation Disciple India” on biblical discipleship in Hyderabad, and 2 undisclosed locations in India. Through our organization, The International Disciple Making Initiative, I was asked to train over 1,000 Christian leaders on the biblical principles of making disciples who make disciples. I left the U.S. on June 16th, 2017 and returned home on July 1. There is no doubt the ancient principles of scripture that I was able to share with these Indian leaders will continue to bear fruit for many years to come.
Special Thank You!
First of all, I want to thank you all for your prayers and donations. You really are changing the world. I sincerely mean this. We are in this together and we view all of you as vital and essential participants in what God is doing through The IDMI to save the world in these last days. I hope the following testimonial reflects this. Also, don’t forget to view some of the pictures below from this training (there’s more to come!).
Opposition From The Enemy
From the moment we made the decision to proceed with Operation Disciple India we sensed opposition from the enemy. We knew it would be difficult. After all, the current Prime Minister of India has been quoted as saying they should, “kill all the Christians.” Persecution is increasing in India today because of this political climate, but the Lord gave us the confidence, boldness, and assertiveness to know we were indeed in His will obeying His command to disciple ALL nations.
During the first leg of my journey to India, as my plane was coming in for a landing, we almost sideswiped another jet airliner midair. It was scary to see another plane so close the wings looked like they could touch. Then the other plane veered to the left so dramatically that I was looking at the underbelly of that plane as it flew away from us. I was seriously thankful for God’s angels surrounding our plane and protecting all aboard.
Martyrdom in Our City
Upon arriving in India my host met me at the airport and we drove several hours to his home. Shortly after arriving at his home he shared a video of Christ followers being beaten to death, in the streets while the police stood by and watched. The video then showed a box truck being brought in to haul away the bodies. The Police stood by and watched as the bodies were loaded and hauled away. I was appalled! My host looked at me and said, “This video was taken in this city just a few months ago.” (We were to hold biblical discipleship training there for the next 3 days.) Not wanting to fear I thought, “Lord you are my sword, shield, and stronghold. I trust you to protect my life in this place.”
Thanks to be to God, the first training went very well with NO incidents. The trainees were all from very difficult places with high levels of persecution. These were people who are willing to lay down their lives for Jesus! They were filled with joy upon learning how to make disciples Jesus way because it typically results in much less persecution. From there we drove to another state (India has 33) with even HIGHER levels of persecution. This was a state in Northern India near where Hinduism began. Basically, the farther north you go in India the more the persecution increases.
The day before this training began, the leader who had organized the training vanished without a trace. I immediately contacted my wife Carrie back home and asked her to start a prayer chain for the protection of this pastor, and also for our protection during this training (Some of you reading this may have been among those who prayed. Thank you!). The believers there thought he had been kidnapped. You see, he had been leading Hindus to follow Jesus. For this reason, the local people wanted to kill them. It would have been a potentially explosive and dangerous situation if he had attended the training. Of course, we didn’t understand this at the time. We later learned he wisely put himself into hiding so as NOT to jeopardize our training.
The training was supposed to last 2 1/2 days. The first day of the training the police came at around Noon, declaring our meeting was illegal. However, since we’re not trying to “convert” anyone they left. Right at sunset, they returned with more questions. My companions and I were eating dinner on the roof so the police didn’t see us nor knew we were present. I feel this was the Lord’s protection.
Old Woman Healed and Set Free
Later that evening I was invited to share at a church gathering in a nearby town. I was the first foreigner to ever speak to that church because this is a part of India where foreigners typically do NOT visit. Many people were touched by the message and many came forward for prayer. We prayed over one old woman to be healed. When evil spirits began to manifest themselves, we switched our approach and told the Spirits to leave. The Spirits resisted for a long time. It wasn’t until she told them to leave they finally left! Praise God she was healed and set free from the spirits. She began walking upright and praising Jesus before the end of the evening. It reminded me of what we read in Luke 13:10-17.
The Danger is Real!
When I told Carrie the police were giving us trouble and were in an area where the police would likely stand by and watch as followers of Jesus were beaten and killed, she asked (as any wife would) “Why would they take you to a place like that?” Without even thinking I replied with the first thing that came to mind. The words of Jesus, “The healthy don’t need a doctor’s love.” You see, these disciples desire to see everyone in their nation reached for Christ regardless of the cost. So the risk and danger are real, but so is the command to go into ALL the world and make disciples of ALL nations. We all agreed the potential benefit was worth the risk.
On the 2nd day of training, the police returned that morning, and then again in the afternoon. In between the police visits, we learned several of the women in the group were considering committing suicide because their persecution was so intense, as they were married to unbelievers. The Lord filled me with compassion for these women. He led me to share with them the character of their true husband Jesus. We encouraged them with the word of God and strengthened their faith for now, but please remember them in prayer. Their path is not an easy one. The pain displayed on their faces brings tears to my eyes even now.
Fleeing in The Night
When the police returned for the 4th time, on the 2nd training day they came into the building and even tried to talk to me. The men I was with at the training whisked me away, put me in a car, and drove to our hotel before the police could get more than my name. When we learned their questioning turned to, “Who is that foreigner and what hotel is he staying at?” We decided it was time to leave in the night and hide out in a bigger city 5 hours away (and that is exactly what we did!). God granted us safe passage to the next city. Throughout this ordeal, I felt the enemy was attempting to stop me from reaching the city of Hyderabad for the next BIG training. Because it is there that the training would be rebroadcast on TV allowing it to be shared with thousands of more leaders in southern India.
So the next day, I left northern India (the area of high persecution) and flew south. There we conducted two trainings that had a total of 700 pastors, bishops, and leaders attending. We saw the enemy at work again, (I’ve come to believe Satan reacts to what God is doing and not the other way around). God was doing a work in this place by restoring the powerful simplicity of the New Testament Church and the enemy was responding. I became very sick on the first day of the training and was sick throughout the next 3 days. God gave me the strength to stand and train for hours each day.
The Main Event
Even before my arrival, some of the planning team members got into an argument over something petty so my scheduled translator refused to attend. Although we were concerned about who would translate the training, our Lord had already solved the problem. Just moments before I was to take the mic and start the training, a man who had translated for the Billy Graham Association walked into the meeting, and was more than happy to translate! Thank you, Jesus! God is never late and He is never early! He is always right on time.
This largest training of all went very well. During this training, I even had the opportunity to meet and interview an illiterate, unschooled woman who had been demon-possessed and used to walk on fire. However, God miraculously saved her and gave her the ability to read the Bible in an instant. She has seen Jesus do many miracles through her ministry, including using her to raise a woman from the dead in her community! You can learn more about her testimony here.
The last training was absolutely amazing! We budgeted and planned for 100 to attend, but nearly 150 showed up (This has resulted in some extra expenses which we are trusting God to meet*).
The overwhelming response from these leaders was, “This is the message for the church today! This training needs to get to every pastor and leader in the nation and the world!” The leadership team is now busy doing a follow-up with all the attendees and encouraging each of them to apply what they learned for 6 months, to see what God will do.
As the leadership team and I prayed and discussed how we could get this training to all the leaders all over India and the world, we felt we should record the training and put it online with subtitles in the primary languages of India.
Amazing New Opportunity
Well, sometimes God answers prayer very quickly! I had a 13-hour layover in a large city on my way home from India so I decided to contact a friend of mine who lived where my layover was. I took a taxi to a home where he was in a leadership meeting. Some of the leaders who were present work in the media and audio/video fields. When I shared we were looking for a way to get this training out to hundreds of thousands of leaders in India, one of them offered to dub the entire training into all of the primary languages of India! In other words: Anyone could watch the training and hear it in their heart language! Through technology, it would appear to them as though I was speaking in their own language! How incredible would this be?
This is a very exciting opportunity and we are prayerfully and seriously considering it. Video has the ability to reach an infinitely bigger audience than I could on my own, one town at a time. As leaders are reached, they are set free from the captivity of bondage to a man-made system of religion. Our prayer is that all can operate freely in the powerful simplicity of the Jesus original design for the church!
Thank you again for your partnership in this ministry – we could not have accomplished these trainings, and impacted this many people without you and your faithful support! Yes, this operation was dangerous and difficult (and no doubt future operations such as this will be also), but I’m convinced the fruit we see in eternity will make us realize it was well worth it.
We continue to Praise God for you and for making Operation India possible! While the initial stages of this Operation have been accomplished, the mission will NOT really be complete until the entire population of India (1.4 billion has been discipled unto the Lord Jesus Christ! Please pray the Lord will provide for us in this new task, so we can reach thousands more through this training, and continue to fulfill the great commission according to His will!
“The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” – Luke 10:2
That is what this ministry is all about: sending old Christians and new disciples alike into the harvest field of God! Only together will we see the whole world reached for Jesus!
If you find this blog inspirational feel free to take a moment to share it with others by clicking on one of the social media icons below.
Operation Disciple India - 1 of 14
Commissioning Disciple Makers
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Kurt Olson and interpreter
Operation Disciple India - 3 of 14
Choosing a Group Facilitator (always fun!)
Operation Disciple India - 4 of 14
Training #1 more DBS practice
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Large Group DBS practice
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Small Group DBS practice
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Operation Disciple India - 8 of 14
Secret "Fishers of Men" Training
Operation Disciple India - 9 of 14
Operation Disciple India - 10 of 14
Secret training in high area of persecution.
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Lunch prep in the outdoor kitchen.
Operation Disciple India - 12 of 14
Praying for healing.
Operation Disciple India - 13 of 14
The Main Event - Hyderabad, India
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Meeting with the India Leadership Team
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