The Conversion Agenda

"Freedom to convert" is counterproductive as a generalized doctrine. It fails to come to terms with the complex interrelationships between self and society that make the concept of individual choice meaningful. Hence, religious conversion undermines, and in extremes would dissolve, that individual autonomy and human freedom.

Friday, February 25, 2005

Ten Years Later, Gospel Flourishes in India

By Matt Vilkas
The 700 Club -

1995 marked a pivotal time in the foundation of CBN India. Pat Robertson’s passion for India was sparked as he saw thousands hungry for the good news of Jesus Christ.

It was here in Rajahmundry, which ironically means “city of the king,” where Pat and Gordon Robertson met the oppressed people known as the Dalits. CBN showed them God’s love by starting an orphanage and dedicating a Bible school. CBN also drilled a deep well, giving the area a desperately needed clean water supply.

That was just the beginning. Then CBN began placing Christian programs on the largest television networks in this Hindu nation. On Christmas Day, a special SuperBook aired on India’s number-one channel. The Flying House series aired soon after. Children and adults alike were fascinated by the animated characters and touched by the message of the gospel.

In November 1997, India got its first glimpse of The 700 Club. CBN’s reputation for high quality TV programs was well on its way.

A year later, the Flying Hospital landed in Hyderabad. It was Operation Blessing’s largest and first ever medical mission to India. More than 22,000 were treated. One of those children was Shanti. Her cleft-lip surgery would have cost her parents an entire year’s salary if Operation Blessing hadn't stepped in. They were so grateful they accepted Jesus as their Savior.

"I prayed to so many gods," said Shanti's father, "but nobody helped. I found out only the Lord Jesus Christ is there. I felt Him with me there. He has helped me all the way."

In 1998 the radical Hindu BJP party came into power, imprisoning those who shared the gospel. They allowed militant Hindu groups like the RSS to kill Christians at will. CBN pressed on, and in March 1999, the first 700 Club India aired.

"It’s going to make a difference, because they can see these people who have struggled with the same problems and have gone through the same struggles that these people are going through," said Varsha at the CBN India studio.

For the younger generation, CBN aired a Christian music video show called One Cubed and a show called Reach for a Rainbow.

"I’ve never believed in God," said one young Indian boy, "but when I saw Reach for a Rainbow, I believe that God has made all things for us."

In the year 2000, nearly 13.5 million people watched a CBN program. Of those, more than 950,000 asked Jesus to come into their lives. For people without a television set, CBN used innovative tools like "Video on Wheels” to bring The JESUS Film and other stories of hope to their villages.

In 2000 Operation Blessing also continued to reach out to people throughout India. Three thousand people gave their hearts to Jesus after receiving clothes, food, medical care, and water wells.

In 2004 India’s political climate took another dramatic turn. Millions of people united to pray for a new government. The polls showed that their prayers were in vain. But when the last ballot was counted, the BJP party was voted out of office. This monumental victory restored religious freedom to India. The new government allowed CBN easier access to people in need, like the Dalits.

That year, more than100,000 people received medical treatment. CBN reached another milestone when it drilled its 2,000th well in India. The village celebrated, knowing that their children would no longer die from waterborne disease.

Then on December 26, 2004, a deadly tsunami wiped out entire villages on the coast of India. People like Chenna lost their homes, their livelihoods, and their families. Operation Blessing was there.

"You were the ones who did everything out of compassion. You gave me medicine. You gave me food. You did everything for me. No one else gave us any help. Thank you for what you have done," said Chenna.

Because of your gifts, grateful hearts like Chenna’s can be found across India.

Gordon Robertson returned to Rajamundry in February 2005. The seeds that CBN planted 10 years before have grown and flourished. Now the city has churches, schools, an orphanage, and a medical clinic.

"Ten years ago, none of this existed," said Gordon Robertson. "But now there’s not just an orphanage and a school and a medical clinic, there’s also a Bible college. Already, hundreds of pastors have been trained to go out to the village to evangelize, with hundreds of churches being planted."

Once again, Gordon preached to thousands of people, bringing them close to God.

"It’s this relationship with Jesus Christ that we hope to bring to millions in India over the next 10 years and beyond," Robertson said.


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