The Lord gave fruitful ministry in a remote village where J.S. and his family have been ministering for several years. J.S. is a graduate of STN and presently teaching in several areas of India. Our hearts are touched by the sacrifices of His people.
When STN International board discussed the issue of giving certificates to graduates of STN India, nobody knew that one day a group of 12 brothers and sisters from a small remote village in North India who were detained by the police in a custody would be released because of this graduation certificate!
Pastor A.K. was one of those 35 who attended our Lucknow Bible training seminar for five years. It was difficult for him to go through the discipline of doing assignments, staying up late in the evenings to study, and finishing the five year program. But it has proved to be very rewarding! Not knowing what was coming the future, A.K. continued his studies and on October 31st, he received a graduation certificate which he kept carefully at home.
He went back to his village and continued to serve the Lord, taking care of his small congregation. On Sunday, July 23rd, something happened that is not uncommon today. Local police called A.K. to report at the Police Station.
He then asked his congregation of 65 baptized brothers and sisters who happened to be from “H” background, “Who would like to go with me to the police station to confront an ugly situation?”
Twelve faithful and bold believers stood up and said, “Brother, we will.”
All of these marched to the police station to be questioned on religion, conversion and to be confined in custody. The police officer asked, “Why are you converting people?”
A.K. answered, “I don’t, sir, but God does.”
The officer asked, “Why are you preaching religion?”
A.K. said, “I don’t preach religion but peace; I preach Christ, and pray for the country.”
Turning to the 12, the officer continued the questioning, “What’s happening with you all? Why are you changing religion?”
The simple brothers and sisters, uneducated and illiterate, replied, “Sir, our lives are changed, our testimonies have become different, as A.K. brought us message of the Gospel. We had bad things happening in our houses but we are delivered and relieved.”
The police officer then turned to A.K., “Where did you get education, is there any proof?”
Avadesh, called his son at home. This son was afraid because his family was at police station. He was crying. A.K. said, “Don’t cry, and just get the certificate of STN graduation.”
A.K.’s son quickly got hold of this certificate and ran to the police station. The officer looks at the certificate carefully and considered the situation. (What happened at this point is a marvel!) The police officer said, “This group is well educated, they have a certificate, just release them.”
Pastor A.K. is financially supported by faithful brothers and sisters from STN International. These faithful supporters will have their reward in eternity.
Ephesians 3:20-21 “Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, 21 to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.”
We are blessed that our STN India board is very cooperative. Board members live significant distances from each other and often in different parts of the country. This creates certain pragmatic issues. We are so thankful for technological help such as ‘what’s app’, ’email’, and ‘the phone’ as ways to stay connected.
Funds are coming from within India! This is a great encouragement as well as an answer to prayer! The first church to support STN financially is El Shaddai in Hyderabad where our team has ministered God’s Word from time to time. In addition, our STN graduates have been making efforts to raise funds under difficult circumstances.
Ministry in the North and Nepal:
I took a long-desired trip to Northern India in May 2017. A number of things were accomplished:
- Faculty gathering: Three of STN’s graduates who are faithfully and diligently laboring in SEVEN remote areas of North India. They reported how the Lord has been making their ministry abundantly fruitful.
- Odisha: One of the backward states of India in the Central region, and the place where the Australian missionary, Graham Stains, and his two kids, were brutally burned to death for their faith. J.S. teaches this group and several others. He was one of the many BTCP students who were profoundly impacted by the seminars of STN International and by those who taught them over a period of five plus years. J.S. has a deep burden for this area, so he travels a long distance by train to equip and train 32 students. He spends an average of three to four days in this area each month. This group was in BTCP Book #8 in May and hope to be done with all ten books this year.
- Bihar: Another backward state in North India where Buddha was born and received his “enlightenment.” J.S. has 10 students in this needy state who are studying Book # 6.
- Jharkhand: This area used to be a part of Bihar but is now an independent state. J.S. has 17 students who were in Book #2 in May.
- Basti: It is located towards the NE of the state, called U.P. J.S has ten students who were in Book #3 in May.
- Sitapur: It is amazing that STN has a church plant in this area, the stronghold of Hinduism. The instructor is D., one of the STN graduates in 2014. He graduated on October 31st and started meetings with a small group of people on November 2nd (just two days after his graduation.) D. was so profoundly impacted by the training that he could not wait any longer to see a work begin in his area where he works as a principal of a Government Primary School. D. has ten students and out of this we have two ladies doing BTCL. The group was in Book #3 in May.
- Unnao: This is another stronghold of Hinduism where one of our STN graduates, K.S., has a strong base of several hundred believers from a Hindu background. K.S. had mentored many people over the years, including D., who has 16 students (three of them ladies). This program meets twice every month.
- Kanpur: Another man who was mentored by K.S. is L.P. who was a 2014 graduate of the STN training program and now teaches 14 students in his church facility. They meet twice each month for eight hours on Saturday and were in Book #3 in May.
- Nepal: M.S., one of our STN graduates, came all the way to Lucknow to attend our faculty meeting. He left the meeting taking 25 copies of BTCP Book #1 to start a new class. The students are extremely poor and cannot afford the books or the food during the day when they meet.
Ministry in the South
STN holds seminars in the following areas:
- Hyderabad: there are three separate groups meeting in Hyderabad: 1) Rehoboth with Pastor R. and T. They both graduated from STN’s training and recently completed teaching all ten books to a group of eight students. These students have now gone back to their regions to continue their ministries. 2) Pastor P.P. (graduate of TMAI’s training school in India) is teaching people in his church. 3) Pastor P. A. is teaching 14 students at our STN India office every Saturday.
- Konavaram: a remote area in Andhra is scheduled for seminars under the leadership of V.K. from Oct/Nov. This area happens to belong to a tribe that is involved in witchcraft, sorcery and is located in a very difficult place.
- Palakonda: V.K. is training 37 participants in this city in Eastern India. Reaching the remote village of Palkonda was not easy where two of STN’S graduates have begun BTCP classes to equip and train 37 leaders. We did 23 hours in 3 days on the road.
- Raepally: V.K. is teaching 25 students in this remote area.
- Narsannapalem: This is another remote place where eager Pastors are being trained by J.J. (a graduate of STN’s five plus years of training).
- We are so blessed to see productivity in all these locations. STN’s vision to reach remote villages where 85% of India’s population live is happening!
A large number of people are contacting STN India with a desire to network with us. Our most recent contact is a graduate from The Master’s Seminary with M.Div and Th.M degrees. Pastors from different areas are getting connected through the ministry of STN. People from all over India and Nepal want us to train them. Even in Delhi, we have people interested and eager to be trained.
But I do not consider my life of any account as dear to myself, so that I may finish my course and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify solemnly of the gospel of the grace of God.” Acts 20:24.
When God stirred our hearts to go back to India and direct the STN program, Flory and I had no idea what to expect. We knew we would be challenged in one way or another but to quote China missionary C.T Studd, “Some wish to live within the sound of Church or Chapel bell; I want to run a Rescue Shop within a yard of hell.”
15,000 Reached in India
Between September 2015 through December, STN India has reached approximately 15,000 people with the Gospel, directed by His hand alone. We were able to visit 25 churches in the North, South and Northwest parts of India, sharing God’s Word, fellowshipping with His people and interacting with STN graduates assisting them in promoting STN India. In this endeavor, we have driven 8,000 miles. God has provided our home, transportation and divine appointments to minister both to the men and women in India.
In November Flory and I celebrated our 10 year wedding anniversary and house dedication with the local church. We were able to obtain all the legal documents necessary to make our home in India and had our first STN Board meeting to establish the direction of the ministry. There have been many opportunities for me to preach in local and village churches. In February, I was able to preach to a group of 3000 at an Annual School function and ministered to 20 Pastors in the outskirts of Hyderabad.
In late October-early November we had the pleasure of hosting Tammy Werth from our TBBF family. She attended several meetings in different locations, shared her testimony were Flory holds several of her regular meetings, and visited the STN India office. Tammy was able to visit a museum and did a little site-seeing.
Flory has been very busy as well. In December of 2015, Flory lead a group study at a ladies meeting in Kanpur, and then throughout the year she has been able to minister to children at a Christian Orphanage and an old age, gifting them with Bibles and books. She was also able to minister the Word at a one-day women’s retreat. At another one-day ladies meeting in a remote village, 65 ladies attended while Flory shared God’s good news! God has opened many doors for Flory to share with the ladies in areas such as Vijayawada, Patmos and Kallur! All in all, there were 12 ladies seminars along with monthly Bible studies at El Shaddai.
Below are several additional opportunities this past year:
- Preached at EHOW
- Meet with elders of local assemblies.
- Toured West Bengal and met with STN graduates
- Flory taught at a Ladies seminar where 120 ladies attended.
- Baptized 7 individuals in September
- Participated and led several counseling sessions via phone and in-person
In closing, we would like to end it by quoting the Apostle Paul, “and they reported all that God had done with them.”
To God Be the Glory,
The Indian government announced that old notes will no longer be accepted at petrol stations after Friday, fueling anger over the elimination of high denomination bills which has caused an unprecedented cash crunch all over India.
Indians were originally given up to December 15th to use the old bills at filling stations but the government rushed the deadline two weeks early. This forced millions of commuters still using the old 500 rupee notes to spend them within 24 hours.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi sparked an uproar with his announcement on November 8 that all 500 rupee and 1,000 rupee notes (worth $7.5 and $14.5) would cease to be legal tender.
The demonetization policy could have been planned appropriately and then rolled out gradually, but instead, the government insisted the early elimination would fight and chance of corruption. However, the move only triggered chaos with long lines forming outside banks as people tried to deposit their old notes and exchange them for new ones.
The massive run to the banks in the 24-hour period forced Banks and ATMs to run out of cash and limiting the amount of withdrawals.
Response from STN: Ryder Kumar, International Director.
As I sit here to write about my convictions as a remedy for the present situation in India, my heart aches at the thought of several people dying, due to their inability to withdraw money from the bank. It has been about two weeks since the honorable Prime Minister announced his decision on demonetization of Rupees. This has caused many politicians to be divided in their views.
My personal convictions are based on the Statement of Faith shared by Shepherding the Nations. This is implemented in the endeavors of ‘Serving the Needy’ in India.
The teaching at STN India is done mainly in rural areas where 83% of India’s population now lives. The focus of our teaching is to bring conviction to the lives of those in the community. Consequently, the testimonies of our participants in their community have displayed a transformation of their inner lives reflecting moral, ethical and spiritual values. This in turn has resulted in healthy interpersonal relationships.
This inner transformation is also a display of renewing the mind causing us to be obedient to the government. STN India, however, has taken the responsibility to teach moral, ethical and spiritual values through the transforming power of the Holy Spirit and by using the teaching material. In Acts 2:37 it says “Now when they heard this, they were pierced to the heart,” This verse refers to ‘hearing of the Word of God’. Another great illustration of this is how a lady named Lydia, a seller of purple fabrics and worshiper of God, was listening to the Word, “and the Lord opened her heart to respond to the things spoken by Paul” – Acts 16:14
We are talking about real life changing stories in India. Lives are being changed and transformed through obedience and responsibility. With what has happened in the last several weeks many are putting away evil deeds such as being involved in ‘black money’ and evading tax payment. If this is not the remedy that comes directly from God then what is it?
While there is all sorts of commotion going on in the country, there is no one complaining or any confusion coming from our groups. That is because their financial records are clean. Taxes are paid on time and our conscience is clear from black money. Here is a photo of one of our groups.
As of, now our training programs are being held in several parts of the country. With over 110 people participating, these men have come from one of the remotest areas of the world. They have come to study and to be equipped so that they can teach others. These men desire to be a blessing in the country and community and to obey the government as responsible citizens.
STN India has a broader perspective in reaching how to train men, by equipping them for every good work.
A paradoxical shift has occurred in India as the majority of people, both in the community and government, have become hostile to the Gospel. I say this because it has become a conspicuous fact in the media. Persecutions that were unheard of in the past are happening now on a regular basis. But the God of the Bible is sovereign and will not withhold His mighty hand of power. What has been accomplished by STN International team in the past is really a preparation and prerequisite of what is now occurring. The hard labors, long and tiresome travels and long hours of the daily routines have been rewarded in abundance.
As I write this there are eleven faithful men, from different tribal backgrounds going thru a systematic equipping program. They spend ten hours a day studying and engulfing themselves with course material all to be completed in the next two weeks. This is conducted and taught by two of our STN graduates: Pastor Ravi is a retired bank officer and currently shepherds a lively church, and Timothy is a computer engineer and currently runs a company.
While these men are valiantly working, ten men from South India (all from s Hindi background) came from several remote villages a couple of days ago just in time for fasting and prayer. They began their systematic study program taught by Pastor Laxman Paul, who is a former attorney and was mentored by Pastor KB. The best part is that Laxman is a graduate of STN! How exciting that this is happening in North India in a state which is dominated by Hindu religion. Oh but there is more!
The state of Odisha that became well-known for the murder of the Stains (a missionary family with two kids from Australia) houses a similar study program for 32 participants. Twenty men are expected to do the same in Nepal starting in October. For many years missionaries have tried to reach an area called Budh Gaya. This place is said to be where Buddha had his “enlightenment” that eventually proved to be futile. The same area is not only reached with the power of the Gospel, but a group of 10 men who have been captivated by the Gospel, are making serious efforts to study from one of our STN graduates. Jose Simon travels a long distance with many challenges, incurring all the costs for his own travel.
He works as a principal of a school with the responsibility the job entails, and leads a family with two young children making ministry very difficult. It is not easy for him to travel twelve times a year to a place, which entails 40 hours on a train plus surviving the rigorous bus journey and paying for the needs that arise during these trips. What the team from STN International have done in pouring out their lives to their ministry has accomplished more than just in the area of teaching. It has equipped these trainers and has demonstrated how things can be done when they follow the God who leads! Their commitment has displayed an accomplishment of ‘focus with perspective to multiplying God’s people’. We praise God for Paul Brown and Randy Leinen and the tremendous leadership they display and provide.
As we look to God for more resources as there are scores of servants waiting for an opportunity to be trained in the program. There is an equal number who are in need of financial support and need your help. Would you pray for God’s enabling? The King is coming soon! Would you partner with us? Philippians 1:5 “in view of your participation in the gospel from the first day until now.”
It is not a paradox when His power is awesome! Zechariah 4:6 “‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ says the LORD of hosts.”
Diane Brown, Tammy and I had the privilege to have a long lunch with Flory while she was visiting with her family here in California. We took the opportunity to find out more about how her life has changed now that she is living and working in India.
Q: Flory, what was it like for you when you moved your household to India?
A: At the beginning, it was very difficult. Ryder experienced some illness when we first arrived, but God proved himself strong in our weakness. In my ten years of marriage, this was the 5th move.
“God was preparing us so I don’t see ‘home’ as a permanent location, but any place where the Lord sends me.”
Q: How did you find the house that you are living in?
A: This was something that we prayed about before we even left the US. We wanted a place that would be safe and secure, but also a place in a neighborhood where we could have an outreach with the gospel to our neighbors. During our first week at church, we met a man who had a job as a driver. He knew of a house in a safe neighborhood that was available and took us there the next day. The owner was friendly and welcoming and I noticed that the house numbers were the same as my birthday. The rental price was lower than we expected and this was the house that God graciously provided.
Q: What ministry opportunities have you had since you have returned to India?
A: I have had the opportunity to teach several one-day women’s conferences. I have taught on “How to be a Mature Christian in the Church,” to 65 women from five different churches. I also spoke in Kanpur to 52 women from three different churches on “The Cost of Discipleship.” Other ministry opportunities have included a visit to Jedimetla Village where I led a one-day seminar with the ladies and an evening meeting with the children. I taught a Bible study to an orphanage, hosted a Christmas outreach to neighborhood, led Sunday ladies meetings and Sunday school classes.
Q: What church are you attending in Hyderabad?
A: We have been attending Emmanuel House of Worship since January. This was another answer to prayer. This church worships and preaches in English, which is so much easier for me. Ryder is in their preaching team and I, also teach at times with the children’s and lady’s ministry.
Q: What are you looking forward to the rest of this year?
A: After retuning to India, we will be doing some more traveling to have follow-ups with the teachers to whom Ryder has presented “Teacher Training Workshops” in various parts of India; also meeting with key contacts and board members. We will also have lady’s meetings in different regions, where we see the need.
Q: How can we pray for you?
A: Please pray for:
- Salvation for two new friends in our neighborhood, Jacoline and Nisha
- Health and safety during monsoon season
- Good health for both Ryder and I
- Develop new messages and teach wherever there is a need
- New ministry opportunities with children including singing, drama and CEF materials
- For our house maid, Manju and her family for salvation
STN international in God’s provision is moving forward in India for greater productivity. This is to see multiplication in the ministry based on this biblical principle:
“The things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.”
-2 Timothy 2:2
Often times, Pastor Randy Leinen referred with great burden to Colossians 1:28-29 28 “We proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, so that we may present every man complete in Christ. For this purpose also I labor, striving according to His power, which mightily works within me.” We were motivated to work hard and this work by God’s grace resulted in 70 pastors being equipped and trained under the leadership team from the United States. As a follow-up to this, there has been a careful selection from these graduates of 2014 to undergo Teacher Training Workshops to train others in the remotest parts of the earth. The Lord has provided some key leaders from Hyderabad, Lucknow, Nepal and West Bengal who will take on this difficult task of training others in the BTCP program.
A true story of transformation
In 2006, a Napalese couple, Mahavir and his wife, Sheeta, (from a “H” background) had many idols and photos of gods and goddess in their home. They heard the gospel message through KB. Their spontaneous response to this was to get rid of all idols from the house. Accepting the Jesus as their Savior and Lord became a dramatic experience as Mahavir was delivered not only from bondage of sin but also from evil habits. More people heard the gospel and a church was planted in Nepal. This church that started with five to seven people has now grown to 50 people. The message of the gospel is being spread to many nearby people in Nepal. The church with 50 people is being led by a pastor who is not theologically trained and is in need of the training of the STN BTCP classes. Mahavir is a graduate of STN BTCP classes and is ready to teach, having completed the Teacher Training Workshop.
Mahavir is not only known as an STN graduate and a Sr. Pastor in Nepal, but has another distinction – in 1978 he won an award for climbing 21,000 feet in the Himalayan mountains.
Multiplication goes on!
There is a need for 30 key people from Nepal to be trained. These 30 would each train 10 men, bringing a multiplication of 300 pastors to begin training in two years. The cost to begin training 30 men from July 2016 would be $4 per course book (4 x 10 x 10=$400 for ten course books) plus with the poor background of each pastor there is need to provide food and tea during the day costing $500 per seminar x 10 seminars = $5,000. Please pray for the the supply to answer this need.
Six Months In Review
It is now six months since Flory and I moved from the United States of American to India. This happened to be one of the toughest decision we ever made in our lives. There are people in the US who desire to get us back and there are those in India who wonder why we have come! I am reminded of Nehemiah, one of the great leaders, who said these words in Nehemiah 6:3, “I am doing a great work and I cannot come down. Why should the work stop while I leave it and come down to you?”
God has shown us, aside from all human reasoning, that our motivation is not to live with complacency, or a comparatively comfortable life. We cannot look back from this commitment to serve the living God. It is worth journeying for thousands of miles, leaving behind a home, and going through the drills of security checks and standing in long lines at the airport, all for the sake of people who need the truth.
The message that we have in these temporary earthen vessels is a most powerful one that causes life or death. Acts 4:19-20 says, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to give heed to you rather than to God, you be the judge; for we cannot stop speaking about what we have seen and heard.”
- During these months in India approximately 6,000 people have heard the Word of God with eagerness.
- There are times the believers stayed in meetings for four hours at a stretch.
- Ladies gathered in three places to spend several hours feasting on God’s Word.
- Saints were strengthened, congregations were blessed and the Word went forth with power.
While doing my M.Div program in the US under the eminent scholars at TMS and associated with Paul Brown to learn and study I did not imagine how far this truth will travel. Our Sovereign God knew and He took me through those valuable times.
Multiplication of Trainers
The Mission must be accomplished. SE Asia is waiting! The training programs we had in India to equip the trainers were very encouraging. We are envisioning 100 leaders to be trained the first year and to graduate the second year. This multiplication approach will enable us to see 10,000 to be trained after two years. God is able! The door is open. The time is now. 1 Corinthians 16:9 “For a wide door for effective service has opened to me, and there are many adversaries.”
How can you help? Praying is a powerful resource. Finances are providing resource. Would you pray and provide? The work must go on to combat the false teaching that is cropping up rapidly. The churches must be made healthy. Quality leaders must be raised up and disciples must be made.
Ryder & Flory Kumar have been in India for over 4 months now and a lot of things are being accomplished. They have settled into a home, set up an office for STN India, worked on administrative details (legal & financial), met with key leaders, spoken in churches and special meetings, and organized prayer groups. They have been BUSY!
What else will be happening in 2016?
A lot more time will be spent with the STN Board in India. These men will prayerfully give leadership to the movement in India and Nepal. They will plan conferences to train more men as well as spread the word about STN to individuals, churches, and other Christian organizations.
Ryder will spend more time with the men who have already been trained. These men will not only labor to establish healthy churches but will train other men to go to unreached areas. Teacher Training Workshops (TTW’s) will be offered to these men so they can effectively teach the BTCP materials to others. They will also be held accountable for their personal growth, their family life, their ministry in the churches, and their outreach to the lost.
An overwhelming number of requests are coming in for people to be trained all over India and Nepal.
New BTCP courses will be started in different regions and will be led by former students and regional directors.
Regional Directors will be appointed to oversee training and accountability in different parts of the country. Ryder cannot reach the entire country but he can work with key regional leaders who can carry out the work. The ministry will grow exponentially in the coming years as these men train men who will train men…
More men will be trained in Nepal.
The need is great in Nepal for healthy churches and we will help some of our former students train church planters to be sent into the harvest.
Investigate possible sites for an STN India Training Center.
$700,000 was donated last year for this purpose and we want to know the right location for maximum impact in the coming years. This center would double as the STN India headquarters.
On top of all that we will explore the possibility of ministry in Pakistan.
We have been praying for that country for years and hope to see healthy churches established to make disciples of that nation.
Ryder & Flory will be very busy. Please pray for them to draw near to the Lord, grow strong in their marriage, stay healthy, walk in the Spirit, and discern God’s will on a moment-by-moment basis. In a country that has such enormous needs it is easy to get overwhelmed or say “yes” to too many things. Thank you for praying that they will work hard but also find times of quiet rest and refreshment.
To carry out all of these things will require more funds.
From time-to-time our donors need to stop supporting STN and right now we have a few pastors without sponsors. For $60-100 per month these men are fully supported to plant churches in unreached areas. Please pray for the Lord to provide new sponsors for these men as well as hundreds of others that will be trained in the coming years. And pray for more donors to support Ryder & Flory as they are about $2,000 short of their monthly need. Our General Fund is currently covering these costs, but we would love to see specific donors or churches sponsor these men.
We believe God will do great things in India & Nepal in 2016. Your prayers and donations are making an eternal difference. Thank you for partnering with us. To God be the glory!