Thursday, April 26, 2012
The Indians of London, Globalization Project
Here's my project I did for class, well the paper section anyway... EVANGELIZING THE INDIANS OF LONDON Introduction Many countries on the earth have a great amount of power and influence behind them, but there is none more so than the land of Great Britain. Over the centuries, England has made its influence on the world by spreading its “colonial” ideals to other lands. With the grandeur of the British Empire, the territories that were reached with the culture extends not only to Scotland and Wales but also to Australia, South Africa, the Caribbean, and to India. Because of the vastness of the land of India, the spread of the culture was brought into Great Britain…Today; 1/16th of London is of Indian descent. A great influence on the people of the Empire, they are desperate to find their savior who died on the cross for them. As believers in the world today, there must be strategies put into place that will effectively reach the Indian communities, not just in London, but also around the world. I would like however, to focus on London, and its implications for the world today. Indians in London The city of London as a whole is vast and offers a huge variety of different peoples from virtually all walks of life, and as such it is no easy task to evangelize all the peoples in this city if one does not have a clear idea of whom they are trying to reach. The community that makes up London does not stop at Indians; there are the typical English, the internationals, and then the Indians. In order to effectively evangelize this people group, one must also consider the fact that there are peoples that need to be reached just as much as the Indians do. Developing a Strategy to reach the Indians Yes, the Indians are the primary focus of this strategy, but when it comes to reaching them, there has to be consideration for the fact that not only do the Indians need to come to faith in Christ, but also, there has to be those that can effectively reach them. Questions to be asked: 1) Do the Indians that one is reaching speak English? a. The majority of the Indian community of London (because of the Raj rule between 1858-1947) mainly speaks English, and English is actually one of the most common languages spoken in Indian circles today. 2) How would someone effectively reach the Indian community, knowing that it is not limited to just one specific people group a. The Resources available i. The International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention offers tools for missionaries around the world to be able to communicate the gospel as well as share the Gospel; however, this is an American-based website and their resources may only extend to the US, o the other hand, should there be a European website or agency, there would be so much effectiveness made. Hindi is another big language spoken by Indians, and if there are resources available in that language, that should be the biggest help. Before I can go any further to discuss what my strategy would be, there has to be careful attention paid to a necessity Christ himself commands us when we are reaching people: PRAY! We must give everything we do in life, whether it’s missions or it’s Academic work, we must always give everything we have over to the Lord’s hands and allow him to work. Nothing can be accomplished without getting down on your knees and asking for Christ to help you in everything that you do. An effective prayer might look something like this: Dear Lord: You are great and glorious, you see everything that goes on in this world, and nothing escapes your sight. Lord I pray for the city of London. I am thankful for men like William Tyndale and King James I, who took the Word of God and its studies seriously and spread the good news across the Royal Empire. I thank you for your people, the Indians, who need to learn how to love you, it may not be what you expect O lord, but at least they are in a place where your will can be done in their lives. Lord help me to be a minister who can reach them. To talk with them on a regular basis, to meet one-on-one as I have an opportunity to do it, and most of all lord, Be a student of their culture, being taught their ways and their practices. Lord I am but your humble servant, so however you can use me, use me to reach these people. Okay seriously, what kind of person would not give their ministry, their calling from the Lord over to him in the first place? It is a big deal to be on your knees before the God of heaven, asking for his help, his guidance, his support in everything that you do. Prayer is the pillar of everything that we do in ministry and we must have that attitude, even in missions. The Discipleship Process So what exactly would it take to reach people from an Indian Background when one is located in the city that is the farthest thing from India? First off, see the previous section? Get on your knees and pray. You must have the same attitude that Philip had when he was on the road to Gaza and ran into the Ethiopian Eunuch. Divine appointments happen because believers are being obedient to the Holy Spirit’s leading. In order to obey the Lord, obey his commandments, we must be in prayer. Let’s say you run into someone who is Indian on the Underground, on your way to meet some mates at Trafalgar Square. It’s a great summer day out, and all is right with the world. You have a copy of Harry Potter and you read the section describing the Gryffindor students Pavarti and Padmi Patil, the Indian twins who are friends with the heroin in the book, and lo and behold, there’s an Indian person sitting down in your train car, and you are intrigued and start a conversation. You learn that this person has just moved to London from Indian a couple of months ago, is learning English, and has plugged into a local Hindu community center. Your heart breaks because this person is buying into a dark and twisted mentality that is the nature of Hinduism; it saturates India, it becomes their guidelines for living, and it offers a false sense of security. It is absolutely necessary and vital that believers who really want to reach the lost people of India living in London immerse themselves in the religious aspects of the culture. This culture, the Indians, it is proud and very rich. The ideas that go around with evangelism could be used to be creative and intriguing to them. The church plants Anyone who is called into the mission’s world should understand number one, that there are not a vast amount of resources available to their name (Financially speaking). Prayer and letter writing is a great way to start that aspect of ministry off (take it from someone who knows first hand, being a missionary kid, money does not grow on trees). Imagine if you would, that you have a team of workers coming into the country and you are able to reach the 7 different people groups that occupy London. Simply because the culture is so similar, one would assume that all Indians are alike, well that is not true, there are 7 total different people groups in London: 1. Gujrati: The second largest Indian group in London belongs to Gujrat ethnicity. They mainly believe in Hindu religion, but there is a minority of Muslims. The capitols of Gujarati community include Wembley, Croydon and the northeastern boroughs. 2. Sindhi: Like Gujarati, another ethnicity, which is in available in large number in London, is Sindhi. They all are almost believed in Hindu religion. Most of the Sindhi’s are living In Southall. 3. Marathi: One of the popular states of India is Maharashtra and the community from Maharashtra that is Marathis, is living in large number in London and they are almost working in white collar professionals and above all most of them came from Mumbai, Pune, Nagpur and Kolhapur. 905 of them are Hindu, but there are small minorities of Muslims too. 4. Bengal: These Bengalis are from the states of Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal and usually belong to Hindu or Muslims religions respectively. 5. Tamil & Telugu: Unlike others there are small number of Indians from Tamil and Telugu in London. These all are mainly from Hyderabad, India or Chennai. Most of them belong to Hindu religion, but there is small minority of Muslims also. 6. Kannadiga: Small number of Kannadiga is also living in London and most of them belong to Hindu religion and a sizable number of Muslims. 7. Bihari: In London, there are people belongs to Bihar from India. They are around 75% Hindu and about 20% Muslim. Indians are changing and its not always that they are Hindus, they are also Muslims, and that is a great place to be also. Muslims are a very impactable group of people and Islam is predominant throughout the world, and as such the Hindus and Muslims can be reached. If you had the chance to see the film Slumdog Millionaire, there was a war in the slums, where the Hindu people group attacked the Muslim one. There is violence between these groups, so when establishing a church, and you have believers coming in that are from different backgrounds, take the time to meet with each believer individually and talk about where they came form in India, about their families, etc. Listen to their stories, because chances are they are able to tell things about people that can share their testimony and win even more people to Christ. The first goal of reaching the Indians is to get the native Indians of England to become believers, discipling them in the Bible, teaching them to read and to grasp God’s word, and then being a light in their neighborhoods and communities reaching all of them with the Gospel of Jesus the Messiah. The Method for Reaching One of my biggest ambitions for doing ministry is the ability to cook. I am impressed with the cuisine of India, which may have been a reason why I picked this people group. Imagine if you would being in your favorite restaurant and there’s a piping hot plate of Chicken Tikka Masala on the platter and you reach over and taste it, and think about the effort that went into making it. That is someone’s eternal fate hanging in the balance that needs Jesus Christ. If I had the resources available to me I would be in the restaurant business cooking food and reaching people with the gospel it is a platform of mine to be able to use the best talent I have; cooking food, and reaching people with the gospel. The restaurant platforms that exist in London serve as a most useful tool for getting the message out. There is a popular restaurant (Indian) that exists in England called “Tiffinbites”, it gets its name from the metal “Tiffin” box in which men would carry lunches to and from work. Bible studies could happen in those restaurants, even discipleship meetings that happen one-on-one. The restaurant business serves as a great platform, but also there are other steps that I feel should be taken in the consideration of reaching the very large Indian people group of London, England. The Media BBC is so huge that there are even videos and movies that are sent as DVD’s in the United States. Remember the really bad Chronicles of Narnia films back in the early 90s? Yeah, that was all the BBC. The national network has a great amount of influence. Take NBC here in the United States. Advertisements on the channel allow consumers to see things that they “have to have”. Wouldn’t “have to have” the Gospel be a good strategy? There are bound to be Indian networks that would allow advertisements for a new Church plant to be seen. It is hard though, considering the dark presence of the Muslims that live in London. It is not just Indians, there are a great deal of Middle Eastrn muslims that are there as well, and reaching people with a potentially harmful message can be a challenge. A great suggestion is to use a cover. Meet in secret somewhere like the people in hostile Christian environments would. “When one or two are gathered for the sake of my name.” Get a group of Indians together in someone’s home, cook food, and listen to worship music. A creative method would be to reach out to the immigrants who do not speak any English. Offer an ESL program in a community program. I was a part of one here in Fort Worth for a year at Southcliff Baptist church, working with a community of political refugees who came from all over the planet. There were about 12 different people groups. Education is a big tool for reaching people with the Gospel, because people who move over to England from India, some of them may know English, but there could also be a chance that they do not speak the language, so why not help them learn the language that can help them get jobs, or find their way around a big city. My mother and father work for a ministry called “Chosen People Ministries” which targets Jewish people around the world and in 2010, the ministry came up with the “Isaiah 53” campaign. The Jewish people have the greatest prophecy to them in their book, The Talmud (Old Testament) and they do not even realize that the message points to Jesus. Imagine if you were in rush hour traffic on a Thursday night and you look over the Lincoln Tunnel and see a sign that reads “Isaiah 53” and you look it up in the Bible and read about the “Suffering Servant”. I could totally see a campaign poster for reaching Indians disproving the existence of the over 330 million gods, explaining the supreme nature of the ultimate Guru, “Jesus Christ is your true guru”. Indians are people who have a great influence on the regions that they call home and are able to impact those with their kind hearted nature and their positive outlook on life. Their vibrant dancing, their extravagant song, this can all be tools used to worship the Lord, and they’d be such a great witness to people in the area… Prayer Points Pray for the Indian community in London, that they would be receptive to the Gospel. That they would not draw deeper into the falsehood that is the Hindu or Sikh religion. They need to be able to tell others about these falsehoods, and to have them at the side of an evangelism strategist. Being on the field can be a challenge at times, but to have those who have been called out by the Holy Spirit and to have that passion, it can be done effectively. Put a strategy into place of building up the disciples, training them in the ways of the Bible and then using those lessons, that have been taught and then taking those to the people of London and reaching them effectively. Conclusion Whatever ministry platform people chose to do in this life, the main thing that has to be understood is that reaching people with the Gospel starts with your willingness to be available. This doesn’t just apply to being a tea-drinking Englishmen; this is anyone we are talking about here. Your availability is what helps you to reach people for the Gospel. Have the same attitude as Philip did when he reached the Eunuch with the message of Isaiah 53, revealing who he was and the extreme need he had. Indians have an extreme need. They have a need to be saved, and their needs to be people there to reach them. It’s the most common people group in London. It’s the equivalent of being in Fort Worth and there are Mexicans here.