Editorials

The Power of Collaboration

Assisting indigenous ministries to be a powerful evangelistic force

The books of Ezra and Nehemiah contain poignant examples of the power of collaboration among God´s people. These books begin with God moving upon the hearts of unbelieving kings, Cyrus and Artaxerxes, to release a Jewish remnant from captivity and allow them to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the temple and wall.

some of the orphaned Banjara children who were living in the Boda's small rented house
Before contact with Christian Aid, Christopher and Rambai (upper right) with some of the orphaned Banjara children, who were all living in his small rented house.

Those Jews who remained in captivity collaborated with the ones who returned by providing them with financial support.

"And all they that were about them strengthened their hands with vessels of silver, with gold, with goods, and with beasts, and with precious things, beside all that was willingly offered." Ezra 1:6.

The Jews had prospered during their captivity in Babylon and Assyria, and could send significant offerings along with their people who would return to Jerusalem.

This collaboration enabled the Jewish people to rebuild the foundation of the temple, reestablish God´s law, reconstruct the wall and begin a great revival.

The Scriptures provide us with many more examples of collaboration among believers (see Philippians 4 and 2 Corinthians 8). This principle remains an important tool to build God´s kingdom today. Let me share with you a recent example.

Gifts from Christian Aid donors enabled the ministry to begin construction of this large building to house the children.
Gifts from Christian Aid donors enabled the ministry to begin construction of a large building to house the children and serve as a training base for missionaries serving with Banjara Tribal Ministries.

I met Christopher and Rambai Boda a few years ago when they first arrived at Christian Aid´s guesthouse. The Bodas belong to the Banjara tribe of India, an extremely poor, unreached people group of 34 million. The Banjaras are the original Gypsies of the world and are considered one of the lowest castes in India.

Christopher, whose parents died when he was very young, dreamed of opening an orphanage and missionary training center among his people. He had traveled to the United States in hopes of sharing his vision with church congregations and raising funds for these projects.

But after two months in the U.S., the couple had found only two churches that would allow them to address the congregation without at least one year of advance notice.

By the time they arrived at our guesthouse, they had spent most of the offerings from those two churches on motels and transportation.

Christian Aid immediately contacted several churches and arranged speaking engagements for Christopher.

Christopher and Rambai are seated in the front with hundreds of children living in the home.
After donors sent gifts to Christian Aid, the Bodas were able to complete this project. Now the children´s home for Banjara orphans is filled to capacity. Christopher and Rambai are seated in the front with hundreds of children living in the home. They are thankful for the collaboration of Christians who have made this facility a reality.

We arrived with Christopher at the first church and observed that he spent most of his time sharing an evangelistic message with the congregation, but only briefly mentioned his vision for the Banjara people.

Afterward, we advised him to give congregations an opportunity to learn about his vision by including more information about it during his preaching time. He put this advice into action and raised the amount needed to develop his work in India.

Eventually, he was able to construct an orphanage and missionary training center for a fraction of what it would have cost to build a training center in the U.S. Today Christopher shelters and teaches God´s Word to more than 2,000 Banjara orphans, many of whom will become native missionaries. He also trains scores of gospel workers and church planters. Christopher has composed more than 200 Christian songs, and in two years completed the translation of the New Testament into the Banjara language.

Following the examples in Scripture, we find that it is the Lord´s leading for us to collaborate with native missionaries. They are building God´s kingdom as we send them the resources they desperately need.

Christian Aid has evaluated hundreds of effective and strategic indigenous ministries that have produced amazing results. I invite you to read about some of them in this website.

SC: WEBCAM