a list for friday: how can I help?

If you read my travelogue earlier this week, you got a small glimpse of the huge number of ministries clustered under the leadership of Central India Christian Mission. Several times throughout our visit, as we learned about the children’s homes or the books published or the Bible translation or the education initiatives or the nursing school or the hospital (and I could keep going), we thought how any one or two of these would be a significant contribution to evangelism in India. And yet for every program we learned about, there were three more we didn’t.

Even after ten days with the CICM team, I’m confident I don’t know the extent of everything they’re doing. How many ministries can you say that about, anywhere?

However, you don’t have to know it all to know there are lots of opportunities to help. No matter what your interest or your budget, you can make a real contribution. Here are a few ways:

1. Sponsor a child

I’m a huge fan of Compassion International—in fact, I currently sponsor two kids through their organization—but CICM is a great option if you’re looking for a child to sponsor. Just $30 a month provides food, vitamins, school supplies, basic medical care, and more. You can sign up and get started here.

2. Sponsor a church planter

CICM has planted more than 1100 churches. Let that sink in for a moment. And they have a discipleship strategy that, if all goes to plan, means every one of India’s 1.2 billion people will hear about Jesus in the next 20 years. Now get your head around that.

To do this they are constantly recruiting and training evangelists. Many are educated at the Central India Bible Academy or another leadership training site, and then return to their home state to pastor one or more congregations. And the guys get RESULTS; more than once Ajai has received news that an entire village—hundreds and hundreds of people—has become Christians within a few months or years of a preacher going there. That’s what we call ROI, folks, on a not-very-big monthly investment. You can see the preachers who need sponsors and sign up here.

And they REALLY like having their picture taken.

3. Support the children’s home

In addition to the 4500+ kids who are being sponsored, 600 orphans and at-risk kids are being cared for at the “Bal Bhavan” in Damoh and other homes throughout the region. Some of these kids were left on the side of the road or brought to the orphanage and abandoned. Others are the children of church planters who are working in high-risk areas and want their kids to be safe.

4. Support education for adults

In addition to three schools to prepare future pastors for preaching and urban church planting, CICM is a publishing house with dozens and dozens of commentaries, textbooks, preacher’s manuals, books of sermons, and other resources for church leaders. They’ve also created a College of Nursing which offers both three-year and four-year degrees. Two of the school’s graduates cared for Matt last week—and they were top-notch.

5. Support education for kids

A school, with classes for kids in elementary and junior high, recently opened right next door to the children’s home and provides a great education to these kids. When we met with Katie, who directs the school, she mentioned really needing school supplies, curriculum, and books, especially in math and science. I’m guessing some of you teachers have lots of curriculum you’re no longer using, and most of you parents have piles of books your kids have outgrown. The best way to get any of these items to CICM is to send them with a group going over. I think there’s a team going in November–try emailing info@indiamission.org to learn more.

6. Support Bible translation

Last year CICM and Pioneer Bible Translators finished the first-ever translation of the New Testament into Bundeli, a language spoken by over 50 million people who had never had the Bible in their language. The team is now hard at work on the Old Testament.

7. Support medical missions

In addition to nursing Americans with upset stomachs, some graduates of the nursing school work in the CICM hospital, which also includes a maternity ward and dental clinic and is open to all, regardless of ability to pay. Another team staffs medical camps in remote villages. Together these teams help thousands of people every month, many of whom have no other opportunities for health care.

8. Support the general fund

I know, it’s not as warm and fuzzy as sponsoring a little kid, but like most nonprofit ministries CICM needs undesignated gifts they can use for day-to-day operations. Funding all this ministry means electric bills, gas for the vans, staffing, maintenance, food for ravenous American teams like ours, and on and on. Consider giving a generous gift they can use however they need to.

These are just some highlights; check out CICM’s website for more as well as some great Vimeo videos that WordPress won’t let me post. And I promise not to be one of those folks who talks about her mission trip until you want to smack her (too late?), so this will be my last India post for a while. But if you want to see all my photos—and I know you do!—they’re on Facebook here.

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