When I was working as a pastor in the Chicago area, I used my vacation time for short-term mission trips. At the end of one trip, my wife, Esther, and I were driving home from the airport and turned the radio to a Christian station. I began praising God as I thought of the dark regions of India—where I was ministering just 24 hours before—places where hearing the Gospel through song is absent, and radios don’t exist.
I realized how blessed we are to live in a place where the Gospel is so easily accessible. On the other side of the world, there is no worship music, no Gospel, and no one to tell them about the fierce love of Jesus. I began to see how darkness surrounds people who have no opportunity to hear the Word of God.
The burden to share the
gospel became evident.
Esther and I began to pray and seek God’s guidance about how to respond to the need. After we took our family back to India for six months, we returned to Chicago to continue ministry, but our lives had been forever changed. God was calling our family to be a light in India. In 1997, we packed our bags and followed the Lord’s leading.
We began ministering on the streets and in the slums of our hometown, Hyderabad. As I preached and witnessed the multitudes of people in the city, I saw all ranges of social status. My heart broke for slum dwellers, many sleeping on the streets. Deep within, I began to ponder: “How will they hear the Gospel? Who will tell them?” These questions held my heart’s attention. I was convinced they needed to come to the church—and yes, some did come, but not all. Unfortunately, many of the churches were not ready to welcome people from the streets and slums.
That’s when the heavy burden was laid upon my heart to go to them and teach about the Lord.
With open arms, they welcomed us, and this was the launch of Hope For Today in India. It has been 20 years since that day, and we continue to preach one thing,