Day 5: A new wave of church planters
For Mitch Englehart,* it’s a beautiful sight that’s taking place in some very dirty water. The South Carolina native watches from the bank of a stagnant canal as six new believers are baptized outside a village in South Asia. Dhanwan is one of them.
“I want to follow Jesus!” the young man says, explaining that he became a Christian after a miraculous healing through the prayers of a local Baptist pastor. That pastor, Lalbahadur, is a fifth-generation Christian whose faith can be traced back to Mitch’s church-planting network. It’s January, and Dhanwan shivers as he strips down to his underwear and steps into the canal. To start the baptism chain, Lalbahadur first immerses Dhanwan, then each newly baptized believer baptizes the next. This is discipleship in action, Mitch says, and it’s what has brought him to South Asia.
He and his wife, Nellie,* have spent the last nine years training church leaders like Lalbahadur. But the six baptized today are just the tip of the iceberg. Between Mitch’s two primary national partners, he’s seen more than 1,200 new churches and more than 3,000 baptisms in the last five years alone.
And there’s still plenty of work to be done. Mitch’s team is busy developing a new wave of church planters focused on the area’s least-reached districts — many less than 0.1 percent Christian.
“God is using these guys in mighty ways,” he says with a grin. “There’s already a fire burning. My role is to pour a little gasoline on that fire.”
Pray for the Engleharts to stay healthy amid their busy lives and work and for local leaders to have strength, wisdom and insight.
Pray for young believers and churches to grow and be strong in the Lord.
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