Partnering with those who are working effectively in countries to see churches planted is an important part of what Elim Missions does. We have been able to give to a programme in India that is impacting many through church planting. This programme has seen 295 bibles given to new believers and 16 bicycles purchased to be used by church planters. The organisation has also been able to buy speakers, musical instruments as well as funding two seminars to train church planters.
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Arvind Thomas is the founder of Bethel Full Gospel Church and his church planting journey has been immersed in the power of our mighty God. A railway engineer by trade, Arvind felt God’s calling in 1972. He encountered the Holy Spirit at a Pentecostal conference and sensed God say to him, “My son, I have chosen you.” Struggling to know what to do, a lady prophesied over Arvind saying, “You are going to start a revival among the youth in Varanasi”. Arvind came back to Varanasi with this vision and God miraculously brought 17 young boys and girls to join the youth fellowship of Arvind Thomas and slowly all were converted and received the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
Beside this youth fellowship, God used Arvind to minister to a family of locals during his office lunch hours. They all received Christ and were baptised in water. Hearing the news, the mother of the family came running from another town and fought with Arvind, saying ‘You have converted my son! How do I know that Jesus is the true God?” Arvind then prompted by the Holy Spirit, said to her, “Tonight the Lord is going to speak to you.” That very night this lady had a dream, she was plucking a few flowers in a garden to take for idol worship. She saw a man reading a black book, (Bible). This man spoke to her in her dream, and she was deeply convicted, and started weeping. She woke up in the night told her son to immediately call Arvind, who visited her early in the morning. He saw her in tears. The first words she spoke were, “Your Jesus is the true God.” Arvind counselled her and she accepted Christ. This was the first family to come to Jesus in Arvind’s ministry.
Following this, several miracles happened, and the church, which started with only 4 members, started to grow. God gave Arvind a vision in 1985 and said ‘I will build My house on a high place.” God showed Arvind the rooftop of his house. With the financial help of families in the UK, the first Pentecostal church was inaugurated on 24th November 1986. On the very day of the inauguration the prophecy came from the Lord, “I am going to fill My house with My sheep.” Today the prophecy has been fulfilled with a congregation of 400 people.
During 42 years of ministry 21,000 people have so far been added to the kingdom of God. 500 churches have been planted including 60 main churches, both in India and Nepal. All of this is coming from Varanasi, one of the oldest cities in the world, and a cradle of two of the world’s main religions, Hinduism and Buddhism.