Watch video about reaching tribal groups in India:
The Gospel For Unreached Tribes in India
Through the love and support of ICII missionary supporters, real changes are being made in the lives of people who literally live in the uttermost parts of the earth. Joshua, one native missionary that ICII has been sponsoring for many years is bearing much fruit among unreached tribal groups. We joined up with Pastor Joshua and his wife, and his Gospel assistant, Murthy. He had planned an outreach to a very remote area in the higher hills of the region, where there are some extremely poor villages of tribal people. We all loaded up into ICII’s ministry van and we started off toward the mountains. Soon we came to extremely rough paved roads in a forest of bamboo. Pastor Joshua talked as we drove, telling us that this forest is filled with wild elephants, buffalo, wild cats, and other dangerous animals. For years, he and his wife had been doing ministry in the villages above this forest, and so they had to travel through this area on foot many times. That trip required eight hours of walking in each direction, and the hills are very steep. Pastor Joshua’s wife showed us her scars from when she fell and rolled down a steep hill while they were running from a rampaging wild elephant! Yet these hardships did not stop this family from reaching out to these most needy people with the Gospel message of Jesus Christ!
Pastor Joshua showed us a stone slab where the extremely superstitious tribal people would hold a yearly sacrifice, offering over two hundred goats to their gods. They would sometimes sacrifice even their own infants in their horrible rituals. He explained how he had gradually earned their trust and started sharing the Gospel with them, at first walking there twice a week. The motorbike that he got through ICII has greatly helped him reach these tribal people. After we crept along for nearly ten miles on a narrow, steep, and bumpy roads, where the frequent elephant droppings a reminder of what lived unseen in the thickets all around us we could scarcely believe how Pastor Joshua and his wife were able to come to this place so often even with their motorbike, much less without any vehicle at all! We so admire their dedication and determination for the Lord. As soon as we arrived at the first tribal village, we could feel the poverty and the desperation of the people living there.
A rag-tag group of children came running to stare at us, with dirty, torn clothes and unkempt hair. We could see that the people were uncertain who we were, strangers and foreigners arriving in a van. One man, however, stayed at a distance, waving his arms scornfully at us and muttering. After a while, he stalked off into the hills behind the village. Pastor Joshua explained that this was the local witch doctor, who has been opposing his ministry and complaining about his visits for years. The witch doctor is fearful that because of Pastor Joshua’s teaching, some of the people have stopped listening to his fortune-telling, and he does not want to lose his livelihood.
Pastor Joshua told us that there were some new people present. We thanked them for welcoming us, and Kathy shared the Gospel with them. Many believed on Jesus, their heads bowed as they prayed with us to receive Jesus Christ as their Savior! Afterward, one family, who were the first in the village to come to Christ through Pastor Joshua’s ministry, invited us to their tiny home. As we talked with them, we learned more about this isolated people. Mostly illiterate, they live by hunting and gathering, or on whatever they can get by doing slave-like labor jobs for nearby landowners. Even the stale government-rationed rice is a luxury to these extremely poor people, who often have to catch rats for meat.
The lady of the house showed us a handful of ragi, a type of millet, which the people grind into a flour as a staple food. Medical care is non-existent, and people die of malaria, typhoid, cholera, or other treatable diseases in that area each year. No one, except for Pastor Joshua’s team, had ever come up to that place to share Christ with them. Pastor Joshua was excited about the new believers, and has plans to expand his ministry in that tribal village.