I live in a small village in South Asia. Most of the people who live around me are farmers and keepers of crops. They are very poor, and they usually travel by bicycle or by foot. I cannot travel, but people come to see me all the time. Well, they don’t come to see me exactly.
I should explain: I am a church building, and my friends in this village have been waiting for me for several years.
Many years ago, before I was built, Pastor Nigam went to a Bible college. He graduated and then traveled around this area to tell people about the uniqueness of Jesus. Soon, five people in my village responded to His love. They started meeting in a house—a great place for a small fellowship—and, praise God, others started discovering Christ’s redeeming power too.
The small house could easily hold five, but 20 was a stretch. Thirty was even worse, and cramming 40 people into the small home was quite a challenge. They needed more room. That’s where I came in.
After three years of prayer and seeking, the believers got all the permission they needed, filled out all the right forms, laid the foundation and got to work building me. They were very excited, and so was I—soon I would be providing shelter for this group of brothers and sisters, giving them a safe place to worship.
Did you know that in many areas of South Asia, a religion is considered inferior if there is no physical building to worship in? Although we all know God’s people are His temple—not buildings like me—it is still very helpful for Christians to have a permanent place for themselves. Having a building also makes it much easier for believers to tell others in their villages about Jesus. When someone gets a piece of literature about Him or when they are invited to attend a worship service, they know exactly where to go to find out more. Meeting in homes can be tricky—I know of some congregations who meet in several different homes throughout the month, rarely staying at the same place for two weeks in a row!
But building me wasn’t all smooth sailing. This often happens with buildings like me. Some people in the village didn’t want the Christians to have a permanent place of worship. One of the village leaders tried to stop the building process. So the believers prayed and prayed and prayed, asking God for His help. God heard their prayers and gave them favor with the village leaders.
After two years of labor, they put the last piece in place and invited some pastors and leaders to come to my opening day. It was a joyous affair. The believers sang special folk songs and danced beautifully, and the leaders and pastors talked about Jesus’ love and greatness with everyone who gathered there that day. And, of course, they thanked Jesus for allowing me to be built for them, and they dedicated me to the Lord.
Now my doors are always open, ready to welcome any who come. If there is ever a natural disaster in this area, I can stand with the believers to help those in need. I’ll help them with Sunday school and maybe even hold tailoring or literacy classes someday. Did you know there are hundreds of millions of people in South Asia who can’t read? Most of them are women—but that’s another story.
The believers in this village are very glad to have a place where they can worship God freely without hindrance. I hope more people will join us now that I’m here.
I would be glad if you would pray for the men and women who gather in me every week and for Pastor Nigam as well. Also, I know there are many other church buildings just like me that are looking forward to the day of their construction. Would you pray for them too?