West Bengali : Praise Report
A team travelled from England to West Bengal, India to work with ‘Sporshow’.
Pastor Piyal Mondal leads a team of house church leaders who founded Sporshow in 2005. Sporshow is registered with the Indian Government and works to show the love of Jesus through practical projects around the state of West Bengal. Sporshow is the Bengali word for ‘Touch’, and many lives have been touched by God’s hand through this ministry.
Sporshow works in and around Kolkata in West Bengal.
Peter Gladwin (Andover Baptist Church) Author and speaker
Andy Parker (CGC, Chelmsford) Team leader, working with Sporshow since 2007 Paul Roberton (Oasis Church, Benfleet) Speaker and guitarist
Purpose of Visit
Present gifts from the UK church to the house churches
Open new Sporshow building on Rupamari Island
Build up house church leaders at a Leader’s Conference
Visit house churches to share the gospel and minister to the sick
Out of the Ashes in Bengali
Translation work on Out of the Ashes started in 2014. The first 100 books were printed in Kolkata the week before our arrival, and it was launched at the Leader’s Conference. Peter shared his story and 16 copies were presented to the main leaders. All 500 copies of the first print run were delivered to Pastor Piyal before we left. Many copies were given to local people who we encountered during our visit, including 2 Muslim ladies met while dining at our Hotel. 40 were brought back to the UK for Indian Restaurant staff (many run by Bengalis) and others. Thank you to leaders of Andover Baptist Church for lending Peter to us this year, I must say that he was a great inspiration to us as a team and has our lead Evangelist. As a result of his God given ministry over 200 Hindus came to Jesus to which we give glory to God!
On arrival we totalled the UK church fund at £590. Pastor Piyal’s wish list for gifts (bicycles, sitting mats, DVD players and Bibles) came to £695. Ten days into our visit Paul’s daughter pledged a £100 gift (not knowing of the shortfall), this brought us to within £5 of Pastor Piyal’s wish list value! All gifts were distributed during the visit except some of the Bibles (too heavy to carry in quantity to remote locations). The Bibles will be kept by Pastor Piyal for new believers. All UK churches and friends will be notified about which gifts they have financed.
Opening of Sporshow Centre, Rupamari Island (14th)
There was an opening ceremony run by Pastor Piyal with 300 present. The building is made in the local style: bamboo walls and straw roof. It will used for tailoring training for local women, a school (two teachers to start in January 2016) and as a conference centre for Sporshow Leaders (currently meeting in rented halls – quite expensive). Toilet and cement floor still to be completed.
A great time of teaching and fellowship with the leaders. It was organised for 45, but 70 came. Teaching from the team was from Philippians 188.8.131.52 The leaders broke into discussion/prayer groups during the conference to process and feedback on some issues raised by the teaching. There was prayer ministry and encouragement of using the gift of prophecy. The feedback from the leaders after the conference was very positive, we taught the Bible in a simple straightforward way which works well for Bengali believers. More leaders will wish to attend if/when we run another conference in the future. One leader brought his non-Christian wife along to the conference, and she came to faith on the second day.
Dave was recovering from a broken foot, and so was unable to come out to the remote villages. Dave and Jackie ministered around Kolkata with Pastor Biplab Mondal as organiser and translator. Some meetings were held with; Jackie leading worship with her keyboard, Dave and Jackie speaking, followed by prayer ministry. Dave and Jackie also did a large number of house visits. We give glory to God that many put their trust in the Lord Jesus during those visits:
10th Siracole, Kolkata: 35 present, 14 commitments
11th Thakar Pukur, Kolkata: 30 present (mature church, no new commitments)
13th Jhanjhra house visits (mostly fellowship prayer with believers, informed of ladies eyesight healed the morning after prayer during our 2014 visit)
14th Kolkata house visits: 2 commitments
15th Kolkata house visit: fellowship and prayer
Andy, Peter and Paul travelled to villages in the 24 Parganas South and North districts, some on remote islands. Pastor Piyal Mondal organised the trip and translated.
Village meetings all followed a similar format: Bengali worship and opening prayer (house church leader), English with actions/Bengali worship (Paul), Bible-based gospel talk (Andy), short testimony (Paul), evangelistic talk incorporating testimony, followed by gospel call (Peter), prayer ministry (team). During the gospel call great care was taken to ensure that people knew what they were raising their hands for. Many put their trust in the Lord Jesus for the first time, and some were healed.
4th Jhanjhra (whole team present): 120 present, 15 commitments
9th Nando Kumar Pur (very hot day!): 350 present, 20 commitments
10th Bhubanaswari Island: 50 present (mostly children), 3 ladies made commitments
11th Bolar Bazar: 150 present, 26 commitments (including 17 men)
13th Samsannagar (Pargumti Island): 450 present, 22 commitments, lady dramatically healed of paralysed left side.
14th Rupamari Island: 300 present, 35 commitments
15th Nazat: 80 present, 11 ladies made commitments
16th Choital: 120 attending (mostly children). Dramatic gospel call, more than 60 made commitments, as it started to rain.
1. The importance of the unity of the believers – many times we have realised how crucial it is to keep unity within the team, as well as within and among the house churches. This was a key theme at the conference, as well as during prayer and fellowship times during the mission.
2. The team are grateful to God for how He has poured out His blessings on this mission. We have seen around 200 people put their trust in Jesus. We have full confidence in the house churches to disciple these new believers. A series of baptism services will be put on during the Christmas period. We look forward to Pastor Piyal’s reports on those services.
3. We have been impressed by the faith and commitment of Pastor Piyal and the other house church leaders working with Sporshow, and have come away challenged by their zeal for outreach to the lost.
4. We stood alongside a number of leaders who are under attack. One area leader, Ronojit, had a stroke while we were there and had to be rushed to hospital. We must keep them in our prayers.
5. We have been encouraged by the enthusiasm we have seen for the Bengali version of Out Of The Ashes. We believe that God is going to use this book to speak into thousands of Bengali lives. Many more print runs will be required.
Thanks for your prayers, and please join with us in thanking God for what He has done!