The entire territory of Himachal Pradesh altitude ranges from 1,100 to nearly 23,000 feet above sea level. It is situated in north central India, and the eastern border of Himachal Pradesh forms India’s boundary with Tibet. The dominant religion is Hinduism (95.9%), followed by Islam (1.7%), Buddhism (1.2%), Sikhism (1.1%) and Christianity (0.09%).
There are 8 Universities and 150 colleges having about 2 lakh students. There are more than 1339 H.S. Schools.
Delhi graduates took the initiative to develop the student ministry in HP. UESI sent its staff, Mr. Rajesh and was based at Palampur for a few years. After him came Mr. Jacob & family who were based at Solan. They pioneered the work here and that paved the way for us.
Life in HP
As for us, we came as a family (wife Lizzy Chris, daughters Chrizzy & Catherine and son Chlipher) from Kanyakumari in 2004 after working in UESI TN as staff for seven years. We longed to work in a cross cultural mission and that longing kept on growing in our hearts (Phil 2:13). We felt led by the Lord to work in this least evangelized state of India.
We went through all the struggles that come with being in a different culture, food, language, climatic conditions. Everything was so new and alien, with everything familiar far away. The devil sent discouragements in the form of threats and tried to stop the ongoing ministry. “But the one who is in us is greater than one who is in the world.” God also raised a few people to support us through their prayers and help. He helped us to learn the language and identify with the local people. Our children slowly adapted to the new situation.
God gave us opportunities to win the confidence of some locals. It is heartening to see the ministry grow and we are thankful to God for that experience.
Ministry in HP
Student ministry had been initiated here but being a hard place it took a while to see the fruits. The progress was slow and gradual; nonetheless it was a progress so we are thankful to God. We got opportunities to share the Gospel with the students personally and through EBS and various meetings.
2005 saw us starting a Hindi Prayer Cell with two students, Nauni EU prayer cell being revived and Nauni EU Committee was formed. Another highlight of the year was the first evangelistic camp for local students in Shimla which was attended by 40 students. In 2006 Kullu and Hamirpur cells were started. Now we have students meeting for Bible study and fellowship at Solan, Nauni, Hamirpur, Shimla, Mandi, Ghohar, Kullu , Dharamashala and Manali. We had a DTC at Sadhupul in 2007 and another in 2008 at Manali with 40 students from different districts.
We organized a Christmas programme in December 2004 with a few people. Since then we have seen a rise in the number of programmes and people attending them. In 2010 we had Christmas programmes at 8 places. So we see a perceptive growth of the ministry in this rough terrain. The labour of His servants over the years has not been in vain.
We were able to publish a Hindi songbook which is of being used not only in the UESI circle but even in the local churches. A quarterly prayer letter “Himalayan Torch” and a quarterly Hindi-English (bilingual magazine) “Vidyarthi Darpan” has also come out.
We have seen a rise in the number of tentmakers coming into this state from other states.
– The outgoing students to involve in UESI ministry, specially pray for the growth of graduates’ ministry in this state.
– God’s protection on staff, coordinators, graduates, students & families from sickness and also for their travel in these hills.
– Student leaders to be strong in their commitment & witnessing in their campuses
– Monthly need Rs.30, 000/- to be met.
When we look back we see that God’s hand was upon us at every step and He opened doors for us to share His love with the wonderful people of Himachal. We thank God for giving us the joy of seeing the fruits being borne.