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Raising the dead in India

J. Lee Grady, the editor of Charisma, puts out a regular email that energizes my faith. I recommend subscribing to it – it’s free. His last one was great: Harry Gomes was an unlikely candidate to become a Christian evangelist. He grew u…
By Seth Barnes

J.
Lee Grady, the editor of Charisma, puts out a regular email that energizes my
faith. I recommend subscribing to it – it’s free. His last one was great:

Harry Gomes was an unlikely
candidate to become a Christian evangelist. He grew up in a poor village in
rural India
where there were no believers in Jesus. His Hindu mother believed she would
receive salvation if she wrote the name of the Hindu god Rama 10 million times.
After she filled dozens of notebooks with the god’s name, she killed herself.

Harry became an atheist after his
mother’s suicide. Depression and hopelessness hung like a cloud over his crude
home when he was a young man. After he obtained a college degree in business he
began to suffer from leukederma, an unsightly skin disease. Because of the pain
and humiliation caused by his condition he often considered killing himself.

Then Jesus literally walked into
his life.

Harry had a vision of Christ and
was miraculously converted. He was later filled with the Holy Spirit, and Jesus
appeared to him again—this time to commission him to reach India’s millions. Since 1993,
when Harry sold everything he owned to purchase some property for a ministry
center in the city of Coimbatore,
he has sponsored 187 crusades in eight different Indian states. So far, 11.5
million people—mostly Hindus—have made decisions for Christ in his meetings.

“People still say that India
is only 3 percent Christian,” Harry says, laughing loudly. “Actually the number
is probably more like 11 percent. They are using old figures.”

In India, where old traditions die
slowly, Hindu extremists are trying to hide the growth of Christianity in the
world’s second most populous nation. But reports indicate that large numbers of
Indians, particularly the Dalits, or “untouchables” of the lowest caste, are
converting to Jesus.

Today in the village where Harry
grew up, there are now five churches—and 90 percent of the 1,500 residents have
become believers in Jesus. All this growth has occurred in less than 15 years.

Harry is a vivid example of how India
is changing—and his unusual ministry demonstrates how New Testament-style
miracles are shaking a nation. He has seen more than 240,000 people healed of
chronic illnesses. And five people have been resurrected after distraught
family members brought their dead bodies to his meetings. One of the incidents
has been captured on videotape.

“I make sure people know that I am
not the healer,” says Harry, who is remarkably humble and soft-spoken. On
promotional fliers that are distributed to thousands of homes before his
crusades, he tells people to expect Jesus to touch them. He does not typically
lay hands on anyone. The miracles take place while he is kneeling on the stage.

Sometimes police come to his
meetings to arrest him for breaking laws against using magic or superstition.
“But they become believers when they see the miracles,” he explains.

Harry Gomes is one of my new
heroes. Not because he sponsors big meetings, or because he sees powerful
healings, but because I see in him a humility that seems lacking in the
American church.

He speaks often of brokenness. He
sometimes spends all night in prayer. On a typical day he prays for hours over
the individual prayer requests of those who have attended his meetings. When he
prayed for me this week he spent half his time confessing his own weaknesses
and asking for God’s mercy. His selflessness convicted me to the core.

I couldn’t help but think that
there is a connection between this man’s humility and the obvious spiritual
power released when he preaches the simple gospel of salvation.

And the fact that he is spending
his summer in the United
States gave me hope that God is giving our
nation a chance to reclaim the power of New Testament Christianity—so that we
too can see a wayward generation raised to life.

To subscribe to Grady’s monthly email, click here and check the box for Charisma Online.

Posted with permission from Charisma Online, June, 2007. Copyright Strang Communications Co., USA. All rights reserved. www.charismamag.com.

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