This week, Pastor John hands over the TAGD keyboard to Pastor Brent Whitefield, Northpoint’s Pastor of Missions and Outreach.
Our Friend, Mang
Next month, the third set of students will graduate from our Training of Trainers (TOT) program in Shillong, Northeast India. We have been involved in this ministry for four years, sending trainers from our church to instruct church planters and young pastors who are taking the gospel to unreached pockets of India and beyond. It has been a great joy to invest in the lives of these trainees and to observe their commitment and zeal for the work and willingness to be challenged and stretched theologically. We have been able to provide practical training that they would be hard-pressed to obtain otherwise. We have also made many friends who we find ways to encourage on a regular basis.
We could not hope to succeed in such a project without reliable partners. One of the greatest challenges to genuine cross-cultural partnerships is the difficulty in finding trustworthy people with whom to work. For our engagement in the TOT work, we have been blessed to have a very solid partnership in place from the very beginning. We co-sponsor the training with an Indian ministry called Home Fellowship Movements. The leader of this ministry is Mang Ngaihte. Mang has only been a believer for 15-odd years. Before that time, he was mired in a life of alcoholism and drug abuse and was even mixed up for a time in a separatist rebel movement. Since his miraculous conversion, he has had a strong burden to train young people to go into unreached areas and to foster multiplying ministries through home groups. To do this, he has built a multi-ethnic ministry in an area where Christians tend to congregate in ethnic and tribal ghettos.
Mang has been an invaluable asset for us in the TOT program. He recruits the students through his extensive network of contacts in the region and facilitates opportunities to follow up with students in their ministry setting. Engaging in this kind of kingdom work never comes without a cost. Mang has suffered a number of challenges to his work, including life-threatening health issues in his family. His son has been in and out of the hospital for a couple of years for treatment for a brain tumor. His wife currently faces serious health challenges as well. The hostility of the current Indian government towards Christians, and even opposition from some Christians who do not understand a multiethnic model are a constant weight on the work. All of these challenges are tests of faith and calling for Mang, and he is refreshingly honest about them.
Our intention is to continue this partnership into the future and even expand on it as the Lord provides the resources to do so. Consistent with our church’s mission to make disciples who make disciples, we want to help Mang to produce more leaders like himself to see the kingdom impact multiply. Ours is a behind-the-scenes ministry in many respects. The people that we train can be far more effective on the front lines of ministry there than we could ever hope to be. And it is our desire that once a training culture is firmly planted, we can move on to new ground.
If you do not travel to India, you may never have a chance to meet Mang face-to-face. But I wanted you to get to know him so that you might pray for him and his family and ministry. He lives at the tip of the spear in our battle to make disciples both near and far.