Former Sikhs reach out to India from Canada
.........Author: David F. Dawes
A remarkable Canadian outreach is bringing Sikhs to Christ in India's Punjab state.
Binder and Harjit Mahil work with Sikh converts at a church in Surrey, B.C. Last year, the couple were instrumental in planting a church in India. That church's pastor, Balhar Singh, was recently in B.C., after spending the past two months preaching to congregations in Toronto, Edmonton, Calgary, Kamloops and Vancouver. The three recently spoke to CC.com about their project.
After he accepted Christ more than two decades ago, Binder said he "had a desire to make the message of Christ known to my people in their own language -- i.e. Punjabi. So I started a fellowship -- first in houses. Then in 1998, with brother Baljit Shergill, I started a group -- the Punjabi Christian Centre -- in Bear Creek Community Church, in Surrey."
In 2001, he was ordained by Bear Creek to be the volunteer pastor for the Punjabi congregation. His activities, he said, extend beyond work at the Surrey facility. "Regularly I encourage new converts by phone, and also visit them whenever called to do so -- even out of province."
The Mahils' desire to deliver the gospel message to Sikhs in their home country resulted in a team effort involving Singh. "Sharing the strong urge to reach our people," said Binder, "I bought a projector to show movies about Jesus, and a van to transport the projector to different villages -- which is a more accepted way to learn about Jesus in rural Punjab."
He and Singh "also felt the need for people in India to have a place to meet. So in 2002, myself, Baljit and a couple of persons from the English group at our church [travelled] to India and built a church -- the Doaba Punjabi Christian Sabha -- in Banga, which is central to five big cities in Punjab. Punjabi believers and non-believers also helped in the project. We donated our own money to buy the land; we borrowed money, and also received some from friends and acquaintances -- all of them Sikhs."
Asked why Sikhs would donate to a Christian cause, Singh stated: "They saw the Christian way of life of Sikhs who accepted the Lord." Harjit Mahil added: "All these people could see the effect of faith on Binder's life."
The Banga project, Harjit emphasized, was not without difficulties. "When we started the church in India, there was opposition." Their opponents, said Singh, were "religious fanatics" from three different groups. A one point, said Binder, the extremists "tried to kidnap the overseer of the project." "They chased him in a car, but he escaped," said Singh. "We're not sure who they were." He asserted that the same people "threatened the workers, to stop the construction." Harjit added: "They also went to the home of the contractor to threaten him." When some of the workers abandoned the project out of fear, Binder and the other B.C. visitors finished the work. "We had support from the local people," said Singh.
The opposition has died down, he declared, but has not totally gone away. "The extremists still make threatening phone calls -- but nothing more." However, their efforts no longer have an impact. "Many non-Christians come and join us in worship, from all faith communities -- including Hindus and Sikhs."
"We are thankful to the Lord," said Binder, "that the group meeting there has grown to about 70 regular attendees. We had five adults baptized in October, and eight more are ready now. Many seekers for Christ come to our church." The ministry is supported by Sikh converts in various Canadian cities, as well as former Sikhs in England.
CC.com asked the trio to recount their own conversion experiences. "I was born in Mahilgailan, Punjab, India, in a Sikh family [of the] Jatt caste," said Binder. "I was an average Sikh; I went to the temple, but not regularly. I came to Canada at the age of 19, in 1978. Five years later, I accepted the Lord at South Abbotsford MB Church."
Prior to his conversion, he said, "Sunday was for me a day of drinking with my friends. My father -- though a non- Christian himself -- encouraged me to attend the Hindi worship service in the church. For an unknown reason, I agreed at once to go into the church -- and heard the good news of Jesus Christ. That day, the Holy Spirit started moving in my heart. In 1983, I received baptism from pastor David Manuel." Over the past decade, he says, "The Lord Jesus has delivered me from the things of my past life." His wife also received Christ through the influence of her father. "My dad became a Christian in India, when I was a child," said Harjit. "I was raised in a Christian home, but with a Sikh extended family."
"I accepted Christ in 1981," said Singh, "when I was working in West Germany. I went back to India, and attended Bible school from 1982 to 1986. Then I began to preach; and I started a church in 1988. My purpose was to minister to the Indian people." His work has born fruit.
Among other things, he said, "I've baptized 18 Hindus over the past 11 years."
In addition to his work with the church, Singh translates Christian literature from English into Punjabi for various evangelical organizations in India. Also, he is currently writing a Punjabi Bible concordance -- something which has never been done before. Binder Mahil's ministry also involves media outreach. He and his colleagues work with Trans World Radio, producing a program entitled Mukti da Raah -- which is broadcast into B.C., Alberta and Toronto. Mahil and Shergill also produce pamphlets aimed at Punjabi Sikhs. In an approach reminiscent of the apostle Paul -- who, in Acts 17:28, quoted Greek poetry while addressing the men of Athens -- the pamphlets utilize Sikh scriptures, terminology and concepts as vehicles for communicating biblical truths. For example, one of their writings cites a Punjabi term, Shabad, to illuminate one of the Bible's key concepts of Christ: Jesus as "the Word," as expressed in John 1:1-14.
Affirming that "Shabad / Word means God, or Lord," the pamphlet then refers to several quotes from sacred Sikh texts, stating: "We learn that from the beginning God, who is Word / Shabad, made everything --and then made a body for Himself and lived with us.
"What does it mean by Shabad in flesh? Let us first see in Gurbani regarding this Shabad. Adi Granth tells us in page 165 regarding this Shabad: 'hari aape Shabad Surti dhuni aape' (The Lord Himself is Shabad -- He Himself is the awareness) . . . . Page 1237 [states]: 'Aape aap niranjna, jini aapu upaiaa. Aape khel rachaeon sabh jagat sabaia' (The immaculate Lord Himself, by Himself, created Himself. He Himself created the whole drama of all the world's play).
"As we see from Gurbani (Sikhs' holy book) that God Himself was Word / Shabad and God Himself made everything and then created Himself -- or, as some understand that, He showed Himself in the form of the world."
The Mahils' future plans for the Banga congregation include providing medical care, sewing classes for young women, and tuition money for low-income students.
Publication: Canadian Christianity.com
URL: http://www.canadianchristianity.com/cgi-bin/na.cgi? nationalupdates/030212sikhs
DUE TO COWARDICE, LACK OF COMMITMENT AND DISUNITY OF HIS FOLLOWERS, GURU NANAK IS A "PAKISTANI" TODAY. HIS PLACE OF BIRTH IS IN AN ALIEN COUNTRY WHERE HIS SOUL MUST BE IN AGONY, LISTENING TO THE LOUD HOWLS OF "ALLAH HU AKBAR" DAY AND NIGHT.
IN 1947 THE SIKHS SENT ONE BALDEV SINGH, STOOGE OF BANDIT NEHRU, TO REPRESENT THEM AT THE "INDEPENDENCE TALKS" THAT SOON BECAME "PARTITION TALKS."
WHILE A VICTORIOUS MOHAMMED ALI JINNAH WENT AWAY TAKING HIS PAKISTANH WITH HIM, "BE-WAQOOF BUCKREE" BALDEV SINGH RETURNED TO HIS PEOPLE WITH "FIVE K's" IN TACT.
INSTEAD OF LYNCHING HIM AND MK ("MOUSE") GANDHI, THE SIKHS PROMPTLY FORGAVE THEM BOTH.
WHILE PAKISTAN IS STILL ISLAMIC, WHEN TWO SIKHS AND FIVE HINDUS HOLD THEIR HANDS, THEIR RELIGION BECOMES DUST AND ZERO. THERE IS NO FORCE OR WEIGHT IN IT. BUT WHEN THE CHRISTIANS AND THE MUSLIMS HOLD HANDS, THE STRENGTH OF THEIR RELIGIONS INCREASES A THOUSAND FOLD.
THE DISSOLUTION OF SIKH RELIGION IN IMPOVERISHED ILLITERATE WILD AND IGNORANT EAST PUNJAB IS ACCELERATING.
THE SIKHS OF EAST PUNJAB CAN EXPECT TO RECEIVE MUCK AND DUST ON THEIR TURBANS, WHILE THE HINDUS IN HINDUSTAN UNDER ABDUL KALAM AND SONIA KHAN CAN EXPECT TO FIND THEIR NECKS IN THE NOOSE.
ONE TIME (1914) THE SIKHS OF CANADA REACHED OUT TO INDIA TO LIBERATE THEIR MOTHERLAND. TODAY THEY ARE RETURNING TO SEE THEIR GURDWARAS REPLACED BY CHURCHES.
............CAN A HUMAN MOTHER PRODUCE "DONKEYS"?
O YES, BROTHER, JUST GO AND SEE THEM IN EAST PUNJAB, AYODHYA AND EAST BENGAL.