Establishing self-sustaining Samaritan Strategy teams in new areas.

The “Samaritan Strategy” (SamS) program helps churches demonstrate God’s intentions in every area of life.  It uses step-by-step exercises called “disciplines of love” and “seed projects” that serve to disciple people to grow according to the biblical model seen in Jesus’ life.  A SamS project has four phases: (1) network, (2) training, (3) coaching, and (4) commissioning.  Harvest has coordinated over seventy SamS projects around the world, and, in the first semester of 2017, 381 churches participated in the program. In Mumbai, India, Harvest associate Rev. Sanjay Thul coordinated one of these projects and here is his story.


January, 2016 – Contact
We praise God for the opportunity to explore Navi-Mumbai –New Bombay– as a new area for team building. In this environment of multiple languages and cultures, churches are growing, but it was challenging to reach locals and migrants, people from cities, towns, and countryside and offer them the SamS program. I contacted ten pastors and leaders by phone and emails, and, at first, their response was both inquisitive and suspicious of what Harvest Foundation and SamS would have to offer.

February and March, 2016 – Vision casting meetings
From my initial contacts, I shared the vision and mission of Harvest with four pastors, Rev. Daniel Patole (Hindustani Covenant Church – HCC), Rev. Ebenezer Dharmendra (Messiah Assembly of God – MAoG), Rev. Vishwas Ingle (Church of North India, Panvel), and Rev. Alexander (Pastor of Christian & Missionary Alliance, Vashi). We had four meetings to cast the vision for this program, and in two of them I spoke to larger groups. On Sunday, February 21st, I shared “God’s Present Intentions – The Church as Window” to approximately fifty people. On Monday, March 17, I talked to fifteen pastors and leaders in their monthly gathering.  Equipping the churches and their leaders were experiences of immense joy.

Mumbai Group  

April, 2016 – Wholistic Ministry Training (Basic Level)
Praise God for the wonderful time that we had with twenty-five pastors and leaders, men and women who were able to attend the training at the MAoG Church. Harvest Associate, Rev. Vijay Rajulwala, joined me to teach our eight core lessons.  Daniel Patole shared at the morning devotions and Anugrah Krutwik Patole and Uriya Pani helped with music. The participants enjoyed times of prayer, discussion, and the exercise with Kingdom Math cut outs. They were overjoyed with the discoveries, and looked forward to attending further sessions. The hosts assisted us with food, tea, and snacks. We praise God for His help, and thank the praying and supporting partners for their participation.

Mumbai Group Training 
Mumbai Participants in Training 
Mumbai Seed Project – Planning 
June 26, 2016 – Wholistic Ministry Training (Advanced Level)
In the second training, the participants better understood and embraced the vision.  They were encouraged to plan and do at least one seed project and report in the next training. Their participation, enthusiasm, and fervor increased, to the point of moving them to be more involved in community life.  Some testimonies:

  • Debsingh Khumbahadur Singh, a Baptist minister, and his wife Sharmila, did a discipline of love in Nandgoan.   They helped Mrs. Meenabai Katkari, who is economically poor, meet the needs of her family of five people, new believers in Christ Jesus. Debsingh and Sharmila helped them start a home shop by providing few items worth of $22.75. The family was encouraged and, with the profit, bought new items to sell.
  • Pastor Mathew Paul, a Bible teacher of the Providence Evangelical Bible Church, wanted to grow in wisdom and found Scriptures that encouraged him to help his family. He understood that his wife was very busy working at home and outside. One day, he did the cooking for a guest and, after that, came to the training. This is not a normal attitude for a man in the Indian culture, and he was pleased with this discipline of love.
Mumbai Discipline of Love

August 2016 – Training of Trainers (TOT)
We gathered twelve people at MAoG Church, Panvel for a TOT. Vijay taught the topics “A Competent Disciple Maker” and “Discipleship and the Samaritan Strategy Program”. I taught “Small Group Leadership Training”, “Discipleship and Planning”, and “What Kind of Disciples? What Kind of Churches?”, using Harvest materials and blogs. The participants reported a seed project:

  • On August 17, 2016 we did an observation survey near the Panvel Railway Station and found a man in a critical condition. Manoj Deepak Shinde, from Kumbhargad, was left by his wife, who went to her village after the death of their two young daughters.  He was like a madman, in an area filled with earthworms over a sewage line. The place was stinking and had dirty clothes all over.  Some shopkeepers informed that he stayed in the same place for the past two years, without speaking or listening to anybody. Sometimes shopkeepers provided tea and food for him. We contributed a freewill offering of about $41.50, prayed, and contacted a Christian NGO to help. We bought food, clothes, a pair of sandals, materials to clean the area, and a tarpaulin to protect him from rain and heat. While the team was cleaning up the place and looking for alternatives to move him to a different place, the neighbors helped and a shopkeeper gave bamboos from his shop. The team was encouraged to see the community involved.
  • During this training, pastors and leaders started to understand the needs in their communities, were  motivated, and pledged to continue to serve others. We praise God for motivating the participants in New-Mumbai through the SamS project.
Mumbai Seed Project – 1 Before
Mumbai Seed Project – 2 During
Mumbai Seed Project – 3 After
October, 2016 – Mentorship
I mentored fifteen people using phone, Skype calls, emails, and face-to-face meetings.  In a two-day visit to the area, I mentored six people. They prepared  to teach a vision conference at the Sukhapur Baptist Church (SBPC), Panvel on October 28, 2016, and at the MAoG and HCC churches combined on October 29, 2016.
Mumbai Training

October, 2016 –  Vision casting presentations

  • At SBPC, Pastor Debsingh and his wife Sharmila organized a vision casting presentation in their house, attended by twelve people, when Rev. Oriya Pani taught  “Our Target-God’s Glory” and Pastor Dharmendra taught “Discipline of Love”.  Pastor Debsingh and Mrs. Sharmila shared about their experience attending the training and doing seed projects.

At MAoG/HCC we had an attendance of twenty-four people.  Rev. Mathew Paul taught the lesson “Our Target-God’s Glory”, Pastor Debsingh taught “God’s Present Intention – Church as Window”, Pastor R. Samuelraj taught “Jesus Model for Growth and Service”, Rev. Ebenezer Dharmendra taught “Discipline of Love”.  They showed the video “Church as Window” and photos with seed project examples from around the world, Kolkota, and Panvel. I shared about Harvest vision and mission. Local churches provided accomodations, tea, and food –chicken biryani and paneer biryani.  Rev. E. Dharmendra testified that the church participants were blessed and encouraged.

Mumbai Commissioning 
June, 2017 – Commissioning

We thank God for helping us do the two vision casting presentations of the SamS program in South-West Mumbai, Panvel. We have been waiting for this final step almost seven months until the pastors and leaders who were equiped through the wholistic ministry training took up the challenge to complete the project. Rev. Daniel, Rev. Dharmendra, Rev. Mathew Paul, Rev.Uriya Pani, and Pastor Debsingh invited their own members from HCC, MaoG, and Providence Evangelical Bible Seminary to participate. There were three groups with forty-nine, twenty-two, and twenty-seven participants. The subjects were taught with great enthusiasm. The participants were motivated as they heard and received the challenge to serve Christ with the church as Jesus served. There was offering collected to meet the food expenses. This was part of their participation as they were encouraged to become self-sustained. I stayed at Pastor Debsingh’s house. The facilitators were encouraged to conduct training sessions and equip the churches arround Mumbai, for which they have made the commitment and asked us to pray. We praise God for the strenght and guidence in the SamS ministry. We thank God for the help and support raised for us to serve and equip His people in this part of the world.  Thank you very much for supporting and praying for us.

Mumbai Fellowship 

We are grateful to the Harvest team in India and to the participants in the SamS project in Mumbai.  Your servant spirit and collaboration blessed many people.  We thank the donors who so generously contributed to this project, without your participation we would not be able to go that far.  We praise the Lord for His provision, guidance, and protection, and  pray that this experience may be multiplied for His glory.

Harvest Associates are volunteers who sacrificially give of themselves to this ministry.  We welcome your participation to help them financially.  You can write a check to « Harvest » and mail it to P. O. Box 2670 – Phoenix, AZ – 85002, or click on the « Donate » button below for a credit card donation.  To designate the gift to one or all of Harvest Associates in India, Prakash Nemade, Sanjay Thul, Vijay Rajulwala, and Timothy Das, please add a separate note to the check or write their names on the suggestion box online.

Thank you!

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