India is a land of great diversity in cultures, ethnic groups, languages, and religions.
India is the birthplace of some of the great religions of the world. Hinduism is the largest, with about 650 million followers. Buddhism, Sikhism, and Jainism also owe their origins to India. India's Muslim population exceeds 100 million, making it one of the four largest Muslim populations in the world.
Baptist Mid-Missions started its ministry in India under the leadership of Dr. and Mrs. Galen Crozier in 1935. As more missionaries came to the field, a Christian hospital, nursing school, and a leprosy colony were established. The ministry expanded to include Baptist churches, a Christian Literature House, translation work, other clinics, and a seminary.
During the 1960s the Indian government implemented its policy of restricting the entry of missionaries. The renewal of visas was also restricted, and the missionary force gradually declined. Ministries were handed over to national Christians. By the early 1980s our missionaries were required to leave certain areas of India. This opened up the opportunity for outreach through the National Church.
Today, several BMM families serve in India. One missionary couple reached their state for Christ by beginning with a correspondence school, which has grown to service over 80,000 students and includes a free library and reading room, literature work, audio ministry, and church planting. A church was organized in 1980.
Currently, a seminary offers a two-year resident course leading to the degree of master of theological studies.
A couple serves in Bible translation and has been instrumental in several tribal language Scripture projects. They are also church planters and have started Hindi- and Bengali-language churches and are currently planting a church with outreach to neighboring villages. They are constructing a multipurpose facility to be used to train national leaders and house a Bible history/artifact center to teach people of all ages about the Bible.
Another couple is reaching villages. They are involved in a Bible training institute in the local language.
As great changes take place in India, the policies regarding the issuance of visas to foreigners remains uncertain. Given the temporary nature of a missionary's residential status, consideration must be given to ministries that train nationals to do the work of evangelism and church planting. One other source for missionary personnel is the large number of Indian nationals who have settled in the United States that could be challenged to return to India with the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Bible college and seminary instructors are needed to help the Indian church with educational needs. Church planters, including national pastors, are also needed to reach Indians for Christ.