The son of a rural pastor, Dr. B.E. Vijayam grew up witnessing the poverty of India’s villages. Later as a geology professor he was mystified when a disastrous earthquake took place in a seismically- stable zone. This awakened him to a sense of the end times and the urgency of preaching the Gospel to all nations. In 1995 he founded Joshua Vision India to raise up an army of evangelists to reach the thousands of Indians who have not yet heard the Gospel. Vijayam’s wife, Mary, serves as the coordinator of the women’s ministry. The couple has four children.
With assistance from Partners International, Joshua Vision India was started in 1996 as a one-year intensive training program for experienced mission workers from all over India. Once trained, these Master Trainers return to the field where they evangelize, hold Bible studies, and pass on their missional and vocational training to grassroots workers called Harvesters. JVI’s vision is to send cross-cultural missionaries to all of the remaining unreached people groups of India.
Dharmendra Naik was commissioned as a Master Trainer in 2004. Although he has health problems, Dharmendra chose to minister among five unreached people groups in the remote jungles of Orissa. There is no transportation to his place, no electricity, and no medical facilities. He is a gifted singer and teacher of the Word of God. So far, Dharmendra has established two fellowship groups and discipled 52 believers. For his income-generating project, Dharmendra makes “leaf plates” (plates made from plant leaves), which are commonly used for special occasions such as weddings, religious festivals, and births. This requires a machine which seed money enabled him to purchase. With this business, he earns enough money to support his family and ministry.
India is a very religious country, birthplace of four major religions, yet among its billion-plus people, only 25 million or 2.4 percent of the population is Christian. No other part of the world has as high a concentration of unevangelized people as India with 4,635 distinct people groups.
From the ancient days it was a melting pot of major races, religions, cultures and political ideologies. The result is the most complex society in the world—6 major religions, 1,652 languages, numerous castes and great socio-economic stratification. More than 70% of the rural population in India live below the poverty line, with an income of just one dollar per day.
About 65% of Indian women are non-literate. Societal evils of India have subjected these women to exploitation and oppression by the family and society.
Modern Protestant missions have been active in India for 200 years. Out of the 4,635 people groups listed by the Anthropological Survey of India, only about 339 (about 7%) have a witnessing Christian presence. Until 10 years ago, 90% of evangelism endeavor was focused on 10% of the people groups, the so-called receptive groups, particularly from the scheduled castes and scheduled tribes.
Opposition to Christianity is growing in an increasing number of states. Anti-conversion laws have been enacted in seven states so far, and Hindu militant groups are growing in strength and influencing society.
Training Master Trainers, JVI
Watch a video featuring the dramatic testimonies of two of JVI's Master Trainers:
Churches and mission organizations throughout India have committed themselves to the vision of reaching unreached people groups and now send their senior workers called Master Trainers (MTs) to attend JVI’s one-year training program. Half the time is spent in the classroom; the other half is devoted to field research. On campus, trainees study cultural anthropology, missiology, cross-cultural communication, holistic mission, Bible study skills, and information technology.
In 1985, JVI created a 12-acre farm to develop models of “land based” technologies such as dairy projects, agriculture, animal husbandry, and bio-fertilizer production. These technologies were in addition to workshops for carpentry, fabrication, electrical wiring, soap powder, candle making, screen printing, laminations, and rexene work that JVI had established. These practical, income-generating small business ideas are taught by leading scientists from India so that church planters can support themselves in the field. Once in the field, MTs teach these skills to new converts and others in their ministry area. Before being commissioned, trainees prepare a five-year strategic action plan on how they plan to reach five unreached people groups with the Gospel. To date, 290 men and women Master Trainers have been trained through JVI. Gifts will help cover training costs for 15 Master Trainers.
IWILL Women's Training, JVI
Within the Indian context, women are largely inaccessible to male evangelists or missionaries. As part of its strategy, JVI has developed a specific thrust for women called “Indian Women In the Lord’s Labor” (IWILL) and with help from Partners International, has built a facility where women are trained to reach women among the unreached groups of India.
Women can be trained as either Master Trainers or Harvesters. Each year, well-educated, mature women leaders from various parts of India receive an intensive four months of instruction to become Master Trainers who will then train grassroots women as Harvesters. Those who are discipled return to their home areas to share Christ and train poor women in self-supporting enterprises. They also train poor women in income generation and self-supporting enterprises, such as agriculture, horticulture, and dairy development. Partners hopes to provide partial support for 12 women Master Trainers and 120 Harvesters this year.
Vehicles for Ministry, JVI
Every year training classes are held for 15-20 women Master Trainers and 100-150 women Harvesters from different mission organizations and churches located throughout India. Carmel Campus, which is the headquarters for JVI and IWILL training, is 25 kilometers from the city of Hyderabad and 4 kilometers from the closest town. Using public vehicles to transport resource persons and trainees to and from the bus or train terminal or airport, sometimes at late hours, is inconvenient and time-consuming. Moreover, it is not safe for women to travel by auto-rickshaw in this region, and renting vehicles for field visits is quite costly. To avoid having to rent a vehicle and to make it more convenient to transport the resource people and trainees, IWILL would like to purchase a bus that would accommodate 24 people.
In addition to transporting the trainees, a bus would also be of great help while conducting medical camps in the villages. It would also be used to transport delegates during seminars and conferences, plus the 300 to 400 visitors and mission leaders who come to see the ministry each year.
Health Center, JVI
There are seven very poor villages which surround JVI’s campus and where the Bishop Bunyan Joseph Community Health Center is located. The villagers live far from quality medical care, making them susceptible to health problems and vulnerable in emergencies. There are a few private nursing homes in the area, but besides being too far away they are also expensive. The area where the Health Center is situated has one of the highest rates of AIDS infection in the suburbs of Hyderabad. There is an urgent need to address the health concerns of the people in the area and to build up general and AIDS-specific health awareness.
In addition to providing basic care, the Health Center staff serve as consultants to provide hospital referrals for more serious patients, guiding people to trustworthy hospitals where they will not be cheated. The patients are charged a minimal fee or are treated for free if they cannot pay. A key effort of the center is to bring about awareness of common diseases like tuberculosis, AIDS, cancer, and heart disease and to educate people in basic health and hygiene.
Through the Health Center, JVI will build rapport with the local people, improving their health, preventing disease, and sharing with them the love of Jesus. The Health Center cares for an estimated 10,000 people each year. Your gifts will provide support for nursing staff, medical equipment, and medical supplies like syringes, stethoscopes, and medicine.