I first met Rupesh at a Concentric India team meetings in Delhi. He was introduced to me by our mutual friend Robert who humorously said, “Mike this is Rupesh. He is a pastor from Nagaland, where they eat dogs!” Rupesh, is in his late twenties and is fairly quiet and small stature. He appears timid at first glance, but this young man is a fervent and strong servant of Christ in northeast India. He is a bold teacher!
We took some time to get to know each other over a meal this Fall. He shared his personal story, about his family, and his ministry with pastors. I had heard some stirring accounts about Rupesh from team members and was curious to know more about why he was invited onto the team for further coaching and investment as a catalytic leader.
What I didn’t know about Rupesh was the adversity and trauma he and his family were going through. At eighteen he felt called to the ministry and began his training. Shortly after school he started as a pastor and evangelist in his hometown. He connected into our ministry for training and encouragement thereafter. Rupesh met his sweetheart and they married and had a daughter. When his daughter was less than a year old, his wife went in for a routine procedure. Long story short, there were some complications that left her in a coma. Doctors told Rupesh and his family that she would not live past that week. Over two years later she is still alive and in a coma needing constant care. He continues to pray for her recovery but has not seen much progress. Family and friends assist with her care.
When these terrible circumstance began, Rupesh determined he should leave the ministry in order to care for his family. His pastor friends also told him it would be hard to continue in ministry with his hard circumstances. But he sensed the Lord saying that He had another plan for his life. His mother in law offered Rupesh and his daughter to move in with her to help care for his wife and daughter.
Rupesh is still a pastor in Nagaland. By God’s grace, over the past three years he has planted ten additional churches in the region and equipped dozens of other pastors in making disciples who make disciples. This month he started training and coaching fifty local pastors in living out the Great Commission and Great Commandment. His ministry is having a ripple affect on his region of India and his testimony has been an inspiration to others facing adversity to rely on Christ as their strength.
My heart is both inspired by and broken for Rupesh. I am encouraged by his faithfulness to his beautiful family and his calling as a disciple maker. I pray often for him.
Rupesh is one of the thousands of disciple makers in our ragamuffin gang of Jesus followers! Wherever you are, in whatever your circumstance, God wants you to walk as Jesus walked. I John 2:6