India is where it all began! In South Asia’s largest country, we come alongside local leaders in 11 states and three union territories. We directly support the work of 50 followers of Jesus on the mainland (not including the Andaman and Nicobar Islands or Indian-administered Kashmir) who are reaching their people for Christ through childcare and education, pastor training, women’s business empowerment programs, disaster relief, and more.
Nearly one in five people on earth lives in this diverse country. India has 121 languages spoken by 10,000 or more people, and its geography ranges from the Himalayas to dry deserts to tropical rainforests and everything in between. Not only is it home to the world’s largest Hindu population, it is also home to the third-largest Muslim population.
Through conferences and pastor training courses, Harvest Bridge has trained several thousand Indian church leaders. In 2022, over 180 leaders in various regions of the country received ministry training, 77 new churches and house fellowships were started, and 730 new believers were baptized. 4,000 Bibles were distributed throughout the country, along with 50 audio Bibles for illiterate believers. Amid continued high rates of Christian persecution in recent years, we were able to help two pastors and their families with medical bills and other needs after they suffered violent attacks. Another 250 people benefitted from a water well installed in their community, where persecuted believers had previously suffered from lack of access to clean drinking water.
405 children were able to further their education through night schools run by our supported pastors and church volunteers. Another 15 children received monthly sponsorship, enabling their families to afford keeping them at home instead of sending them to an orphanage. 20 children from disadvantaged backgrounds attended a preschool run by one of our partners, and 63 children in a marginalized community received weekly nutritious meals.
2022 was a strong year for women’s ministry as well. 30 women were trained to earn income through a recycling business, 121 learned sewing/tailoring, another 30 were equipped to work as cleaners in healthcare settings, and three were trained in making and selling a unique brand of jewelry. 20 women benefitted from an adult literacy class, and 26 mothers & their babies received nutritious food during pregnancy and nursing.
Medical ministry was also an area of focus in 2022. Over 800 people attended a general medical clinic, while another 42 attended an eye clinic where they were seen by an optometrist and received glasses. 130 people received regular glucose testing for diabetes, and 24 men attended an alcoholism rehab program. With regard to disaster relief, 56 families received emergency food packets following flooding that wiped out their food stocks.
Population: 1.408 billion
Religion: Hindu 79.8%, Muslim 14.2%, Christian 2.3%, Sikh 1.7%, Buddhist 0.7%, Jain 0.5%, other 0.8%
Persecution Watch List Country Ranking: 11
Leadership Information: Our India Director oversees HB’s network of partners in India. For over 40 years, he has helped plant dozens of churches and has led pastor training and discipleship programs throughout South Asia.