Fancy Goa for your holidays?

Pictures of a laissez faire life, golden sands, clear waters and abundant water-sports draw the eye. It is best to choose the resort carefully as Mumbai-ites and Keralites find the beaches are easily accessible these days for weekend activities and crowd their favourite beaches reducing the western ideal of a quiet sunbathe.

Spiritually, Goa has a strong Catholic tradition with real political clout. There has not been great freedom for non-Catholic church premises to be built and by and large evangelical groups have met in homes or rented accommodation. That is now changing, but Goa retains a majority Hindu population, albeit temples seem less abundant than in other Indian states. Konkan is the local language, but influxes mean all Indian languages abound along with English. Buildings echo the Portuguese style and in a lot of places need a fresh coat of paint. Nowadays western style villas are on the increase as tourists buy and stay. The capital is Panjim and Margao is the business centre. It was in Margao that a gathering together of Telugu speaking believers took place.

The catalyst for this was diminutive Brother Edward. He had been transferred by his bank from Andhra to Margao and slowly by testifying to one here and there, and teaching by invitation from home to home, a group was formed that began to meet regularly for Bible Study.

Was it an ordinary group? Far from it!

Since the days that the house of God was first revealed to him there has been in Bro. Edward’s heart a deep longing to establish churches of God wherever possible. Since he shared this truth with friends in Andhra, seven companies of churches of God have come into being. One man will chase a thousand! (Josh. 23:10)

One person witnessed to was met on the train and spoke of his Catholic connections. As he and his family were led to read the Scriptures for themselves they found the words speaking to their hearts. They were assured of eternal life and wanted to follow the Lord through immersion baptism.

Another man, a Christian backslider of 25 years, returned to the Lord and the hold that drink had over him was broken. The change in the man was so dramatic that his family was drawn to the Saviour and they, too, wanted to serve the Lord.

Interestingly one young man came across Edward’s path who had been led to move from a nearby state to spread the gospel. Edward met him and taught the way of God more carefully. Thus the brother found his energies moved from merely spreading the faith to preaching The Faith just as Jude mentions at the start of his letter. Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints. (Jude 3)

Bro. Edward did not want the group to stand alone for he knew that each several building, fitly framed together, groweth into a holy temple in the Lord (Ephesians 2:21) and that, like the churches of God with which he was associated in Andhra, the group in Margao should be linked with other churches of the same pattern. So, on January 17th 2010 the group became linked in fellowship.

In the days of Jesus’ flesh, the Lord said, “With fervent desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer.” (Luke 22:15) Surely the Lord had the same desire to see the first breaking of bread of this new Church of God in Goa. Since planting, the church has moved to different rented accommodation and seen others added to it. Of course glory is given to God, but the witness of a diminutive man brings to mind the scripture that, A little one shall become a thousand, and a small one a strong nation. I, the Lord, will hasten it in its time. (Isaiah 60:22)