Kampmans Witness Mission Work In India


The roar of 70,000 Packers fans inspires Aaron Kampman every time the defensive end sacks a quarterback at Lambeau Field.

But that doesn't compare to the inspiration Kampman felt - without a football fan in sight - on his recent trip to India.

Kampman and his wife, Linde, toured India for two weeks in January and saw the work of Gospel for Asia, a Christian ministry whose 16,000 "native missionaries" work in some of the hardest places to reach across southern Asia. Much of Gospel for Asia's work is focused in India, where the primary religion is Hinduism, and has expanded from there to 10 other countries, including Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Burma.

The Kampmans support the ministry and took the opportunity to see the work first-hand. They met many of the missionaries as well as the people being reached by the ministry, and at every stop they were simply fascinated.

"We were there as guests to witness what was going on and hopefully be a small encouragement," Kampman said. "But the funny thing is, you go to be an encouragement and you're the one who ends up being doubly encouraged.

"We let a lot of them know of our prayers for them and the ministry, and they blessed us so much. It was just tremendous."

Kampman explained that much of the ministry's work focuses on those at the lower levels of India's caste system, which was legally abolished by India's government decades ago but still determines much of how Indian society operates.

The Dalits, formerly known as "Outcastes," make up roughly 300 million of India's one billion population. They are given only the most menial jobs and still suffer widespread discrimination.

By introducing the Christian concept that God loves and values them, Gospel for Asia tries to raise the Dalits' sense of self-worth. And by providing their children with an education for the first time in their history, Gospel for Asia hopefully will allow them to move out of the near-slave status that has kept them oppressed for more than 3,000 years, Kampman said.

The ministry's Bridge of Hope program, for instance, provides Dalit and other poor children with an education, nutritious meals, medical check-ups, and school uniforms which are often the best clothes they have ever worn.

The Kampmans, who one time traveled to their destination on homemade carts pulled by cows, visited Bridge of Hope centers in different villages, as well as some of the "Jesus Wells" that have been drilled with ministry funds.

Because many outcasts in rural villages are not allowed to use the public wells and sometimes must walk miles to get water, Gospel for Asia has drilled "Jesus Wells" - so named in reference to Christ's conversation with a Samaritan woman at a well in the Bible's Book of John. The Jesus Wells are open to anyone, no matter their social status or religious convictions.

{sportsad300}Strangely enough, one of the villages the Kampmans visited was home to the "Lambardi" people, whose name was pronounced similarly to that of the Packers' legendary coach.

"It's life-changing, obviously, to be able to see," Kampman said. "Stereotypically, when you think about missionaries, you think about someone going to a remote place and sharing their faith in the Lord, and that's definitely what we saw in that village - people talking with them and building relationships with them.

"There were so many different testimonies of people, the power that was involved in people changing their lives."

One of the Kampmans' more memorable encounters was with several Lambardi children, to whom they passed out candy. The children hadn't seen anything like that before, so they were shown how to unwrap the candy and put it to their lips, which was followed by big smiles when the sweets were tasted.

The Kampmans also visited a biblical seminary in the southern part of India. They had a chance to visit with the founder and president of Gospel for Asia, Dr. K.P. Yohannon, and they also enjoyed several heart-warming and spiritual conversations with the trained missionaries in various parts of the country.

"You look at the faces and the faith of these men and women going out to try to reach these different people with the hope of the Gospel, and they're not doing it by their own strength," Kampman said. "They're trusting in the Lord for these things. They were so humble.

"Humanly speaking, it's not possible to accomplish this task, but with God anything is possible. That's the attitude and belief."

Equally inspiring were the church services the Kampmans attended, listening to songs of praise in multiple languages.

"They would sing in their native language, and it was beautiful," Kampman said. "I didn't understand the words, but I understood their hearts. It was awesome, and it was great to experience."

The Kampmans plan to continue their support for Gospel for Asia, and they encourage anyone looking for more information about the ministry to visit its website, www.gfa.org. Humble as always, Kampman realizes his family's support is only a small part of the missionary work being done, but he's now seen first-hand some of the results.

"It's pretty exciting to be a part of this spiritual explosion going on among these people," he said. "And we only got a glimpse of what they're doing!"

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