By Sharon Williams
The team was working late finishing a project when the phone rang. It was after hours, but I answered the phone anyway. George*, one of our donors, was calling. Earlier in the week George had given a significant donation to the Chembur church rebuild project. Chembur is a suburb of Mumbai, India, home to 20 million people. He was calling about that donation.
George said he wanted to make sure that his choice to give to the Chembur project didn’t get in the way of what God wanted to do.
In response, I told George what had happened the Monday after he had given his donation so he would know what an impact his gift to Chembur had already had.
I told George how several years ago Jon Wood became burdened by the need to rebuild the church in Chembur. The church was in terrible disrepair – so much so that the building was condemned by Mumbai city officials way back in 2012. Last year in 2020, Hannah and I were planning to live in Mumbai in the Chembur area for several months to get to know the church members and collect stories to share with our donors. However, COVID happened; our travel plans came to a halt and the project was put on the back burner.
Recently, Pastor Shinde (President of the Mumbai Metro Section) reached out to Jon and asked if there was any way we could reignite the Chembur project. The following Sunday morning, Jon and I met with Pastor Shinde on a Zoom call to discuss the project. Pastor Shinde seemed discouraged by the financial poverty of the church in Mumbai, made worse by the COVID lockdowns, but he was hopeful that God would provide. We told Pastor Shinde, by faith, that we would move forward with rebuilding and that the Lord would provide.
Then, first thing Monday morning, we saw George’s donation and knew it was a confirmation from God that He would indeed provide for rebuilding the Chembur church. I immediately messaged Pastor Shinde about the donation, and he was greatly encouraged.
After hearing our side of the story, George shared his side. He explained that he had not wanted to donate to the Chembur project. That was the reason it had taken him a while to make the donation. He had called the office the week before, and talked to Hannah about current needs, but he hesitated to give to the Chembur project. After all, he could see that time is short and that Jesus will come soon. He thought why should we be building churches at this point in history? Instead, there were other projects he wanted to donate to, but after praying, God impressed him that the funds needed to go to Chembur. George said he was like Jonah – he reluctantly obeyed God.
“yes, Jesus is coming soon,” I replied. “But even if we only get the Chembur church partially built, it will have an impact. The contractor that is being considered is Vijay*, who is a Muslim.” I told George that his donation may be for Vijay.
“We may be connecting with Vijay on this project because your donation was the catalyst to start. If Vijay finds Jesus as a result of working on this project, your donation will be worth it.” I asked George to join us in praying for Vijay.
George agreed and asked if we could pray right then. Of course! George prayed, and during the prayer, he choked up with tears. After the prayer, George said he had needed to know he had done the right thing and had been listening to God. He needed to hear how God was using his reluctant donation for the Chembur project. He was blessed by what God is doing, and he was happy to be a part of it.
Through this one donation, God bolstered George’s faith, Pastor Shinde’s faith, and our faith.
If you would like to be a part of what God is doing in Chembur, click the button below.
*Names have been changed.