A Note From Chris- September 7, 2023

For 15 years, Cornerstone has partnered with Central India Christian Mission to spread the gospel to some of the most unreached and difficult parts of the world in India and 12 surrounding nations. To date, more than 1 million people are now Christ followers in churches launched by CICM in the past 40 years. We are part of literally changing the percentage of Christians on record in the nation of India.
Last weekend, our global partner Josh Howard delivered a fantastic and challenging message to Cornerstone. It was such a joy to have Josh, his wife Lashi, and their family with us for the weekend. They are like family at Cornerstone. Personally, I’ve served on the board of directors for 6 years and will be wrapping up that term at the end of 2023.
This past year has been one of the most difficult years in their lives due to persecution and government pressures in India. As an American, Josh was forbidden from teaching or preaching in India or doing any public ministry at all within their borders. As the leader of the children’s home in Damoh, Lashi has led through 34 government raids and 51 inquiries, all aimed to persecute the home because of their faith. These raids are spontaneous and unannounced, complete with armed military guards on campus, striking fear in the children and staff alike. In each raid, accusations of forced conversions and inappropriately handling the children were issued. None of them were ever substantiated, but they have all been on edge for more than a year now. Dr. Lall (Lashi’s dad and the director of the mission) was threatened, issued a warrant for arrest, and multiple times was taken into custody and questioned by the police because of accusations made by Hindu extremists. At one point late last year, the entire extended family was on the run fearing for their lives for a period of more than 6 weeks. Each day, they did not know where they would end up that evening. There are too many other challenges along with these to even try and list them. As you can imagine, it has been an incredibly challenging season for our beloved partners in India.
And yet, God is so good. Despite these incredible challenges, 65,000 people have come to Christ in 2023 through the mission. 178 new churches have been established. 304 pastors have completed in person training for church planting, and 6,970 students are being trained in ministry online in 16 Indian states and 3 additional countries. Relief work through medical ministries and flood relief have helped thousands in multiple regions. Their online ministry, called Hindi Church Online, has reached over 13 million viewers in 124 countries to date this year. Even in persecution, and often compelled by persecution, the power of God moves and is evident. Praise God!
Recently, Josh Howard transitioned out from CICM to expand the ministry of Ignite and disciple making beyond India. While Lashi still remains with CICM every day and they are still based in Damoh, Josh is now leading Ignite and working closely with E3 Partners, a global ministry focused on disciple making movements globally. This year, Josh and his team held conferences and trainings for disciple making in the US, Poland, and the UK along with their active ministries in India and Sri Lanka. God is opening doors to expand into Pakistan and other countries in south Asia in the coming months. Please be in prayer for Josh as he makes this adjustment in leadership.
Cornerstone will continue to be Josh’s “living link” church, providing funding for his salary as he raises additional funds for the incredible work. We will also continue to support projects through CICM, such as their upcoming fall youth conference, which Cornerstone has funded for more than 5 years now.
A team of 6 from Cornerstone will head to Sri Lanka in November to assist with a crusade-style event and additional Ignite trainings. Please be praying as that team prepares and as God prepares hearts to receive the gospel.

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