Mega City Campaign in Hyderabad Exceeds All Expectations


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Dr. Hannu Haukka
President and founder of
Great Commission Media Ministries

 

STORY HIGHLIGHTS

  • Gospel is being proclaimed
  • Lives are transformed
  • Hyderabad response—over 110,000 calls
  • Suicides were avoided
  • Jesus Hometown Responds to the Gospel
  • Opposition for Orthodox Jews
  • Campaign gets unexpected news coverage

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Dear Ministry Partner,

Day in day out, the news in the media is pretty negative. We see and hear of wars and rumors of wars, nation rising against nation, natural catastrophes, scorching heat, drought, famine, disease, rise of false religions. It certainly looks like Matthew 24 where Jesus foretold the signs of the end of the age.

There is good news amidst the bad news. The Gospel is being proclaimed and is changing lives. I just returned from the closing ceremony of the mega city campaign in Hyderabad. We rejoice at the outcome. The call centre received over 110,000 responses—primarily calls from Hindus and Muslims.

From day one, the flood of incoming calls sent the call centre staff scrambling to cope with the deluge. At peak times 60 phone lines were jammed and still were not enough to handle the traffic. It is harvest time in India.

The mega city campaign in Hyderabad has exceeded all expectations. The Hyderabad churches have not witnessed a similar campaign. In addition to the calls there were over 650,000 hits on the website, over 13,000 downloads of the campaign book, and thousands of contacts with actual phone numbers via Facebook the social media.

The hard copy of the 132-page “Power to Change” book is in high demand. People are thirsty and they are looking for answers to the great questions of life.

Jesus Was “the Talk of Town”

People talked about the campaign message all over the city. It reminded me of the days of the apostles in the Book of Acts. I cannot think of a greater blessing in life than to be counted worthy of being a part of God’s great works. Your part has been vital in making this happen.

Hyderabad has a strong Muslim population—2.5 million to be more precise. Many of them have called in asking for more information about Jesus Christ. Muslims commented saying: “We had a certain perception of who Jesus is but now we have been given another picture of him and it isn’t what we were taught to believe. We want to know more about this Jesus.” This has led to an unusual increase in dialogue with the Muslims.

Hyderabad, with a population of 8.5 million, is our largest campaign to date. The call centre coordinator said: “Broken families and hurting people, others chasing riches or racing to gain possessions—they call in to us. They are suffering and spiritually hungry!”

Every day the call centre received calls from people about to commit suicide. In each case their lives were saved. Immediate, fervent prayer on the phone turned back the darkness and hopelessness. One such caller is in daily contact with the call center supervisor by text messaging and writes, “You are my source of strength to live day by day!”

In one case a young Hindu lady accompanied a Christian friend to the call centre just to help out because of the congestion in the office. On her third day there she surrendered her life to the Lord and said “this is what I am missing and need in my own life!”

Movie Star Turned Ambassador For Jesus

One of the more dynamic life-changing stories of the campaign was Raja’s story. Raja is a Tollywood movie star whom everyone in the city knows. Tollywood and Bollywood are the Hollywood equivalent in central India. Raja’s provocative testimony was highly visible during the campaign. On daily TV Raja told of his rise to fame from oblivion. He spoke of his life of faith in Christ. He talked about his life as a movie star: “I have decided to be an ambassador for Christ to the movie industry and to the world. You know my public life, but you don’t know about my private life. Read my whole story. Call to get the book with the whole story!” The interest was intense. Politicians called Raja directly to ask him about his personal faith and his life in Christ.

Other people highlighted in the campaign were businessmen, musicians, a rickshaw driver and a doctor. They gave their testimony on television on the most popular channels in the city.

Jesus Hometown Responds to the Gospel

A media saturation campaign aimed at the Arabic and Russian Jewish communities was conducted in Jesus’ hometown of Nazareth in May. During the month-long campaign we reached every household in the city. Our plan to proclaim the Gospel was greatly aided by several secular news programs that aired stories of the campaign. A comparable campaign has never before been held in Nazareth.

GCM Ministries conducted a media campaign in the city of Nazareth where the population is 80% Arabic Palestinian. A second outreach focused on “New” Nazareth—called Nazareth Illit. In this section of Nazareth 70% of the population is Russian Jewish.

Campaign Message Spreads Throughout Israel

There was opposition from the start. The day after the outdoor ads went up outraged Orthodox Jews bombarded city hall and the media agency with calls demanding that the ads be taken down immediately. Due to severe pressure most of the ads were taken down.

There was however a silver lining in the opposition. The commotion that arose caught the attention of local TV news teams. After evening news aired the story on the campaign, the call centre phone lines went red hot. People all over Israel called asking for more information and to order the campaign book.

There was compensation too. The advertising agency offered alternative sites throughout northern and central Israel for the billboards removed from Nazareth. More phone lines had to be installed to help with the resulting high volume of calls.

Thanks to the website, the call centre for the campaign in Arabic received calls from as far away as Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and Europe.

Campaign First Fruits

A woman called from Jerusalem asking for help for her son, a drug addict, as well as herself. Presently they are receiving counseling at a local church.

A man called asking for help for his brother Omar, who is a drug addict. Omar, now 40 years of age, has been using drugs since his youth. He has four children. He has used all his income to feed his habit. The family wanted intervention from God in this hopeless situation.

A Russian Jew from Hadera called in for help concerning his family because his wife and children had left him. The pastor in Hadera visited the man. After talking with him he made his decision to follow Jesus. He now attends the local church there.

Nets Full of Fish

There was great effort on the part of all involved in the mega city campaign. Yet our resources are limited in the face of massive needs of the people.

It is like going fishing. The ocean has more fish than we could ever hope to catch but our goal is to pull in as many fish as possible using the nets that we have. In India the nets filled with fish to breaking point. We want to uphold the churches in Hyderabad, India, in our prayers as we move on to the next city.

Hannu Haukka

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