an interview with suresh kumar the president of harvest india

Over 40 years ago, Lalitha Kumari was nudged by God to reach the unreached people of rural India and subsequently founded Harvest India. Because of her passion for God and her dedication to those within the lowest castes, many lives have been changed throughout the states of Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. With a rich history and a tremendous foundation, Lalitha passed on the leadership of Harvest India to her son, Suresh Kumar. Four years ago I had the opportunity to meet Suresh for the first time, and since then I’ve had the opportunity to connect with him at various times when he was stateside. But it wasn’t until this past February that I had the opportunity to travel to India and see how the Lord is using the ministry of Harvest India first hand. I was absolutely blown away as I saw the power of God on display. The Gospel tangibly lived out expressed through caring for the broken, loving the unlovable, and speaking the truth of the Person of Jesus Christ in the darkest of places. This past week my family had the honor of hosting Suresh in our home for a couple of nights. Below are some excerpts from the conversation we had over the course of a couple of days.

Paul: Most people in North America have never been to India and honestly know very little about what’s happening in India. What is India like?

Suresh: India has a population of 1.3 billion people. And 50% of those people have never even heard the name of Jesus Christ. Every day more than 75,000 people die in India without Christ. The religious make up of India is 85% Hindu, 12% Muslim, and only 3% Christian.

Paul: What is Harvest India all about? How would you overview the ministry of Harvest India?

Suresh: Harvest India is committed to ministering to the “least of these.” In India that is people from the delit caste. These are the lowest of the low, the untouchables in the Indian caste system. Currently Harvest India is caring for more than 1,400 orphans in 26 orphan homes. We have 6 elderly homes and are caring for more than 470 families affected by leprosy. We also have ministries in four red light districts where we are rescuing women from sex trafficking. Currently we have 138 women in our centers that have been rescued out of sex trafficking and are learning about the love of Christ and receiving new job skills and training. We also have a nursing school where delit women are being trained to be nurses. This last year we trained 198 pastors in our Bible Colleges and sent them out to plant new churches.

Paul: With more than 330 million gods that are worshiped in India, how do you keep Jesus from just being added to the list and Christianity becoming synchronistic?

Suresh: Yes, when people are worshiping more than 330 million gods in India, traditional evangelism doesn’t work. People say who is Jesus, why should I worship your god, what is so special about him? Or they just add him to the list of gods that they already worship. That is why we follow the model of Dr. William Booth the founder of the Salvation Army. Whose philosophy was soup, soap, and salvation. Harvest India always tries to meet people’s basic physical needs in a tangible way. For example if a village doesn’t have clean drinking water we will build a well. And people always say, “Nobody has come here in 50 years to help us. Why are you here? Who are you?” And we tell them that Jesus has sent us here to give you this well. And they always ask, “Which political party does this Jesus belong to?” Then we talk about Christ and what He’s done. And the Gospel is always so powerful when people see tangible fruit that comes as a result of the Gospel working itself out through the Church.

Paul: What does the future of Harvest India look like?

Suresh: I believe God wants Harvest India to reach 10 million people with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We have a clearly charted future that includes establishing 20 Bible colleges so that Indians can be equipped and sent out to reach their own people. We want to train 15,000 pastors who will go out and start new Churches in villages that have never heard the Gospel, with people who have never heard the name of Jesus. My wife and I are praying that we will see 2,000 women rescued from prostitution. We believe that God wants us to provide shelter, food and education to the neglected children and the orphans. We believe that God wants us to provide clean drinking water in every village where it is not available, to build AIDS and HIV care centers so we can comfort people with eternal hope before they die. And we believe that God wants us to move towards self-sustainability. I believe that Harvest India will care for more than 10,000 orphans and invest in the next generation by training them up to change India with the Gospel.

Paul: What you’re talking about is a huge undertaking. Those numbers are hard for people in North America to get their minds around. I mean you’re talking about changing a nation.

Suresh: Yes. Some may say, “Suresh you are trying to do so much. How realistic is this?” But William Carey, who is the father of modern missions and the first missionary to India, said “Expect big things from God. Attempt big things for the Lord.” If our God is so big then why don’t we dream big, why don’t we attempt big things for Him? Why don’t we have a big vision?

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Want to see how God is using Harvest India? Check out the video below:

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