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© First Baptist Church of Milford.

Asia '09

An Interview with Chad & Faith Mann

Our fist experience in India was one of the hardest things we had ever faced in our lives.
 |  Chad and Faith Mann  |  Asia

Chad, I’m sure there are many that will read this article that don’t know you well, so can you give us some background information on you and your family, and how God led you to the place where you serve today? Don’t forget to give us the names and ages of all the children.

Chad: I grew up in Douglas, Wyoming, a small town of around 5,000 people out in the country in a ranching culture. My family and I attended Calvary Baptist Church from the time I was an infant. The church had a Christian school where I went from K-4 through high school. I made a profession of faith at the age of five and basically grew up in church. As a teenager, our youth group began getting more involved in practical areas of serving. We went on a mission trip each summer and helped in ministry. One summer in Canada, while we were teaching a VBS, the Lord revealed to me I was not truly saved. This began an eight month wrestle with the Lord before I humbled myself and admitted the need for salvation. I struggled with conviction to the point I could not sleep. I went to see my pastor on a Monday morning in February 1990 and told him what was going on in my heart. That day at the age of fifteen, I accepted Christ as my personal Savior.

Immediately, I went and told my youth pastor. The Lord showed me also at that same time what He wanted me to do with my life in service to Him. I made a vow with the Lord that if He gave me the talents in printing, I would use them only for the Lord. God really changed my life from that point on. I had a new direction and a purpose now for my life. It was that calling that would give me stability when my family and church would soon fall apart. My parents got a divorce and shocked the community. Another year later, my church of seventeen years would fall apart as well. Through all this, God opened doors for me to serve Him. After high school the Lord allowed me to go to Mexico for a summer and work with a missionary we supported named Jerry Collins. I had been there earlier as a teenager and the Lord taught me so much that summer. I was also praying on where to go to college. Local church and Bible publishing were top on my checklist.

At that time, I had not heard of BPS or FBC in Milford Ohio, but that summer Jerry’s father brought a couple groups into Mexico. Verlis Collins was in charge of the School of Scriptures in Milford, Ohio and he told me it was God’s will for me to come and study there. It seemed a little strange to me having a stranger tell me where I should go and that is was God’s will for me. In my mind, I resisted that statement. I went back to Wyoming and fought with the Lord on where I should go. During my time in Mexico, the Lord turned my world around back home. He was taking all my comforts away and forcing me to uproot. I made a visit to Ohio to see the church, BPS, and the school. I faced real culture shock on that trip and told the Lord I could not go there. After several months again wrestling with the Lord, I surrendered and headed East to Ohio in May 1995.

I began attending classes and working for a local print shop. After a few months, Dr. Keen hired me on over at BPS. I shared with him my vision and desire to train others in the area of Bible publishing.

It was there in Milford, while getting involved in the singles ministry, I met my future wife, Faith Rushing. We became engaged in December of 1996 and made plans to get married. Dr. Keen approached me about going overseas and setting up a project in India. So we moved up the wedding to April and, after our honeymoon, began visiting churches and raising some funds to go. We soon found out that we were expecting our first child and decided it was best to wait until she was a year old to head over. We continued to work in BPS and helped many churches in Seedline get equipment installed. I learned a lot from some great men of God during that time. In April 1999, we moved to India to begin our first project.

Our fist experience in India was one of the hardest things we had ever faced in our lives. God taught us more than we thought we had learned. Looking back, it is amazing to see how God prepared us for future ministry. It was during that first project that God gave me a vision for a work He wanted me to do in Northern India. I did not know what to do with it at the time, nor did I understand that it was something personal He wanted me to do. God did a work in our hearts and knit our hearts with the people and need there in India. It was quite the change because we did not have a ‘call’ or even want to go to India. We were just there out of obedience to our spiritual authority and the open door God gave.

We went on to work in other projects and places, but the burden God placed in our hearts continued to grow. Over the next few years, God gave clear direction and vision to the work He wanted me to do. It was a major struggle for me to leave Bible printing for this new area of ministry God gave to me, but I was totally convinced it was something I had to do. Leadership and others around me would question this change in ministry, but I could not escape God’s working in my heart. We resigned from BPS in November of 2003 and began classes at BSWE in preparation for the work in Northern India. God put us through many testings and trials during this preparation stage. It became much longer than we initially planned for, but God gave us grace and always took care of us. We finished our training in December 2006 and a few months later started back on full time deputation to head back to India. The Lord was good over the next two years and we were able to get enough support to head back to India. We have made plans for this term to be five years in length. We arrived back in India in March 2009.

God has blessed us with five children – Whitley (11), Bryce (9), Caleb (6), Brianna (4), and Nathanael (9 months).

What is the most influential religion in the area you are working, and what unique challenge does that present?

Chad: The main religion is Hinduism. It’s roots go back to the time of Abraham over 3000 years ago. Satan has had these people bound for thousands of years. It is not an easy thing to overcome. The radicals seek out Christian activity and try to quench it, especially in northern India. In order to work here, you have to be creative. A normal method of evangelization in our circles is not allowed here and draws physical persecution. We have gone back to basic biblical truths Jesus modeled to us in regards to personal mentoring and discipleship. Already this has proven very effective in the first few months we have been here. The young men I have been training have been hungry for spiritual truth. We are not basing our relationship on friendship or any other means. It is based solely on the Word of God. That avenue has gained us respect and entrance into areas other foreign workers are still trying to bridge.

How will you go about evangelizing the people you are trying to reach?

Chad: We will be using the realness of a true relationship with the God of Heaven. It takes work and a longer process here to lay those foundations of truth on which to put ones faith, because they have no Bible background to draw from. In one sense, it gives us an advantage. Most people here do not suffer from the confusion western religion brings. One avenue we have found to give an entrance into the hearts of large numbers of children is through a comic style Bible story book. We are able to get into local schools and pass these out and then give a short exam over the material. The attitude we are taking is one of a farmer. We are doing all we can to prepare the soil to receive the Word of God and then plant it into as many places as possible. We trust God to do His part in bringing in the harvest after we have properly prepared the soil.

We do have a detailed plan of action that will cover the state of U.P. which has 170 million people. The first two years we are preparing the materials and men. We thank the Lord for those He has brought along side to help and work here. It takes patience and lots of investment of time into the lives of people desiring to serve God.

What methods will you use to train and disciple the new converts?

Chad: Right now I have been taking many hours a week to personally mentor select young men. This involves sacrifice of our time and schedules. Many missionaries get caught in the trap of ministry first. They become so strapped on time, they cannot train leaders or mentor like they need to. It is easy to find opportunities to minister and feel like you are making a difference. After a few years they look back and have no one to take their place. Personally I am not training the new converts. My time is largely invested into the men we have placed into leadership. After we spend our time together in Bible study and training, they are excited to go and share that with their people. We give them local opportunities to gain experience in a somewhat controlled avenue. Once we begin our work across the state, these young men will have the training and experience they need to work in areas further away. We have developed some of our own materials and have found some other basic doctrinal courses we can give to local pastors. Our goal is to give them the tools and training so they can study on their own and reproduce. Their personal walk with God is always the focus as we work and study.

What are some of the goals you have set for yourself and the ministry?

Chad: Our first goal is by the end of this year we will have enough Hindi to comprehend and communicate in everyday life. Beyond that is constant learning of the new language in all its aspects. Ministry goals are quite numerous. We are working on an internship program for some Bible college students to come and gain some practical training and experience. I am working on getting some more Indian young men to work with us and do church planting. One of the main ministry goals are the fifty Unreached People Groups in Northern India. We desire to see them reached with the gospel and have local churches they can attend. We have just finished our first translation project and have other projects in the works. One of the main visual tools we will be using illustrates the Creation to Christ chronological approach in video form. This work has already begun along with the radio version and is set to be complete by the end of 2010.

Have you been located in India long enough to see the impact of the global economic situation, perhaps as compared to when you were there before?

Chad: Yes, the economy has impacted many avenues here in India. Many companies doing exports have slowed down to almost nothing. There is a whole other side to this country though. It is growing in vast ways because of the population and westernization of the country. The city we are in now has really changed from the time we were here last. Many new construction projects and shopping centers have come up. Before, there was no western food chain here in the city; now there are three. With a city of five million people, the number of cars has really increased and has caused tremendous headaches in traffic and trying to get around. Since the city is so old, the streets are not large enough to handle the four wheel style vehicles.

Faith, How are you adjusting this time to the Asian culture?

Faith: Pretty good..when we first got here it was very hot and the electric was off a lot; but it is better and with A/C most of the time it makes it bearable. The stares that we get from everybody are very uncomfortable. With talking to other foreigner ladies, they say you will never get used to it…just have to let it go. But for me, right now it is very difficult. We in the western culture are taught that staring is not polite so to have people literally turn around,or come right up to the glass window at McDonalds and stare at you is very weird. We are learning the language more and more everyday so I know that it will help when we can speak to them or be able to know what they are saying about us. I didn’t think that I would have experienced culture shock again, but I did to a degree. Just not being able to drive on my own or talk with the people is very difficult. It will get better with time and I know that we are where the Lord wants us.

Do you involve yourself in the ministry with Chad, or is your focus on taking care of the home and the children?

Faith: I will involve myself as much as possible but with school age and younger children they have to be tended to. So I guess to answer it, I am focusing on my children and taking care of the house (which is a lot of work). There are some women here that I already know (rickshaw driver’s wife, old landlord lady) that I am trying to visit some and just be a blessing to. The men that Chad bring up from the south may be married so then I will mentor those ladies as well.

What is a typical day like for you?

Faith: Well my day starts about 6:30-7:00am. I get up with Nathanael, feed him, then read some until about 8am. Then I fix breakfast, get other kids up (if not already up) at 8:30am, we have breakfast, get dressed, and ready for Hindi class which is from 10-11:30am. Then school with the kids and getting lunch ready, we have lunch about 1pm. In between that time somewhere the electricity is usually off about 2-3hrs. So then after lunch, more school with kids, laundry, dishes, cleaning, dealing with people coming and going. Then about 4pm, the kids go out to play if not to hot or raining. Again, sometime in there, the electric is off 2-3 more hrs. I have to start supper at about 5pm so it will be ready to eat around 7pm. Each meal takes approx. 2 hrs to make. Before supper, the kids will come in from playing, take showers, we eat supper, then review hindi ,sometimes watch a movie and then off to bed. Kids to bed at 9:30-10pm, then I do some reading for a short time before I fall over with exhaustion. Off to bed for me around 11pm then up again and start all over. Of course, that is a typical day but every day holds different things and even night.

Last question for both of you. What would you like to say to your home church, and your other supporting churches, that perhaps we didn’t cover in this interview?

Faith: Thank you so much for your sacrifice in sending us here. We really love you and I thank God for you everyday. Because of your faithfulness to us and God we know that there will be food on the table and prayers said for us. We love you and can’t wait to see you again sometime!!!!

Chad: Thank you so much for helping us financially. I know God will richly bless you for the sacrifices you are making for the Gospel’s sake. I am really praying over the next couple years we can get more people to come and visit the work here. The Lord said to pray for laborers! It is truly a needy place here.

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