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Mission India

An Unlikely Partnership

“God, I will serve you anywhere you want, just please don’t send me back here again.”

On his first visit to India in 1971, Pastor John DeVries was overwhelmed. The heat, the crowds of people, the smell, the beggars on street corners grabbing at his sleeve—it was a lot to process.

So on his flight home to Michigan, John prayed what he called his “Jonah prayer”: anywhere but there, Lord. Anywhere but India.

But the truth is, John witnessed an incredible need on that trip. Not just in the poverty and injustice all around him—but in how immensely untouched by the Gospel India was.

And he discovered an incredible opportunity: passionate Christians in India who, despite being radically outnumbered, were motivated to reach their own nation with the love of Christ. John could not ignore the calling God had placed in his heart, and eventually, a beautiful partnership was born.

As that partnership began to take shape, three distinct programs formed. The first was our Bible-based Adult Literacy Classes—meeting the practical and spiritual needs of India’s poor and oppressed illiterate population. A bit later, Church Planter Training was added. Children’s Bible Clubs were introduced as Mission India’s third ministry.

Though our Founder and former CEO John DeVries has since passed away, these three programs continue. Through each of them, our team remains committed to the vision God gave to John years ago: To see India changed by the love of Christ.

Mission India founder, John DeVries, visiting one of the earliest Children’s Bible Clubs.
John’s wife, Atts DeVries, meeting a child in India during one of her many visits there.

A Timeline of
Our History

John DeVries Visits India
John DeVries, a pastor from Michigan, travels to India for the first time. On the flight home, he prays his “Jonah prayer,” asking God never to send him back.
Organization Founded
Called by God to stay focused on India, John DeVries founds the organization known as Mission India today.
Adult Literacy Classes Begin
In response to the high level of illiteracy in India–causing poverty and an illiterate Church–Mission India launches Bible-based Adult Literacy Classes.
Church Planter Training Begins
Recognizing the impact a community of believers can have on their own town, Church Planter Training is launched, equipping locals to plant churches.
Children’s Bible Clubs Begin
After considering how open India’s children are to the Good News–despite many of them never having heard of Jesus before–Children’s Bible Clubs are launched to reach the next generation.
David Stravers Becomes President
As John DeVries retires, Dave Stravers steps into the role of Mission India’s President.
Persecution Rises
Open Doors ranks India the 31st most dangerous country for Christians, with persecution often turning violent.
Todd VanEk Becomes President
Upon Dave Stravers’ retirement, Todd VanEk becomes the President & CEO of Mission India.
Persecution Ranking Increases
In just a few short years, India jumps from 31st to 10th on Open Doors’ ranking of countries where Christians experience the most persecution.
Where We Are Now
Under Todd VanEk’s leadership, our team remains committed to sharing the Gospel in India through our three programs. Our ministry partners in India remain passionate about their work, despite the ongoing persecution they face.

What Guides Us

To see India changed by the love of Christ.

To equip India’s Christians to plant reproducing churches.

Dedicated to God’s Mission. We put God first.  We are committed to His Great Commission and doing our best to accomplish it.

Serving Others / Relationships. We are oriented toward serving others, including people in India, our partners, and our coworkers.  We put each of these others before ourselves, are respectful of them, and encourage them.

Getting Things Done. We hold ourselves and others accountable for finishing tasks and accomplishing objectives.

A Learning Attitude. We are eager to acquire new knowledge, learn new skills, and try new things.

Followers of Jesus’ Lifestyles. We trust Jesus in our personal lives and in our work and will strive for a lifestyle characterized by biblical values.

Our beliefs are at the heart of all we do.

We believe the Bible to be the inspired, the only infallible, authoritative Word of God.

We believe that there is one God, eternally existing in three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

We believe in the deity of our Lord Jesus Christ, in His virgin birth, in His sinless life, in His miracles, in His vicarious and atoning death through His shed blood, in His bodily resurrection, in

His ascension to the right hand of the Father, and in His personal return in power and glory.

We believe that for the salvation of lost and sinful people, regeneration by the Holy Spirit is absolutely essential.

We believe in the present ministry of the Holy Spirit by whose indwelling the Christian is enabled to live a godly life.

We believe in the resurrection of both the saved and the lost; they that are saved unto the resurrection of life and they that are lost unto the resurrection of damnation.

We believe in the spiritual unity of believers in our Lord Jesus Christ.