By Sandra Oliver

Harker Heights Herald

My family is getting reacquainted with Pastor Ashish Masih, 29, from New Delhi, India, this week. My husband, Doyle, and I with our son, Michael, served as missionaries to India from 1979 to 1984. Ashish was born in 1983 to Pastor Sohan and Usha Masih of Delhi. Sohan Masih was one of two Bible school students taught in the early days of Central Bible College in India, a school that came about as a result of prayer and collaboration by Oliver and Verlin Coleman of Arkansas.

We were present at Ashish’s birth and were pleased to dedicate him to the Lord. Doyle and I revisited India in 1998 and were excited to see the progress Pastor Sohan’s family and the church had made. Their sons, Ashish and Abishek, were then young teens.

Ashish received his bachelor’s degree at Delhi’s Annamalai University in computer engineering. He helped his dad with the church but had no desire to pastor. Instead, he studied and planned to help his family prosper financially.

“I had no heart for pulpit ministry as I saw the struggles my parents went through,” Ashish said. He simultaneously attended Central Bible College to be stronger in his spiritual walk with God. God called him and said, “Come for ministry,” but he resisted. God told him that if he would follow his plan, every need would be met. So Ashish obeyed.

He is now the executive pastor of the church under his dad, who is senior pastor. He leads worship and preaches in other churches when invited and also gives vocal training, guitar and piano lessons from his home for additional income. He married Mary in 2009, and she is a wonderful help to him.

“Mary and my brother, Abishek, take care of the Sunday school, and Mary also helps with the ladies ministry,” Ashish said. “This is a prophetic ministry. People are surprised when they come for prayer and God speaks to them through me about their needs.”

He encourages members of his church to reach two people for Christ this year and disciple them to help grow the work of God. Seventy percent of the church membership is low-income families, and there are many needs.

The bond of America and India was evident this week as Ashish Skyped with his family and they were able to see and talk with us after all these years. Our son and Ashish smiled as they looked at a photo of 13-year-old Mike holding newborn Ashish in 1983. Ashish was treated to Texas-style chicken fried steak and his first hot dog while at our house in Killeen, and he cooked traditional Indian food for us.

About his first trip to America, Ashish said, “This trip is an answer to prayer. I would like to see the churches in America more encouraged and strengthened in their faith.” He is pleased to have visited friends and churches in Kentucky, Arkansas, Texas, Kansas, Colorado and Pennsylvania.

Sandra Oliver is a Harker Heights Herald correspondent and Killeen resident.

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