This ABI blog is a bit of a departure from most articles – but it does focus on reaching the lost with the gospel in a unique way.
This blog features an email from a dear friend, Linda Summer, who is the Director of the Agape Puppet ministry. Linda and her team are currently in India and reaching thousands of Hindu children with the gospel of Jesus Christ. As always, she is accompanied by Sam Shaw (from Northern Ireland), who is the Associate Director for the ministry and his wife, Silvana, who is from Brazil.
Linda Summer is a truly amazing servant of the Lord. Despite innumerable health problems, she travels tirelessly around the world with an ever-changing team of young people (in their teens and early twenties) to get the gospel into some of the most remote places and unreached children on the planet. Her travels fairly frequently take her into limited-access countries, from which she can’t even directly reveal their presence or location.
As if the Agape Puppets’ direct ministry to children were not enough, Linda and her team always take hundreds of dollars worth of puppets, sound equipment and ministry supplies to each country in order to train and equip a new group of nationals each trip, so that they can continue reaching children with the gospel in this most effective way.
I first met Linda in India in 2004 while teaching at the Asian Christian Academy seminary, about an hour south of Bangalore. I was deeply impressed by her commitment to the Lord, her skills as a communicator to children, and the effectiveness in getting the gospel to so many children who would otherwise never hear the gospel in their entire lives. Within a few years we were able to have her come to Hungary with a team to teach our Bible School students and staff in the art of puppet ministry – and that time marked the beginning of the Word of Life Hungary Children’s Ministry.
My sense is that the Agape Puppet ministry is perhaps one of the very most effective evangelistic ministries to children in the world today – particularly when it comes to reaching the unreached children.
I encourage you to go to the Agape Puppets website:
You can also write to them to ask to receive Linda’s regular email updates as the Agape Puppets ministry travels around the world:
Note: As you read, you will find that Linda and the team often mention working in Catholic schools, but this is because that is where the children are. The public school system, particularly in rural areas is very, very poor and so if they are able, Hindu parents send their children to these parochial schools to get a level of education that they could never receive otherwise.
Linda Summer’s February 24 Report from India
NOTE: The following is a report that was written across the last three days. By the time you read this, pray and rejoice, we will be on our way to a new city. Keep praying!
These are amazing days that we are experiencing in Tirupattur. I don’t want you to miss a single bit of all the incredible things that God is doing in this place. Your prayers have enabled us to stand in the darkest place. This city and the surrounding country side are full of idols.
Everywhere we go, people stare at us as we are also the only foreigners in a large city. There are over a 100 schools here and a 100 more in the surrounding countryside. We are constantly reminded that our God has placed us here to be a sweet witness for Him. Since we are always watched, we have more opportunities. People are curious.
As I read Psalm 96 tonight, I was especially drawn to verses 4 and 5. “For great is the Lord and greatly to be praised; He is to be feared above all gods. For all gods of the peoples are worthless idols, but the Lord made the heavens.” Truly, we are seeing the false gods of this place shamed by the power of the one true God.
You will absolutely love what you are about to read. Right across 3 days, we shared in 10 schools and 2 villages. Over 9,000 children, teenagers and adults heard how they could put their trust in Jesus in a Hindu stronghold. God blessed your prayers. Through your faithfulness, God opened doors and called children to faith.
Our adventure began at a Catholic school where we shared with an all-boy audience. They sat spellbound, listening to every part of the program. I could hear soft whispers as some boys prayed, calling on Jesus. Afterwards, many boys thanked us for coming. Most were from Hindu families.
At a village school, three of the staff loved Jesus. The children were very poor and had never seen a puppet or anything we had with us. They were very sweet children. We had to tell them that nothing we had would hurt them because everything and everyone was strange to them. Since this was a Hindu public school, we were not allowed to pray with the children, but we could explain to them how they could ask Jesus to be their Savior. Don’t you love what God does!
SIVASAKTHI, RAJENDREN, PONNARARSAM, AND VENKATESAM
These are the names of some of the 1,200 boys and girls that we shared with in an afternoon show at a Hindu public school. All of the teachers came and listened as well. Again, we could not pray with them, but we could explain the Gospel message completely to the children. So many children crowded around us to get an autograph or just shake our hands, many kept saying “Thank you, thank you!”. I saw in their eyes that they listened with their hearts.
A street show in a village moved all of us to tears. Everyone came. We set up in front of a Hindu temple with a statue of a false god beside us. Isn’t it fantastic that God opened this door!
Though we were clearly in a Hindu village, everyone was hungry to hear about Jesus Christ. When we finished, no-one wanted to leave. For a very long time they remained, asking us to pray for them. People came with all kinds of needs. You see spiritual problems in developing nations that are less talked about in the West. A lady came to me who was demon-possessed and wanted to be delivered. She had a Hindu temple blessing mark on her forehead and I explained to her that God could remove the demons from her. However, I explained if she did not put her trust in Jesus, she had no protection.
These people are very poor. Three families sacrificially pooled their resources to offer us hospitality. They served us some boiled sweet potatoes, cookies, coffee and soft drinks. They did not eat. We sat in the only chairs on a dirt floor. How can you express enough gratitude to such dear people! Please pray for them.
SO MANY CHILDREN
At a Catholic school, I walked to the back of the crowd while Sam was juggling on the stage. There were so many children that he looked like a little speck. When we finished, the nuns were ecstatic. They said that all of us had such joy! We had many conversations with the nuns and teachers after the program, sharing with them how God had changed our hearts through faith in Jesus. Around 2,000 children and teachers listened to the Gospel. The children were mostly from Hindu families and desperately poor.
Everyone was so happy. They invited us to their convent. They treated us to homemade vegetable soup, sandwiches, special Indian sweets, tiny wreath-shaped cookies and fruit. Again, we had many more opportunities to share.
As we were leaving, two nuns called me Mother Linda and asked me to bless them. I explained that I could not bless anyone, but I offered to stop right then and pray for them. Please pray for these ladies and all the children in the school to understand God’s Word and love Jesus Christ deeply. They begged us to come again.
UNDER THE TREES
God gave us a breeze and trees for the children to sit under. Hundreds of boys prayed with enthusiasm. We shared with Hindu and Muslim children. We all feel rich as we hold in our hearts treasures no-one can take from us!
AN EXTRA SCHOOL
A Catholic Priest saw the program at another school and so another door opened. He gave us the joy of telling 900 children and teachers about Jesus Christ. When we finished, it seemed that he also had been blessed by the program. He thanked us “for travelling all over the world telling children the Good News”. Many children prayed with us at this program and our joys knows no bounds.
BOYS HIGH SCHOOL
Each program demands that we lean on Jesus and trust in His grace. However, sometimes, as when we were at this school and so exhausted, we tasted a sweeter grace. I knew that I had no more physical strength and had already made arrangements for Sam to take the village show in the evening. I knew that the Lord really wanted me to tell this last story to the boys and I knew that all my strength would have to come from Him.
The Father blessed us! We heard boys, aged 12 to 17, calling on Jesus with enthusiasm! Praise God! Afterwards, they rushed forward to thank us. We heard so many sweet comments: “Beautiful!”, “I loved the program”, “Great!”, “Beautiful songs!”. One boy said to me, “You are a very interesting character”. I think the team liked this comment best.
Anna, Silvana and Sam are amazing! The extreme heat and unexpected wisdom on my part dictated that I rest and not go to the village. The place they went is a BJP village. This is the radical Hindu party that so strongly opposes Christians. Still, surrounded by a complex of Hindu temples, they set up the stage and shared the Gospel. I know that Sam told a fantastic story! Everyone paid attention. Please pray for God to reveal Himself to them.
Wednesday, we shared at three more schools that finished our time at this place. These are part of the ten schools mentioned earlier. We will send you the report as soon as we can. Keep praying!
“THE AGAPE PUPPETS”
Michael Summer, Founder – Linda Summer, Director
Sam Shaw, Assistant Director
6550 West Armuchee Road
Summerville, Georgia 30747
Phone: 706-397-2956 FAX: 413-425-5805