Christian missionaries also have a similar onsite-offshore model. The clients are countless Churches, Ministries and evangelist Christian communities in the US, UK, Germany etc., The vendors are evangelical NGOs in India. Every year the foreign clients send about 1.2 billion USD, approximately half of Indian film industry's revenue, to these vendor NGOs, according to Govt. of India. The product of this business is Souls of non-Christians. The 'saved' souls are the profit of the collective efforts of the clients and their offshore vendors/counterparts. The souls of non-Christians have to be saved by converting them to Christianity.
Let us understand this business model of missionaries with a case study.
Harvest India - a case studyHarvest India is a Christian missionary organization run from around Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh. Harvest in the title refers to harvesting of heathen(non-Christian) souls. This evangelical NGO received Rs. 41.44 crores between April 2006 and March 2014, according to Govt. of India.
ClientsThe clients for this NGO are evangelist Christian communities in the US, UK etc.,. Churches like Cornerstone Church, Chandler, Arizona, USA, Water Church, Bend, Orgeon, USA, St.Mary's, Marylebone, London etc., and missionary organizations like London Prophetic Forum. There are organizations registered with the name 'Harvest India' in US and UK. You can see Form-990 submitted by Harvest India USA to US IRS. These organizations serve as a hub to collect money from evangelist communities withing the US and UK and send it to India.They pool money on different occasions and send it to our Indian NGO.
What does the vendor do?Our vendor NGO is run by one Suresh Kumar. Here is the goal of the NGO in his own words
In the video, Suresh Kumar, the president of the NGO says "Harvest India has the vision to reach the unreached people and its main concern is to spread the good news of Christ". He quotes the usual figure of 500,000 unreached villages usually quoted by missionaries. This number comes from Joshua Project. He further says "Harvest India has been doing crusades and bringing the light of Lord Jesus Christ to the darkness." "This is a huge nation and there are many people now that have never heard the name of Jesus Christ." He requests for funds for conversions. That is his sales pitch.
Let us see another sales pitch video.
The usual numbers from Joshua Project. The usual hateful language "330 million false gods being worshiped", "darkness", "full of spirituality, but no salvation", "70000 people die each year without hearing about Christ." Suresh requests for funds and invites the clients to visit India to see how many conversions are going on. The video tells the cost for each crusade and even gives the cost to save a soul. This fundraising page by Harvest India gives the breakup of cost and the cost is between $4 and $10 to save a soul(i. e, convert a person).
The clients often visit India to see the great harvest. These are called mission trips. See these two posts for examples of mission trips.
Vendor VisitsSuresh visits(mostly with family) all the client places almost every year. He visited the American clients in 2014 too. The soul-vendor explains the current status of the projects and looks for "potential new partners." He explains he runs a nursing college for girls, Bible colleges. Boys "graduate" from these bible "colleges" and plant churches. Girls preach the gospel while serving the patients. This is our vendor's sales pitch. That is what our client wants. In the video, the client says a lot of times "we have to make Jesus famous." Here is Suresh telling about this in one of his US visits:
Showing resultsOf course you have to show the results. Otherwise how you would get further funding? Our vendor posts about how many people are getting converted in the crusades. He cites miracles to impress the clients. Here are some samples: 4000 people got converted in a single 2012, 12000 people got converted in a single crusade in 2013. The numbers are just from one crusade. With dwindling number of church-going Christians in Europe and North America, one client from UK does not believe his eyes when he sees so many people getting converted in a remote country. 1.2 billion US dollars would not be pumped into India every year for no reason.
FCRA filings to Govt. of IndiaBy now, it is clear to us that this is a religious NGO trying to convert non-Christians to Christians. But, in its FCRA filings to Govt. of India, it identifies its association as "Economic, Educational, Social", not as a religious association. For example, see the FCRA filing for 2011-2012.
This lying is the norm in FCRA filings by evangelical NGOs. Are we sure they are not lying about the numbers? Unfortunately there never seems to be any scrutiny on the funding sources, activities, claims made in FCRA filings by Govt. of India.
In one of visits to the US, Suresh says this:
Politics, Govt programs
Also Suresh says "his org is involved with Govt programs." Harvest India got awards from AP govt. Most interesting is the award for 2007. Havest India received the award for helping in Indiramma program. This program was introduced by YSR. As part of this program, "eligible" people receive money from AP govt to build houses. So apart from the foreign funding, Harvest India seems to have got funding from the AP govt. No wonder Suresh felt happy about the Congress govt.
SummaryClients, vendors, products, sales pitch, cost breakups, posting of results, client visits, vendor presentations - just like the onsite-offshore model familiar to a lot of urban Indians. They even support certain political parties and get all kinds of support in return. They lie in FCRA filings. The clients want to convert all of India and change the demographics of India and our vendors facilitate this change. 33.44 crores is a very small amount. There are evangelical NGOs which receive more than that amount in a single year. But the modus operandi is the same. Let us explore more in the future.
Note: I want to apologize to anyone working in the IT or any business using onsite-offshore model. I do not mean to denigrate your work or business by comparing it to the nefarious activities of the missionaries. This model is used only to explain the similarities so that the readers can easily see how the missionary business models work.
*Update: The way FCRA website displays the returns filed by the registered NGOs has changed and the blogpost has been updated to reflect the change.