Meet the Founder
Dr P. G. Vargis is the founder of Indian Evangelical Team. He was born in a remote village in South India. His father practiced a syncretistic faith of eastern orthodox Christianity and local forms of Hinduism. As a young man, P. G. tried to find meaning in all kinds of religion, including flirtation with black magic. Disenchanted, he became an atheist. He soon began to indulge in various vices.
Eventually he joined the Indian army. Here he started to smoke about 120 cigarettes a day. He would begin his morning coffee mixed with rum, and would continue drinking till late night. Gambling, stealing and fights became common. P. G. says, “I became a very hardened and cruel man. Borrowing Paul’s words, “I too became a chief of sinners.” (1 Timothy 1:15)P.G. Vargis’ parents, meanwhile, arranged his marriage to Lilly. She came from an evangelical home. But she was afraid to share her faith with a harsh man who made fun of religion, and particularly hated Christians. After several years of marriage Lilly and P. G. did not have any children. The doctors told them that they both had physiological issues and it would be an absolute miracle if they would ever conceive. Even if they conceived the baby would miscarry because Lilly’s uterus was incapable of carrying a child full term. But in 1971 Lilly became pregnant. The doctors warned again that the child would not last to full term. They asked P.G. to make sure that Lilly did not face any physical or emotional stress, to allow the baby a chance to survive to full term. He took extra care to keep his wife happy.
One day when P. G. returned home from his army base, Lilly was all dressed up. She informed him about a Christian tent meeting happening in town and she wanted to go. P. G was angry and scorned the idea. As Lilly started to cry, P.G remembered the advice of the doctors. For the sake of the baby, he decided to accompany her to the tent meeting. On the second day, he heard the gospel being preached loud and clear: “’Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me” (Rev. 3:30). P. G. Vargis gave his life to Christ that night. He experienced a complete transformation. A new man, passionate to share Christ’s love and power began to quickly emerge.
Answering the Call
P.G. Vargis’ family disinherited them for their faith and for their consequent decision to become missionaries. Several friends considered it madness. But they had made a choice to follow His call. In 1972, P. G. resigned his job as a junior commissioned officer in the Indian Army. Lilly renounced her career as a trained teacher. They set out as missionaries to Katra, a popular Hindu pilgrimage center in the lower Himalayan mountains. Katra had no Christians. There had never been a church in that town or in the vicinity.
God began to create breakthrough in this hardened land. Some 100 people accepted Christ in the first few months; a miracle. Within three years that number had grown to 300, and daughter churches began to spring up in surrounding the mountains. A movement began to flow out of the church in Katra. Soon, the movement spread like wildfire throughout Northern India. This was the birth of Indian Evangelical Team.
P. G. and Lilly Vargis persevered through ridicule, persecution, and even death threats. With no church or agency to financially sponsor them, they faced constant poverty and hardships. Lilly recalls, “I saw my child become unconscious three times from hunger.” P. G. remembers, “I have seen my wife walk about in torn clothes. We have been chased and pushed out by people for being a missionary. We persisted because God had called us and we had made a promise.”
Today, IET is one of the most effective pioneer mission forces in South East Asia. It has birthed more than 27 church planting movements in various regions of South East Asia. It trains hundreds of Spirit-filled indigenous men and women to be effective church planters and Christian leaders through its regional Bible schools and the one accredited central leadership training center. Over 2300 pioneer missionaries continue to work with the Team today.
Our call is “to reach the unreached” & our commitment is “at any cost!“