KP Yohannan: The Gentle Man Who Shook the Missions World

KP Yohannan: The Gentle Man Who Shook the Missions World
Metropolitan Yohan interacting with admirers in India, July 2017

MOORESVILLE, NC — KP Yohannan (Metropolitan Yohan) — founder of missions agency GFA World (formerly Gospel for Asia) who died May 8 — once said to me: “I’m just a skinny kid from India who grew up to be a follower of Jesus.”

Genuine humility was the mark of the man — a man whom God would choose to launch one of the greatest missionary movements the world has ever seen.

KP Yohannan aka Metropolitan Yohan (1950-2024)

Born into obscurity in the village of Niranam in Kerala, South India, little “Yohannachan” — as he was known — was the youngest of six boys. His mother, a devout Christian, faithfully prayed and fasted for years that one of her sons would become a preacher of the gospel.

A shy, timid boy, KP would later say he was the most unlikely candidate to become an evangelist. He could barely speak to his neighbor, let alone preach to a crowd.

But, just like Men of Faith in the Bible, God had made his sovereign choice of servant — a divine appointment that had its beginnings centuries earlier when St. Thomas, the Apostle, came to KP’s district and established the first church in India in A.D. 52.

Had it not been for St. Thomas — the “Doubter” turned fervent missionary — the gospel might not have come to Kerala; his mother might not have become a believer and dedicated her sons to God; and the story of KP Yohannan’s extraordinary life might have been very different.

‘Come, Die, and Live!’

Curious and excited, 16-year-old KP attended a local event where an American missionary named George Verwer, the leader of Operation Mobilization (OM), challenged the gathering of young people to a radical life of total abandonment to Jesus Christ: “I invite you to come, die to yourself, and live!”

From that moment, KP’s life was never the same.

His heart broke for the masses who’d never heard about God’s love for them, those living in poverty, widows, orphans, and children with eyes void of hope. An outrageous dream and vision grew in his mind: to share the love of Christ amid the villages across Asia, and throughout the entire world.

But how would this dream take flight?

When young KP came to America in 1974, fresh from the mission fields of India, he began to share his Holy Spirit-inspired vision with others. With an initial gift of $10, the vision grew fledgling wings. Gospel for Asia — now GFA World — was ready to fly.

Spurred by KP’s passionate preaching, churches in America and the West learned of those waiting to hear the message of God’s love and heavenly hope, multitudes eager for good news of Jesus. KP shared his dream: locally-trained native missionaries, supported by their brothers and sisters in the West, heading out on foot to the remotest villages, carrying nothing but the love of Christ and his life-transforming gospel.

Native — or national — missionaries, KP suggested, were better equipped and suited to reach their own people than Western missionaries who required years of language study and cultural orientation, and often faced obstacles and expenses that locals didn’t.

KP’s vision ignited a revolution in world missions — spawning a bestselling book of the same name. The resulting “national missionary” movement shook the missions world, turning the established Western missionary-sending model upside down.

His impassioned pleas on behalf of the suffering masses who’d never heard the gospel both challenged and rattled Western believers to the core. KP spoke with a compassionate authority. He told it like it was. While many Christians and churches in the West had slipped into lethargy and inertia, millions around the globe were sinking into eternity without knowing Christ.

‘Live in Light of Eternity’

“Live every day in light of eternity,” KP urged believers everywhere. “In 50 years’ time, nothing else will matter — only what you’ve done for Christ.”

As he passed his 70th birthday, KP’s focus on eternity — and his desire to “finish well” — only accelerated.

The last time we spoke, just weeks ago, he said: “I don’t have much time left. I want to serve the Lord more. I want to love him more deeply. To see his love transform the world.”

He even took time to pray with me.

A man full of grace. A man whose active compassion for others — no matter their station or position in life — shone with the love of his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

KP Yohannan. Gigantic dreamer and missionary statesman.

Spiritual mentor and inspiration to millions.

Humbly, gently, loving others all the way into eternity.


Julian Lukins, InChrist Communications

About KP Yohannan

K.P. Yohannan (Metropolitan Yohan), founder and director of GFA World (Gospel for Asia) and Metropolitan of Believers Eastern Church (BEC), until his passing into eternity on May 8, 2024, had written more than 250 books, including Revolution in World Missions, an international bestseller with more than 4 million copies in print. He and his wife, Gisela, have two grown children, Daniel and Sarah, who both serve the Lord with their families.

About GFA World (formerly Gospel for Asia)

GFA World is a leading faith-based global mission agency, helping national workers bring vital assistance and spiritual hope to millions across the world, especially in Africa and Asia, and sharing the love of God. In a typical year, this includes thousands of community development projects that benefit downtrodden families and their children, free medical camps conducted in more than 880 villages and remote communities, over 4,800 clean water wells drilled, over 12,000 water filters installed, income-generating Christmas gifts for more than 163,000 needy families, and teaching to provide hope and encouragement in 110 languages in 14 nations through broadcast ministry. GFA World has launched programs in Africa, starting with compassion projects in Rwanda. For all the latest news, visit the Press Room at

Read more news on the life of KP Yohannan, World Missions, and GFA World.

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