Eye-opening trip to Andhra Pradesh
Pastor Daniel, Kerala, India
On September 21st, 2004 Lionel my son and myself went to Andhra Pradesh on a mission trip. We got into the train at 3 pm and arrived at Adoni next day at 1.30 pm where our pastor and two missionaries received us.
We went to bathe and eat something as we had to go into the villages for meetings by 3 pm. Two pastors came with a jeep to take us into the mission fields for the meetings. Our first trip was to Chinthamanapally, 60 kms away and it took two hours to reach there on muddy, rough and crooked roads.
The only work in this village was started last year and now there are 48 new believers learning more of God and worship but until we buy land and build a church we cannot baptize them. I was so moved to see the hunger and thirst of the people, once the church is built the whole village will come to worship.
Our second visit was to Uthannoor 40 kms away from Chintamanapalli, and by the time we reached there it was almost dark. The whole village was waiting for us. The village leader, President of Panchayat Raj, a government official, Mr. Readdy and the ex-president welcomed us warmly and promised their wholehearted co-operation and donation of free land to build a church and a clinic for the upliftment and betterment of the society.
Mr. Jeyanna is the missionary and pastor in this village and he is blind. This was a real challenge to me because even though he is blind, he is so energetic and hard working to witness to the people and does everything by himself. His wife too works hard with him in church ministry.
150 people attended the meeting. These people had never heard about Jesus so I explained about the love of God in Jesus and invited them to follow Him. The response was beyond my imagination as 120 people committed their lives to Jesus. We were thrilled and prayed for them individually. Now the people are ready to worship Jesus. The land is already given and waiting for us to build a shelter * to protect the worshippers from rain and sun. After having food with the villagers we returned by 12.45 a.m. fully exhausted and ready for rest and preparation.
Next day at 7 a.m. we started our trip to Aloor, a new mission field where the government has given us two acres of land to open an orphanage and a school. We met the Panchayat officials and discussed the details. This is a developing village where we can do a lot of things for the next generation.
From there we drove to the Thungabadra irrigation project to baptize 6 new converts there, and then after another hour and a half of driving we arrived at Devanavanda Village, where the night meeting was arranged.
There the high caste Reddies and low caste people live in two ends of the village. Though the Reddies have nothing to do with the low caste they live in harmony. The Panchayat leader is a Reddy and he gave us a warm welcome. We started the work in this village last year and this was the first time they had a public meeting about Christ.
The missionary had arranged every thing with the consent of the authorities. The Panchayat Raj president Mr.Chandra Shekar Reddy was present and he too responded to the altar call with the crowd to accept Jesus as his master and Lord.
After the meeting the supper was provided by the president and he promised all help from his side to find land for a church in that village. The 40 believers are ready to worship and a pastor is ready to teach them the Word, we only need a prayer hall. * After the meeting and the supper we arrived home at 11 pm.
We visited only 4 out of our 10 mission fields this time, Andhra is white unto harvest so we will train and send more native missionaries. *
As we were travelling we saw some interesting things.
We saw a religious procession where people were painted in colours and carrying a god with an elephant’s nose called Ganapathy. Every year they spend thousands of rupees for this festival and drown this god in the water. This shows how the people in India are religious but worship false gods. They live in ignorance because no one shared the power of true God.
Gurus and Babas, that is sanyasis or saints, have an important role in the lives of the people. People blindly believe gurus. We saw a new guru, only two months old, on a stage being worshipped by people. People will give anything to these spiritual leaders.
Villagers are still suffer illiteracy, exploitation and malnutrition. Minimum medical facilities are beyond their reach. Health and hygiene have to be taught. Safe drinking water has to be provided, and modern agricultural techniques have to be imparted.
It was very pathetic to hear that the average wage of the workers here is only 50 cents per day, that is if they can find any work. Big landlords own all the lands and the villagers work hard for them. The wages are given out only once in a year when the products are sold. Then the people buy the rice for the whole year to live. If the crops fail the workers don't get any wages and what happens is that the landlords loans food to their workers and they have to repay it next year.
We also saw idols being made and worshipped by people in order to protect their farmland and cultivation. Romans 1.21 to 25 are absolutely true in the context of India. The answer is also given in Romans 10.10 to 14.
So we have to do some thing as Jesus said.
Pastor Daniel, Kerala.
Please write to me if you can help towards any of these costs, thank you:
* Cost of land and building a church is $4000
* Cost of building a shelter or prayer hall is $3000
* Training a native missionary costs $30 a month.
* Full support for a native missionary in his field is $50 a month
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