David Wiebe shares what he experienced on his visit to India with José Arrais (Portugal), January 15 to 27.
Yemmiganur lies about 300 km south of Hyderabad. About 2000 people attend the Sunday service. There are more women than men in most of the churches. I took note of the many bags of rice brought to the front: women toss a handful of rice into a container whenever they make rice (up to 3 times daily). When the bag is full they bring it to church to give to the poor.
On several occasions both Jose Arrais and I were asked to name babies. Biblical names are preferred. We also prayed for them and their parents. One woman came to me and said she chose the name “David” for her boy, and I was to bless that choice!
The National Church divides into about 42 fields. Each field has at least one main church and several “branch” churches, plus a number of villages designated as outreach areas. One brother I met, Rev. T. Daniel, is a field chairman: he pastors one church, and oversees 10 other established churches plus 10-15 villages designated for outreach and witness. He does this with no personal vehicle, riding the regional bus. He longs for a motorcycle ($1000) to get him around. There is no program to buy such, either in ICOMB, MB Mission or the India MB Conference.
Correction (March 3, 2016):
We inaccurately reported there is no program to support this need. There is! We invite you to contribute to MB Mission Project #: C0474. Scooters – $650, Motorcycles – $1,200 (USD).
The Bethany Church in Jadcherla is magnificent. But look past the beautiful building into its heart: prayer. From 8 am to 8 pm every day for at least the past 10 years. They have lengthy lists of people and all the churches of India MB Conference. I asked if I could submit ICOMB prayer requests, and church Chairman GJ Daniel said “yes!”
The College in Shamshabad is almost 100 years old (2020)! It has turned out hundreds of pastors and evangelists. Today they have 100 students working toward Bachelor of Divinity (BD) degrees (English medium). They also have extended training – at Yemmiganur I helped hand out certificates to men and women who had completed a 2-year pilot project (Telugu medium).
Dr. PB Arnold is the President. Last February he underwent bypass surgery and has made a full recovery. However, in his upper 70s, he told us he is working on a transition plan. Please support him in prayer for this important step. His current term ends in 2 years.