These updates are from GCI mission director Rod Matthews.
India: reaching out to children
GCI has two churches in India—one in Hyderabad pastored by Dan Zachariah and one in Bangalore pastored by Joe D’Costa. I visited both recently with GCI-USA district pastor Rick Shallenberger, who was representing GCI president Joseph Tkach. Both churches have a special focus on reaching out to underprivileged children.
The Hyderabad church provides spiritual and material support to the Asha Kiran Home for Girls. The parents of the girls housed there are unable to care for them due to incarceration. The Sisters who run the home are always delighted to receive visitors, and the children love to sing and dance.
In Hyderabad, Mary Zachariah directs the Faust School. The children there contribute in various ways to the Asha Kiran home. In addition, there is a growing relationship between the Hyderabad church and Shining Stars (pictured at left), an after-school-hours center where children receive personalized academic attention.
Some years ago, as an unexpected gift, the Bangalore congregation welcomed a new member, Dr. Piria Suntharam. He brought with him the Susanna Children’s Home (pictured at right), which he had founded in a rural area of the state of Tamil Nadu to care for children with no parents or whose parents are unable to care for them. Dr. Suntharam continues to face serious hurdles in developing the home, including government regulations and lack of staff. He would appreciate your prayers.
In Bangalore, we visited the Shristi Special Academy (pictured at left), a facility that is focused on educating and developing children with mental disabilities. Many of these children suffer from autism and remarkable results are being achieved. Parents benefit immensely from the support of the academy in helping their “special” child become fully integrated, accepted and valued. The Bangalore congregation is exploring possibilities of being more involved in supporting this remarkable facility.
Nepal: Deben’s Vision
Deben Sam, GCI’s mission partner in Nepal, has leased land and built a new church facility, bought land (pictured at right) for an orphanage, and conducted the first “Mobile Bible School” operating in rural Nepal villages.
Deben also runs the Himalayan Bible School (HiBiS) pictured at left in Kathmandu. It serves young men and women selected from the Mobile Bible School classes who show potential and passion for spreading the gospel. HiBiS consists of three months of classes followed by nine months of practical work, during which the students return home to conduct meetings, evangelize and teach. At the end of that time, they are assessed and, if confirmed by the local church, offered full-time missionary positions. When such appointments occur, funding becomes necessary. To help meet the need, Deben has established the Unreached People Missionary Society.
Rick Shallenberger and Mohan Jayasekera accompanied to Kathmandu where they taught some HiBiS classes. Rick’s GCI Cincinnati congregation provides much of the support for a medical clinic on the outskirts of Kathmandu, which also is supported by the Himalayan Gospel Church (a coalition of ministries led by Deben). The clinic provides free medical services to needy children and mothers. Some patients have asked why we do this work and a few have responded to the call of God as a result of hearing the reply.
Myanmar: Second Booklet in Chin Language
We are delighted to announce that our second booklet produced in the Falam Chin language of northern Myanmar (Burma) has been printed in Yangon. That booklet (pictured at right) is The God Revealed in Jesus Christ. The booklet was translated by a young theology graduate named Van Thawm Lian. We first met him several years ago when he expressed great excitement about our literature.
2500 copies of the booklet were printed for distribution among the Chin peoples of which there is an extensive community in Yangon, and for use by Van Thawm Lian in the seminary where he teaches.