India: The most populous country in the 1040 window. Out of more than one billion, one hundred million people, only 2.3% are Christian according to the latest CIA statistic. So that’s about 25 million out of over a billion people. The median age in India is around 25 years old, so it’s a fertile field for evangelism. The needs here are staggering. In my 18 years of ministering the Gospel overseas, it is by far the most open to the Gospel. One great advantage of working here is that a pastor and family can be fully supported for $75 per month. There is a New Testament quality to Christianity in this country that is refreshing. People get saved and immediately recognize their responsibility to share the gospel with others. One of the crying needs in India is for biblical training for pastors. Many cannot read and write, so a literacy program must also be established. The motto of William Carey, the father of modern missions still needs to be carried out in India: “Expect great things from God; attempt great things for God.” No mission agency can expect to reach this country, but our strategy is to work with a group of pastors to train, equip, and support them as they establish New Testament churches. Land and property is very reasonably priced in India, so a training center can be set up very inexpensively. We have identified a pastor who was saved more than 30 years ago from snake worship. He has helped to plant approximately 70 churches in the state of Andhra Pradesh, in southern India. There is great persecution by the Hindu’s in India at this time. Pray for our persecuted brethren in India.
It is GTMI's goal to provide support and minister with the following Church-planting pastors in India, and develop Biblical Training Institutes there as well.
Jacob's phone number: +91 9494533945
Jacob's email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Jacob and his father were entrusted with a church building with additional land where the ministry had fallen to a total of 8 people. Jacob is co-pastor with his emphasis being on youth and children's ministries. The church has grown to nearly 40 members in 2 1/2 years in a city that is a stronghold of Hinduism. There are 3 major Hindu Temples in this city of nearly 300,000 where it is illegal to pass out Christian Literature (with the exception of Christmas and Easter), hold public outdoor meetings, and in general Christians are marginalized and persecuted. We conduct Grace Bible Institute in this Church.
Satyam Chilaka is a young man in his 30's, and has a wife and 2 daughters. He has been a GTMI church planter for 2 years. In his call to ministry, Satyam states, "I felt to take the Gospel of Christ to the unreached, where Christ is not heard so that they could be saved to lead a victorious Christian way of life." His above-mentioned goals are rapidly coming to pass as Satyam has baptized at least 23 new converts in the last 2 years in a village where Christianity was unknown before he came. Satyam is in great need of a building to meet in as the Church is meeting in a very small home that cannot hold their present congregation (see "current needs" link). Satyam is an attendee of Grace Bible Institute. Satyam was ordained to the Gospel ministry in 2012.
JD is our lead Church Planter in the area of Visakhaptnam. His minstry includes reaching out to 3 of the tribal areas in that district, travelling there monthly to encourage and train pastors, as well as to evangelize and disciple. He and his wife, Sheila have 2 sons who have recently been baptized. We conduct Grace Bible Institute in a rented building next to their home. JD has a Bible college degree, and is a dynamic preacher! The church that he pastors is constrained by the fact that they rent a building on the main street of the city that is very loud and inadequate in size. They are praying and giving to buy a piece of property 8 kilometers away to build a Christian center that would house the church and GTMI's Bible Institute. See "current needs" link.
Devaraju is the most recent addition to the GTMI Church Planting Family. He ministers in Simhachalam. Devaraju is married to Devakumari, and they have a son and a daughter. Devaraju started the church in 2004. By 2006, by visitation and evangelism, the church had grown to 90 - 100. This being a great Hindu center of education, persecution arose. Brother Devaraju was jailed and beaten (see testimony below). As a result of this persecution, the church was scattered, leaving only 25 - 30 attendees. They are now in the process of rebuilding the work through the same means that they had used previously. GTMI is privileged to be associated with such a man and his dear wife.
News of Brother Devaraju's persecution:
Bro.Devaraju after coming from the theological studies, he started evangelizing among the tribal on the hill area. The temple was built on the hill and front area of the temple 250 tribal families and back side of the temple about 100 non tribal people are living. So in order to propagate the Gospel he used to visit many a times along with few helpers holding mega phone and tracts. They did not have any problems since two years until two families received Jesus as their personal Savior and many of them were interested hearing the Gospel and word of God.
They had to go through the temple area in order to reach the other side of the people. Part of their conspiracy, took a picture of them while passing through the temple and circulated to the media and hindu associations, by which they could mobilize strength to attack Bro.Devaraju and team. So one day while they were returning back from the other side of the temple, they targeted Bro.Devaraju and manhandled more than 500 hindu devotees and leaders conducted strike on the road..vehicles jammed till 2 miles. Police officers reached the location and handled the situation. The situation calm down when Bro.Devaraju promised that he did not evangelize in the temple ever will do any time.
Simhachalam was under police watch for one month, intelligence and vigilance officers examined the issue. IPC section 30 was in force, conducting meetings or conferences are not permitted. The Government finally fixed the board stating that anti hindu propagation is prohibited in and surrounding area of the temple. Two years imprisonment and Rs.2000 if violates.
That happened on 4th of June 2006; On 13 June 2006, about 16 shops were burnt due electric short circuit. Interestingly the shop owners are who represented for action against Bro.Devaraju, the loss estimated was two million rupees. Mr.Suryanarayana, secretary to the state hindu priests union, who took initiative in manhandling Bro.Devaraju was died on 30th August 2006. The police inspector who was arrogant during the situation was caught hold by Anti Corruption Bureau for illegal earnings and was suspended.
Titus is planting a new church in a house in a residential distict of Visakhapatnam. Since his ordination in 2012, he has baptized 4 new members. Titus was a former Hindu that taught in the public schools of India. He was saved while in the eighth grade, and baptized 2 years later. His wife's name is Annamani, and they have 2 beautiful daughters. Titus was called to preach from Isaiah 60:1,2, but resisted God's call for a few years out of fear of financial hardship and his wife's lack of ministry involvement. He left his steady teaching job with a postgraduate degree after spending a number of years teaching in the church. He sensed God's warning from Genesis 3:9, and surendered to preach. His wife now serves faithfully alongside him, and she has a position working in a jail. The house that they meet in is inadequate, but they have the frame of a building already erected and need financial help to complete this building. See "Current Needs" link.
In India, the five church planting pastors contribute to a medical fund to provide emergency medical care for their immediate families.
In India, we presently have 3 Bible Institutes. One in Vijayawada, one in Rajole, and also in Visakhapatnam. This is a photo of a Pastors Conference GTMI held there. As you can see, the desire for further training is there.
Joel De Maria is our Field Director for the Philippines Church Planting Ministry
Joel De Maria baptizing new converts including his son.