Kumari Gondu’s Road Out of Poverty

April 15th, 2014

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Losing your father is never easy. And when your eking out a living as subsistence farmers in India, your father’s death can make life go from difficult to nearly impossible.

This is what Kumari Gondu experienced when she was six years old.

To make matters worse, the illness that led to her father’s death had been a costly one to treat, so Kumari’s mother was forced to sell everything the family owned in order to pay her late husband’s medical bills — she also had to enter the workforce so her family could eat.

Still grieving, and working for what amounted to just pennies a day, Kumari’s mother was unable to provide for her children’s most basic needs. It was then that she heard about Master’s Home for Children.

Desperate to give her daughter a chance at a better life, Kumari’s mother made the difficult decision to send her to Visakhapatnam.

Master’s Home — which was still in its infancy when Kumari arrived — quickly became a refuge for her. She thrived in the safe, familial environment of our children’s home, becoming a spiritual leader to the girls around her as well as a serious student.

The opportunity to escape the grinding poverty that marked her early childhood motivated Kumari to study hard. Though she struggled at times academically, she never gave up, and eventually Kumari was accepted into college — her tenacity and grit rewarded with a chance to become the first person in her family to earn a college degree.

A fatherless eight year old when we first met her in 2000, Kumari Gondu is now a college graduate seeking employment. She wants to be a teacher or work for a non-profit organization, but most of all she wants to say, “Thank you — to God, to those who cared for her over the last fourteen years at Master’s Home, and to the family from the United States who sponsored her.”

Kumari credits Master’s Home for not only shaping her into the godly woman she is today but for showing her that the road out of poverty starts in the classroom. And with the ink on her diploma barely dry, she’s eager to share what she’s learned with others.


Since 1992, Vision Nationals has been planting churches, training nationals, and caring for orphans and widows in India. Through your prayers and financial gifts God has graciously sustained our work.

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The Healing Power of Jesus

April 10th, 2014

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One of the coolest things about my job is reading the biographies of our pastors. So many of their stories include some sort of miraculous encounter with God, and there’s never a sense of sensationalism around what transpired. Not an ounce of hype. All of it gets told in such a matter of fact way.

I guess miracles are God’s way of reminding us that we’re not stuck in a world that’s had the supernatural sucked out of it. Anything’s possible. And it’s that hope — grounded in the reality of a God who sees and knows and hears and has the ability to transform our circumstances — that has sustained Christians for centuries. And from what I can tell, it’s what sustains our pastors as well.

This morning, while reading Pastor Yesu Rao’s (pictured above) bio, I was pulled back into the landscape of grace — that place where nothing’s impossible with God, where Jesus is still at work in much the same way that he was in first century Palestine.

When Yesu Rao’s brother became deathly ill in 1994, a pastor from a nearby village came and prayed for him to be healed. He spent many days at his bedside, praying earnestly for him. Finally, Jesus healed Yesu Rao’s brother, an intervention so extraordinary — so miraculous — that Yesu Rao and his entire family came to faith.

Not long after his conversion, Yesu Rao had a dream that changed the course of his life. In it he saw and heard someone teaching Scripture. Challenged and inspired by the life-giving words of this teacher, Yesu Rao awoke from his dream and committed his life to proclaiming the good news of Jesus.

Nearly two decades after his brother’s healing, his family’s conversion, and his own call to ministry, Yesu Rao pastors two churches in Khammam district. He has such a love for his wife and two children, both of whom are college-age. He’s asked us to pray that God would provide a house for his family, as well as a new church building for the congregation he pastors in Kotha Karaigudem.

Reading a story like Yesu Rao’s, I’m reminded that our problems don’t define us; God defines us. Our problems are neither the first nor the last word of who we are — God is. And it’s that truth — writ large in the lives of our pastors — that captivates me every time I hear or read about what Jesus is doing in India.


Since 1992, Vision Nationals has been planting churches, training nationals, and caring for orphans and widows in India. Through your prayers and financial gifts God has graciously sustained our work.

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5 Things You Should Know

April 5th, 2014

five things april 1

Published on the 5th of each month and designed to be informative and brief, 5 Things You Should Know highlights five of the most important things going on at Vision Nationals.

No. 1: At our campus in India, our priority project remains the construction of new classroom space for Master’s School. The proposed 7,800 square foot facility — which we hope to have finished in the next three months — will allow us to empower and educate hundreds more children. We can build the new school for just $50,000, which is a modest investment when you consider how great the return will be.

No. 2: Though it didn’t get a lot of attention last month, Srinu’s story happens to be one of our favorites. If you’ve ever wondered if child sponsorships work, the turnaround in Srinu’s life is evidence that they do. Once a vulnerable, young boy walking through the doors of our children’s home, Srinu’s now entering his third year of studies in medicine on his way to becoming a doctor. Thanks be to God for allowing us the opportunity to care for children like Srinu.

No. 3: We’ve written a lot about the strategic importance of prayer, and that’s because prayer really is the lifeblood of our ministry. It’s critical to everything we do. This month we’re praying for God’s will to be done in five specific areas. We’re also giving thanks for the incredible blessings we experienced in March. As always, we invite you to join us as we give thanks and pray. We believe that out of the goodness of his love, God will answer us, and in his great mercy he will turn to us.

No. 4: God is certainly on the move in India, drawing people to himself. Many of our churches are experiencing a season of unprecedented growth. There are three new church buildings currently under construction and many more waiting to be built. Knowing the importance of a building in a context like ours, we’re trusting God to provide us with the resources needed to build 12 new churches this year.

No. 5: Starting in June, we’d like to begin caring for more of India’s vulnerable, abandoned, and orphaned children. As we make plans to do that in a new place and in a very different way than we’ve done it in the past, we’re counting on you to help us. We believe that God is nudging us in this direction, and that the potential to make a lasting difference in hundreds, if not thousands, of young lives is too great to ignore.


Since 1992, Vision Nationals has been planting churches, training nationals, and caring for orphans and widows in India. Through your prayers and financial gifts God has graciously sustained our work.

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4 Simple Ways You Can Help Us Help Others

April 3rd, 2014

help us help others

Planting churches, training nationals, and caring for orphans and widows in the developing world is a challenging, rewarding, and sometimes dangerous endeavor; it’s also our passion. It’s why we exist, and we couldn’t do it without you.

Over the years, your willingness to pray, give, go, and share the Vision Nationals’ story with your friends and family members has been extraordinary. We’re hoping you’ll continue to spread the word about what we do. It makes such a huge difference. You really are the best advocates we have.

Since 1992 — which is the year Vision Nationals was born — technology has come a long way. It allows us to connect in ways we never thought possible, and with the rise of social media a story or video can spread around the world within a matter of hours. Anyone with access to a smartphone has the ability to send a message, share a picture, or start an uprising. It’s an amazing time to be alive.

Almost everything we do online has the potential to make a positive difference in someone else’s life. Whether we’re shopping or tweeting or just reading a blog post like this one, there’s an unprecedented opportunity to use technology to benefit others.

Here are a few simple things you can do to help us help others:

SHOP AT AMAZON

There are a lot of different ways you can support our work in India, but the simplest way of all may be shopping at Amazon.

The e-commerce giant has decided that it makes good business sense to give a small portion of its revenues away to non-profits like Vision Nationals.

Through AmazonSmile, the online retailer’s corporate philanthropy program, shoppers can choose to direct 0.5 percent of their purchase totals toward the charity of their choice.

With the exception of e-books and purchases made through Amazon’s Subscribe & Save program, basically every physical product you order is eligible for AmazonSmile, and there are no caps on donation amounts.

This is a simple, automatic way to support our ministry, and it’s nearly effortless. Once you sign up for the program, all you have to do is remember to shop Amazon via a special web address: smile.amazon.com.

GIVE TO THE MASTER’S FUND

If you have an extra $20, $50, or $100 a month, the Master’s Fund is one of the best ways to invest it.

Donations to the Fund provide us with the discretionary funding we need to pay for things like tuition and textbooks for our college-age children.

Recently we told you a remarkable story about Srinu. His dream of going to medical school wouldn’t have been possible were it not for the Master’s Fund.

In addition, the Fund allows us to provide a modest pension to retired Indian pastors, many of whom have little or no income.

Through the Master’s Fund we can also seize new ministry opportunities and direct resources toward areas of greatest need, which is absolutely critical when you’re working in a context as unpredictable as ours. Needs arise daily, and we can often meet those needs directly because of the resources available through the Master’s Fund.

LET US KNOW YOU’RE PRAYING

In recent weeks we’ve written a lot about the strategic importance of prayer. It really is the lifeblood of our ministry.

Convinced that God alone has the power to transform human destinies and mend the brokenness of our world, our hope is to raise an army of people who will pray for Vision Nationals every single day.

As we extend the light of the gospel into the dark corners of the world we realize that it is a prayer-filled endeavor, and there’s just no way we can do it without you.

Prayer changes things precisely because God hears his people when they call to him for help. He is so responsive to our needs.

If you’re currently praying for Vision Nationals, please let us know. Knowing that there are people around the world praying specifically for our ministry emboldens us to persevere in the work God’s called us to do.

This month we’re praying for God’s will to be done in five specific areas. We’re also giving thanks for the incredible blessings we experienced last month. Join us.

BE SOCIAL — HELP US SPREAD THE WORD

If you’re on Facebook, feel free to like our page, share our status updates, and peruse our growing gallery of pictures. You can even watch a recent video interview with Pastor Arjuna.

If you’re a Twitter user, then by all means follow us. This is one of the easiest ways to stay connected to what we’re doing in India.

If you read one of our blog posts and you think it’s worth telling your friends about, utilize the sharing tools that are at the bottom of every post. It’s amazing how far a story can go when just a few people like, share, or tweet about it.

Social media provides each of us with a unique platform to amplify whatever message we’re most passionate about. From time to time, we hope you’ll lend your voice to Vision Nationals and use whatever influence you’ve been given to let other people know about the transformational nature of our work in India.


Since 1992, Vision Nationals has been planting churches, training nationals, and caring for orphans and widows in India. Through your prayers and financial gifts God has graciously sustained our work.

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The Landscape of Grace

April 2nd, 2014

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The primary editorial focus of our blog will always be to share stories about the transformational nature of our work in India, but from time to time we also want to encourage you with a devotional thought that enhances your love for Jesus Christ. Usually written by a member of our staff, these posts are intended to draw your heart Godward.


Even for a trained theologian, someone who reads and studies the Bible for a living, the book of Romans is dense theological terrain.

I don’t know about you, but there are moments when I read Paul’s letter and feel like a novice when it comes to matters of faith. Honestly, it feels like I’m just getting started, like there’s a world of Gospel—of good news—that I’m just beginning to understand.

And while that may sound like a crazy admission to make, especially for someone who has been around this story his whole life, it really is the truth.

Paul’s understanding of the Gospel is extraordinary. His ability to synthesize old and new covenant themes into a coherent whole makes my head spin—and sometimes hurt.

Like legions of Christians before me, I find myself reading certain sections of Romans over and over again because I’m not sure that I grasp Paul’s argument or even understand the point he’s trying to make.

But the thing is, I want to get it. More importantly, I need to get it. And the reason I feel that way is because I’m so strongly convinced that the Gospel changes everything.

In Romans, Paul consistently pushes us back into the landscape of grace and reminds us that all of our self-salvation projects are destined to fail.

Apart from faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ, there’s nothing we can do to save ourselves. Nothing. And Romans is Paul’s way of inviting us to be okay with that.

And let’s just be honest: it’s never an easy thing to come to terms with our own inadequacies and concede that we are incapable of doing something—especially in our culture. But that is precisely what Paul hopes his readers will do. He hopes we’ll realize that we are incapable of saving ourselves.

Paul knows that salvation always eludes those who think they can earn it; to those who receive it for what it is—pure gift—it changes everything.


Since 1992, Vision Nationals has been planting churches, training nationals, and caring for orphans and widows in India. Through your prayers and financial gifts God has graciously sustained our work.

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April Prayer Requests

April 1st, 2014

April Prayer Requests

In the midst of all the good that God has done over the last few weeks, we are reminded that our work isn’t finished.

Even while we give thanks to God, we continue to believe that he has more for us to do. And it’s this realization that compels us to pray.

This month we’re asking for God’s will to be done in these five areas—will you join us?

No. 1: Our high school students are in the midst of writing their final exams. Their vocational futures rest on their test results. Pray for this group of 17 students, seven of whom are from our children’s home.

No. 2: There are three new church buildings currently under construction and many more waiting to be built. Knowing the importance of a building in a context like ours, we are trusting God to provide us with the resources necessary to build 12 new churches this year.

No. 3: We continue to pray that God will provide us with a new home for Master’s School. Once complete, the new classroom space will provide us with an extraordinary opportunity to empower and educate hundreds more children, many of whom come from poverty-stricken families.

No. 4: Starting in June, it is our hope to begin caring for more of India’s vulnerable, abandoned, and orphaned children. As we make plans to do that in a new place and in a very different way than we’ve done it in the past, we are asking God to go before us. We don’t want to get ahead of him. We simply want to do his will.

No. 5: Finally, as we enter a new month we want to invite God to be with us and to bless us. As we plant churches, train nationals, and care for orphans and widows in the developing world, we are so aware of the fact that we depend on God for everything. As you pray for us, ask God to surround us with his favor as with a shield.

We believe that out of the goodness of his love, God will answer us, and in his great mercy he will turn to us.

Thank you for praying for Vision Nationals.


Since 1992, Vision Nationals has been planting churches, training nationals, and caring for orphans and widows in India. Through your prayers and financial gifts God has graciously sustained our work.

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Join Us as We Give Thanks and Pray

March 31st, 2014

give thanks and pray

In Philippians 4:6 Paul says, “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.”

This way of worry-free reliance on God—which may sound like a far-fetched ideal at first—is cultivated as we pray, which is one of the reasons why we are so insistent on prayer as the primary means by which we accomplish our mission.

God can do things we can’t. Jesus insisted that “…with God all things are possible.” And prayer is the place where we learn to embrace that truth wholeheartedly, without reservation.

As we follow Paul’s admonition to “pray about everything,” we also want to “thank [God] for all he has done.”

Prayer and thanksgiving are two sides of the same coin. Both invite us to commune with an all-powerful God, and both infuse us with the strength we need to quiet our fears.

JOIN US AS WE GIVE THANKS AND PRAY

Father, we thank you for bringing hundreds of pastors to our campus just a couple of weeks ago and allowing us to train them. You used that time to strengthen, encourage, and comfort the church and her leaders, and we are so grateful to have been a part of it.

Father, we thank you for the 23 students who recently graduated from Master’s College of Theology. As they enter this new season of life and ministry, we entrust them to your care. Thank you for allowing us to provide them with a spiritual and theological foundation during the years they spent with us. Help them to remain faithful to their callings.

Father, thank you for Pastor Yesupadam’s return to health, and that despite the seriousness of his injuries he is able to walk again. Since his accident, your grace has been so evident in his life. Thank you, Lord.

Father, thank you for allowing us to care for children. You have been so faithful in this regard, especially in Kumari Gondu’s life. As she graduates with her college degree this month, we are so full of gratitude. You brought her to us thirteen years ago, and you made sure that we had all the resources necessary to provide for every need she had. Thank you, Lord.

Father, as our high school students write their final exams, we pray that you would help them to recall what they have learned. Quiet their fears. Equip them to succeed. And bless them, we pray.

Father, we thank you for the opportunity to build new church buildings in India. With three buildings currently under construction and many more waiting to be built, we realize that none of this would be possible without you. We are constantly amazed by your provision. Continue building your church in India, we pray, and may each new building we erect be a place where people can encounter you.

Father, our heart’s desire is to care for more of India’s vulnerable, abandoned, and orphaned children. As we make plans to do that in a new place, we commit those plans to you. May your will be done in and through us, we pray.

Father, you hear us when we call to you for help, and we take great comfort in knowing that you are listening. As we enter a new month, replete with new challenges and new opportunities, we ask you to be with us. Surround us with your favor as with a shield.


Since 1992, Vision Nationals has been planting churches, training nationals, and caring for orphans and widows in India. Through your prayers and financial gifts God has graciously sustained our work.

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