October Prayer Points

September 28th, 2015

Thank you so much for praying for our ministry and the precious people we serve. Apart from the persistent, believing prayers of God’s people, there’s no way to account for all that God is doing in India. We’re opening churches in communities previously untouched by the Gospel. Pastors are being trained in record numbers. Children are being educated. Widows and abandoned women are being cared for. Your prayers are being heard and answered.

PRAISE

We thank God for providing Shilpa with a job at the local steel plant. This is such an amazing opportunity for her, and the engineering degree she was awarded just a few months ago will be put to very good use. God has been so gracious to her, and we thank Him for allowing us to be a part of her life.

Final improvements to the classrooms that were torn apart by last year’s cyclone have been finished, including the addition of roof extensions and a much-needed gate. So many of you offered your prayers and financial support in the months following the storm, which made our relief and recovery efforts possible. Thank you.

PRAYER

At the end of August, Sharon, the wife of one of our pastors, had surgery to remove a cancerous tumor from her breast. Though the surgery was successful, her doctors have confirmed that she will have to undergo chemotherapy treatments starting in November. Please ask God to strengthen and ultimately heal Sharon. Pray, too, for her husband, Pastor Devaraju, and their daughter as they care for Sharon.

Praveen, one of the young men in our churches, is very sick with renal failure, and his pastor has asked us to pray for him. According to his doctor, Praveen’s condition is so acute that a kidney transplant is necessary.

Mrs. Krishnaveni, a member of our church in Madhurawada, and Mr. Sunil Kumar Limma, a member of one of our churches in Odisha, have both asked for prayer as they recover from serious illnesses.

Continue to pray for the resolution of our property tax issue. We’re asking the government to reverse an exorbitant property tax increase involving our main campus in Vizag. Without a resolution, we can’t finish Master’s School, a project that has been on hold for many months because of this issue. We need God to intervene in this matter, as only He can.

Please ask God to help us as we minister to those who are HIV-positive. There are so many who are very sick and need our love, prayers and support.

Many of the new believers in our churches have asked for our prayer. For many of them, they are the only person in their families to be Christian, and it is very difficult to endure the estrangement they experience following their conversion. As you have opportunity, ask God to encourage the hearts of these good people.

Finally, pray for our Bible college students, especially as they engage in practical ministry in the city and nearby villages. Ask God to empower these young men and women to extend His kingdom among the unreached.


Since 1992 Vision Nationals has been planting churches, training nationals, and caring for India’s most vulnerable. Donations to support our work are greatly appreciated. All gifts are tax-deductible and can be designated to the ministry, fund, or project of your choice.

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A Church for Hamu Thanda

September 21st, 2015

Last month God made a way for us to open five new church buildings in India. One of those buildings, located in the village of Hamu Thanda, belongs to a church that was started by Pastor Luka Naik.

Pastor Luka standing in front of Hamu Thanda Church

Pastor Luka standing in front of Hamu Thanda Church

Luka’s a first generation Christian, the only member of his family to be saved, and he has an incredible burden to reach his ancestral tribe, the Lambadi, with the Gospel.

When he began sharing the Good News of Jesus in Hamu Thanda four years ago, Luka was met with intense resistance. Some of his own family members actively opposed his ministry and treated him harshly.

A very superstitious people, the Lambadi are known for worshipping idols and practicing witchcraft, spending what little money they have to appease the gods and garner their favor. When Luka refused to give money for the festival of a local deity, his brother began persecuting him and to this day remains one of his most ardent detractors.

Believers gather for the inaugural service on August 4

Believers gather for the inaugural service on August 4

Despite the opposition from villagers and relatives, Luka continued to tell others about Jesus. On several occasions, God confirmed the message Luka was sharing by healing people in the village. By 2012, just a year after Luka’s ministry began, a small group of believers were gathering in a home for worship and prayer, and Hamu Thanda Church was born.

As the church grew, it became clear that they would need their own building, so Luka approached us and asked for help. Realizing their need for more space, as well as the strategic importance of erecting a church in the middle of what had been an unreached village, we gave Luka the go-ahead to build. Within months, the church was finished, and on August 4 we dedicated their new building, the first Christian church the village had ever seen.

Help us build churches in the heart of the 10/40 Window.

Hamu Thanda 1

Ribbon cutting before the inaugural service

The growth of our church planting ministry has created an extraordinary opportunity to give towards the building of new churches. In most cases, a new church — like the ones we recently completed in Uppaluru, Duggivalasa, and Kalvapalli — costs around $5,000 to build. Typically, the pastor oversees construction of the building, and the congregation makes a small but sacrificial contribution towards the project. We are then able to provide a generous grant so that building materials can be purchased and construction can commence. With dozens of churches waiting to be built, your tax-deductible donation to the Church Building Support fund can make a tremendous difference in places like Hamu Thanda.


Since 1992 Vision Nationals has been planting churches, training nationals, and caring for India’s most vulnerable. Donations to support our work are greatly appreciated. All gifts are tax-deductible and can be designated to the ministry, fund, or project of your choice.

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An Update on Ashraya, Our Ministry to Widows

September 16th, 2015

Our widows gathered on our campus last Christmas

Our widows gathered on our campus last Christmas

One of our most vital programs is Ashraya, our longstanding ministry to widows. Through Ashraya — a word that means “shelter” in Sanskrit — we currently care for 26 widows, the majority of whom live within a rickshaw ride of our main campus.

In addition to the monthly support we provide, medical care is also given to each of our widows. Theresa, our primary Ashraya caregiver, visits our widows regularly. She assesses their needs, evaluates their living conditions, and provides spiritual support to each one. This year, Jyosna, a member of Madhurawada Church, has begun working alongside Theresa to visit and support these precious ladies, making sure that no one is forgotten.

Theresa

Theresa

Last year we mourned the passing of three of the widows in our care: Appayama and Yella Rao died very tragically of heat stroke, while Nagamma died of natural causes. In the months following their deaths, we began caring for seven more widows, bringing the total number of widows in our care to twenty-six.

What we’ve discovered is that the elderly are often terribly neglected in our context, and widows are especially stigmatized. As one young man told us, “Some do not like to see the face of a widow.” We, on the other hand, love to see the faces of our widows and to shower them with as much love and support as we can. Last Christmas we gave each of our widows new clothes and hosted a special program in their honor. Caring for these women in such a personal way is a great privilege, one we do not take lightly.

As you have opportunity, pray for the 26 widows in our care, but especially for Samadanam, who is suffering from viral fever; Simhacahalam who has severe arthritis and is unable to bend her knees; and Rahel who is HIV-positive and struggles with the side-effects of this terrible disease, one she lost her husband to just a few years ago. Pray, too, for Theresa and Jyosna as they provide care and support to each of these women.


Since 1992 Vision Nationals has been planting churches, training nationals, and caring for India’s most vulnerable. Donations to support our work are greatly appreciated. All gifts are tax-deductible and can be designated to the ministry, fund, or project of your choice.

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September Prayer Points

September 1st, 2015

We have so much to be thankful for this month, especially as we look back over the last thirty days and consider all that God has done in our midst. The opening of five new church buildings is an extraordinary milestone for our ministry. Yet even as we celebrate the dedication of these new buildings, we know that the most important work is what takes place in the hearts and lives of those who gather inside. And so we pray that our churches will always be a place where people can encounter the risen Christ. Because no matter where you live in the world, whether a rural village in India or a gated community in Southern California, nothing is more important, more lasting, more transformative than responding in faith to the One who died so that we might live.

In addition to praising God for the new church buildings we opened last month, here are just a few of the things we’re praying for right now. These are requests gathered from throughout our network of ministries:

Healing for those who are sick.

Pastor John Wesley has asked us to pray for Hari’s full recovery. After drinking pesticide, Hari was on the verge of death, but the church prayed and God graciously and miraculously intervened. Hari is now recovering at home. Keep him in your prayers.

Pastor Devaraju Paul has asked us to pray for his wife, Sharon. She’s been diagnosed with breast cancer. She had surgery to remove the cancerous tissue yesterday, August 31. We’re still waiting for an update from Devaraju regarding her long-term prognosis. Please pray for Sharon, as well as Pastor Devaraju and their college-age daughter. We are asking God to heal her.

While driving his motorcycle to a church prayer meeting on August 7, Pastor Surya Prakash Rao was hit by a bus and dragged underneath. The accident was serious enough that onlookers thought Surya had died, but God clearly had other plans. Despite sustaining serious internal injuries, for which he received treatment at an area hospital, Pastor Surya is expected to make a full recovery. Pray for him as his body continues to heal.

Amos, a brother in Christ who attends one of our churches, fell from a utility pole and fractured his hand. Given the height from which he fell, we’re thankful that his injuries were not more serious. Pray for Amos as his bones heal and his body recovers from the fall.

We continue to pray for Pedda, one of the young men in our churches, who has renal failure. Ask God to heal Pedda. Pray, too, for Upendra. Cancer has ravaged his body, and doctors are now telling him that treatment will involve surgery to have a portion of his leg removed. Pray for this young man as he deals with this devastating disease.

Comfort for the bereaved.

Our hearts are so heavy. On August 23, Pastor Prasad’s wife, Sampoorna, passed away, after contracting dengue fever only ten days earlier. In addition to her husband, Sampoorna leaves behind three teenage daughters and one son. Please pray for this precious family as they grieve the loss of their wife, mother, and friend.

Sunday worship service starting in Odisha.

As he began to lay the groundwork for a new church in the village of Dengapadar, Pastor Isaac Majhi faced intense opposition from the locals. They didn’t not want him in their village, even going so far as to prevent him and a handful of new believers from gathering for worship on Sundays. Pastor Isaac never gave up on Dengapadar or his call to share the Gospel with those who live there. After months of resistance, village leaders are now open to the idea of Pastor Isaac holding regular worship services in Dengapadar. Please pray for many open doors, not only in this village but throughout Odisha, which is a notoriously difficult place for Christians to live.

Continued openness to the Gospel in Lankelapalem.

For the last two years, Pastor Raju Naidu has been sharing the Gospel in Lankelapalem, a village of 860 homes situated on the outskirts of Visakhapatnam. While some in the area have responded in faith to the saving message of Jesus, others have aggressively opposed the establishment of a Christian church in their community. Despite the opposition, Pastor Raju has never wavered, continuing to share the Gospel with those are willing to listen, and last Sunday, August 30, Lankelapalem Church gathered for worship in a new building that was constructed on donated land — the first church built in the village. Please pray for continued openness to the Gospel in Lankelapalem, and for Pastor Raju and his family as they make plans to move to the village.


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A Church for Ramannagudem

August 31st, 2015

During the month of August we opened five new church buildings in India. One of those was located in Ramannagudem, a rural village populated by the Lambadi tribe.

Started by Pastor Chandra Shekhar in 2013, Ramannagudem Church has grown steadily since its inception, from just a handful of believers in year one to more than sixty today. And like so many of our churches, it is full of first generation Christians — men, women, and children who had never heard the name of Jesus Christ until someone — in this case, Pastor Chandra — began sharing the Gospel with them.

A veteran evangelist and church planter who understands the mindset of tribal people and has been very effective in reaching them, Pastor Chandra arrived in Ramannagudem knowing it would take months, if not years, to gain the trust of villagers. Nevertheless, he was determined to patiently plant and water the seeds of the Gospel among the Lambadi, believing that in time God would make it all grow. And grow it has.

Few could have anticipated that a community with no known Christian presence prior to Chandra’s arrival would so quickly become home to a thriving church, but that is, in fact, the case. To an unreached tribe in a remote village God sent a messenger, someone to tell them about Jesus, and today there are dozens who believe.

God is writing an amazing story in India, and it is our privilege to participate with Him in His reconciling work among the nations.

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The exterior of Ramannagudem Church

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Ribbing cutting before the inaugural service

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Believers gather to thank God for their new church building

We need your help.

The growth of our church planting ministry has created an extraordinary opportunity to give towards the building of new churches.  Typically, the pastor oversees construction of the building, and the congregation makes a small but sacrificial contribution towards the project. We are then able to provide a generous grant so that building materials can be purchased and construction can commence. With dozens of churches waiting to be built, your tax-deductible donation to the Church Building Support fund can make a tremendous difference on the ground.


Since 1992 Vision Nationals has been planting churches, training nationals, and caring for India’s most vulnerable. Donations to support our work are greatly appreciated. All gifts are tax-deductible and can be designated to the ministry, fund, or project of your choice.

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The Opening of Kalvapalli Church

August 28th, 2015

Kavlapalli Church was born out of a family’s desire to reach a neighboring village with the Gospel.

As we shared last February, Pastor Madhu Naik lived in a neighboring town with his wife and two young children when he felt called by God to go to a nearby village called Kalvapalli. He began sharing the Good News with villagers, and in a short amount of time dozens of people confessed that Jesus is Lord. A church quickly grew around this confession, and before long there were more than 40 people worshipping Jesus every Sunday, all of them first generation Christians.

When it became clear that the congregation would need its own building, Madhu approached us and asked for financial assistance so that he could begin building a church in the village. Moved by his story and his faithfulness, we quickly gave Madhu’s project the green light, and today a church is now standing in a community that was previously unreached.

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The exterior of Kalvapalli Church

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Ribbon cutting before the inaugural service

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The church was filled almost to capacity for the building dedication.

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Pastor Madhu baptizing new Christians following the dedication of Kalvapalli Church.

Help us build churches in India.

The growth of our church planting ministry has created an extraordinary opportunity to give towards the building of new churches. Typically, the pastor oversees construction of the building, and the congregation makes a small but sacrificial contribution towards the project. We are then able to provide a generous grant so that building materials can be purchased and construction can commence. With dozens of churches waiting to be built, your tax-deductible donation to the Church Building Support fund can make a tremendous difference on the ground.


Since 1992 Vision Nationals has been planting churches, training nationals, and caring for India’s most vulnerable. Donations to support our work are greatly appreciated. All gifts are tax-deductible and can be designated to the ministry, fund, or project of your choice.

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August Prayer Points

August 4th, 2015

More than anything else, the prayers of God’s people are what sustain us as we plant churches, train nationals, and care for the most vulnerable in India. As we wholeheartedly embrace a posture of dependency on God — inviting his kingdom to come and his will to be done on earth as it is in heaven — he graciously acts on our behalf.

Here are just a few of the things we’re praying for this month:

Our children’s home in Srikakulam District.

Under the leadership of Pastor Raju, our “Caregiver-in-Chief” at Master’s Home for Children in Srikakulam District, things have been going very well. There are now twenty-five formerly at-risk children being loved and cared for in a safe, familial environment. As you have opportunity, pray that God would make a way for us to buy an acre of land so that we can establish a permanent residence for our kids. Pray, too, that we would continue to make a difference in the lives of India’s poorest children.

The resolution of our property tax issue.

Continue to pray about this issue. We’re still working to reverse an exorbitant property tax increase involving our main campus in Vizag. Without a resolution, we can’t finish Master’s School, a project that has been more than a year in the making. We really do need God to intervene in this matter, as only He can.

Continued spiritual awakening among the Lambada people.

As we mentioned last month, God has opened a door for us to begin a new ministry among a tribal people known as the Lambada. Recently more than 30 people have become followers of Jesus Christ in the villages of Gangaram Thanda and Kattukinda Thanda. Churches are now forming, and our pastors are discipling those who have been born again. Pray that the Gospel will continue to take root and grow among the Lambada people.

Our church planting ministry.

God continues to bless our church planting efforts in Andhra Pradesh and Odisha. As our churches grow, the need for permanent church buildings becomes much more pronounced. Over the next sixty days we’ll be dedicating a handful of new church buildings, many of them in communities where just a few years ago there was no known Christian presence. It’s an extraordinary thing to see the church flourish in a place where, prior to the arrival of a Vision Nationals pastor, there wasn’t even a whisper of Jesus’ name.

Comfort and healing for those who are sick.

Continue to pray for Pastor Yesu Rao following his motorcycle accident. He is still recovering from his injuries. Also, Pedda, one of the young men in our churches, has renal failure. Pray that God would heal him. Pray, too, for Sunitha as she copes with chronic back pain. Cancer has ravaged Upendra’s body, and doctors are now telling him that he will have to have a portion of his leg removed. Pray for this young man as he deals with this devastating disease. Others, like Sudhakar, are also facing surgery in the coming days. Please pray for them.

Master’s School and Master’s College of Theology.

Our academic institutions are at the heart of our efforts to equip and empower nationals to make a difference in South Asia and beyond. As we prepare to hire new faculty for Master’s College of Theology, we’d really appreciate your prayers, especially for wisdom and discernment.

Across campus, Master’s School continues to grow, enrolling dozens of new students this academic year. Pray for our teachers and students. We are so thankful for the opportunity to educate the next generation and to do so in a way that brings God glory. Recently, one of our students, Susanna, received a six-year, full-ride scholarship from one of the most prestigious engineering colleges in Andhra Pradesh.

The completion of our first large-scale water project.

Sometimes you just have to stop and celebrate God’s amazing grace. At times, his provision is overwhelming. And that was certainly the case when, through a generous partnership with Living Water International and Living Stones Churches, we were able to bring safe drinking water to five villages in Srikakulam District. As a result, there are now more than a thousand people, the majority of them women and children, who no longer have to make a 2-3 mile trek to gather a day’s supply of water for their families. To God be the glory!


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