Andhra Pradesh

February 5th, 2010

credit to PlaneMad/Wikipedia

In 1992, God lead Arjuna to found Vision Nationals in Visakhapatnam (also known as Vizag), a large city located in the state of Andhra Pradesh. Andhra Pradesh is currently where most of our churches are being planted, though we expect to expand all throughout India and into Nepal and Thailand. Because of our current concentration in Andhra Pradesh, we want to share a little about the environment in which our pastors work.

India’s 2001 census data provides a fascinating glimpse of life in Andhra Pradesh. For instance, 75% of the population lives in rural areas, in homes constructed from local materials like grass, thatch, bamboo, wood, or mud. These houses are usually 1 or 2 rooms, and shelter 4 to 6 people. Indoor plumbing is rare, and less than 50% of rural homes have access to electricity. Additionally, people outside urban areas reported very few assets, although most own a bike and a television. The men we are training are born and raised in this context, and reaching these people.

Andhra Pradesh has a vast religious history, and the dominant belief system has changed over time. Historically, Buddhism was very popular and many monuments still exist, especially in the cities of Amravati and Nagarjunakonda. However, today practicing Buddhists are a minority, with only a small percentage of followers. According to the census, nearly 90% of Andhra Pradesh’s current population identifies as Hindu. In fact, the city of Tirupati is a famous destination for Hindu pilgrims from all over the world due to its ancient temples.

Arjuna’s desire is to present the gospel to people born into the Hindu culture and religion, and many of the church planters will be making this desire a reality in India’s villages. Please be in prayer for both Vision Nationals and the pastors as they preach the gospel and live out their faith among the people of Andhra Pradesh.

For more information about Vision Nationals’ church planting efforts in Asia, please email lauren@visionnationals.org.

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Pastor Ravi’s Story

January 29th, 2010

Pastor Ravi and his family

Atheist,communist, and leader of a political student group, Ravi woke up in the hospital severely injured during a student demonstration. He came to know Christ in that hospital through the prayers and perseverance of a nurse who faithfully shared the Gospel with him.

A few years later, now married, God spoke to Ravi in a dream. He woke knowing God had called him to the ministry, but how to convince his wife? Ravi fasted and prayed for fifteen days. God answered. His wife was on board.

Pastor Ravi and his wife planted two churches and had two sons. They lost both of their sons as young children, because a church planters wages were not enough to pay for the medical attention needed to save them. Wracked by grief, Pastor Ravi and his wife clung to God.

Vision Nationals heard Pastor Ravi’s story and invited him to join our network. He would now receive a stipend each month to lighten the burden of providing for his family. He would also receive theological training, resources and coaching to help him in his calling.

Today, Pastor Ravi oversees all of Vision Nationals’ church planters in the state of Andhra Pradesh. God blessed him and his wife with two beautiful daughters, and together they continue to plant churches and proclaim the Gospel in India.

Pastor Ravi is one of Vision Nationals five key leaders who oversee our entire church planting network. To give to Pastor Ravi’s support or support of our initiative to plant Ten Thousand Churches you can give online or contact lauren@visionnationals.org.

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An India Overview

January 22nd, 2010

The challenge when writing a blog post about India is that even a so called “brief overview” of the country. . .isn’t really. India’s history extends back many thousands of years, perhaps even to the stone age. It has hosted numerous civilizations, and today it ranks as the second largest country, population wise, in the world. But for all that, I (and, I suspect, many of the people reading this blog) know very little about this amazing nation.

While examining India’s history is certainly interesting, I’ll save that for another post. Let’s begin with the present. Since 1950, India has defined itself as a Sovereign Socialist Democratic Republic. That mouthful basically means the country is free from the control of any foreign power, its citizens are granted equal status and opportunity under the law, it has no state religion, and it is a free country where leaders are elected to government. The current president is Pratibha Devisingh Patil, and she is advised by a prime minister and a council of ministers.

With over 1 billion people, India ranks as the second largest population in the world. In fact, it contains 16% of the world population! The United States, by comparison, ranks a distant third, with just over 300 million people. The majority of the Indian population (about 72%) live in villages of less than 5,000 people.

With such a vast population, it shouldn’t be a surprise that there are an incredible variety of languages in India. The majority of the population speaks Hindi, which is also the language of the federal government. English is also commonly used and taught. The constitution officially recognizes 22 other languages, although some estimates state there are over 800 currently spoken.

Obviously a few paragraphs about government, population, and language only scratch the surface. I plan to post more about India’s history, religions, and current events, and I also want to tell you more about Andhra Pradesh, where Vision Nationals does the majority of its work. I hope you’ll find these posts interesting, but most of all I hope they’ll help give you a deeper understanding the country and this ministry.

Arjuna’s January Prayer Requests

January 15th, 2010

Arjuna just sent us updates and prayer requests for January! An exciting milestone occurred in December, as the tribal pastors met and had common Christmas worship with other believers for the first time. The response was very good, and Arjuna asks that we pray for God to bring fruit in due season.

Additionally, a new church opened on December 23rd at Hukumpeta Village in the district of Paderu. James, a tribal convert, is the pastor and supervisor. Please be in prayer for James and his church.

Looking to the future, Arjuna is considering a new church plant in Vizag before summer. Please pray with us that God will help start this church at a right time. Pray for our churches in general that they will grow well.

We thank you for your prayers and your support!

Happy New Year!

January 8th, 2010

We hope you are as excited for 2010 as we are!  Vision Nationals’ has plenty of goals for both this year and this decade, and what better place to share some of them than here on our blog?

Our major goal for this year?  Plant 100 churches. We want to finish 2010 with a group of pastors who are doctrinally sound and on mission, which involves:

* Assembling a team of dedicated teachers to train our pastors.
* Developing a strong curriculum suited to teaching our pastors, who are from (and will minister to) rural areas of India.
* Identifying and training supervisors for each geographical area
* Receiving regular financial support for each of our 100 church planters

If you would like to help us achieve these goals, you have some options! First, please pray for our ministry, our mission, and our people. Next, spread the word! Let other people know about Vision Nationals and how God is at work in India. Finally, consider supporting our pastors as they follow God’s calling. A donation of $50 a month will allow us to train a pastor and start a church!

We wish you the best in 2010!

Arjuna’s December Prayer Requests

December 10th, 2009

Every month, Arjuna sends us prayer requests, and we would like to share them with you.  Please join us in prayer and praise for the following:

1.   Pray for two Church plants beginning this month.  Prasad is starting a new Church in the Mopid Village of Krishna.   He is moving his family there and this will be his second Church plant.   John Wesley from E.Godavari district is beginning his third Church plant in  Villasavilli on December 5th.  He has been given a temporary place to hold worship services. He had established in two villages Jagannadhapuram & Bheemunipalli.   Pray for Wesley and Jyothi and their two girls.

2.       Arjuna’s dad had a heart attack on Monday night 30th Nov., and was admitted in the hospital.  He is still in the hospital and getting better, and we appreciate your prayers.

3.       Pray for VN’s  Ten Thousand Churches,  where we would like to give solid biblical training up to 1000 pastors in 7 years time.  We want to help coach each pastor so he establishes 3 Churches in the seven years time.  We want to repeat this process 3 times, so that a total of 10,000 Churches are planted in Asia by 2030.  Pray for us, as there is a lot of preparatory  work, such as developing the right syllabus, finding teachers teachers, and identifying Church planters etc.

At the close of the year, we request you to pray for VN and especially for Ten Thousand Churches.  Jesus reminded us of our responsibility in Matthew 9:37-38. . .that the harvest is plenty, but the laborers are few.  Pray that the Lord of the harvest will raise the workers to the harvest fields.

Vision Nationals’ Blog

November 30th, 2009

Pastors In India
Thank you for visiting the Vision Nationals’ blog!   The heart of Vision Nationals has always been to train national leaders and plant churches. A ministry that began as a single church plant now encompasses a church planting network,  Bible college,  children’s home and school, a widows ministry, and a medical clinic. With all these ministries staffed and running smoothly, we have come full circle and again hear God’s call to focus our efforts on training nationals to plant churches.

We will spend the next 20 years raising up godly men to plant 10,000 Churches, throughout Asia.  We’re excited about the task God has placed on our hearts, and can’t wait to partner with people all over the world to see men and women come to know Christ and make His Name great among the nations!

Bookmark this blog or add it to your feed reader if you want to get updates on the ministry, the church planters you help support, , world events that impact the ministry, and even some behind the scenes stories. We also want to hear from you!  If you have an encouraging  story that relates to Vision Nationals, we would love to share it here!  Just email lauren@visionnationals.org and it might end up on our blog.

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