Tamil is spoken more in the south of India. There the people said to Yve and I after three weeks of ministry: ‘Varala, Varala!’ (‘Come, come!’ Or come back to us.) Yve made a DVD film of our trip together. It is available from www.pelsermedia.com if you are interested. It will give you a good insight into some of the experiences we had in India.
Most people in Hyderabad speak Tegulu. ‘Marala randi’ in Tegula simply means, ‘please come again!’ this is what the people told me when I said goodbye. They did not know that the people in the south expressed the same desire!
In Hyderabad I met Apostle Wilson and his family as well as some of the pastors that relate to him.
Wilson grew up in Velera, a small settlement near Vijayawada town. They were extremely poor and his mother was paralyzed on the left side of her body. She went to a Pentecostal Church where they pray for the sick and God healed her instantly. Wilson went to a non-denominational Bible School. He had to cut down trees in the afternoons to earn money to pay for his studies. His professor explained the way of salvation through Jesus Christ and he gave his life to the Lord.
His mother carried 25 Kg of vegetables on her head to sell to people every day to support him. His father died when he was 16 years old.
After studies he married Navartnam and they entered into ministry in the Anglican Church. He pastured three churches in order to survive. The Church then sent them to Worisa State to reach out to the fishermen as his first mission. The Bible College gave him some support.
Living in a small hut without any water or electricity he started a work among the Gypsies (we call them squatters or vagrants) who served Mavili as their god. Those people without being saved yet appreciated his care for them so much that they built him a small shelter where he could teach them to read and write. When the Bible College professor came to visit him he was so impressed with the work they were doing that he raised funds to build them a small house. They started their first church in their new house.
By involving himself socially with the people he was able to secure electricity for the people in the village. He also helped some of them get government loans. Besides doing that he always took people that needed medical attention to hospital and also distributed basic medicine to them. He was declared the best teacher in the Krishna district.
In 1998 they moved to Hyderabad where he worked with James Francovitch an American missionary. When the missionary returned home he handed the church over to Wilson.
He got to know Apostle Carel Marais through Facebook and Carel’s visit changed his way of thinking. Carel told him about me and said I will come to Hyderabad. Four years later I am here!
In India when a foreigner visits someone the other people become suspicious that they receive money from the foreigner. But Wilson sponsored all the meetings and covered Carel’s expenses – which is quite unusual in India.
He started two trust foundations and sold one to educate his daughter who completed a course in dentistry. With the rest of that money he paid for Carel’s visit. The name of the other foundation is ‘Advance India’.
Wilson sees social work as a doorway to reach the unsaved masses. As he helps to train people socially he can teach them about Jesus Christ He started a school where they teach people to read and write and also teach ladies to do tailoring.
Today there are 80 people in that slum area that is built on a rubbish dump where there are several marshes. At night big rats come out and go into the homes.
Through the foundation ‘Advance India’ they have trained 100 pastors. Most of these pastors actually oversee two or three churches like he did so there are 250 churches in the larger area of Hyderabad. They trained 600 adults in education and 100 women attended their tailoring school. Over the past 15 years they trained 5 000 Sunday school teachers to go into villages and teach children about Jesus.
Every year the foundation conducts 10 medical camps that anybody can come to get basic medicine and help for stomach problems, eye-diseases and fever.
Wilson’s heart to help the poor and suffering probably stems from his poverty stricken childhood.
My ministry to Pastors
I taught the pastors about the ‘I AM’ principle. I used the examples of Jesus in the Gospel of John where He says, ‘I am the way,’ and ‘I am the living bread,’ and ‘I am the door’.
I acted out how a person can become a door. I went out of the building and told Wilson to close the double doors behind me. Then I knocked to gain entrance. He opened the door so that I could come back into the building. In a sense he became a door for me into Hyderabad. Without knowing him I will not be able to come.
As usual I handed out my book, ‘God’s Genius’ as well as CD’s and DVD’s and also ordained 10 pastors and Apostle Wilson as Harvester International ministers.
After the meeting I had lunch with Wilson and his family where I met his two daughters. The one is married and her husband and child were also there. She named her son Kevin Ethan. I taught the family briefly what I spoke about in church. I felt like Paul saying, ‘I taught you publicly and from house to house.’
The weather in Hyderabad is about 36 degrees Celcius.
When I greeted them all several of them repeatedly voiced: ‘Marala randi!’ (Please come again!)
The work to be done
If we realize how many one and a half billion people are, then we can estimate the work that has to be done in India. Only 2% are Christian and that includes all Catholics! Some Hindus simply exchange their myriad of idols for the idols in the Catholic Church and call themselves Christians. But that is not true. In order to enter the kingdom of God you have to be born again and God tells us that we will have no idols at all! Idolatry is sin, but today there are even idols in some Charismatic Churches: they brought crucifixes back and paint the Pentecostal heroes on their walls! They are bringing the Middle Ages back into the church. You cannot convince an idolatrous nation like India that Christianity is any different if you practice such things.
India must be saved. It is a great nation with great potential. But we need to reform the church to reform the land!
Wilson says he can register Harvester Church for a small fee within a week! That is good news. I have struggled to do so over two years not having the right connections. He is also willing to arrange meetings in other parts of India. Wilson will also find out about translating my book and our Bible College material into Telugu.
May God bless India!
The Monsoon rains began to fall in India after I left. Floods claim many victims each year. Let us pray that God protects the believers and that the floods will not be so damaging this year.
May God have mercy on India.
Apostle André Pelser