My name is Mike Glenn and I would love to share with you my recent scouting/mission trip to India. I went to breakfast at Panera a few months ago with my friend Dr. Scott Lee (M.D.) where he revealed to me he was considering a career transition to full time missions. India is what he said, and I got really excited because India consumed my thoughts the previous 6 months and I thought this might be a God thing. Scott, knew the nations were my passion and wanted to get some feedback, prayer, encouragement and strategy from me, so we decided to just go to India together and continued to meet at Panera almost every Saturday planning it out.I am a former National Missionary turned businessman and vacationary (part time missionary). With a population of 1.3 Billion people, India is the most unreached country in the world, there were a lot of ministries to choose from. I was drawn to one in particular though because of their holistic approach to humanity after looking at their website, called India Christian Ministries (ICM). Independently and for different reasons, Dr. Lee came to the same conclusion to visit ICM because he was drawn by their love and commitment to rescue, abandoned special needs children. We took this “coincidence” as a sign and confirmation.
ICM is located in the State of Andhra Pradesh, one of 28 states in India. The founders James and Sarah Rebbavarupu arranged to pick us up and greeted us with sincere hospitality. They were genuine, authentic, and transparent and welcomed us into their lives and home. We had dinner with them and visited James’ parents as well. It took me about five minutes to realize that I wasn’t visiting a ministry, but participating in a move of God. James and Sarah weren’t the kind of people to emphasize titles, but they were operating as Apostles.
As impressive as that is, what struck me is how they accomplished it by meeting both spiritual and humanitarian needs.They had big numbers but emphasized the value and identity in the individual. They developed villages and communities regardless of faith with sanitation, water filtration, medical and dental clinics. They committed themselves to the discipling of tribal and at risk children and care of abandoned children with special needs. They emphasized and trained worshipers resulting in new songs being produced and recorded on CD’s in their own studio.
The most impacting experience for me was visiting Sarah’s Covenant Home (SCH) who emphasized the value and identity of the abandoned special needs children having physical and mental handicaps. I spent several hours holding and loving them while talking with the volunteers and staff about their experience and hearing their hearts. The tangible presence of God was undeniable in that room and Dr. Lee and I both commented on it. Each child was cared for in such a way that security and joy was the common manifestation.
James and Sarah and all their 100 plus staff live by faith. They don’t go on speaking tours to raise money, God sends people to them and every month the needs are met even though they have commitments for less than half of what they need for budget. The multiple teams ( mostly young people) that come to ICM to serve, receive the blessing of seeing true apostolic ministry in effect and are mentored in their own calls as well. I was super impressed at the administrative detail and high tech of the staff office and the quality and training of those who followed up on every detail. The financial integrity is manifest in complete computer access to all funds donated and the fact that James and Sarah live in a modest rented apartment, choosing rather to use funds for ministry.
As in every move of God, the highest emphasis is placed on worship and making the written word, the living word, resulting in transformation. It is no different at ICM. They have developed the covenant school of worship and covenant school of apostolic ministry as part of the curriculum for every new National Missionary. I toured the impressive newly constructed church and regional conference center surrounded by plots of land that are in the beginning phases of construction for medical clinics, housing, bible college, visiting minister lodging and store fronts for micro-enterprise.
I left in a state of pleasant shock, full of hope and faith and a determination to be a part of what God is doing in India. I was really honored that James invited me back to teach for National Missionaries conferences and in the meantime my wife and I are going to sponsor some of the special needs children through our own non-profit ( dandelionwishes.org) and be a part of saving their lives. I don’t believe it was a coincidence either that my friend Dr. Lee was there to minister in his field of expertise and see the beginning stages of a hospital that he can be a part of in the future. I know he will be back too. You can be a part of it too.
The most memorable night of this trip was when we stayed the night at a church in a village. It was a really hot night and being in the church was even worse than being outside so we decided to sleep on the roof to try and stay a bit cooler. Well that went downhill fast because right after we moved up there it started to rain and we had to go back inside. We all slept in a tiny room with a single fan that was nowhere near me. I didn’t get any sleep that night and on top of that had to wake up early to help with church. It was a frustrating but rewarding night none the less. The church service was great because it was beautiful to see all the different cultures and languages come together to worship the one true God.
Coming here I had never worked with special needs children so that was different. It was challenging but rewarding to learn from those kids. They show Gods love and his relationship with us because of how they do not care who we are or anything; they just want our love and affection. After these experiences I would come back again for a short term to help with James and Sarah’s ever expanding vision. It will be hard to leave the kids but I will take so much away from them.
– Savannah Coop
India Christian Ministries celebrates women and their vital contribution to Christianity, India, and the World.
Today, March 8, is International Women’s Day. ICM held a rally and city walk to honor the event, movement, and people it represents. During the event, ICM honored a local government official, Rajani Kumari, and the Mother of ICM, Rathna Kumari. These are inspirational women who have promoted women’s rights through their work and the example of their lives.
India has taken many steps forward with respect to women’s rights, but there is still work to be done. Sex trafficking, rape, female infanticide, and other injustices toward women are still prevalent. Through its child discipleship and community transformation projects, ICM is working to improve the lives of all women in India. ICM envisions a world where all women are treated justly and understand their value and worth as children of God.
ICM would like to sincerely thank all of the great women who help advance God’s kingdom, especially those ladies in our office staff, the great staff and volunteers with our Covenant Child Development Centers, Sarah’s Covenant Homes, international volunteers, and the amazing wives of all the church planters saturating Andhra Pradesh with the love of Jesus!