Testimony from a World Racer, Christina Kehres, on the unexpected experience of helping a pastor and his family re-build their house. Read the entire blog here.
We were headed to the house of a pastor that recently caught fire and needed cleaning from smoke damage. Pastor Binny runs a church in his home for people who live in the slums and gives free guitar and piano lessons. Pastor’s wife was uncomfortable with slum ministry and didn’t understand the calling that Pastor has and chose to abandon her family. Pastor and his two daughters were asleep when God shook him awake to see the fire in their living room.
Princey is the oldest of the two girls who has taken over many motherly responsibilities in their household. She is a fantastic cook and served us tea several times during our visit. She is 14 years old and the only Christian (besides her sister) in their Hindu school. Princey reads her class a story from the Bible every single day for three years now and although none of her classmates have accepted Jesus as their Savior they all believe in Him and pray to Him. Can you imagine being so on fire for God at age 14?
The youngest girl is Pinky; she is passionate, spunky, and full of joy. She helped us clean and took our pictures and made all seven of us leave our autographs. The girls collect money all year long to fill their plastic piggy bank to give gifts and school supplies to the slum children. They are going through so much themselves at such a young age and still carrying around God’s heart for others.
When Pastor went to pick the girls up at school our contact, Ravi, told us that while part of our group was getting chai tea this morning his sister called about Pastor and the house fire. Ravi hadn’t heard about the fire that happened weeks ago but said he had a team that could come immediately; our ministry for the day changed that quickly and that last minute. Pastor said he asked God to send someone to help him and we were who God chose to send – an answered prayer.
The girls walked in the door saying, “praise The Lord, praise The Lord!” Their father had told them visitors were at their house and they worried but he reassured his daughters that the visitors were angels. “It’s true, you really are angels,” they told us.
God told me again, “It’s not how you serve but who you serve.”
Before we left the house I had my seventh cup of tea for the day and Princey and Pinky gave each of us a necklace from their personal collection. They might have been praying for us to arrive but they were the angels I needed.
It’s not how you serve; it’s who you serve.
I am so glad I get to serve Jesus.
This came from a recent World Racer working with ICM, Jenny Kuehn, on what India was teaching her. You can read her entire blog here.
Counting the Cost.
When your feeling uncomfortable or things don’t seem to go the way you had imagine them, just remember: those are the moments that reveal where we need to grow.
“And you joyfully accepted the plundering of your property, since you knew that you yourselves had a better possession and an abiding one.” Hebrews 10-34
When we realize the reward it doesn’t seem like sacrifice.
Because of heavy rainfall and floods during the rainy season, water tends to stand and stagnate. Poor drainage and bad roads contribute towards a very fertile environment for deadly mosquitoes. During this season, a lot of people are attacked with Malaria, Chikungunya, Dengue fever, etc, because of the mosquitoes.
ICM conducted awareness training in the villages during the season, encouraging people to use nets, coils, liquids, and creams. It included the proper clothing to wear. They also gave training on how to discourage mosquitoes from breeding by clearing out stagnant water pools that are near the home. Pamphlets were also given out at each of these seminars.
This was a part of awareness training given to all ICM volunteers in 2013. This series of posts will focus on the demons that India is facing, and has been facing, for many years.
Especially in rural areas of Andhra Pradesh, daughters are viewed as a burden, not a blessing. The dowry system forces a girl’s family to pay the boy’s family a large price at the wedding. Horrible, horrible things can happen if the girl’s family refuses to pay. Also, girls are never a good source of income. They cannot support themselves, and, until marriage, are completely reliant upon their families. Especially in the villages, modern ideas like a woman working respectfully and even literacy haven’t caught on.
As a result, women are actually afraid to give birth to female children. They will often kill them. Oftentimes, this is encouraged or even forced by the mother and father-in-law. Because of this entire attitude, India’s female-to-male ratio, especially in rural areas, is as little as 6 to 10 (only 6 females for every 10 males born), according to the 2011 Census.
In 2013, ICM campaigned throughout Andhra Pradesh among the volunteers, villagers, and especially those who help with birthing. ICM tried to bring awareness of this issue and why it is wrong. We will continue to educate, bring awareness, and show the love of Jesus to these areas. It is our hope and prayer that one day the killing of girl children will be stopped altogether.
On January 27, 2014, ICM showed love to 350 poor and street children who attend school by giving them good shoes. This was a late Christmas for these children, many of whom have never had a good pair of shoes. It happened at ICM headquarters at Gandhinagar, Ongole, under the leadership of Mr. James Rebbavarapu, director of ICM.
One of the costs of poverty is that items like shoes are neglected. Poor children do without or wear very cheap or worn shoes, only when necessary. This distribution helps close the gap between what the rich can afford and what the poor cannot afford. The children were given the same good shoes as the rich children can buy. This made them very happy and also shows them that they are just as valuable as their wealthy schoolmates.
The chief guest was Mr. M.S.S. Ashok Babu, Deputy Superintendent of Police. He praised ICM for their kindness and care for these poor children. Mr. Rebbavarapu added that ICM always tries to fill the needs of the most vulnerable, especially children, in society. He said that education and health were one of the most important physical needs.
The programme was led with songs, games, and cultural activities for the children, who enjoyed the event very much.
India Christian Ministries, along with Run 4 Rice and Communion of Covenant Churches, stretched out a helping hand in the month of January, 2014, in the form of rice for the poorest of the poor. Covenant pastors and others working in the slums selected the most vulnerable and needy families (around 700 people) for this emergency relief in order to stop starvation. They were selected out of Kukunur of Madak District, Gaddapaka of Karimnagar District, and Kottapeta of Madek District.
Rice is a staple food in India. A $13 bag of rice can feed a family of six for almost a month, yet among the poorest of poor, $13 is too much. Pastors with Covenant Churches and slum workers chose the people in their districts who were the most in need and partnered with ICM and Run 4 Rice to take care of them this month.
ICM Director Mr. James Rebbavarapu assured the people that whenever ICM had the funds, they would always try to give holistic support where it was needed most, and that ICM staff, along with Covenant Churches, will always strive to help the poor and needy.
India Christian Ministries distributed sarees to the poor women of Ongole, Prakasam district, on the 16th of December, 2013. It is the custom of ICM to hold a free saree distribution for the poor women before Christmas. These women need new clothing, but often neglect themselves because they want to make sure their children and husbands have nice clothing. Simply giving them special clothing makes them feel valued and loved.
Mr. Ashok Kumar (DTC-DSP) joined in the occasion as chief guest, along with ICM Director James Rebbavarapu. Mr. Kumar gave warm appreciation to ICM and Mr. Rebbavarapu for the distribution.
In the rural areas of the Kurnool district, a flood hit in November, 2013 due to severe rainfall. The Brahmana Kotkur village, about 20 km away from Kurnool, was badly hit. and many people lost everything in the disaster. ICM distributed 60 bags of rice (25 kgs each) to 60 families on December 3rd.
This distribution will help keep these villagers alive while they try to put their lives back together. Without it, recovering would have been an extremely difficult process.
The next day, ICM went on to help another village, Bhaskarapuram (35 km away from Kurnool headquarters), which was also badly affected by the flood. The poor there did not even have proper clothes to wear, so ICM distributed 270 sarees.
ICM believes that loving and caring for people is one of the highest commandments of Jesus. Therefore, regardless of religion, ICM seeks out those in need and tries to fill those needs.
In the wake of flooding in Ongole in November, 2013, ICM helped with distribution of food, clothing, and also blankets. Many families lost everything in this flood, which was caused by heavy rain. On November 5th, 2013 ICM continued to help these victims by giving blankets to those who have lost theirs to the heavy rain.
ICM Director Mr. James Rebbavarapu spoke to many residents about the flooding and expressed his concern for those affected. Because of ICM’s concern for those in need, they have distributed rice to the same flood victims. Due to the change in weather since the flood, ICM decided this was a great opportunity to also give blankets to the poor and less fortunate.
This takes care of their physical needs and also helps them to feel that someone loves and cares for them. ICM believes in caring for others, regardless of their religion, the way Jesus cared for people.
The distribution took place at Sriram Colony, Chaitnaya colony, and other colonies. ICM is here for community development, to help those in need and show them love.