March 3rd – April 3rd, 2014
During this season, many agricultural labourers in Andhra Pradesh are at risk of starvation because there is no work. To help them, ICM, along with Paya Lebar Methodist Church of Singapore and Communion of Covenant Churches, held an emergency rice distribution.
Communion of Covenant Churches identified the highest-risk families in the slums and villages of Krishna District, Paya Lebar Methodist Church raised funds, and ICM facilitated the distribution. Each 25-kg back will feed a family for a month, and 400 bags were distributed, feeding around 2400 people. These were the villages that received rice: Nehru Pet, Potharra Padu, Nagvarappadu, Sobhanadhri Purnam, Kothuru, Ganguru, Uddhandarayuni Palem, and Ibrahim Patnam.
A recent team of World Racers had their parents come visit while they were with ICM. Here is one WR mom’s experience in the village. Read the full blog here.
Our first day of ministry with our kids was at one of the slums, basically a small 10 or so family neighborhood that was literally built out of “trash” in the middle of the trash dump. When we walked in I saw two young boys playing a game with rocks, they were so happy, just playing like any other little boys their age would be, and God quickly told me to love on these people, but not to pity them. He continued to show me how happy these people were, with nothing, they were happy, this was their normal and they knew nothing different. They were so hospitable, they brought out their beds and best blankets and mats for us to sit on, they so wanted us to join them and they wanted us to be comfortable. Their homes that were made of trash were so very clean, they took great pride in their homes, the children were clean, wearing clean clothes, with clean hair that obviously had been styled. It was a joy to see how little these people had but how hospitable they were to us. We prayed with them, gave them rice and toothbrushes, told them testimonies and played games and sang songs with them.
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.
On the 26th of January, India Christian Ministries was recognized for its work for social justice with an award for the Best Social Service. The award was given by the Prakasam District Collector, a division of the government of A.P, India.
ICM Director Mr. James Rebbavarapu accepted this award on behalf of ICM and all the staff, partnerships, and volunteers who made it possible.
The Inheritance Scholarship Awards Programme was held at the head ICM office in Ongole, under the leadership of Mr. James Rebbavarapu, ICM Director, on the 18th of February. Thirty-seven children and their guardians attended, along with the chief guest, Mr. I. Prakash Kumar, Assistant Joint Collector for the Prakasam District.
So far, ICM has distributed 492 scholarships to poor children, who earn them through exceptional performance. Each student is given 3,000/- rupees (around $50 USD) annually to help give them access to an education that would be impossible without this scholarship.
Education is vital in stopping the vicious cycle of poverty in India. Many rural and persistently poor do not see the value in education. It is expensive and doesn’t put rice on the table today. Many simply cannot afford it when they are struggling to feed their families every day. However, an educated child can not only make a more reliable income in the future, but they can also feed their entire families through this income. Instead of simply repeating the life of their parents, they can change the entire status of their family line.
Mr. Prakash Kumar encouraged the children to use the scholarship properly and only for their studies so that they will come up with a bright future. He also commended and thanked ICM and Mr. Rebbavarapu for their support of child education.
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.
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.