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First of 22 Churches Re-opened in India!

Earlier this year, we learned how 22 churches in South India had been closed for many years because of a lack of funding for workers. This past Sabbath (December 2), the first of these churches was re-opened; to everyone’s surprise, 75 people showed up! Praise the Lord!How did this happen?Our team has felt a burden for this place since we first learned the story of these churches. We prayerfully decided to reopen them sustainably so they will stay open. The plan includes:

  1. Hiring Bible Workers to serve in the villages near the churches,

  2. Fixing up and painting the churches,

  3. Holding revival meetings, and

  4. Opening evening schools to reach out to local communities

Step 1 is complete: Right now, we are focusing on Step 2. Our friends Dennis and Judy Skandunas have traveled to India to help with this step. Dennis is a painter who has spent much time overseas using his skills for God’s work. An extra rainy monsoon season, Hindu festivals, vehicle problems, and other issues have caused delays. Still, God has provided windows of opportunity, like allowing it to rain at Dennis and Judy’s lodging but keeping the area around the churches dry.By the grace of God, Dennis and the other workers have finished the first seven churches (minus a few final touches). Keep reading for more photos and details. 

Church #1 Before

Church #1 after being painted. The tarp enclosure to the right of the church belongs to a neighbor who refuses to move it, even though it is on church property. Please pray the neighbors will come to the meetings and that they will remove it.

The inside of one church after being primed

A completed interior. Members of Dennis and Judy’s church helped fund some of the painting, furniture, and floor repair for three churches that needed it. These donors were thrilled to be a part of this project.v

Workers repaired this damaged church floor.

When the floor was finished, the workers used extra materials to create a nice entrance for the church.

Dennis painting

Another finished church. The dark spots are a result of the way the building was originally constructed. They will fade over time.

A local pastor, Pr. Rajan, has been helping oversee the church repairs. He has also been very active in the communities near the churches and has been telling the villagers about the churches reopening. 

Last Sabbath, when the first church was reopened, Pr. Rajan expected maybe 30 people, but 75 came! Dennis and Judy, Pr. Rajan, a JFA Bible Worker, and others participated in the service—a first-day Christian friend of Pr. Rajan even drove two hours to speak briefly. He intended to stay for church but had to leave because of health issues. Please keep him in your prayers. 

Pastor Rajan

Sharing on Sabbath morning

“It was so beautiful to see them there,” Judy shared.

Please pray for all the people who came to the church last Sabbath. They have a lot to learn and are unused to sitting and listening for long periods. Please pray for them to have open hearts to continue coming to church and learning about Jesus.

Dennis is using a spray rig to paint each church, the only way to paint quickly enough to combat the rain. This machine requires electricity, which sometimes needs to be borrowed from the neighbors. At Church #8, a lady offered her electricity but later changed her mind when her son, a former church member who had returned to Hinduism, found out. “Mom, why are you supplying them with electricity?” he asked. Please pray for this family to have a change of heart.

In place of this lady’s electricity, God provided a mechanic to fix a generator belonging to the section (conference) so the painting could continue. Dennis can also use the generator to paint other churches if need be.

At the beginning of their trip, Judy became sick and couldn’t go out. During this time, she got to know the Hindu lady hired to cook for them. The lady was interested in learning how to be a Christian. She lives a few houses from where Pr. Rajan holds weekly vespers services, and she memorized a song about Jesus she had overheard.

Judy and a JFA Bible Worker went through the evangelistic series JFA has used previously in India with her. Judy praises God for using her time of being unable to go out to help Nalini learn about Jesus. 

Judy and the Bible Worker studying with Nalini

“God is bringing things together in quite a miraculous way, so we’re so grateful,” Judy shared.

We are so excited to hear what God is doing in India. We hope this update is an encouragement to you as well! If you would like to participate in reopening these churches through the repairs or Bible Workers, please click the buttons below. 

-Contributed by Jesus for Asia


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