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Over 100 Locked Churches?!

This is a story of a vision interrupted but not dead.

Back in 2008, a group from America went to South India and held an evangelistic series. They saw the great need for the Gospel in many, many surrounding towns that did not have access to the truth. They had big hearts and wanted to do something that would impact the Kingdom forever. So, they decided they would conduct a 50-village effort. They had the local Section (Conference) leaders go throughout the area and select 50 sites. 

Fifty pieces of land were purchased within a two-and-a-half-hour radius of the Section headquarters. The team from America built 40 churches, leaving 10 plots bare, and they started their evangelistic series. On the first night of the series, the RSS (which is a Hindu extremist group) turned them in to the police, made a big complaint, and got them kicked out of the country immediately.

The 40 churches already built (we were previously told 22) were left without anyone to nurture or raise a congregation, and they’ve been sitting empty and closed since 2009. So, for the last 15 years, we’ve had assets for the Kingdom of God sitting unused. 

As a little background into our interest in closed churches: In 2007, Jesus for Asia learned about 19 closed, locked churches in another part of South India, and we decided to try to reopen them. We determined it was cheaper than building new churches. And why build new churches when there were closed churches? We brought enough people from America to open six churches, but we hired enough Bible Workers to reopen all 19. The main reason those churches were closed is that the local Conference could not afford the salaries of pastors or Bible Workers. 

Today, when we visit that area, we find a strong and growing community of churches. Not only are they going strong on Sabbath, but many are also hosting evening schools six nights a week. So we see the long-term success and power of reopening churches. 

And we want to do more!

This is one of the churches we reopened in 2007, full of children attending the evening school.

There is another reason to open closed churches: it takes the disrepute off of the Lord’s work. Indian people place a great value in their places of worship. How well they are kept up and used reflects the power of their gods. People of other faiths have been mocking our God because the churches are in such disrepair. They say, “Can’t your God take care of you?” Don’t you feel like David listening to Goliath? We do too. 

So our dream and vision now is to reopen all the closed churches we find so they can once again proclaim the three angels’ messages in India.

Praise God, we have just finished three evangelistic series in two areas. One series opened five churches. The other two opened 12 of the 40 churches that the American group built in 2009, with two more close to being reopened. We still have to figure out how to get electricity to one of the churches that could not be opened, and we still have to get right-of-way access to the other. There is no automatic right of-way access in India, so in the 15 years it’s been closed, people have built over the access road to the church.

One of the churches we recently helped reopen in India

The same church, full of people learning about Jesus!

So, we’ve basically opened 19 churches, with the vision to open the others as soon as possible.

How many closed churches have we been told about? 

  • Area A: 26 closed churches (We just opened 12 with two more opening soon.)

  • Area B: 30 closed churches. 

  • Area C: 70 closed churches.

  • Area D: 9 closed churches.

  • Area E: 1 closed church.

Total: 136 churches. We are still in the process of verifying this number.

Another closed church

Reopening each church costs an average of $1,600, much cheaper than building a brand new church. We believe it’s an excellent investment. We’re hoping and praying that God provides for all of these churches. 

The teams from America had a fantastic time; we want to do this again, but we don’t want to wait for people to come from America to do it. For this reason, we want to build a team locally to get this work started, and then, as we bring more teams from America, we’ll join and uplift the local dedicated work force. 

Please join us in praying for God to provide the funding for these churches and the selection of the local workforce team. 

We hope to get a “Church Adoption” program going soon. In the meantime, please support the “Church Buildings” fund and we will continue to reopen churches from that fund.

If God impresses you to sponsor Bible Workers for these churches, please click the button below. Gifts of any size are welcome.

-Contributed by Jesus for Asia


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