Summer 2009 Letter from Rev. Joseph Murala
Brother Bernie Wold, President of GEM USA Board of Directors and Brother Scott Christen, Vice-President/Secretary of GEM USA Board of Directors
Bernie and Scott arrived in Vijayawada of Andhra Pradesh, India on 11 June 2009 and stayed until 23 June 2009 had remarkable time with each other.
Unfavorable Situations: Swine flu was a big threat for air passengers at that time in Indian airports. On the other hand, severe warnings about terrorist attacks were alarmed to air passengers visiting India at the same time. In the midst of these hurdles and threats, Scott and Bernie took the risk to travel to India. They entered the country safely and returned home safely.
Unfavorable weather: May and June months are the hottest months in Indian weather. Normally the rains start in the middle of June, but no rains came this time and it was very hot. Our friends preferred to stay with us in our rooms with no air conditioning since it was dangerous to go outside on the hottest days.
Uncomfortable stay: It was very hot to visit any places outside and it was also very hard to stay in the rooms which were not air-conditioned. Fans were also not properly working due to repeated power cuts. Scott could somehow manage the heat but Bernie was sick. Indian food and drink was a must for them since the GEM campus exists near a village where shopping facilities are not available. Patience and longsuffering were experienced by them along with the culture shock due to their living with us. Our Mahindra vehicle was in a repair shed the entire time Scott and Bernie were with us, and it hindered our visits to places of our ministry. The vehicle was repaired the night before they left, so we could only use the vehicle to drive them to the airport, which is about one hour away.
In the midst of all these adverse experiences, the exciting achievements taking place to praise God were….
Dedicating the 2nd floor of the GEM Staff Home Building: Scott and Bernie were excited to see the GEM church building titled ‘THE LORD’S SANCTUARY’ and also the GEM Home, an abode for GEM orphan children and the staff. They both dedicated the newly built floor the next morning of their arrival and stayed in one of the newly dedicated rooms.
Dedicating the GEM Pastors: Bernie and Scott dedicated five young men who are working as pastors in different places in fellowship with GEM. They have also commissioned two women in GEM Church to reach the unreached serving as Bible women.
Pastor’s Retreat: A one day retreat was sponsored for teaching local pastors from various denominations in the town of Nuzvid. Brother Bernie taught 30 pastors and GEM USA paid for the noon meal. The training was entirely free to the pastors. The next day, Brother Scott spoke in a small home church gathering in Vissannapet.
Ministering in GEM Church: Both of them shared time to preach in GEM church on two Sundays. They anointed the sick and the suffering with oil and prayed for many people. The people were happy. They had some opportunities to play and pray with the orphan children and the local village children who came on the land to see these men from America.
Shopping Home needs: One washing machine/dryer, a refrigerator, a few fans, and a DVD player for Christian education were purchased by them for the GEM Staff Home. Two sewing machines were bought and dedicated in the GEM Church to start a free training center to help the widows and poor women under the self-help scheme. This is a great help not only for the women in the GEM church but also for the location village and area. A lap-top computer was brought for GEM INDIA business office use. Presently, our business office is in one of the GEM INDIA staff bedrooms. They also generously paid for the repairs of the Bolero vehicle and Abraham’s motorcycle.
More orphans supported: The support is now extended for a total of 10 children this year. Two boys are studying 9th grade in the local high school and 8 children go to the elementary school close by. The boys going to the high school are provided with a bicycle to travel.
Plans for future ministry: Since our Mahindra vehicle was in a mechanics shop and the weather was so hot to visit as many places of ministry as we desired, our visitors had sufficient time to sit with us and discuss and pray about many plans for expanding the Lord's ministry. We plan to build a 10 - 12 foot compound wall that parallels the busy road next to the GEM INDIA. Since there is persecution of Christians in India, we hope to build this wall for protection as soon as the funding is available. We will also use this wall to raise sheds for running a private English medium school as soon as the Lord provides the finances. This school will be used by our orphans and by local students who are able to pay a small tuition fee which will help pay for some of the expenses of the school. Our school teachers will of course be Christians.
When we have additional funding, we will complete a good and tall compound wall around the entire campus for security purposes. Currently, we have a short wall that separates us from the village, but the village children can easily climb over it. This wall needs to be built taller. The other three sides of the campus have a simple barbed-wire fence which is all we can afford to have at this time.
We all believe that Bible school is also needed on our campus to train many gospel workers. My sons, Abraham and Joshua, were encouraged by Bernie and Scott to upgrade in theology and equip themselves to teach in the future Bible school. Both of my sons will do their Masters of Theology degrees by correspondence. Their training will require two years. When their training is finished, my brother-in-law, my two sons, and myself will be the initial teachers at the Bible school. When we have the second story of the church constructed, we will be able to open our official GEM INDIA SEMINARY. We desire to have up to 100 seminary students when the seminary building is completed. Until that time, we will use the church building as a multipurpose facility.
Since GEM is entirely God's ministry, we go forward based on God's leading, God's timing, God's funding, and God's purpose.
God's servant in GEM INDIA,
Pastor Joseph Murala