GEM Church Ministry in India: GEM is concentrating on planting and strengthening churches in new areas. The Lord is opening doors to support some evangelists and also expand their ministry from the grassroots level. We trained ten church workers during this past year. Some of these men already had small congregations and have returned with renewed vision to continue to expand their ministries. Of those who did not have churches, we assisted them to plant churches by conducting gospel meetings in their areas. As a result, some new congregations emerged and these pastors are very happy and grateful to GEM for launching them into the ministry. Each newly planted church has begun with at least two families. When GEM USA receives additional funding, we desire to include these newly birthed churches under the ongoing spiritual umbrella of GEM INDIA and to give financial support to these pastors.
GEM Church at Leelenagar: The church at our GEM headquarters in India started with two widows in 2006. By God’s grace, now there are nearly fifty women and men attending. Though a few members have died and gone to heaven, new people are coming to the church. Growth is slow because of the entrenchment of Hinduism and Islam that long before preceded GEM INDIA’s arrival to Leelenagar. We continue to support some church children for their public and spiritual education via the contributions given to GEM USA. Joshua, my younger son, is mainly involved in pastoring this church. There are four additional people ready to be baptized in this church. Last year we conducted Semi-Christmas which was a gospel meeting for non-Christians.
GEM Church near Hyderabad: GEM INDIA started another church among the Banjara tribal people who live in the bush country near Hyderabad, the capital city of the State of Andhra Pradesh. Thirty people regularly attend this church. Pastor Vijay Raju serves this church. His wife leads an adult literacy program in this church as none of these people have received any formal education from the government. For now, they meet in a makeshift shed. Vijay is also undertaking a self-supporting training unit in his church which helps the church members to produce twenty-seven kinds of products to be used in their homes. This project helps the church grow in numbers as it draws others who want this training. Three people were baptized recently in this church during my visit.
GEM Church at Vijayawada: Abraham, my oldest son, is now focusing on planting a new congregation in Vijayawada, where we stayed for several years before coming to GEM INDIA Campus. There is great need to plant this church in this severely non-Christian area. A few people started coming to worship the Lord in a rented building. Abraham wanted to focus in this city which is hoped to become the next capital city for Andhra.
New Pastors: Four independent pastors have recently been selected, with USA Board approval, to be in direct affiliation with GEM INDIA. One of them is Daniel who is working among the tribal people living in a valley at the border of Andhra Pradesh and Orissa states, about 150 miles from GEM INDIA Campus, where many Christians were persecuted and murdered and several churches and Christian homes were burned and destroyed by fanatical Hindus. Many of the Christians fled for their lives into the bush country. They lost everything of earthly value. We have brought several children from this area to live on our campus, to educate them spiritually, and to provide for their public education. Another pastor, Raja Rao, is working among the caste Hindus. The other two pastors were trained by us in ICT Bible School and have planted churches.
ICT Bible School: We are working with Reverend Seva Bharat who began a ministry several years ago in Andhra Pradesh to plant churches. By using our GEM INDIA campus, we house ten men for one year to train them to become church planters while under the supervision of Seva Bharat. Our first graduating class is involved in field work this year. We are hoping to train another group of ten pastors during this coming year. Some of these men want to be under the governance of GEM INDIA; thus, the spiritual and financial needs continue to grow for us.
GEM INDIA Children’s Home: Two of the senior students finished their high school education and moved forward for their future ventures. Three girls have stopped their schooling due to personal problems. Three boys found educational help from the government and this allowed us to help other needy children in their place. They are all replaced by tribal children from Orissa border who desperately need our support. New children usually give us a lot of trouble until they get acquainted with us; however, these tribal children from the border of Andhra Pradesh and Orissa are so very grateful and submissive to our care. We currently care for ten boys and five girls. When we have the financial means to build more facilities, we will care for many more orphans.
GEM School Proposal: As the Lord has provided us one and a half acres of land for GEM INDIA Campus, and there is a great need for an English elementary and medium school in this area, we proposed to the local government, after receiving approval by GEM USA Board of Directors, to start a school here on our campus. The children around us find it very hard to travel nearly eight miles to go to the government school. Therefore, we felt that there is certainly a need for starting a school on our campus. GEM INDIA is in the process of building a multi-purpose building which currently has six rooms. We had hoped to open the school in June 2012, but the local government did not allow us to do so as of yet. The local government authorities are demanding that at least six more rooms, play ground equipment, at least four outside toilets, nine teachers with Bachelor of Education degrees, a computer lab room, an administrative office room, and a library room are all in readiness before the school may be opened. GEM USA supported Joshua’s wife, Susanna, to study the Bachelor of Education degree which she successfully finished. Abraham’s wife, Sudha, already possesses her Bachelor of Education degree. Thus, we have two teachers, but we need to have seven more teachers before the school opens. We will also need at least one office clerk. I will oversee the school as the interim principal until the school is larger and merits a full-time principal. It is our prayer that the school may open June 2013. A preliminary budget has been forwarded to GEM USA Board of Directors for prayerful consideration of ultimate implementation.
Severe Summer: During the months of May and June, we experienced a very hot summer. More than 100 people died in just our area due to the severe heat. People suffered from water scarcity due to power outages. People living around the campus thronged to our GEM campus well to get water for their very existence. The generator donated by GEM USA saved us from the heat and the darkness caused by the constant power outages during the horrible summer. GEM INDIA is so grateful to God and GEM USA for providing a Tata Grande van which is taking care of our transportation in our ministry tours and for our daily needs for all who live on the campus. This vehicle is helping us to attend many Gospel meetings arranged by our pastors and to visit them frequently for their spiritual encouragement. Without the prayer and financial support from each team member of GEM USA, none of this letter would be a reality. May God continue to wonderfully bless each of you as you continue to be a blessing to us and to those to whom we minister.
India Prayer Requests:
ˇ Please pray for the baptisms of Subba Rao, Karuna, Bujji and Syamala.
ˇ Please pray for the conversions of Laxmi Narayana, Rajeswararao, and Pullarao.
ˇ Please pray for the good health of Subramanyam, Devadanam, Nageswaramma, and Anji.
ˇ Please pray for protection for all our workers, our orphans, and our congregations.
Working with God in His Vineyard,
Brother Joseph Murala and GEM INDIA Staff
Brother Peter Hoetter continues to live in a very simple two room dwelling. He uses a community toilet, a community place to bathe from a bucket, and a community water spigot that produces a trickle of water about 12 hours each day. If Peter wants hot water, he must heat the water on a small single burner propane cooking stove. He shares these facilities with people who live in four other apartments in a very small and walled compound. Peter continues to oversee the care of 99 orphans who live in Monduli, one to one and one half hours drive from Arusha. Peter must live in Arusha due to his medical condition which is very debilitating. He has trouble lifting his feet into a two step entrance to his dwelling; thus, he must step on a board and shuffle his feet into his dwelling. I know this from personal experience and observation while I stayed with him in July 2010. In addition, there are certain wicked men in Monduli who hate what Peter is doing for the orphans. These evil men would kill Peter if they had the opportunity, so he lives in seclusion in Arusha, but maintains the ministry via the help of his board members.
Speaking of board members, it is an ongoing challenge for Peter to get reliable and trustworthy male members on the Board of Directors. One male board member embezzled funds for a period of time. When it was discovered what he was doing, it has taken fourteen months of court hearings, but on August 7, 2012, the court determined that the embezzler is guilty. He has one month to refund the stolen money. The women who are on the Board of Directors are dedicated at various levels of commitment for the care of the orphans. The nurse and kindergarten teacher are two wonderful servants of the Lord. Peter could not manage the 99 orphans without their ongoing dedication to God, Peter, and the orphans. A few months ago, the nurse and her daughter were abandoned by her husband and the fiancé of our teacher broke the engagement on Easter Sunday. Needless to say, both situations were devastating to our two most loyal board members.
Construction of the orphan’s facility began a few months ago. The first stage was finished at the end of May and the second stage is in process. The center is located in southeast Monduli which is the newest developing area of the city. The structure is located on one square acre of land of which I walked on in July 2010. The orphan’s center will have one room for teaching kindergarten, one room for a computer center for our orphans to use for school assignments. The orphans’ ages range from kindergarten to high school. A third room will be an administrative office. Living quarters will be built for our nurse, our kindergarten teacher, and one or two guest rooms. Please check www.gemorphans.org to better understand what “orphans” means for us in Tanzania. Due to financial limitations, GEM is currently able to send $1,200 a year to help assist the orphans of Tanzania. Peter, who is a German, has additional support from Germany; otherwise, it would be impossible to assist 99 orphans.
Tanzania Prayer Requests:
ˇ Please pray for divine healing and safety for Peter.
ˇ Please pray for our nurse and teacher as they move forward in their lives.
ˇ Please pray for our 99 orphans.
ˇ Please pray that the construction of the orphan’s center will be fully completed and fully protected by God and his angels.
ˇ Please pray that all of the money that was stolen by the embezzler will be repaid in 30 days.
GEM USA Prayer Requests:
ˇ Please pray that our Board of Directors will always be guided by the Holy Spirit in the many decisions that are always before us.
ˇ Please pray that two other non-profit organizations will began to financially assist GEM sometime in the near future.
ˇ Please pray that our support base will continue to increase.
ˇ Please pray that the board members will not lose their means of employment.
ˇ Please pray for a spiritual awakening across the USA and the world.
Thankfulness to you: This ministry would not be able to assist anyone overseas without your ongoing prayer support and financial support. During this time of economic depression, God has blessed GEM with additional financial support. Since this is God’s ministry, He can proceed with His plans as He knows best. We, the board members, always desire to be His wise stewards in the handling of all administrative and financial decisions. All gifts of any amount are always appreciated while God always receives the praise for the gifts. May God continue to abundantly bless your walk with Him.
Serving others while under the guidance of Christ,
Bernie Wold and the GEM team