On January 12th, our dear brother in Christ Philemon Raj passed away. It was as sudden as this sentence. He succumbed to a cardiac arrest, which left him physically lifeless in the early hours of Friday morning. He was 42 and left behind his wife and two daughters. We were shocked beyond words, as we had met him looking very well, the previous Sunday at a leader's meeting.
More than 250 people have died from floods in Chennai, India after days of intense rain. Here are updates from HOPE worldwide and the Chennai church:
From Ian Correa, HOPE worldwide India:
The situation is grim. We are drawing encouragement from the churches in India, who are stepping forward to help with a Sunday collection and volunteers. The disciples and HOPEww workers have already distributed 60,000 meals and toiletries and will soon be distributing another 120,000 meals.
For Anand, the New Year Day of 2013 is unforgettable. Last year he went through several tough patches of life including the unexpected death of his father. In this period his worldly friends led him to many bad habits assuring him such things will free him from his worries.
The entire city of Mumbai was shut for the funeral of a political leader. Not a shop was open. There were no cabs or autorickshaws on the streets. The only things working were the trains and a few buses. The police asked people not to step out unless it was an emergency. There was an eerie silence and calm as we drove to church wondering how many will be able to make it.
Cricket in India is like a religion and the National Cricket players are admired by most people like idols. It is nearly impossible to ever get a personal contact with them. But God has a way of reaching out to every one and giving a chance to know the way of salvation.
Newsletter Updates from the Indian News Network:
All the Family Groups (House Churches) in the Bangalore Church are having Invitation Bible Talks this month. The Udaya Nagar Family Group of K.R.Puram Region led by Prabhu & Celine had a great Bible talk after much prayer, fasting & evangelism.
Jeeva Kumar was baptized in the Hyderabad church in India in 1998. He was an excited college student, gregarious and ready to take on the world. During a time of testing, he kept in touch with numerous disciples, but his convictions grew weak. Around 2003, a close friend of Jeeva's, Mahaveer Jain, then working for HOPE worldwide Afghanistan, invited Jeeva to join the HWW team to help out with project finances.
"Like cold water to a weary soul is good news from a distant land" Proverbs 25:25