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
These invitations were repeated over and over again for several months and finally Jeeva relented and moved to Kabul for a short 2 month visit. This short visit turned into more than seven years in Afghanistan! In 2001 Mark and Vickie had began the great work of HOPE worldwide > > > Afghanistan. Their pioneering efforts impacted hundreds of thousands of Afghans over the following 11 years. In late 2005, shortly after the departure of Mark and Vickie, Dan and Mary Allison began their work with HOPE worldwide Afghanistan. Seeing a great need and a likely candidate to fill that need, Dan hired Jeeva full time to work with the finances and thus began a deep and abiding friendship between Jeeva and Dan. Through the next five years, Dan and Jeeva worked together, prayed together, and grew strong in the Lord together. It was during this time that Jeeva renewed his faith and his commitment to Christ.
In 2010, Dan and Mary Allison completed their time in Afghanistan and transitioned to a new location. Gary and Gayle Knutson bravely came to Afghanistan to replace the Allisons and worked to complete some crucial grants. Recently, Jeeva has been spending a good deal of his time back in India as part of the Hyderabad church, while still going occasionally to Afghanistan to complete some crucial work with HOPE worldwide. In early March, Jeeva learned that Dan and Mary Allison would be coming to India from Dubai to do a series of parenting workshops in Mumbai, Pune and then Hyderabad. Jeeva and his wife Santhi saw this as an opportunity to spend a couple of wonderful days renewing their friendship with Dan and Mary. Jeeva had moved to his ancestral village called Bapatla, about a six hour train ride from Hyderabad. There are no churches of ours in this area, but a church planting is planned in October for a city only around 20 miles from Bapatla. Jeeva asked Dan if he and Mary would like to come for a visit and also speak to some of the villagers about Jesus if it could be arranged. Dan, of course, said "that would be great!", and a plan was made. As far as Dan was concerned, this was to be a small "Bible talk" size meeting with 20-30 people. Jeeva, however, had other ideas. He immediately began working with the village elders to get their cooperation and soon a plan was hatched to involve the entire village in an outdoor "gospel meeting" type of event! Jeeva had a large sign put up on the roadside to advertise the event and created a commercial to air on the local TV station. He passed out pamphlets all over the area and got a group of local young men, aged 18-25, to handle the vast majority of the detail work.
Dan and Mary arrived in Bapatla by train on Tuesday, March 27th, the day of the first of two meetings. The meeting was to start at 6:30 pm. By 6:00 pm, the stage was still being set up, the sound system didn't work (because the power was out!), and a hundred other details seemed to be amiss. But as it turned out, the villagers were running on "Indian time"! No one really, except the Allisons, expected the event to start at 6:30 pm!
By 7:30 pm, the villagers had started to come out and it turned into a real community event. Children from the village performed several excellent dance routines, groups sang songs, and a few other villagers shared some thoughts.
By 8:45 pm, Dan finally got up to speak. His lesson was translated by a great brother named Sarath from the Hyderabad church. Dan shared about the character of Christ, and particularly about Jesus'
servanthood. He then explained Jesus attitude toward sin, and that sin separated man from God. By the time that his lesson began, over 500 people from Jeeva's village and the surrounding villages had gathered. At the same time, people who couldn't come to the meeting could heard the message from their homes (huge speakers had been set up). The village population is around 2,000. Dan closed his lesson on a cliff-hanger and told them to come back the next night for the "good news!". Once again, on Wednesday night over 450 local villagers turned out. This time Dan spoke about the cross of Jesus Christ and the true plan of salvation. At the end of the message, 3 young men came to the front and asked to study these things more, while dozens of their friends stood by and watched and then all of them went to the train station to send off Dan and Mary as they left the village.
"We have had so many meetings, but nothing ever like this has happened. Normally, western people, who come will not deliver the messages like these, but these people are in GOD and truly GOD’s people." (Padma- Villager)
"My hairs on hand stand firm throughout the meetings. Thanks for providing this opportunity for us. The messages are very much convicting and hit our hearts." (Raja- Youth of the village)
"These kind of meetings have never happened here and we never expected this many people will attend. The message was very much convicting." (Yesupadam Alas Babu-Elder in the village)
All of this was accomplished through God by the faith and work of one penitent disciple - Jeeva - who had the faith to believe that he could have the gospel preached in his village. One man with faith is all it takes. Please pray for the young men in Bapatla who are studying the Bible right now and the establishment of the church in October that is being sent out from Hyderabad. To God be the Glory!