The Lord has showered many blessings on the Kerala churches in the last few years. Led dynamically by Saji and Sheeba, who were members of the original mission team to Kerala, the saints are praying and God is answering, as he always does.
In Kerala there are 14 districts and 32 million people. It is the most literate state in India, with strong orthodox Christian groups, as well as other faiths. The churches in Kerala began in Cochin, when a mission team led by Dinesh and Caroline George was sent from Delhi and Bangalore in 1992 with 12 disciples. Year-by-year the churches grew, as sold-out disciples continue to make committed disciples. Today there are congregations in 8 of the 14 districts of Kerala, and the saints have a dream to reach every district with the gospel in the coming years. We in India believe that shepherds should not “abandon the sheep” or take the sleekest sheep to start new congregations, but we should continue to care for our brothers and sisters when they get weak or discouraged (John 10).
Through faithful preaching and shepherding the churches have continued to grow and multiply over the years. At the start of 2006 there were 535 disciples in Kerala. During 2007 there were 73 baptisms and 6 restorations in Kerala, and by year-end there were 575 disciples. Many thanks go to the churches in Michigan, led by Brian and Shan Perkins, for their sacrificial support of the Kerala work in spite of economic hardship in their own state. So far in 2008 there have been another 15 baptisms and 2 restorations, and there are 578 disciples in Kerala. The 3 main congregations are led by full time staff and 7 satellite churches are led by non staff. Almost all the churches grew last year. Kottayam (led by Benny & Raji) grew from 113 to 119 disciples, Cochin (Saji & Sheeba) grew from 134 to 141 and Trivandrum (led by Christy and Lucy) from 164 to 176. We are praying and preparing to send a mission team soon to Palghat (new district).
Ajith was a 17 year old when he became a disciple in 2007. His family was a terrible situation, with his father an alcoholic and mother mentally unstable due to constant abuse and fighting at home. Ajith used to be constantly beaten black & blue and verbally abused by his dad. Uncle Santhiyavu and Elsy Aunty invited him to church. He studied the Bible and responded immediately to the hope of Jesus, and was baptized. He is really grateful to Jesus and to the church for teaching the him the truth and saving his soul. He is involved in the ministry every single day--evangelizing alone or going along with others. Ajith’s zeal for saving the lost has helped him to bring Anish to the Lord in 2007.
Ramesh is originally from Delhi but grew up in Mumbai. He has a father who married twice. No one was there to take care of him since his younger days. He joined the underworld in Mumbai and became a drug peddler and addict. Despairing of life, he came moved to Kerala. Sunil, a disciple in the Kottayam church invited Ramesh to church. The sin study and other studies really helped him to be thoroughly open about his life and he became a disciple. Now, as he looks back on his life, he really feels grateful to God what the Almighty has done.
Each soul is special to God, and these are just two of the souls impacted by the gospel in the Kerala region. Many thanks to the Michigan churches' for their financial sacrifice and help, and to all the saints for praying so that Kerala might be saved.