Many villagers are in need of church buildings where believers may gather together, worship the Lord, and invite neighbors, friends, and family to com and learn about the Living God. Currently, many believers gather together under pandals (like tents) or under the porch of a believer’s house. Though these may work for short periods of time, the believers are unable to meet this way during the rain season. Some places are blessed with church buildings, but may be in need of repair. For example, some churches are tiled out of mud and now the mud roof may need
replaced. The rain season begins in May or June and lasts until October. During these months meeting in tents is impractical since the tents cannot keep out the rain. Even if the day begins sunny, believers may find themselves drenched in a downpour during the course of a service. Meeting on porches may not provide ample space for people to gather and if it is windy the rain will blow and soak the believers.
Talking with people, we have often heard some of the following questions and we would like to take a moment to address them here.
*Why can’t the believers there use house churches like I’ve heard about in China?
House churches may be effective in some areas. However, in remote villages with many living in what would be considered poverty this model doesn’t work. Those who have a home may only have one or two rooms. There is not much space for believers to gather together and it may not work as a regular meeting place.
*Why don’t they just keep using the pandals (tents)?
The pandals are wonderful blessings during the winter season and even during the summer season. The rain season is when the biggest issue arises since it lasts for months. A pandal often uses women’s sarees as walls and for parts of the cover. The fabric is beautiful, but it does not keep out any rain. Because the rain season lasts from as early as May to as late as October, this is a significant portion of time. The Bible tells believers to meet together regularly. This is challenging when facing rain for this many months out of a year.
*Why don’t the believers there use their money to build a church building?
The areas where we are working are considered very poor. The people do not always have jobs and even those who do comparatively don’t make a lot of money. Many grow crops on government owned land just to have food for their families. They do not have extra resources to sell to help raise money for a church building. Not all of the families even have enough to eat. Many people are in a survival mode and simply do not have the resources needed to build a building.
Please stop and think about the church building where you are meeting. Think of all that goes on there and think about how difficult it would be if that building were not available or if it were in sore need of repair. Here in the United States we could consider renting or getting permission to use another building. In Tribal Agency and Odisha most communities do not even have such a building available that would be an option. Please pray and do as God leads you to help your brothers and sisters in Christ.
The Church Shelter at Kotta (Konda) Jogumpeta
Our most urgent need for a church building to be constructed is in Kotta (Konda) Jogumpeta village. This village in Tribal Agency is very remote and primitive. Many people live in homes without even doors to keep the animals out. They collect sticks and carry them to their houses to cook over open fires. They are currently meeting in what may best be described as a stick shelter over a packed dirt floor. There are no walls and the roof is made of sticks and dried palm branches. Though this provides some shade on the hot days, it does not provide any protection from the rain. Our vision is to provide the believers of this village with a mud building and a metal roof. Because of the remote location and the condition of the roads, a concrete building is not possible. A mud building with a metal roof would enable the believers to meet together without getting wet during the rain season. The building will have four windows and one door. It will be very similar to the one in Borra Bakuru village that has already been such a blessing to the believers there. We are estimating the cost to be about $2,200. We are praying that construction will be able to begin in November and for the believers to be able to meet there by the end of December. By God’s grace, we are praying to see the believers begin the new year (2018) in a new church building. Please join us in prayer and give as the Lord leads. Thank you and God bless!