The group visiting India from Oregon (Deanna Moen, Peter and Heidi Sletmoe, and Jane Burton) continued these past two weeks to attend the Vacation Bible School (VBS) sessions being held among our churches in the Andhra Pradesh region. They also attended a few church services.
On Friday, November 22, the group went to a service at the Yanam church where S. Raco Raju is the pastor. They said there was a good number in attendance, and two special visitors—Surya Gajbhiv, the District Superintendent of the Maharashtra Province, and his wife, Manisha. Brother Surya testified, and so did three from Oregon. The message focused on being a step away from salvation while choosing not to receive it. The preacher likened this to viewing the Bay of Bengal without wanting to step in and enjoy the water. A good prayer time followed accompanied by a sweet presence of God.
The next day, the Yanam children joined VBS at the Nadimpalem church, which is pastored by S. Yesu Ratnam. About one hundred children attended in all. As with the previous VBS sessions, the theme was “Build on the Rock,” taken from the parable of the wise man who built his house on a rock and the foolish man who built on the sand. The children were encouraged to build their lives on the solid foundation of Jesus Christ. At the close of the session, each child was given a gift bag full of goodies and a Good News! tract for children, which had recently been translated into the Telugu language. Previously, the gift bags had been prayed over with the request that God would reveal His love to each recipient.
On Sunday morning, the group enjoyed a wonderful church service in Pedapudi where Rayudu Daniel is the pastor. Then they went to a service at the Kaikavolu church, which is pastored by Rayudu Raju, who is also the District Superintendent for the Andhra Pradesh Province. They said that every chair was filled, and many were sitting on the floor as well. They had another great service, and then a water-baptism was held for ten candidates. This was the largest number to be baptized at the Kaikavolu church at one time, and there was much joy and thanksgiving among those who witnessed it.
VBS was held on Tuesday at the Masakapalli church, pastored by M. Samuel Raju. The group said this church is set near the Godavari River in a beautiful area that is very green and lush. Nearby are banana and coconut trees. About thirty-five children came for VBS, along with many mothers. As with the previous sessions, the room was decorated to look like a construction site, complete with large cardboard trucks. Also, a child volunteer was asked to assist, and then outfitted with a hard hat, safety vest, tool belt, and tools. The children were happy to participate in each activity and very excited to receive their treat bags.
VBS has concluded in India, and the group from Oregon is expected to arrive home in the next few days. We thank the Lord for those who chose to be water-baptized, and for every child who heard the Gospel through VBS this year. We pray God will encourage and draw each one.