The Advent Christian Conference of India purchased St Xavier’s School in Khagaria, Bihar in April 2003, soon after Pastor Paul Sunder Raj went to the area as a missionary/church planter. At that time there were 183 children on the roll.
Since the school was purchased it has proved to be a tremendous “bridge into the community” for the Conference’s outreach with the Gospel. On many occasions in the past ten years, when Pastor Paul and his team members have been threatened by those opposed to the preaching of the Gospel by the team, the parents of the children attending the school have successfully turned away the threats by indicating that they value the school and the quality education it is bringing to their children, and by indicating to those carrying out the threats that they would have a large group of parents to deal with if they cause any further problems. Praise the Lord for those interventions and for the support the school enjoys and for the opportunities it has given for the sharing of the Gospel and Christian ethics..
Today, the school, which is one of only two English medium schools in Khagaria City, has 1010 students in classes Nursery to Standard 10. It has 25 teachers of whom 17 have come from Tamil Nadu State as missionaries, and 8 non-teaching staff. At present 25 of the students are receiving free education, 80 are paying 50% fees and the balance are paying full fees
As the roll number of the school has grown over the years the land and buildings have become very cramped and unsuitable, and have been seriously flooded on several occasions in recent years when heavy rains have occurred. Even during short rains the school grounds fill with water – if it rains continuously for just half an hour rain water enters into all the left side class rooms. Congested class rooms due to shortage of space available in the rooms causes students to have problems in writing and carrying out other activities, moving about and in fact learning properly. There is not sufficient outside space for parking cycles, for the children’s leisure activities, or to conduct any kind of program or activity which involves all of the children or to include their parents or caregivers.
The school presently faces a crisis! Government authorities have advised the school Board that unless they relocate and meet government regulations as far as the size of land and buildings required by those regulations, the school will be compulsorily closed in April 2014! The owner of the rented premises from which the school operates has also been pressing the school board over the past year or two to relocate as he requires the land for other purposes. He has given several “deadlines” which have come and gone but the ultimatum from the Government Education authorities is likely to be carried out as they have threatened!
The minimum area of land required by the Government is 2 acres and the school Board has located a suitable piece of land in a suitable location. The cost of that land is 1 crore and 60 lakhs rupees – 16 million rupees, which is approximately NZ$307,000 at present exchange rates. The cost to build suitable buildings is estimated at 90 lakhs rupees – 9 million rupees, which is approximately NZ$175,000 at present exchange rates. The school Board has 30 lakhs set aside for development – 3 million rupees, which is approximately NZ$58,000.
This seems an impossible situation for the school and perhaps for the Advent Christian ministry in Khagaria as a whole. But our God is the God of the impossible – Matthew 19:26 tells us ”…but with God all things are possible.” and Luke 1:37 says “For nothing is impossible with God.”
Will you please bring this urgent situation before the Lord in prayer on a regular basis, seeking wisdom for the school Board and for the members of the team in Bihar and for an outcome that will allow the school and the outreach ministry to continue?