by Jeff Walsh, ACGC Director of World Outreach
INDIA, Saturday, January 14, late after noon – Riding in the mission jeep on the well-maintained highway to Andhra Pradesh State, I found a sense of refreshment and excitement within me. I felt refreshed viewing the beautiful country side dotted with rich, green rice fields – a welcome sight after spending several days in the concrete jungle of Chennai. And I felt excitement about the next day’s visit to the church of Pastor Paul Gandham, an Advent Christian pastor with a growing ministry to several remote communities. Besides me, there were five in the jeep: Raja (who was doing the driving), Immanuel, Steve Lawson, Ernie Schache and Paul Aruldoss. Paul Aruldoss was with us because he has a special relationship with Paul Gandham, having been the one to facilitate Paul Gandham’s connection with the Advent Christian Conference of India.
The next day we participated in a delightful and joyous worship gathering with over 200 people. A group of six young ladies, dressed all in white, served as the official greeters for the worshipers. As we foreigners entered, these young ladies showered us with fresh flower petals. We also received the customary gracious Indian gifts of garlands and shawls. During the service, we presented Paul Gandham with two Treasures (solar-powered audio Bibles) in the Telegu language, the common language of the people in that area. The Treasures are made possible through our partnership with an organization called World Mission. In prayer together as a church, we committed the Treasures for God’s kingdom use in evangelism and Bible studies.
After worship, all who had gathered enjoyed a fellowship meal together. I had fun awkwardly eating the biryani Indian style, with my right hand. Pastor Gandham and his church feed all the worshipers every Sunday. With the heart and compassion of Jesus (see Mark 8:1-3), Pastor Gandham knows that many in his church come from far away, so a part of his ministry is feeding them. We were privileged last year to support Pastor Gandham in this feeding ministry through the WHFMS “Bread of Life” project. We can praise God for how he is using Paul Gandham and his family to bring the kingdom of God to Andhra Pradesh.