...with your whole heart

Kardias Ministries :: Gampala Family Ministries

I have often wondered what it must have been like for Paul to preach in Asia. Imagine it: All around you are shrines and temples built to god after god. Every town you pass through, every village has its own favorite god that it worships. People in the culture have grown up all their lives with any number of gods to choose from, whatever suits their fancy. A god for fertility; a god for luck; a god for anger; a god for success; a god for long life; and on and on.

Paul comes along trying to break into this culture talking about the one true God. Sometimes he was tolerated, as in Athens (Acts 18:32); sometimes things became hostile, as in Lystra (Acts 14:21). Either way, he quickly learned that to the vast majority of the people his ideas sounded like foolishness (1 Corinthians 1:23).

Not much has changed in nearly two millenia.

The combined congregations now number more than 80 people.
The combined congregations now number more than 80 people. Gampala John (right) suffers from diabetes.

The Gampala Family

Near the city of Kakinada, India, there is a small family of Christians who are giving their lives daily to preach the word of God to an idolatrous society. Mostly they are tolerated, but at the whim of the majority Hindu population persecutions are possible. In spite of the risks the Gampalas press on; they will not be deterred from their mission of serving the people in their community and preaching the good news of the kingdom of God. Though they are poor (jobs are almost impossible to find for untouchables like them), they do everything they can to take care of their families, the widows, and the fatherless children nearby. Though they are small (to our knowledge, they are the only Sabbath keepers in the region), they love the Lord their God with all their heart. Though they are weak (disease is common in their land), they love the Lord their God with all their strength.

Gampala Chitti on bike, with son Johnson and daughter Dina; Gampala Prasad in the background.
Gampala Chitti on bike, with son Johnson and daughter Dina; Gampala Prasad in the background.

Over the years, God has blessed their efforts. They started in 1969 as one family who was kicked out of a Pentecostal congregation after the father of the family, through the leading of the Holy Spirit, came to believe that they should keep the Sabbath. The father, Gampala Andrew, began preaching this good news to his village and won a few converts. When Andrew died, the mantle of responsibility fell on the eldest son, Gampala John. When the youngest son, Gampala Chitti, came of age he was sent out with this directive: "It's time for you to build another congregation." And yet a third congregation has been formed by Gampala Ananda, son of John.

Gampala Esther, who is Brother Chitti's wife, enjoying a moment of peace.
Gampala Esther, who is Brother Chitti's wife, enjoys a moment of peace. She is wearing her special white Sabbath sari.

Current Needs

Today, the three congregations have about 80 converts, and as the Lord blesses them they are growing all the time. But they need help to preach the Word of God more effectively to the pagan people. For example, If Gampala Chitti visits a Hindu and says, "The Bible says that there is only one true God," they will not believe him. But if Gampala Chitti can hand him his own copy of the scriptures written in his own language, then they can look it up together and continue the conversation. Even at only $2.50 (US) per Bible, this is too much for the Gampala family to purchase on their own.

Not to mention feeding the large population of widows who are too feeble to work for themselves and have no husband to help them. Or the fatherless children who are too young to work for themselves. Or the many people who become sick from common diseases but are too poor to pay for the medicines and food necessary to become well again. Even a "simple" case of diarrhea can become deadly.

There is always tension between the Christians and the larger Hindu population. At times, the tension has increased to defiance, such as the Orissa uprising of 2008. There are times when the Hindus will not allow the Gampala family to baptize new converts in any of the local water-holes. There are times when nearby Hindu leaders have paid the local kids to throw rocks at the Gampala's windows.

For years the local Hindu leaders, using trumped up accusations and bullying techniques, did not allowed Pastor John to meet in his church building. This forced the members of his church to meet on the roof of his house - exposed to the oppresive heat of the summer and the pounding rains of monsoon. But God provided relief from this trial, for He provided the funds needed to build a new church building on top of Pastor John's house. This building provide the shelter they need to protect them from the elements, and the location they need to protect them form the local bullies.

Now the Gampala family desires to raise a new congregation closer to the large city of Kakinada. The young man called to this job is Gampala Prasad. Much must be done in order for this to succeed, most important of which is the blessing of God. Pelase pray that Brother Prasad will work in the power of the Holy Spirit, and that new members will be added daily because of His work.

The barriers are large. Every day is work, struggle, and frustration. But the Gampala's keep working in service to our Lord. They need your prayers; they need your encouragement to keep the flame of passion alive in them.

"Behold, I say to you", says our Lord Jesus, "lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest!" (John 4:35) The need in India is great indeed. Will you help?