...with your whole heart

Monday, January 31, 2010

Kardias Ministries 2010 Year-End Report

Dear Supporters,

A lot can happen in a year!

It has been a full year since our last update on the activities of Kardias Ministries, and indeed – a lot has happened. Let’s get right to it...

Contents

Haung Dau and the Burma Scholarship Fund
India Report 2010
    Completion of the House of God
    "Gospel Chariot" Stolen and Replaced
    Mission India 2010
    Church Growth and Church Needs While Preaching the Gospel
    The New Kakinada Congregation
    Brahmin Priest Converts
    Widow Support
    Miracles and Persecution at Tabernacles
    New Blessings: A Computer and a Baptismal Pool
Prasad Gampala's Request
Kardias Teaching Program
Mission India 2011/2012
Record of Finances
Conclusion

Haung Dau and the Burma Scholarship Fund

In the spring of 2010, Haung Dau graduated from the Intensive English program at the English Learning School in Indianapolis. It was time to find a college to attend - but this was easier said than done.

The best plan from our perspective was to attend Ivy Tech in Indianapolis. This school is inexpensive, local, and a good stepping stone to a larger or more specialized university. Unfortunately, even though it is a community college, it has very high standards for the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) score that must be achieved before they will even talk to you about international admissions.

Vincennes University Logo

So we had to turn our attention to other options. We believe that God led us to Vincennes University, in Vincennes, Indiana. This university is relatively inexpensive and has open enrollment, meaning that they do not have a minimum TOEFL requirement for admission to the institution. This is good for our situation because it allows us to prove Haung Dau's educational ability and sharpen his skills before going to another college.

This university is about two-and-a-half hours away from our home, so commuting on a daily basis wouldn't be an option. Therefore, we had to find some sort of housing on or near campus. Again, God provided. We found a man who owns a larger home that he rents out specifically to international students. All food and utilities are included in his low rental rate. I've heard that his cooking is quite good, and he also takes time to tutor the students when they need help. This has really been a blessing for us.

Just one last detail - getting Haung Dau back and forth between Vincennes and our home. I suppose we could drive down to Vincennes and back whenever travel was required, but wouldn't it be great if Haung Dau could drive himself? While still at ELS, he spent his free time studying the Indiana driver's manual, and earned the permit to learn to drive.

Even though we knew that his primary car would be a manual compact car, we decided it would be best for him to take the driving test using a minivan with an automatic transmission. So we practiced and we practiced and we practiced. Haung Dau passed the driving test without too much time to spare before he had to leave for Vincennes. Then we had to take a crash course (pardon the pun) on how to drive a stick-shift before we left him to fend for himself.

One day in August, we drove him and his few possessions down to the cute town of Vincennes, met Mr. Stock, toured the town, and returned back home, leaving Haung Dau to navigate his way through this next chapter in his life.

This semester he has taken four classes: Algebra II, Fundamentals of Writing, Reading Techniques, and Study Skills. It has been a real challenge for him to adjust to the expectations of college-level work, but he has risen to the challenge with an excellent GPA to show for it. Next semester he will tackle English Composition, College Algebra, Principles of Sociology, and Public Speaking.

This has been a year full of "firsts" for Haung Dau. God has opened so many doors to get us to this point, and there is so much work left to do. Really, he is just getting started. The plan at this point is that he will spend two years at Vincennes. Then, God willing, Haung Dau will transfer to a more specialized university where he can earn a degree that will train him for management of a non-profit institution. With this training, he will return to Burma where he will put his education to work by building an orphanage and community center. The goal, my friends, is to benefit the orphans, the weak, the undereducated, and the hopeless. This education is simply a step towards that goal.

As you can imagine, however, paying for college is no small endeavor, but it will be worth it. When tuition, books, room and board are all taken into consideration, the monthly cost for Haung Dau is about $1,333. Anything that you can do to help would be much appreciated.

India Report 2010

What an amazing and incredible year our brethren in India have had! Thanks to supporters like you Kardias has been right in the middle of making provisions and witnessing the incredible work our great God is doing with these precious people in Lanka, Rajupalem and Kakinada, India. 2010 will be remembered as a time of growth, a time of rejoicing, and the time when the threat of persecution became a reality for our brothers in India.

Completion of the House of God

In early 2010, thanks to a mighty gift from the Scharpen Foundation, the House of God was constructed on top of Pastor John's home in Rajupalem. This generous gift has provided the Christian brethren and the Gampala family ministry the ability to meet and worship in a beautiful church sanctuary after local Hindu leaders prevented them from meeting in the church they had used since 1969.

Blessing the new House of God

The new building was constructed over several months from December, 2009 until March, 2010. The building is poured concrete and is beautifully appointed with fine marble tiles and a slight dais at the preaching end of the room. The building atop Pastor John's home was built without revealing the intended purpose of the structure, lest the Hindu leaders prevent the construction outright. One day soon, it is hoped that a sign can be painted on the building that identifies it as the House of God.

"Gospel Chariot" Stolen and Replaced

Earlier in the year, as Chitti Gampala was preaching the Gospel in an isolated slum village of Pedapuddi, Muslims stole the motorcycle that had been graciously provided in 2009. The Gampala family relies heavily on the use of the motorcycle as it is their only form of transportation for the many ministries they strive to fulfill. They affectionately call the motorcycle their "Gospel Chariot." Heartbroken, Chitti made the situation of the theft known, and out of an abundant heart the same donor who had bought the first motorcycle purchased a replacement.

However, since the theft, the local authorities have forbidden the Gampalas from preaching the Gospel in Pedapuddi due to the prodding of the local Muslims. It is hoped that one day soon they can return and continue to water the seeds that the Lord has planted there.

Mission India 2010

On March 24, 2010, Kardias founder Brian Smith was accompanied by Michael Deering for the second official Kardias Mission trip to Southeast India. Taking off from O'Hare airport in Chicago on Etihad Airways, their 14 hour flight took them non-stop to Abu Dhabi in the UAE, where they changed planes and took the final 4 hour flight to India. The two men arrived in Chennai India before dawn and met with Michael Hubert at the airport to offload luggage with supplies for the orphans he looks after. At 10 AM, both Missionaries boarded a domestic Indian flight to Vishakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh, where they met up with Gampala Chitti and Prasad. It was still another three hour drive by taxi cab to the port city of Kakinada.

After an in-room lunch at their hotel with their hosts, the two men rested for the night and were picked up by cab early the following morning for Sabbath Services and the dedication of the new House of God.

Dedication Day

Sabbath morning, Brian and Michael met at Pastor Gampala John's home and Michael was introduced to the Gampala family and the elders of the congregation. After breakfast, the Gampalas provided new "preaching clothes" for the two missionaries, and a procession up the stairs was followed by the entire congregation. Assembling on the porch area, II Chronicles 7:12-16 was read aloud by Michael, and Brian led the congregation in prayer to thank God for making the provision and praying that the House of God would always be there to glorify God. After the prayer, Brian cut the ribbon to the main entrance, and the entire congregation entered and sang in Telegu (the local language) "Holy, Holy, Holy", inviting God's presence into the main sanctuary.

The congregation again assembled on the porch, and the dedication plaque was revealed and read aloud by Brian. Michael was given scissors to cut the ribbon to the side entrance where Widows will be able to make refuge, and declaring the passage in Genesis that the Lord said "Let there be light", Michael threw open the main power switch and lights and fans in the House of God came alive. The entire congregation then entered the sanctuary sang many songs of worship and praise. Michael provided a brief testimony of his walk with Jesus Christ and Brian gave a sermon, dedicating the day and the House of God to the consecration of the Lord, sharing his hopes that the House of God will always be a place of prayer, a place of worship, a place of glory to God, and a place to come to know the heart of the Lord.

Following the service, Brian and Michael joined with the Gampala family to feed the entire congregation and the villagers of Rajupalem, a fine lunch of biryani, curry chicken, banana and samsa.

Widow’s Meeting

Blessing the widows

Saturday night the Gampala family conducted a service for the widows in the House of God. Michael provided the message and then Brian distributed Bibles in Telegu, blankets, and shampoos that were brought from donations from brethren in the USA for the Widows that the Gampala family cares for. A supper was then served for the Widows by Brian and Michael and the evening concluded with many prayers for those afflicted with needs for healing and provisions.

Baptisms

Brian and Michael accompanied the congregation on Sunday and again on Tuesday on a celebratory march to the river canal five kilometers from Rajupalem for the baptism of six converts to Our Lord; five on Sunday and one on Tuesday. With much praise in music and prayer, the congregation marched amidst the hostility of their Hindu neighbors and called all who could hear to repentance. In the river, each new Christian was greeted and led in prayer by Pastor John, followed by the laying on of hands onto the new Christians. A joyful march back to Pastor John's house was concluded with chai for everyone and a lovely afternoon of fellowship.

Passover

Sunday night a large full moon rose over the humid night air of Rajupalem and the congregation met on the roof of the House of God for The Lord's Passover. Amidst solemn songs of praise, Michael gave a sermon about the foot washing example our Lord Jesus Christ provided on the night before He suffered, and noted that Jesus did that which the lowest caste did that we might learn to become servants to one another. Brian gave the sermon message of the symbols of the bread and wine, and the significance of coming under the blood of our Savior Jesus Christ.

Washing feet at Passover

The congregation then joined together to wash one another's feet, and then a very, very large piece of naan (Indian flatbread) was passed around, and each member tore a piece off the main body of bread, symbolizing their breaking of Christ's body by their sins and took the Passover bread. Michael and Brian then passed around "wine" that all partook of as coming under the blood of Jesus. After much solemn prayer by the congregation, a joyful song of thanksgiving rang out from the rooftop and we concluded the service on a high note of song.

Following, a supper was served for the congregation.

Gospel Meetings

On two evenings that week, at the crossroads of two dirt roads in the slums of Lanka and Rajupalem, tarps were laid on the ground, lights were strung and the call to worship was sung aloud by the congregation. Brian and Michael preached to the Hindus of these villages, proclaiming Christ, pleading with any who would listen to believe in the redemption bought for them if only they would come to repentance. The Gospel was being preached to those who may not have ever heard of Jesus Christ. Brian and Michael then passed out sweets to the village children and the residents as the congregation sang songs of praise.

Back to Chennai

After a tearful goodbye to our Gampala family hosts, Brian and Michael boarded a train in Kakinada and journeyed on a 13 hour overnight trip back down to Chennai, where they met again with Michael Hubert. Services were held on the Sabbath and Brian gave a stirring message. Lunch was then served to the orphans and some widows of the congregation after services.

Dalit and Orphan Village

Brian and Michael spent a day visiting several orphan sites run by Michael Hubert. A donation from brethren in the USA afforded Kardias the ability to purchase over 200 sleeping mats for the orphans, who up until then would sleep on the bare ground. Also, at the orphanage, Brian and Michael distributed blankets made by the Cook family of California for the colder months of November and December.

Brian and Michael took joyfully acted out a skit of David and Goliath to the delight of the children who are shunned, discarded and neglected not only by their parents, but by Indian society as well. Each child took part in "slaying" the hapless Goliath (Michael) many times over with a Nerf slingshot. Brian in his wisdom stayed to make Shields of Faith with the girls while Michael braved the 104F heat and humidity to swordfight with Nerf 'swords of truth' with the boys. The supplies of blankets, toys and sweets were distributed to children grateful that the two Missionaries were able to demonstrate the love of Christ.

Shields of Faith and Swords of Truth

After nearly two weeks, the two Missionaries left India for home, having established love, relationships and hope for many in whom it is hoped the seeds of life have been planted.

There is a 2 hour 22 minute DVD of the entire Mission Trip available from Kardias if you wish to see the work the Lord is doing in that place. Please write to Kardias to request a copy of the two disc set.

Church Growth and Church Needs While Preaching the Gospel

While in India on the mission trip, the needs of the Indian brethren were made manifest by the Gampala family and the scourge of real persecution being visited upon our brothers and sisters in Christ was made a painful reality.

Amidst many miracles of healing and provision, it remains an unpleasant fact that our Christian brothers and sisters will remain at the mercy of corruption, injustice and persecution that will relegate our family in India to difficulties American Christians cannot even comprehend. This makes serving our family in India a challenge and a blessing at the same time. While they have grown dependent upon the support you are helping Kardias provide, the Gampala family faithfully continues with unswerving dedication to the calling to preach the Gospel and make disciples. It is their singular focus, a focus that God rewards with continuing growth for the church and new tools for the Great Commission that is their center.

The Lanka and Rajupalem congregations have added 10 converts to the membership this year in baptisms in their small villages alone, with many more counseling and attending than before. Brian and Michael baptized six during the mission trip at the Spring Holy Days, three were baptized on Pentecost and only one was willing to risk baptism during the Feast of Tabernacles due to some persecution.

In the USA a growing congregation is a financial blessing in tithes and offerings, whereas in India a growing congregation becomes a responsibility for the congregation to provide for the new members. As Adi Andhra, the lowest caste among the nations, making a living for many Christian brethren is very difficult, if not impossible.

In June, Sisters Ruth and Esther Gampala began a door-to-door preaching ministry to women three days a week in Lanka, Rajupalem and Kakinada. While being a Christian is dangerous in itself, these women are demonstrating the boldness that comes with doing the work of the Lord, and proclaiming Jesus in boldness. We ask for your continued prayer as their program continues.

The New Kakinada Congregation

It is amazing to consider how God will start a congregation. While on the Mission Trip, Brian handed out bibles translated in Telegu to hotel staff. Soon after returning home, we learned that people from the city had requested that the Gampalas lead Sabbath Services. So, after their local congregational Sabbath service, the Gampalas then take the 45 minute drive to hold services on the porch of one of the members in Kakinada. Michael and Ericka Deering provided funds for the Gampalas to purchase a modest speaker system for use in Kakinada as many people were gathering on the street to hear the Gampalas preach.

After much deliberation, Pastor John's son Prasad has made a commitment to pastor the Kakinada congregation next year, and is already busy with the youth and children of Kakinada.

Brahmin Priest Converts

One of the most amazing testimonies the Gampala family has been able to relay to Kardias is the story of a man we call Mr. V. Mr. V (Vankatershwhurl) is of the High Brahmin Caste, and was a local high Hindu Brahmin priest. He was responsible for conducting animal sacrifices and other pagan Hindu acts for the local villagers of Lanka.

After many visits and preaching from Chitti, Mr. V chose to renounce his Hinduism, remove his priestly garments, shave off his beard, and began wearing shoes (forbidden of a Hindu priest). He desired baptism, but soon Mr. V began to experience something he never experienced before - persecution. Persecution from his wife, son and villagers have troubled Mr. V, and even his job at a petrol station has been put at risk.

Chitti has faith God will continue to work in the mind and heart of Mr. V., and we here at Kardias lift him up in prayer to our Father. For a Brahmin priest to convert to Christianity may be as a spiritual bomb going off in a place where Satan has had total control - until now.

Widow Support

In 2010, Kardias has been able to make regular monthly provisions to the Gampala family in support for their efforts to be full time ministers to the congregation, and make an additional monthly provision for widows. This monthly provision, such as it is, is evenly distributed in food among 29 widows who are dependent on the Gampalas for their very survival. The funds are providing enough basic food to keep the widows alive, but that is all.

The Gampala family has shared their desire that they would prefer to treat each widow as a member of their family, and to eat with the family and share the home and the chores together. However, the cost to do so is estimated to be around $35US for each widow each month. Chitti and his wife Esther already host one widow as a family member, and pastor John and his wife Ruth would also like to "adopt" more widows as 'mothers' and provide a better environment of comfort for them as opposed to simply providing basic staples only efficient to keep the widows from dying of starvation.

In 2011, we are happy to inform you that six widows have already been paid for – 100% funded for the year. That is all of their food, shelter, clothing, and basic medical will be taken care of for the whole year. But there are other widows that could be cared for in this way. If you would like to help 'sponsor' the Gampala family to be able to 'adopt' a widow as a member of their family, please contact Brian or Stephanie to see how you can help.

Miracles and Persecution at Tabernacles

In September, a donor sent in $600 in funds to the Gampalas for the purpose of allowing them to purchase a full complement of "industrial" cookware – the kind of pots that cook food for 150 people at once. Anytime this kind of cookware had been used in the past, the Gampala’s had to rent it all.

In their faithfulness, the Gampala family dutifully purchased all the cookware the funds would purchase – but didn’t quite understand that the amounts were also meant to buy the food that was also intended to be purchased with the cookware. So the congregation had fine new pots and serving bowls, but no food to put in them.

On learning that the Gampala family was faced with having an Atonement fast during the Feast of Tabernacles instead of food to fill the cookware, Kardias sent out a message on Facebook to try and raise some funds to send to the Gampala family so they could enjoy a physical feast as well as a spiritual one. In only two days, nearly $1,000 was raised. Brian sent the amount on to the family in India right as his family left for the Feast here in the USA.

With much praise and rejoicing, the Gampala family had funds enough to provide a meal for the congregation each day of the Feast of Tabernacles with over $300 left over for incidentals.

During the opening night service at the House of God, the local leader in Rajupalem stormed the church with a squad of armed police! They beat the congregation and arrested Chitti, Pastor John and Prasad. The charge was that their praise and worship was "disturbing" their Hindu neighbors.

As part of the raid, the police confiscated all the music and sound equipment. Chitti, John and Prasad were driven to jail, awaiting arraignment by the magistrate. The police then demanded $300US in bribes for the purpose of purchasing their freedom and getting their property back. If they did not pay the bribe, they would have been arraigned before the magistrate and would have been jailed and their property lost forever. But God in His goodness had made provision in advance for this situation - and the money they had for "incidentals" provided their release.

New Blessings: A Computer and a Baptismal Pool

During a seminar about Mission India 2010 at the Feast of Tabernacles in Destin, Florida, Michael Deering was asked during the presentation about communication with the brethren in India. He revealed one of his fears was that the old computer that was donated in 2005 was no longer functioning properly and that e-mail communication was becoming unreliable.

Another question was asked in regards to persecution, and Michael revealed that he recently learned from Chitti that local Hindus had given death threats to the congregation if they should defile the Hindu 'water god' by baptizing in their river canal. Seeking to avoid persecution if they are able, Chitti described that if they were able to build a baptismal pool on top of Pastor John's house the baptisms could continue without the threat of beatings or death.

New Baptismal Pool

Thanks to the generosity of many brethren, funds were provided to Kardias that were able to be sent to India for these two purposes – a new computer, and a new baptismal pool.

Chitti was able to purchase a new PC laptop with a backup battery due to frequent power blackouts, with Windows 7 and Microsoft Office. The new computer is already a major blessing as it is now possible to have daily contact with the Gampala family, and even video chats through Skype that are allowing us to maintain a loving and timely relationship with our family in India.

The other blessing is that funds were also provided for the construction of the baptismal pool on top of Pastor John's home. On December 23, 2010 - the construction of the pool was finished, awaiting drying and a white wash. The pool is big enough to enable 5 or 6 persons to be in the water at the same time. The pool is filled with water that is pumped from the well via an irrigation pump used for the rice fields.

Prasad Gampala's Request

The weekly 1.5 hour commute to Kakinada to build the new church area there has been wearing on Pastors Chitti and John. What would be much easier is if a pastor could move to Kakinada and live there full-time. But who would go?

During the Feast of Tabernacles, Prasad Gampala made a decision (at his family's urging) to become the pastor of the Kakinada congregation. However, Prasad feels inadequate in his understanding of Biblical doctrine to be able to take the responsibility immediately. He has requested in earnest sincerity that the brethren in the USA bring him to the States so he can be educated in the Biblical doctrines in completeness and properly prepared to pastor a congregation.

Brian and Michael have discussed this request at length, and are looking to God to open doors to make a provision that will enable Prasad to fly to the US in June or July and spend six months in the bosom of the church family in the USA, to learn what God is preparing for his life in service to the new congregation in Kakinada. The plans are that, God willing, the Smith family will host Prasad, and Michael will join them for the summer to assist in teaching Prasad. They will teach Prasad a theology program and give education in subjects equipping him for the pastorship he has accepted in India. It is hoped that by the time of his departure he will be fully ready for the stewardship he has committed himself to in the service of God.

Kardias Teaching Program

One of the major needs for the congregations in India is an ability to comprehend and understand the fundamentals of our faith and to have the ability to defend it from persecution by those who also know some of the scriptures, specifically Islam. Michael Deering and Brian Smith are working together to write a simplified teaching program of the basic tenets and doctrines of the biblical faith for the congregations in India.

The concept is to write lessons that can be taught to any Indian Hindu or Muslim from the street, in a simple and easy manner that uses their cultural understandings to explain the Way of God more perfectly. The lessons initially will be written in English and then translated into Telegu. It is hoped the program will root the congregation in their faith and be used for both Apologetics and as an evangelism tool.

Please pray for the inspiration and direction as this program is being written during 2011. It is the hope it can be presented and taught to the congregation during Mission India 2011-2012.

Mission India 2011/2012

It is tentatively hoped that Prasad's return home to India will be accompanied by a new mission team ready to accomplish Mission India 2011/2012. The initial thinking is to stay a week with the Gampalas in Lanka and Rajupalem, and then possibly spend a week performing a Camp Kardias for orphans near the city of Vishakhapatnam. While we are in the beginning stages of discussing the desire to be used as instruments in the service of our brethren in India, we rely on our great God to reveal His will for all of these things.

Record of Finances

Financially speaking, donations to Kardias Ministries were very healthy this year. Donations increased by nearly $6,000 (21%) as compared to 2009 donations, though this difference can be attributed to fundraising required for the Mission India 2010 trip.

Ministry Starting Donations Disbursements Transfers Remaining
General Fund $ 5,817 $ 7,714 $ (1,643) $ (11,338) $ 550
Burma Scholarship $ - $ 3,044 $ (10,042) $ 11,352 $ 4,353
Gampala Family $ 1,155 $ 15,330 $ (8,985) $ 955 $ 8,455
Mission India $ - $ 8,235 $ (7,266) $ (968) $ -
Grand Total $ 6,972 $ 34,324 $ (27,937) $ - $ 13,358

Conclusion

Before I wrap this up, I (Brian) want to send out a big thank you to Mr. Michael Deering. Ever since we returned from the mission trip, he has been a monumental help to Kardias Ministries and the goals that we have to serve our brethren as the Lord provides. May the Lord bless you richly for your labor of love, both now and in the Kingdom.

While 2010 was a monumental year for Kardias, the Gampala family ministry in India, and Haung Dau, it is never lost on our hearts how much love, support and devotion we have received from each of you, which enables this work to be able to exist. We thank you with our full hearts and on behalf of your brethren in India we greet you with "Vandanamulu"!

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. (Ephesians 3:20-21)

Agape,


Brian and Stephanie Smith, and the whole Kardias Team