We salute you in the matchless name of Lord Jesus Christ our Savior and Redeemer of the world. It is so wonderful to witness the baptism of several people especially those belonging to a certain denominational group during the last two months. These results have been a great encouragement to the school as well as to the local congregation.
Church is growing:
Local congregation: We were uplifted by the addition of new souls to the local congregation that meets at VVBC facility. In the recent visit of brother Denton Landon, who taught Master Class students, he worshipped with the local congregation. When he saw the large group gathered on that Sunday he remarked that the ‘local church is growing.’
Gradually our school and the local congregation are becoming well known by the brethren all over the city of Visakhapatnam. We are happy with the increase in not just the attendance but also the addition of members to the local congregation. Recently a mother and her daughter have been added to the church. They were attending the worship service and mid week bible class and the local minister who also works in the town have been studying with them for 3 months. Finally they made a decision and embraced Christ and be added to the church, the family of God. We rejoiced with them. We are happy to say that the church is growing in number as well as spiritually.
Our graduates are putting forth their full energy & time for the evangelism in this part of Andhra Pradesh. Through Bible classes and gospel meetings they are proclaiming the word of God.
The two newly established congregations are gathering every Sunday for worshipping God. Brother David Raju, who is one of our students who recently began ministering of the congregations, is facing problems from the denominational church where he was a member. Kindly pray that he would be strong and courageous to overcome the problems.
Revelation class is going on very well. One of our faculty, brother Vamsee Bhushanam, has been teaching this class for the last 6 months. This class is helping the students to clear all their doubts and misunderstandings about the book of Revelation. Our graduate, brother Prakash, is arranging this class once a month. From time to time the number of students is increasing for this class. This has become another avenue to give publicity to our school.
We have been hearing from our graduates about their personal Bible studies and how they are progressing. We had one Master’s class student baptized into Christ. He is from a very remote area. He is going to be very influential in that area to bring many to Christ.
A Hindu Activist:
As you are aware our country is predominantly Hindu. Over 80% of the people belong to Hinduism. These people in our country profess that all the people in India are Hindus by birth. Severity of the religion is very high in some places, especially in the northern part of India. However, there are some places in south India which are called as sensitive places where the severity of the religion is very high because there are some Hindu radicals who deny every religion in India because for them the rest of the religions are foreign religions.
In the times of Jesus, when the gospel was being preached, several radical people were converted and conservative Jews also. Those who harmed and cheated people also embraced Christ. Even those soldiers who spat on him and mocked said, “Truly this one was God’s Son!” We do not know for sure how the widows of the heart of several people are opened; this is what exactly happened when one of our graduates, G. Srinivas, preached in his village which is in Visakha district. This is what we have been pursuing through our Bible School.
Brother Narayana Murthy was an active BJP leader. This is a national party who are very religious and believe that India has no other religion than Hinduism. For them other religions are not considered as local, rather they are foreign. Mr. Murthy has heard Srinivas’s father proclaiming the word of God. He was attracted to the message and came to the preacher and put forth all his questions about God and the message he heard. Their first conversation ended up with lot of excitement where Murthy wanted Srinivas to visit his house and hold a Bible Study, to everybody’s surprise he began studying the Bible then on.
We had a good start with the Master classes. 9 students enrolled in the calls, in fact there were 3 others who missed those classes because of their personal problems; now they wanted to join in the classes. I do not know whether they will be able to or not. We had two classes taught by brother Denton, one is ‘Introduction to the graduate research’ and the second is ‘Advanced Apologetics’. At first it took some time for the students to get connected with the instructor, chief reason is listening the whole class in English. Since English is not our spoken language it is a problem. Only the students who are good at Bible and English vocabulary can understand these classes well. Since these students have a great desire to learn and enhance their knowledge base, they put forth a lot effort to go along with the flow. As a result these students have thoroughly enjoyed these classes. We appreciate brother Denton for his patience with these students, because at times he had to pause if something is not understood correctly by the students.
John Dean the Dean of the School is also enrolled in this class since he wants to help the rest of the students by doing the follow up. All the master class students will be meeting next week to discuss and write down the assignments for the two subjects taught by brother Denton.
As we all realize for a successful Bible School, a well furnished library shall have a great impact. Assuredly it is the same with our school, too. With the small donations we are receiving and the books we are receiving from World Evangelism as well the books we are receiving from brethren like Chuck Ramseur and Jerry Bates our library is gradually having an increase in the number of books. Hopefully our meeting again will be well spent in our small library so that all the master class students will finish the assignments successfully. By the way, this is the only source for our Master Class students for doing a healthy research. I hope we shall be blessed with more books as the days go by.
Dr. Jack Tucci, the Vice President of academic Affairs, Faulkner University visited with us. We were blessed with his precious visit. He was here a couple of years ago and wanted to see how the work is progressing. He was very anxious to meet the students and faculty to teach his favorite lesson about the history of the city Ephesus. He taught the lesson through a power point slide show. It has all the scenic pictures of the City of Ephesus that describes its wealthiest history, showing the harbor and the great temple of Diana. He presented the history which is relevant for the students who study the epistle to the Romans. His description helped the students to understand the epistle contextually. It was amazing. Our students have really learned so much about and from the epistle through the presentation of Dr. Jack Tucci.
Brother Jack has admired the school work and encouraged the students to be diligent in learning the word of God and be efficient in proclaiming what they are learning. He appreciated their dedication and commitment to work for the Lord. The kind visits of these brethren are quite an encouragement to all of us. We are hoping to have Dr. David Warren visiting next year. He worked at HCU for a while and now he is working as the professor for ancient Biblical languages at Faulkner University. He really wanted to come this year, but things didn’t work out well. For sure he will be visiting the school next year. We are truly blessed with the relationship we have in Christ through which we are able to work together and encourage each other.
This campaign week ended with a Preacher’s Fellowship in Pydikonda. This is another success story of our school. Preacher’s Fellowship is a mission program that has an objective of increasing the fellowship among the brotherhood in that area also to discuss a Biblical topic that will benefit the preachers as well as the local congregation. This program was lead by one of our faculty, brother Rama Raju. Six preachers spoke on the subject ‘Edification of the Church.’
We are planning for a campaign week at the middle of November in the state of Orissa. We are hoping to establish gospel campaign in that area to invite the believers to go to Bible school and establish a long term relationship with them. We are praying for God to strengthen our faith through which we would continue to reach the unreached millions. Certainly the gospel is to be widely preached in this part of Andhra Pradesh.
Gospel Tools: (Bibles, Hymn Books, Bicycles, Lanterns)
We are privileged to distribute these gospel tools for our graduates who are striving for his cause. Thankfully for our graduates, not all but some students, were able receive these tools to use them to proclaim the word of God and building the congregations. With the help of the individual donors they were able to have them. These tools are very useful for the preachers working in remote areas where there won’t be 24 hours of electricity as well as there is no transportation and the facility is very limited. Recently our brother ‘Yosepu’ from Devarapalli area received a bicycle. Indeed it is very helpful for him because he is not able to take care of all his transportation expenses to travel in the hill area to proclaim the word of God. Right now it is raining in their area. When everything settles down we are planning for a one week gospel campaign there. He really wants us to come, he is sort concerned about the safety of us who are going to visit with him. Since his place is in a very remote area, we have to be watchful for mosquitoes which might cause serious health problems.
Prayer Request: “I know that after I am gone fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock” Acts 20:29
Now a days, in our secular country of India, several people are embracing Christianity. It is not making quite a difference in the percentage of Christian religion, however, some religious groups are so worried by seeing the thousands of people who are accepting Jesus as the Savior. These gradual conversions are causing fear in the hearts of those religious people, which is why they want to stir up people by imposing certain laws to threaten the Christians. Unfortunately several of these conversions are into denominational groups.
Brother Jerry & sister Paula Bates will be visiting us from the 8th to the 15th of September. On the 8th they will be visiting Skinner’s Garden, on the 9th they shall be worshipping at Bikkavolu Church of Christ and on the 10th he will start teaching at Visakha Valley Bible College and leaves on the 15th from Visakhapatnam. He has done a great job teaching the same class to the last batch. Now we are looking forward to his class on ‘Leadership’.
Thank you note:
We humbly thank you for your kind support for running the Bible College (Preacher Training School) successfully. Without your esteemed help we cannot imagine our self doing this wonderful Lord’s work at Visakhapatnam. We do appreciate your prayers for us. It is really overwhelming to see you brethren encouraging us from the other side of the globe to the rescue the lost souls on this side of this globe. This is just marvelous, and truly the love of God is compelling you all to extend your love in order share the love of God. Kindly convey our (director, students & faculty) heartfelt gratitude to the congregation. This is the reason for this good Bible school program. We appreciate your concern and trust in us. We are certainly thankful to God for His providence too.
Number of people baptized in these months through our ministry: 18
Denominational preachers restored: 2
Gospel meetings conducted – 18
Weekend Campaign – 2
Gospel tracts distributed – 24,000
Doors Knocked - 687
Held the Bible n.of Studies - 73
New Congregations Established - 3
In Christ & His service,
John Dean & Sameul Raju Muppidi
Skinner's Garden Bible School
Visakha Valley Bible College
Church of Christ
Andhra Pradesh, INDIA