India Pastoral Visitation Report

Written by | February, 2016
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From the Field Feb. 20, ’16

In the Berea Evangelical Lutheran Church there are new pastors and preachers that were accepted for study over two years ago. One of the privileges and blessings for me is to be able to visit the new men in their home and village. We do this to better know them and to find out things about which we can pray and help, as well as to encourage them in their ministry. Most of the time we are able to meet the wife and children. And it is very informative to go into the village and stroll down the street. What good fellowship it is to sit in the pastor’s house and discuss and pray over things. They give us biscuits and drink and we give them some things also. This is the two way street of fellowship with one another under the gracious hand of our Lord. While we are with them we pray about what we have heard and encourage them as brothers in the faith.

Some interesting things we found out are as follows:

•In the congregation at Nindra several of the men who belong there have now gone forth to preach at new preaching points. Having heard the Word they now want to reach out with it to others and are gathering congregations about that life giving Word.

•In the village of Rayapedu there are five of the new pastors living. One man holds services there and the other four travel from that village to preach in other congregations that have been established. This is a true center of BELC outreach.

•The congregations served by the men in this visitation ranged in size from 22 souls served to 240.

•The oldest pastor is Isaiah at 64 and the youngest is Devan at 20.

•While the pastors come from different church backgrounds ranging from independent, Pentecostal, Church of Christ, and so on, there is a healthy number who came over to us from the South Andhra Lutheran Church. In their case some things did not have to be taught them like infant baptism and the real presence in communion, since they already believed that.

As to the new pastors in the BELC and their work this deals with only 78 of the new men visited recently.
There are 54 villages where our men preach where the BELC is the only Christian church in town
There are 16 men who serve two stations.
There are two men who serve three or more stations.

The 78 men serve 5327 souls for an average size of 68 in a congregation. Although there are several congregations which are larger, though most are smaller and the men have not been serving very long. This indicates the spread of the Word.

I would just like to say that it is a privilege to visit these men and their families and see how though they are poor in worldly goods, the likes of which few in the USA could understand, yet they are rich with the precious treasure of God’s Word.