18 Jan Meet a Harvester in India
Get an inside look as we interview one of the many men who have answered God’s calling, “…The harvest is great but the workers are few.” Matthew 9:37 We thank you for your support and faithfulness in prayer. God is equipping and sending out new workers daily to share the good news of salvation in Jesus Christ!
Church Plant Date: September 14, 2006
Pastor: Yasu Padam which means the “the feet of Jesus”
Favorite Scripture: Job 1:21 “…Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised.”
January 14, 2010
We travel for hours on unpaved roads of rock and dirt until we come to a small village called Guruvindapali. There we are greeted by Pastor Yasu Padam; a man I have come to recognize in the few weeks I’ve been in India for his high spirit, warm welcoming nature and faded orange and white collar shirt which he has worn all three times I’ve been in his presence. It is not his favorite, but rather his only shirt that is in a condition suitable for wearing while out in ministry. We are greeted in the Indian tradition with beautiful floral leis and hand tied bouquets as the people congregate, both believers and non-believers, to get their first look at white westerners in their village. They ask our photographer if they may take a picture with us and we oblige. It’s as if by taking the picture the memory will be captured eternally although the likelihood of them ever seeing the picture again is improbable. It’s humbling, to say the least, that in this poverty stricken town where the people can barely provide for their earthly bodies that we are welcomed in such grandeur. Inside the church sits one woman and in the background there is one speaker, one small piece of audio equipment and a Christian CD that plays worship songs in the native tongue which radiate throughout the village via a megaphone that sits atop the church. The structure itself brings a whole new meaning to the word “church.” The foundation is a solid dirt floor that is covered in tarps. Six concrete pillars are the sole permanent materials used to support the structure. It’s walls and ceiling are comprised of sticks, straw and other raw materials found in this indigenous landscape. The more we learn of the construction the more we come to appreciate this House of the Lord. Pastor Yasu has built this church with his hands alone a total of three times. The first was just prior to the church plant in 2006 and then twice more after being completely demolished and brought to the ground by Hindu militants. Through God’s provision the most recent version of the building has been standing since the rebuild which took place after the last devastating demolish on May 9, 2008. With a smile on his face Pastor Yasu tells of God’s faithfulness in allowing him to rebuild the church stronger and better after each militant attack. We walk through the village until we come upon a small, humble, rather empty home where we meet the rest of the Padam family. Pastor Yasu and his wife Miriam, have been blessed with two children. Sindhu their 7 year old daughter, and Manohar their 5 year old son. Yasu’s mother Esther joins us as we sit down to get the untold story of how Yasu was first called to the Lord’s service and the journey he and the Padam family have faithfully embarked upon to further the Kingdom of God.
Pastor Yasu describes his youth as a time of chaos and disobedience as he caused many problems for his family and became involved in heavy drug and alcohol abuse. His parents, which at the time were of strong Hindu faith, prayed to the gods that they would deliver their child from his afflictions and restore peace to the Padam family. But to their disappointment Yasu remained resistant to change. He did eventually continue on the path set by his parents and married Mariam, a young woman who at the time was also young in her Christian faith. In viewing his wife’s faithfulness Yasu’s heart was softened to the voice of the Lord and it was in a dream that Yasu came to know the calling God had for his life on earth. He immediately repented of his sins and began faithfully carrying out the plans God had revealed. A connection with Harvest India was established later that same year and he and his wife began to attend Harvest India’s Bible College. Yasu was again called to his knees as he cried out to the Lord to provide in his pursuit of biblical knowledge. Because of Yasu’s rebellion in his youth he had not retained the skills of proficient writing or reading. Miraculously, God provided and Yasu began to excel in his studies at the college. Because of the Lords provision through financial support, Harvest India was able to provide resources to sustain this young family as Yasu and Miriam faithfully leaned to the Lord for all their need. While still attending the Bible college Yasu was called by God to start a ministry in his home town of Guruvindipalli. He sought the wise counsel of Bishop Suresh Kumar, Director of Harvest India, and shared his calling. It was in his counsel that he was asked to pray continuously and that God would provide an opportunity when the time was right. Yasu’s prayers were answered on September 14, 2006 when Harvest India partnered with it’s supporters to open a church in Guruvindipalli. It was there, while still attending bible college that Yasu began his ministry. Upon the completion of his studies, Yasu graduated on February 17, 2007 and became the pastor of the church plant in his home town. Harvest India provides opportunities to support pastor’s who have completed the studies conducted at their bible colleges. For between 50 and 100 US dollars a month your contribution can support one of the many Harvesters like Yasu and his family, in India.
Since Yasu’s ministry began in 2006 he’s been burdened to start two additional churches in the surrounding Hindu villages of Davarpalli, and Pedisenagal. Through his determination to spread the good news and gospel message of Jesus Christ Yasu has been faithful to taking his needs before the Lord in prayer and he is hopeful that you will join him in his ministry. Yasu is trusting God will provide the financial support for he and his family‘s well-being, financial support to build churches in the surrounding villages of Davarpalli, and Pedisenagal, and to provide abundant opportunities to make great the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. The congregations of those in the villages are growing and a permanent place of hope and salvation is key to nurturing the needs of these new Christ followers. The cost of building a permanent church home in the village would be 15,000 US dollars and would provide both a 300 person church and living accommodations for the pastor and his family, which would free the family from renting their current housing. If you feel called to join in the work God is doing through his children at Harvest India we encourage you to join us in supporting the Padam‘s and countless others that God is equipping through the ministries at Harvest India. It is through men and women like these that we will take the name of Jesus Christ to the ends of the earth. Please visit Harvest India online at www.HarvestIndia.org for further information.
Though Yasu has faced many oppositions, he remains strong in spirit as he lives out the scriptures. The people in the villages where Yasu is administering the gospel are primarily of strong Hindu faith yet just last night as we broke bread with the Padam family and shared the gospel with those that attended the service nearly 30 men, women and children gave their lives to the Lord. And for this reason alone we will not slow our pace. We will proclaim the good news! Jesus Christ has died for the salvation of the lost, and until all of India has heard the truth and been given an opportunity to repent of their sins and find eternal life in Christ’s sacrifice we walk faithfully forward.