Monday, September 14, 2009


In 1990 I went to India for my first time. My friends John Armstrong and Emmanuel Rebba invited me to join the pastoral team for two weeks in Repalle with India Rural Evangelical Fellowship (IREF). We would preach in evangelistic crusades in the evenings and teach the pastors, evangelists, and Bible ladies during the day. We preached some larger evangelistic meetings and we traveled for hours by car to preach in small villages to maybe one or two hundred people. I sat and talked with Indian brothers who were involved in church planting and pastoring. I learned about village evangelism from Prasada Rao, Emmanuel’s father and the founder of the ministry. In short, those two weeks of ministry in Andhra Pradesh, South India, changed my life.

Since 1990 I have returned many times to Repalle to serve with IREF. After several of these trips I was asked to serve on the American board of directors. The ministry has grown. The Lord has blessed in amazing ways. Hundreds of American pastors have taken the same trip and many of them have led their churches to support IREF. A number of years ago we began to partner with Word and Deed in the Netherlands. Word and Deed has done a great deal to help in the support of orphans, education, and building school buildings. When I first went to Repalle there were about 100 students in the school. Now there are several schools scattered around the district, a high school, a junior college, an accredited degree college, a nursing school, a school of evangelism and theology and there are literally thousands of students in these schools.

IREF has a vision to preach the gospel to hundreds of thousands of people who have never heard the good news before. That ministry has grown. Last time I was there we preached for five nights to over 20,000 people each night. But we are still going into villages and preaching to people who have never heard the name of Jesus.

But IREF also cares for the poor and needy. After the Christmas tsunami several years ago IREF got involved in rebuilding hundreds of homes for people whose homes had been washed away. We helped buy fishing boats that were lost and nets that were destroyed. IREF has been involved with aboriginal villages from the beginning. These people are the poorest of the poor and the lowest of the low, even in India. Yet we have planted churches in their villages and provided pastors and Bible ladies for these churches.

I received some heartbreaking news the other day. There have been some awful fires in some of these aboriginal villages. One of them, Nizampatnam, I have been to and preached in many times. The pictures attached to this post are all from Nizampatnam. IREF is trying to do whatever we can to help these people who have not only lost their homes but just about everything they own. We’re doing what we can. But we need help. If you are willing and able to help, please visit There is a link at the bottom of the home page that tells about the fires and shows how you can help. You already know, every little gift matters. Ten American dollars still buys a lot of rice for an Indian family. You can make a difference in the lives of these people. Please, take a minute to go to the website and prayerfully consider what you can do.

Thank you!


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