We are so grateful that the Lord continues to provide opportunities for us to expand our reach around the world. Our Board of Directors has unanimously approved the addition of a new ministry partner, Sion Assembly Church Ministries (SAC), in Vijayawada, India.
SAC was established in 1993 by Rajendra Kumar Yellamelli. While most of Pastor Rajendra’s family was Hindu, his mother was a committed Christian. When he was 15 years old, she was diagnosed with cancer and given only a week to live. They fervently prayed for her healing, and the Lord completely healed her body! Once home from the hospital, she invited many of her Hindu neighbors to visit and hear what Christ had done for her. As a result, numerous lives were changed. After witnessing the Lord at work, Pastor Rajendra dedicated his life to the service of
the Lord and began preaching on the streets and in the slums while he was attending college. He is now joined in ministry by his wife, Suneetha, daughter Achsah, brother Ravi and his wife, Prathibha. Ministry is a family affair! (Ravi and Rajendra pictured above)
The ministry has two churches with active, growing congregations. The original church in Vijayawada is led by Pastor Rajendra. They conduct Bible seminars and conferences, and provide training for pastors each month. Their focus is to train pastors and send them out to plant new churches.
Pastor Ravi leads the church in Kandrika. For many years, the congregation has conducted services in tents moving from place to place. Due to the large size of the congregation and increased persecution of Christians, they recently purchased land and plan to construct a large church with a baptismal pool. Approximately $50,000 is needed to complete the project and they are trusting that God will provide.
In 2010, they established an orphanage at the original church that currently houses 26 abandoned or orphaned children, but can accommodate up to 200. While they meet the basic needs of the children – food, shelter, education – the primary focus is to reach them with the love and care of Christ. As news spread through the community that the church was feeding and caring for the orphaned or extremely poor, many destitute widows began to arrive, begging for food. SAC began feeding them through the children’s home. These women would sometimes stay the night on the floor of the church. Seeing the need to empower these women to care for themselves, SAC set up a sewing center and began teaching them to sew. Lessons and use of the machines are free of charge, however, the women must earn money to pay for materials.
In 2017, SAC will open a Christian school. Many parents living in the slums want their children to be educated in English, as it provides the children with many more employment opportunities both at home and abroad. Schools in the area do not provide adequate teaching. SAC desires to build an English speaking school, with a Christian worldview, where Telugu (the native language) will be taught as a second language.
Reaching the 1.3 billion people of India, which are primarily Hindu, is a daunting task, but SAC has created numerous opportunities to serve the community and share the Gospel. In addition to their churches, SAC provides regular medical clinics in the slums for those that do not have access to, or cannot afford, medical care. They also perform relief work after natural disasters. In an effort to reach large groups, they regularly hold Gospel crusades and show the Jesus Film. Their widest reach comes from a daily television broadcast.
Join us in praying for Sion Assembly Church as we begin to work together for the cause of Christ in India!