General Baptists in India are involved in some excellent benevolent ministries which truly represent the love of God through Christ. As a minority religion, these acts of kindness and love are often the primary source of demonstrating God’s love and mercy.
Sewing Centers: Among the repressed people in India or women who have been widowed or divorced. The source of this repression is not government policy but traditional mindsets which have a low view of women in these circumstances. The Dorcas (India Association) and Lydia (Calvary Grace Association) Sewing Centers teach extensive courses in tailoring to empower these women to provide for themselves and their families. The centers are currently closed during the restrictions of the COVID-19 crises but these very same crises will create an even greater need for skills development once it has passed.
Grace Home for Poor Women and Widows (India Association): Grace Home seeks to provide monthly assistance in the form of gifts to poor women and widows in the communities near churches in the India Association. The Bible Women in these churches are primarily responsible for the care of these poor women and widows, and they work very hard to look after the needs of these women.
Good Shepherd’s Children’s Home (Calvary Grace): This children’s home looks after the needs of some of the poorest children living in the areas of the Calvary Grace churches. Calvary Grace agrees with families to take in their children and boards, feeds, clothes, and educates these children at no cost to the families. As such, the number of children varies but it is a great ministry.
Pastor Associations: As in many places, the pastors have been hurt economically by the COVID-19 crises. Typically General Baptist International Ministries is not involved in pastoral support beyond the occasional livelihood project or Christmas gift, but with churches around the world unable to assemble the care and benevolence of our pastors has become a priority concern. We are trying to provide benevolent assistance to many of our pastors during these very difficult days. Both associations in India have been doing their best to assist pastors through this very difficult economic crises for churches.
Living Waters (Calvary Grace): The present Living Waters project of GBIM began with a group of mission one volunteers from the Philippines providing a water well for a community in India. Since then GBIM and Calvary Grace have been involved in placing numerous wells across the ministry area of Calvary Grace. Not all wells have succeeded so the Vemula family (missionaries to India) added a water delivery truck to serve areas where wells had failed, at no charge to the recipients.
Food Aid to Poor Families During COVID. Calvary Grace Association has also been very active in providing food aid to poor families in their communities. Calvary Grace Associations estimates 1200 poor families in their area that are afraid “they will die of starvation before the coronavirus.” As a result the association set the ambitious goal of providing vegetables and rice to families each week until the quarantine is suspended. On April 5 they provided food to 113 families, on Good Friday they supplied food to 20 pastoral families, and on Easter Sunday they delivered food to 168 families.
Medical Camps (Calvary Grace): While suspended for now, the Calvary Grace Association has made a tremendous impact recently with medical camps to poorer communities. The association is blessed with some members with medical training (nurses and doctors) who have offered their time to organize medical teams. The cost of a medical camp is roughly $500/day, but the impact has been tremendous.
Both associations in India continue to serve their pastors and communities during the very difficult days. Please pray for the 100+ churches and pastors as they work within their limited means to address the needs of India during this crises.