Though K.A. Masila Mani had been a long time believer in India, for a while he felt that he was not living a true Christian life. When he attended revival meetings, he wept before Jesus yielding his life back to Christ. And he was baptized. At that time, he felt a call from God to go into the ministry.
But he did not listen.
Instead, he worked as a carpenter. He opened a furniture mart and he began to sell furniture. Then, a flood washed away all his furniture and he lost everything he had built. That was his wake up call.
Now instead of building furniture, he is building into the lives of others as a barefoot pastor.
“Realizing my disobedience caused these heavy loses I chose to serve Him. God has blessed me since the day I stepped out to do His work. By His guidance, I started a church with the name ‘Mahimayin Sabai.’ It is in the village of Valliyoor in the region of Virudhu Nagar.”
His church now has 58 members and 43 of them have been baptized. K.A. Masila Mani is one of 10 barefoot pastors that Rolling Hills sponsors in partnership with India Gospel League. Barefoot pastors bring the message of Christ to rural India and are in ministry in the tradition of the New Testament preachers, who go out into villages with just sandals and the shirt on their back. They establish relationships and seek opportunities to share the Gospel.
Village people who accept the Lord are encouraged to be open about their faith even though they know they will be persecuted. Only two percent of India is Christian. Over 80 percent is Hindu and 13 percent Muslim. In addition to sponsoring barefoot pastors, Rolling Hills is assisting India Gospel League in helping fund rural development and adopting villages. Helping communities to get clean water. Build housing and community centers.
On November 7, 2009, a new church building was erected in Gantura in the region of Surgana. The words etched in stone in front of the church state: This Life Center is the gift of love from the friends at the Rolling Hills Community Church, USA. No city needed. No state needed. Just Rolling Hills Community Church, USA.
Pastor Bhaskar Kashram Powar views the new church building as a symbol of how far God has brought him. “When I think of the initial days of my ministry here, my heart goes back to the hardship I faced to establish His Kingdom. During the initial stages of ministry, the church service was held in a hut. We faced tremendous problems at that time. Now I praise God that He removed the barrier in my ministry by answering our prayers in giving us a good church building.”
Bob Ervin, who is the Local/Global Team Leader at Rolling Hills, shares that he heard stories of believers digging their own graves because they knew they were going to be killed for their faith. And still, they are willing to live for their faith.
Rolling Hills Children’s Pastor Gary Strudler, who will return to India in March to train children’s leaders for Children’s Gospel League, shares: “Because they are believers, store owners won’t sell them groceries, and last year we heard stories of homes being burned.”
Christ followers in India intimately know the words of Jesus found in John 15:20: “If they persecuted Me, they will persecute you also.” For more information, visit http://www.iglworld.org/