Story by Samantha Young
Three members from the Chesapeake Conference recently traveled to southeastern India to conduct a series of evangelistic meetings in the Vyasarpadi district of Chennai. With a population of 8.6 million people, Chennai is one of the most densely populated areas in the world.
Prior to the series beginning, lay Bible workers went into the district and surrounding neighborhoods of the Vyasarpadi Seventh-day Adventist Church to conduct Bible studies and invite people to the meetings.
The 10-day reaping effort, led by J. J. S. Moses, pastor of Chesapeake Conference’s Calvary Southern Asian church in Burtonsville, Md., and Jerry Lutz (pictured with Guillermo Bonilla), executive secretary of the Chesapeake Conference, was a three-way partnership of the Chesapeake Conference, the Calvary Southern Asian church, and Hope Channel India. Guillermo Bonilla, a member of the Berkeley Springs (W.Va.) church, daily presented key elements of the health message. Each evening Lutz delivered the message translated into Tamil.
More than 165 people attended the opening night service. The crowd grew to more than 250 by the end of the series. The church often overflowed with people seated outside, listening through open doors and windows.
“Considering that this is an often overlooked part of Chennai in which few such meetings have ever been conducted, this was a great blessing to the people, many of whom had never heard the gospel before,” says Moses, who was born and raised in southeastern India.
On the first Sabbath afternoon, after just three meetings—and the advance preparation of the lay Bible workers—church leaders baptized 10 individuals, with many more preparing for baptism. By the end of the 10-day series, 24 more people, most with a Hindu background, were awaiting baptism by local pastors.
The gleaning work continues in the Vyasarpadi district as new members bring visitors to worship with them in their new church home, reports Lutz.
“The Lord truly blessed the efforts of our team, but if it were not for the Holy Spirit’s work on the hearts of the people, and their receptiveness to the gospel, little or nothing would have been accomplished,” says Lutz. “The joy expressed on the faces of the newly baptized made the long journey to India worth every mile traveled.”