Vibrant ministry in India

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					26   Canadian Mennonite August 17, 2009

 in India
 Story and Photo
 by Evelyn Re mpel Petk au
 Manitoba Correspondent

 T    he story is told of two men walking
      along a beach dotted with stranded
 starfish. One of the men frequently stops
 to pick up a starfish and toss it back into      The ministry of Das and Doris Maddimadugu of India is supported by Larry and
 the ocean. “What difference will that make       Jessie Kehler (behind) of Charleswood Mennonite Church, Winnipeg.
 when there are so many?” asks the other
 man. “It makes a difference to the one that      my people are like that today. Doris and I      sharing, Bible study and prayer. Twice a
 is saved,” was the response.                     felt we must go back to the people I came       year he provides theological seminars for
    Th a t i s t h e w ay D a s a n d D o r i s   from. I felt a calling to release these chil-   them. “This shows the many Hindus and
 Maddimadugu of India view their work             dren, to educate them and to teach them         Muslims that, as Christians, we are one.”
 in the second-most-populous country in           about Christ.”                                     After the devastating tsunami in 2004,
 the world. Since 1991 the Maddimadugus              Although the government has tried            they visited the destroyed communities
 have been trying to live out the biblical in-    to abolish the caste system and bonded          about 300 kilometres away. They con-
 junction of healing the sick, feeding the        labour practices, they still exist, explained   structed 20 new homes, repaired boats and
 hungry and clothing the naked as they of-        the Maddimadugus, “because the land-            provided new nets for the fishermen. “We
 fer a growing number of ministries in their      lords need cheap labour. The landlords          were asked to build a church there. That
 impoverished rural community about 100           want profit and do not provide health care      church was dedicated in April this year,”
 kilometres from Hyderabad.                       or proper food. The change is slow and has      said Das.
    “Thirty years ago I stood here in fear and    to come from within the communities.”              “Many Christians still suffer,” he said.
 trembling when I was a second-year stu-             In 1991 Das and Doris established the        “In some areas, violence against Christian
 dent at Canadian Mennonite Bible College,”       Matilda Educational Society. It has grown       activity has escalated. Radical Hindus have
 Das recently told a group of people gath-        to include a high school for 800 students,      asked us to shut down the school at times.
 ered at
Description: In 1991 Das and [Doris Maddimadugu] established the Matilda Educational Society. It has grown to include a high school for 800 students, an upper primary school for 400 students, and the Bindu Home for 120 rescued children, "tribal orphans who would otherwise be sold into bonded labour because of poverty," said [Das]. They have also established Grace Children's Clinic that offers minor treatments and dental check-ups. In more recent years they have started night schools for children who are working in the fields. They have a sewing centre for young widows and single mothers, providing them with six months of training. Once they finish the program they are given a sewing machine. Several graduates have started their own tailoring business."Many Christians still suffer," he said. "In some areas, violence against Christian activity has escalated. Radical Hindus have asked us to shut down the school at times. We try to dialogue with them, but periodically we do have to shut down because they would turn to violence.""God has given me a purpose and I still want to go strong," said Das, now 65. Their son Nathan has begun to take over the management of some of the ministries. "We are hoping that some of our alumni will come back to work as doctors and teachers," he said.
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