In the picture you can see Pastor Rufus Kamalakar Ceedrala from Nellore in South East India. He is the leader of the ALMA Baptist Convention. He is standing in front of a small chapel that he helped inaugurate in January 2018. During his visit in Germany in May we asked him: “Rufus, how much money did you receive from the mission organization in order to build this chapel?”
Proudly he answered: “Nothing! We have 25 members in this small church that we founded in 2017 and they are all very poor. They are casteless people living at the margin of society. They don’t have access to a lot of social matter of course. They don’t have jobs. They are beggars. They collect plastic garbage and sell it to recycling companies for a few rupees. They are looking for iron parts on dumpsters in order to sell them to junk dealers. This chapel they built with their own hands. The material was bought with the begged rupees.
They understand that there’s nobody that has everything. And there’s noone who has nothing. Everyone has something. From the little they have they have given away.
Rufus Kamalakar Ceedrala became the leader of the ALMA Baptist Convention 11 years ago. Back then his convention had 130 churches. Today there are 370 churches. He is investing a lot into trainings and education of evangelists, those who are sharing the good news with the “tribal people” (these are non hinduistic tribes). There are about 100 chapels like this one in their convention. These churches are relevant in their society.
Every day there are 50 street kids standing in line in front of 15 of their churches. They receive a glass of milk every day and an egg three times a week from volunteers. This food helps the hungry and prevents malnourishment. Pastor Rufus finds this doubly important. The churches understand their social responsibility and their relevance in society. At the same time it has a positive influence on their image as a Christian church. Christians in India have a population share of 2,5% and are often a minority facing hostility. They are imitating the first church in Jerusalem, as it is said in Acts 2:47: they were “enjoying the favor of all the people.”
EBM INTERNATIONAL supports a children’s home of the ALMA Baptist Convention as well as the milk and egg programm for 900 children with €30.000 annually. Pastor Rufus Kamalakar Ceedrala is a wonderful example of how we of EBM INTERNATIONAL understand and live world mission today:
Together we refer to Christ to bring justice, renewal, and hope to the world. We commit ourselves to reaching this goal based on equality of sharing, learning, giving, and taking.
We want to learn from Pastor Rufus about church planting and the relevance of the local church in society. So we thank God that Pastor Rufus is part of our convention and that we are sharing the path of walking in God’s commission together.
Pastor Christoph Haus