Pastors’ Field Visit To Arpana ADP, India

By Rev. Terrence K. K. Sinnadurai
Chairman, Desa Amal Jireh/Rumah Faith

Group picture taken in front of World Vision India Office, Chennai, after an encouraging interaction session between the Malaysian pastors team and World Vision India on the first day of arrival. (From left to right: Front row –  Rev Calvin Lim, Rev Allen Tan, Dr Jayakumar Christian (CEO of World Vision India), Pastor Cheryl Lai, Rev Denise Yong; Second row – Rev Francis Ho, Sister Margaret, Brother Valentine; Last row – Pastor Faye Chen, Brother Joseph Lai, Rev Lynda Choi, Rev Terrence Sinnadurai, Brother Allen Benjamin. World Vision India staff)

I.    Introduction

Firstly I would like to thank World Vision Malaysia for inviting me to join the  Pastors’ Field Visit to Guntur, South India on May 19 – 23. This is my first visit to Andhra Pradesh .

Secondly, after being involved in social work for so many years, I realise that I am just touching the surface and our work is very small and specific compared to what World Vision (WV) is doing in India.

Thirdly, with limited funds and personnel, we can only do limited work but what World Vision is doing in India is a real eye opener. I would like to congratulate World Vision for their efforts.

Pastor Faye Chen was showing the coloring work that she did happily together with one of the children in a community church that we visited.

II.    What Impacted Me Most During This Visit?

A.    First Impact – Adequate funding and personnel is needed to competently handle all the work that is being done. I also learnt one aspect of interdependence in the World Vision Partnership: the Malaysian office and other Support Offices in other countries commit to fund-raising while countries like India (designated National Offices) are the recipients of the fund. I realized that adequate funding is important to give good service to the poor. The rich must help the poor. The haves, the have-nots.

B.    Second Impact – That all of World Vision staff in India are passionate about the Lord and their work. Many are regular church goers, and some are even Bible College graduates. They work among all people regardless of religion, race, ethnicity or gender. They are very professional in their approach. As they work among the poor and oppressed, their main aim is to promote human transformation, seek justice and bear witness to the good news of the Kingdom of God.

C.    Third Impact – World Vision’s structure must be commended. The founders and those who have spent a lot of time in working out the structure must be commended for it seems very successful. I believe this is replicated in many countries. The World Vision head of India, Dr. Jayakumar Christian has a firm hold on the organization and runs it well with the help of the support staff.

D.    Forth Impact – World Vision’s emphasis on regular prayer is commendable.

III.    What Significant Benefits Can The World Vision Community Development Programme Bring Or Provide To Arpana ADP?

In my opinion WV is doing a tremendous job among the villages in Arpana. Initiatives like Economic Development, Education, Health and Sanitation and Community Empowerment seem very effective and are touching many lives and raising them from their level of poverty. Many families, individuals, ladies and students are being helped.

Children of a school in Arpana gathered under the WV program of “Child Health Now” to pledge on their commitment towards health while receiving mosquito nets and livestocks supply. Malaysia pastors team was overwhelmed by the cheering and smiles of the children.

The only way I can see further significant benefits that can be extended to them is to help more people in more villages. Maybe more funds should be raised to give further help to reach out to more villages.

A family headed by a widow living in a “home” made do by cloths and bamboo sticks. The children and family are deprived of security, protection and provision.

Secondly, I feel after spending resources on these projects, there must be another back up group that tactfully ministers to the spiritual aspect.

Malaysia pastors were praying for the children and families who respond to the sharing of the gospel. Years of laboring with the people living with HIVs in this community has opened up the hearts to receive the good news of Christ – a holistic transformation that World Vision pursues with faith.

Fourthly, the schools are in deplorable conditions with poor furnishings. I understand the Government is only constructing the structure and not helping with the furnishing. It will be difficult for World Vision to furnish all the schools in the villages. I hope that World Vision can work further with the local politicians to look into the furnishings.

A community centre that World Vision started with local villagers to give safe space for children to play and to learn, and to hold community meetings that emphasize on the well-being of children.

IV.    What Will Be The Positive Learning Lessons You Gain That May Contribute To The Christian Social Ministry in Malaysia

The situation in Arpana is different to Malaysia and as such we can’t adopt all the programs that are being done over there. Though it may be hard to find hardcore poor in our country, there may be pockets of them in certain places and relevant programs should be considered.

The only hard core poor I can think of are the Orang Asli in West Malaysia and the Pribumi in East Malaysia. World Vision and churches should penetrate into these Orang Asli villages with the relevant projects.

Children in a school that we visited raise up their hands with excitement to express their response to “Child Health Now” project.

V.    What Are The Opportunities That You Have Discovered And Would Like to Explore Further To Support This Initiative With World Vision?

While visiting some places I was impressed to give an offering. But I think my offering will be a small drop in the vast ocean of World Vision’s financial need.

It will be good if World Vision can share her vision with the local churches so that we can partner with World Vision in the mission fields of these needy countries. Sponsoring children will be a good way to start with.

I think churches will come forward to partner more readily if the social emphasis which is an important way to break the ice with the community is capped with a spiritual emphasis too.