By The Overseas Missions Response Team

This past weekend, we had the honor of hosting our overseas missionary partners of more than 38 years from India. We want to share the work of our partners. Still, due to the possibility of our partners receiving persecution from local Hindu extremists or local government officials, we will use the initials JA & MA and not use their full names or identify the specific location of the mission. 

In the mid-1970s, JA and MA came separately from India to the US to start new lives and live the American dream. They were born and raised as Christians in Southwest India. They met and were soon married at Bridgetown Church of Christ. They started their married life with JA teaching and MA being a nurse.   While attending Bridgetown Church, they met Mount Carmel church members Melodie Hood and Leslie Barton’s parents, who talked with them about possibly returning to India to start a mission work with their own people group. India was closed to foreign missionaries, so JA and MA were uniquely equipped to be missionaries. Praise God, in 1977, they answered God’s call to take the Gospel to India! 

In 1981, they opened a children’s orphanage in the mountain country of Southwest India, which, like our Appalachian region, is impoverished. The children’s orphanage serves girls from kindergarten to high 

school who have lost parents or come from families who feel their children will receive better care at the 

orphanage.  The girls are fed, kept clean, study the Bible, have devotions, and learn Christian songs. The girls walk to school daily or ride the bus if it rains. Over the years, more than 2700 girls have gone through the orphanage and graduated high school. Most of these young ladies have accepted Christ and been baptized. In the last few years, the government has made it more challenging to run orphanages like these to the point many of the Catholic orphanages have closed. JA’s and MA’s orphanage remains open, although the number of girls the government allows to attend has been reduced from 150 to 36.  

JA’s work extends far beyond his work at the orphanage. He trains preachers, plants churches, and currently supports 17 churches in the Southwest India area, an area the size of Kentucky. Your support has transformed these churches into more than just places of worship. They have become pillars of the community, providing not only spiritual guidance but also practical assistance with food, medical supplies, and flood kits. Your contributions are making a tangible difference in the lives of many.  

JA and MA will be in the US until September because of immigration requirements, but even in their absence, the mission continues. The churches and the leaders at the orphanage are preparing to do five VBS programs to reach 100 children in nearby communities. The orphanage is still operational, and the churches are preparing for monsoon season, which requires purchasing and assembling flood kits and helping people with flooding.

How can you help JA and MA, and the Southwest India ministry? You can pick up a card with their information at the Welcome Desk or request one to be sent to you and pray regularly for their ministry and housing needs.  If you wish to support their ministry to help with the girl’s school fees, food, and medical supplies given out by the churches, the purchase of flood kits or just a general donation to the ministry please send a check to Southwest India Ministry to 1700 21st West Avenue, Apartment 108, Bradenton, Florida, 34205.