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Friday, May 31, 2019

KGM in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana , India



Pictures from KGM's Visit to 15 Churches in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana 

Pastor Saha and Anju are welcomed to Andhra Pradesh
Saha and Anju Simon, the leaders of Kerusomen Gospel Ministries in India, just returned from a 10 day mission trip in which they visited more than 12 churches in both Telangana and Andhra Pradesh states.  So this month, I want to give you some background on the region they visited.

Andhra Pradesh is the seventh largest state in India with the 10th largest population estimated to be more than 54 million in 2019.  If Andhra Pradesh were an independent country, it would be the 26th most populous country in the world with more people than South Korea, or Colombia or Spain to name a few.



Anju leads Womens Training in Andhra Pradesh


Andhra Pradesh (deeper purple) is situated on the Southwest coast of India.  Telangana is inland (lighter purple)— northwestern part of the old Andhra state.


Five years ago, Andhra Pradesh was much bigger. That was when about a third of the state was divided off to become the 29th state of India, Telangana.  

Watch the short video below to get a flavor of Telangana and some historical data points on it's long journey to become a separate state.


The official language of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana is Telugu which is considered one of the classical languages of India. The vast majority of the people (70%) in these states live in the rural areas and make a living through farming.

More than 88% of the people of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana are Hindus.  Muslims make up 9.5% of the population and only 1.38% are Christian.  

One of the major traditions of Hinduism is the caste system.  According to tradition, the Hindu people are divided into four castes. “The four classes were the Brahmins (priestly people), the Kshatriyas (also called Rajanyas, who were rulers, administrators and warriors), the Vaishyas (artisans, merchants, tradesmen and farmers), and Shudras (labouring classes)”.[1]  

As a Hindu, your caste is thought to be determined by your actions in a past life.  If you lived virtuously in a past life you will be reincarnated into a higher caste.  If you were dishonorable, you would come back into a lower caste.  Besides these four castes, there are people consider so low as to not qualify to be a part of the system.  These people are the outcasts, the untouchables also known as the Dalits.
Pastor Saha and Anju with Koyva Tribal Church in Telangana - one of the least reached people groups in India
Pastor Saha officiates a wedding in Telangana


“To be Dalit is much worse than being poor, for no matter how much education or wealth a Dalit accumulates, he or she remains polluted, a shame on the face of the earth. Dalits are like biblical lepers, except that in mainstream Indian culture, they cannot be healed”.[2] 

In the last 20 years or so, there has been an openness to gospel among Dalits in India and many of them have come to Christ.
Kerusomen Bible Church (Hebron Prayer Hall) @ Kutkulluru. 

Pastor Saha conducts training session for AP and Telangana pastors.



Pastor Saha dedicates a new church:  Kerusomen Bible Church (Hebron Prayer Hall) @ Kutkulluru. 


Since the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), a radical Hindu group, gained the majority of seats in the Indian parliament 21 years ago, persecution against Christians has been growing in India.  Some states have passed “freedom of religion” laws which ironically makes it illegal to convert to a another religion from the one you were born in.  Also, these laws outlaw active proselytizing. 

Fortunately, neither Andhra Pradesh or Telangana have these laws.  In fact, just this February, Andhra Pradesh “passed a resolution which church leaders say will help socially poor Dalit Christians receive welfare benefits enjoyed by their counterparts in Hinduism”.[3]

Still is it not easy to be a Christian in Andhra Pradesh. Economic and social pressures on Christians make life difficult. In one example mentioned in a Christianity Today story, concerned three hills in the state of Andhra Pradesh [that] are considered to belong to a Hindu deity, which local farmers have long "leased" the land from. But a new law says Christian farmers can no longer do so and must give up their land”.[4]

By: Leecy Barnett, Author
      Librarian, Lynn University

Help Kerusomen Provide Learning Tools for Pastors & New Believers in India 

Click Book to go to Amazon
Get a fantastic tool to use in your own ministry to new believers and help print the Indian translation of Leecy's book for our training initiative in India, at the same time.

Geared to believers with no previous bible knowledge, this study is invaluable for your one-on-one mentoring of new believers or if you are a growth group leader.

100% of the profits from sales of this book help print the Indian translation of "Everything New".

We thank Leecy for her generous partnership with Kerusomen.
 "I wrote this book to ground new believers in their faith. Kerusomen uses it in India to train pastors and new believers. You can purchase the American version (just slightly different than the Indian one) from Amazon. All profits from the American version will go towards the printing cost of the Indian version."  Leecy Barnett






[1] Fowler, J. (2014), Hinduism: Beliefs and Practices, Sussex Academic Press, pp. 19–20.??
[2] Stafford, T. (2011). India’s Grassroots Revival. Christianity Today, 55(7), 28–36. Retrieved from http://lynn-lang.student.lynn.edu:2256/login.aspx?direct=true&db=asn&AN=62824892&site=ehost-live
[3] Minj, B. K. (2019, February 12). Indian state passes resolution to help Dalit Christians: Andhra Pradesh joins four other states recommending benefits for Christians of Dalit origin. Retrieved from https://www.ucanews.com/news/indian-state-passes-resolution-to-help-dalit-christians/84489
[4] Weber, J. (2016, November). Outpacing persecution: Why it's the best of times and the worst of times for India's burgeoning churches. Christianity Today, 60(9), 38+. Retrieved from http://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/A470869400/ITOF?u=boca54337&sid=ITOF&xid=0f489bf0


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