The Minnesota Conference of the Seventh-day Adventist Church helped sponsor a trip to Andhra Pradesh, India, in February 2019. The mission trip was organized by retired pastor Larry Milliken, who has dedicated his life to the mission field, and especially to India.
Through this mission trip 8,200 miles (about 13,200 kilometers) from home, a group of 19 mission-minded believers from across the North American Division shared the good news of the Bible in Andhra Pradesh.
“Our group worked with the Andra South Section leadership to conduct two weeks of revival meetings in 45 villages,” trip leaders reported.
The Minnesota Conference sponsored four teams headed by Barbara Christiansen, Robert Pickle, Mary Jones, and Brian Mungandi respectively, with each group centered on five villages.
“Our teams worked with translators, along with local pastors and Bible workers in the villages,” team leaders shared. “We traveled to remote villages, where we did home visitations and conducted meetings,” they reported. The evening programs involved showing parts of a film on the life of Jesus based on the gospel of Luke, telling a children’s story, conducting a health talk, and preaching the Word.
A Deep Longing for Christ
Marususamalli Village, one of the locations where meetings were conducted, is about 34 miles (55 kilometers) from Vijayawada, the town where the group was staying.
“In the afternoons, I went into the surrounding villages for home visitations,” Mungandi said. “There I encountered men and women ruled by superstition, but I discovered a deep longing for a power above themselves.”
Mungandi said that he also recognized that in the West, people have a hard time understanding Hinduism, the dominant religion across most of India.
“It is hard for Hindus to acknowledge only one God,” Mungandi said. “It is easy for Hindus to accept elements of other religions, though, because Hinduism recognizes the manifestation of a supreme being.”
Christ’s Method Alone
After several home visitations, team members reported a need for medical education and health care across the villages. Many of the people in the villages suffer from preventable medical issues. Adventist leaders believe that the Adventist Church is well placed to do missionary work in these areas thanks to the church’s message of healthy living.
“The Adventist Church has been given a unique message and opportunity to influence people for eternity,” Mungandi said.
Mungandi believes that Adventist evangelism must include practical approaches.
“Our church's outreach program must not only be intellectually appealing, but it must also be practical,” he said. “It must include practical ways for communities who become Adventist to participate in healthful living.”
“The challenge to the church is to find more effective ways to preach the message,” Mungandi said. “People must see the power of God saving and delivering them from darkness and bondage.”