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Pastor Gill's Mission Trips
Nathan Greene's painting of the Second Coming of Jesus. This picture stirred up some controversy when one of the members from the Bonn area put poster-size versions of this painting on both sides of a van he was driving to Kazakhstan. Wherever he stopped the van, people turned to look and talk about the pictures. At one point, the police asked him to take down the pictures because they were scaring people. After talking about it for a while, the police said they would be satisfied if he removed the wording at the bottom, which said, “Are you ready for His coming?”
A church service in the Ongole Conference. Notice the men and women sit on opposite sides of the church.
In this Adventist church, some of the people bring their tithes and offerings in the form of fruit because that is all they have.
Victor & Nettie Gill cutting the ribbon at a dedication of a church in Garnepudi in the Guntur Conference.
Pastors training in the Guntur Conference - here feeding the pastors who came to the sessions. Sessions lasted 6-8 hours a day, with a few non-SDA pastors attending as well.
During New Years we had a break, and amongst other things, we organized an event to donate saris to widow women in the area.
This abandoned SDA church has broken windows and damaged doors, a sad reminder that there's more to a church than a building. More well-trained pastors and workers as well as thorough Bible study for members are needed to keep the church alive and functioning in this land of multiple gods.
This Adventist church is not used currently because the people have wavered in their faith and leadership is lacking.
Yet another abandoned church. It is so sad to see so many churches that have been built with so much dedication and sacrifice fallen into disrepair and not being used.
The Church in the Ongole Conference honored us with leis. Conference President Pastor John Victor is on the right.
Conference President Pastor John Victor translating for Victor at the 1st 25-village evangelistic series in the Ongole Conference
This is a beautiful school built by Maranatha in the Guntur Conference. The challenge with the Maranatha ministry, however, is that while Maranatha builds great facilities for churches and schools, it is up to the locals to fill these schools with teachers and the churches with pastors, and there is often a major shortage. In the schools, we do not have enough SDA teachers and, as a result, many of the children are being taught by Hindu teachers. These Hindu teachers bring with them their own philosophies, giving the children mixed messages. As I mentioned earlier, we had a Hindu teacher working at the orphanage school with us.
A one-day church in the Ongole Conference. Notice the damage to the door. Many of the churches that were built by various teams that came to India to evangelize are now closed. We encouraged the Conference to work longer with the people as we recognized that many had been prematurely baptized without proper discipleship and that is why they are leaving the churches or lowering the standards of the faith to suit their needs.
The Conference President, John Victor, presides over the Ongole Conference. He had a burden for training the pastors properly in our message and had even arranged for his pastors to come to a seminar where they were to be trained in our core message. They are building a training center on the grounds of the Conference Office and are planning to give the pastors proper training. Victor’s training session lasted four days and again he preached to them between 6-8 hours a day.
Victor visited one of our abandoned Adventist churches while in the Ongole Conference. These people posed outside with him after they came to see what was going on.
Reuben Lorenson, a retired missionary, accompanied the Gills to give health talks during the first series.
Maranatha school in the Guntur Conference. How I wished that I was 10 or 20 years younger! I would love to be part of the school’s development. I thought of the young people in our schools in North America and could envision them working as student missionaries in these villages and schools. What a wonderful work they would be able to do here! How they could cause the work in India to grow and flourish!
Trucks bringing people to the 1st evangelistic series in Ongole. Most people don't have transportation, and to ensure people arrived on time, trucks were rented to provide transportation.
Vic's translator who preaches on TV station. This man told a story about a husband and wife who owned a TV channel with Christian content. SDAs and other Christian denominations had purchased time on the channel, but the other denominations complained about the SDAs and wanted them to withdraw their programs. The owner asked both groups to present reasons why they either keep Saturday or Sunday Sabbath. Only the SDAs could provide Biblical answers for their beliefs, so the owner rewarded them with a 50% discount on their programming.
A special wives meeting for wives of pastors at the Pastors' Training Sessions in the Guntur Conference.
Pastor Daniel with one of our first converts at the meetings held at the orphanage. Pastor Daniel pastors several churches the Rajahmundry Conference, and also manages the orphanage.
Victor preaching with translator at the first 25-village evangelistic series held in the Ongole Conference.
This little 3-year-old girl's mother is just 19, and already has another baby. Girls in India are married off as young as 13 and many of them don't survive the first childbirth.
The Untouchables are the lowest caste in the social caste system of India. Their only job is to sift through garbage and find things that can be recycled for money, such as plastic, pop cans and paper.
An Adventist church in the Ongole Conference padlocked shut because there are no leaders and the church members have fallen away.
Fishermen at the sea. It reminded us of the way the disciples might have fished on the Sea of Galilee.
A home of a family of "Untouchables" in the Ongole Conference. Their homes are made of plastic tarps, garbage bags and sticks. They do not know how to read or write, and their children have no future other than to sift through garbage as their parents do. They do not know about Jesus and His love for even the poorest and most destitute. They do not have the life-giving ennobling gospel that teaches that there is neither "Jew nor Greek" and that God is not a respecter of persons.
Cows are sacred in India. They are allowed to roam freely. The Hindu religion teaches that if you have lived many good lives, the ultimate form you can be reincarnated into is a cow.
Children eating at the orphanage. The orphanage is still needing furniture such as tables. Poor people eat on the floor in India.
This young lady is collecting water to drink from a tiny pipe in a ditch on the side of the road. Clean water is hard to find in India.
I'm imagining the children at the school learning and improving their future. I'm wishing I was younger and could be more help.
This little boy kept running away from the orphanage. Every time he did, the principal and teachers went in search of him, found him, and brought him back. Each time they told him that God loves him and that they loved him, and that he doesn’t need to run away. After several times, he finally decided he liked it at the orphanage, and that the people cared for him, and has decided to stay.
The little boys at the school. A delegation of boys came to me (Nettie) at night crying that I was leaving. Their little hearts are hungry for love and attention.
This little girl was sitting by the side of the road alone. We gave the little girl some crackers to eat, but we couldn't find out where her parents were.
The man on the right is the principal of the school. He is a very caring man that takes good care of the children. His son is on the left.
The school (on the left) on the grounds of the Healing Balm of Gilead Refuge Home was just recently completed. It has room for 200 children and serves children from the orphanage and from the community.
The boy in the middle and his sister on the right are twins that came to live at the orphanage. They have no parents.
Mark Kiefiuk and Victor Gill visited cities in India: Bapatla, Ponnuru, Vinukonda, Telegu, Hyderabad and Rajahmundry
The boy in the white shirt is named Amos. Amos’ father died around the time Amos was born, leaving him and his older brother alone with their mother. His mother chose a Biblical name for him even though she wasn’t a Christian. She heard that the name was Biblical, and decided her boy would be taught about Christianity. His older brother had not been given a Christian name, and had been educated in a government school. She decided to send Amos to the Balm of Gilead school at the orphanage to get a proper education. Shortly after Amos enrolled in the school, his mother was hit by a car and killed, leaving Amos an orphan. Ironically, he was already in the orphanage, and getting a Christian education just as his mother had wished. Amos still grieves for his mother, and is coming to terms with his loss. What a miracle that this mother’s foresight placed this young boy in the right place at the right time.
People who came to see what we were doing at the abandoned Church. Pastor Gill encouraged them to return to the truth and not to give up.
Children wearing paper crowns made during the children's program in the second evangelistic series in Guntur.
The man on the left is a chief of a local village near Garnepudi in the Guntur Conference. His wife and well-educated daughter are both Adventists. They became Adventists several years back, as did others in the chief's village. But while the others allowed their faith to dwindle and many returned to their old ways, the chief's wife and daughter remained strong, and kept the faith alive, always praying for their husband to also find the truth. We had the great joy of seeing him accept the truth while we were in India. He now is a Seventh-day Adventist and the entire family can be a light to the other villagers.