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Thursday, May 9, 2013

An Indian Pastor’s ‘Life Journey With Jesus’

By Chris Pick
Special to ASSIST News Service

INDIA (ANS) -- “Christianity has a rich tradition in South Asia, which is perhaps as old as Christianity itself – if the Apostle Thomas did indeed find his way as far east as India in the first century. British missionaries brought evangelical Christianity to India in the late eighteenth century, first by William Carey. Less well known is how today God is using Indian Christians to accomplish His work.

Book cover

“Kantharao Meesala’s testimony shows the courage, devotion, and vision needed to share the Gospel and plant churches in the Hindu culture and what God can do with a man who embarks on a life-long ‘Journey with Jesus.’”

These two paragraphs (written on the back cover of the new book “A Life Journey With Jesus”) summarize the life of man who dedicated His life to Christ despite much opposition and chose that narrow road that few have walked – a journey that continues today.

It is the story of my dear friend Reverend Kantharao Meesala, founder of Rehoboth Ministries India.

Kantharao Meesala is an Indian pastor in a place called Vuyyuru - one of the states of Andhra Pradesh, India. He grew up in a Hindu family and did not know who Jesus Christ was. In the mid-60s, he was diagnosed with cancer, and no doctor could heal him. Nor did he find healing in the false gods of his religion. He came to know Jesus Christ through his wife. She went to a church hoping that Jesus could heal him. The local pastor came to the Meesala’s home and prayed over Kantharao. And he was miraculously healed! He then gave his life to Christ.

This healing brought Christ into his life. Because he became a Christian, he lost his relationship with his parents and had to leave his village. But he chose Christ over his family. He confessed his sins and was baptized. And that same year God called him for His ministry. He has served the Lord since 1965 without backsliding, and he founded Rehoboth Ministries India. Two of his seven sons also serve the Lord in the work of RMI. His youngest son Sastry Meesala is the Vice President of RMI and heads the work in America (serving in RMI’s Dallas office).

Chris Pick, Kantha Rao Meesala (Founder and President of RMI), Sastry Meesala (Vice President of RMI), Johan Meesala, and Raju Meesala
in India

RMI trains native pastors and sends them out throughout India to unreached villages. The pastors RMI trains in their Bible school are trained intensively day and night for 40 days. On weekends, they send them on different ministry assignments to various villages to reach people with the gospel of Jesus Christ. The trainees mostly come from poor families and are first generation Christians - coming from Hindu backgrounds. They can read and write Telugu (the local language). But they cannot speak English. They are provided free training, food and transportation expenses. After the six weeks of training are complete, they are sent out to unreached areas for church planting and discipleship ministry.

Two years ago, RMI started a film team outreach.

The film teams are made up of five people. At the beginning of each showing, RMI would show eight to ten short Gospel video clips put to music with messages addressing current issues (marital abuse, drinking, false religion, etc.) as well as community needs. This is not only to draw their attention to the Jesus films but help educate them for a better life. They even have special videos for children. And the children will all sit together at the front and sing along to the songs in the clips.

The Jesus film RMI shows is called MAN OF MERCY, an India-produced film based entirely on the Gospel accounts of Christ, but using Indian actors and language. The film is set in the Indian culture and tradition, so it really speaks to the people in India.

Salvation messages are often shared at these crusades and, generally, there is an altar call given for prayer and blessings. The responses are incredible! The team has been there for up to an hour and a half praying for people after showings. Through film showings, many villagers have given their lives to the Lord, and churches have been planted in unreached villages.

Chris Pick, Raju Meesala, and Kantha Rao Meesala speaking at a church in the
United States

Before each film showing, a team will go to the villages in the morning and do a prayer walk around the village as well as invite people to come. If the villages are hostile, the team will still show the film but do so in a village home. Afterwards, RMI sends a Bible team to follow up with the work in the village – ask questions, answer questions, pray with them, etc. The ultimate result is to start a Bible study or hopefully a church.

Each show costs between $30 and $50. This all goes to cover gas prices (on some trips, we have traveled over two hours to reach a village), it also provides for electricity as well as food for the team members. In some cases, toll tax is required to travel to a village.

Twelve years ago, RMI was given another vision – to start an orphanage for street children. The children come from all over the state of Andhra Pradesh. The ages of the children are from 5 to 18. In some cases, the children’s parents died and no one was able to take care of them. In other cases, children were abandoned because parents could not afford to provide for them. RMI discovers many of these children through their film crusades. During crusades, RMI shares about their orphanage ministry, and children are brought to them from villagers.

Kantha Rao Meesala, Chris, Raju Meesala, and Chris Pick’s wife Michelle

The children have Bible study every morning from 5 – 6 a.m. and again in the evening from 8 – 9 p.m. before bedtime. They attend a local government school. However, RMI has a vision to start a Christian school for these children.

Many Christian children suffer abuse (both physically and spiritually) in the government schools of India. Christian children are often segregated from other students and even beaten by their teachers. In many schools, they are also forced to learn and recite Hindu mantras along with the other students.

Kantharao Meesala’s new book “A Life Journey With Jesus” is free with a donation of $10 or more to the Christian school building project for the RMI orphanage. The donations will go towards a Christian school building project for the RMI orphanage in India. To make a donation and receive a book, you can e-mail Sastry Meesala at sastrymeesala@gmail.com or you can visit the RMI website: www.informi.org



Christopher Pick is a singer/songwriter; missionary; and advocate for the Persecuted Church and Native Missionary Movement. He has been involved with several mission projects which have included work in South America, Africa, Asia, and even North America (ministering among the Lakota Sioux at the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota). As a singer/songwriter, Pick’s music has been heard globally and charted on many continents in both mainstream, adult contemporary, and Christian. His latest project “Tragedies & Miracles” (available on iTunes) features members of Rich Mullins’ old band “A Ragamuffin Band.” Pick resides in Williamsport, PA along with his wife Michelle (a Fifth Grade teacher in Central PA). You can contact him at chrispick36@gmail.com or follow Pick on Facebook www.facebook.com/pages/Chris-Pick-fan-page/310118944421, Twitter www.twitter.com/pickchris, MySpace www.myspace.com/pickmusic, or Reverb Nation www.reverbnation.com/chrispick 


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