Reaching the unreached tribal regions of India is a vision of Devedas and Sarojini Mekala, who have traveled frequently to these parts to preach the Gospel to the illiterate and poor tribal people who live in the border of the states of Andhra Pradesh and Orissa. Now the baton has been passsed onto the next generation of evangelists: their sons, who have taken the challenge of reaching the people who live deep in the mountains, as well as young people ready to take the Gospel to their own people.
He has been walking for four hours, but his legs do not tire. He has been conditioned to the rough hiking that is so vital to his work. If this were a smooth road, he could use his motorbike to travel, but he left the last smooth road several miles behind him. The path through the jungle does not allow such luxuries.
He was going to preach to the most remote tribes, deep in the jungle. These people were more steeped in superstition, and less than friendly to outsiders. It was these people who still enthusiastically practiced infanticide on female infants, often poisoning them with a liquid squeezed from oleander plants. It was these people who had never heard the name of Jesus.
But he would tell them. He would preach God’s Word to up to three villages this day, and he expected to be run out of at least one of the villages. The young man’s eyes burned with compassion as he spotted a woman peering at him curiously from behind a banana tree. Her neck was extended with a tall brass coil, and her eyes were filled with fear. He called out with a friendly greeting, and she fled further into the jungle. Pastor Sudheer pressed on. He could feel in his spirit that it was going to be a good day.
Pastor Sudheer developed a burden for the tribal people soon after his salvation in 1999. He was blessed with a bold, tenacious attitude, perfectly suited to the difficulties of the jungle and their people. Although he runs the Christian school during the week, he uses the weekends to preach in the most remote areas. Slowly, person by person, tribe by tribe, he has made great progress among these peoples, and many have come to Christ. It was Pastor Sudheer who spear-headed expanding the orphanage to meet the needs of the tribes. Thus, they opened the tribal orphanage in Paderu.
The tribes have been greatly affected by the persecution in Orissa. More than 40,000 Christians have fled the burning cities and are hiding in the jungles. Pastor Sudheer has been discouraged that many roads into the jungles have been blocked by the hostile radical Hindus, and he has been unable to carry on his usual ministry. However, the persecution is already reaping a new wave of Christians, and with that, new opportunities are presenting themselves.
- That the Christians in the jungles would be safe, would find help, and would have God’s courage and peace as they suffer persecution. Pray that they would be a witness to the tribal people with whom they have contact.
- That God would use Pastor Sudheer to reach even more tribal people after the persecution has died down.