The WELS first sent “friendly counselors” to India in 1999. Since that time, the main focus of the work in India has been preparing Indian men to be pastors. More than 100 men have received some sort of training, and more than 50 men have completed the six-year training program and serve as pastors of one or more local congregations. Another 26 men are presently enrolled in the seminary program. These men and their congregations make up Christ Evangelical Lutheran Ministries (CELM) which consists of more than 5,000 souls and nearly 150 congregations in Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, and Madhya Pradesh.
Another important aspect of the work in India is translation and publication. Most of the people in the CELM congregations speak only Telugu, while a few speak only Hindi. Telugu and Hindi liturgies review the basic teachings of the Bible for Indian Christians every Sunday. Telugu and Hindi catechisms, confirmation courses, and sermons lead them to a fuller knowledge of God’s Word. And all the while, more and more materials are available on the CELM’s website, CELM.in.
God willing, in the future, we will also do more “development work” in congregations and regions. This will include continuing education for pastors, training for elders and “Bible women,” as well as training and encouragement in gospel outreach.
India Children’s Homes and Schools
In order to care for poor and orphaned children in India, WELS supports and supervises five children’s homes. These homes care for both the physical and spiritual needs of more than 125 poor children and orphans. In these homes children find a safe place to live, food and clothing, and – most importantly – the gospel of Jesus Christ.
WELS also supports and supervises Gentle Shepherd Lutheran School. This elementary school offers free, quality education to 206 children. More importantly, through daily devotions, Bible stories, and memorization, these children also hear the good news that they have a Savior who loves them.
Please pray for the children, for those who care for children in our homes, and for those who teach our children in our school. May the Holy Spirit cause the powerful Word to create and sustain saving faith in their hearts.