Madhuri’s Mission – Where it began
How many life-changing relationships begin with a trip to the dollar store? When we packed the shoe boxes with the toys, tooth brushes and other small items, we prayed that God would allow the box to find its way to a young girl somewhere in the world who needed a smile and a word of encouragement. We had participated in Operation Christmas Child for a few years before. Each year, we would put a photo of our family and a letter with our home address into the box. We had never known where our boxes were sent, and we didn’t expect this year to be different. We prayed for the little girl, whoever she was, and placed our box into the pile on the front steps of the church in November of 2008.
A few weeks into the following January, a letter came from Bangalore, India, and a picture of a man holding a beautiful young girl in his lap. His name is K. V. Chandra and the girl is Madhuri, one of a small group of girls that live under the care of Chandra and his wife, Manjula. The letter revealed that Chandra pastors the Hanna Krupa Memorial Church on the northwestern edge of Bangalore. Madhuri was excited to see the things in the box and place our photo into her Bible.
Over the months that followed, we corresponded with Chandra, first by mail, then by email. We learned about their lives and their ministry to the poor, and we began to help with some of their small financial needs by supporting a few of the girls who wanted to go to English-speaking schools. One Christmas, we sent a small laptop to Chandra as a Christmas gift. Since the laptop included a webcam, we were able to Skype and speak to them in person.
This changed everything! We were able to learn the girls’ personalities, see the love between Chandra and Manjula and their dedication to the Gospel. We learned that Chandra and his nephew, Nathaniel, had begun to travel among the rural villages of southern Andhra Pradesh, preaching the Gospel and planting churches. As a part of this effort, Chandra and Nathaniel’s ministry had been given a piece of property near the town of Kadiri. On the property was the start of a church building. They use this building each Spring to host the “Five Festival Days with Jesus,” a training camp for youth and young adults who want to learn how to disciple the new Christians in the villages.
In September of 2013, God gave us the opportunity to visit our friends in India, to worship with the church in Bangalore, and to meet with the young churches in the villages. We toured the property near Kadiri (in the village of Daburuvaripalli) and heard of Nathaniels’ long-term vision for a training center.
In addition, God provided money for us to buy shoes and supplemental nutrition for a group of HIV positive children supported by Nathaniel and his wife, Vani. In the months that followed our trip, we were able to raise some money to do improvements on the church building.
We met Grace Klein Community through a partner missionary, Natalie Spronk, and recognized quickly that we had much in common.
Grace Klein had been supporting Operation Christmas Child for years, and Natalie works with the Kwathu Children’s home in Zambia that supports orphaned children, some of whom have been impacted by HIV. After meetings and prayer, we felt God leading us to partner with Grace Klein Community in pursuit of our common goals of care for the poor, those afflicted by HIV, and efforts to build up the churches of Andhra Pradesh. Grace Klein Community expanded its global reach to include India. As the lead volunteers, we, Todd and Jennifer Norton, will coordinate the ministry efforts for the India outreach of Grace Klein Community. We look forward to inviting our friends to join Grace Klein Community and help us grow the Kingdom as we learn to share what we have so we all have what we need.
To learn more about what God is doing in India and how you can invest, please plan a gathering at your home, small group, church or business with Todd and Jennifer Norton by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.