As some of you know, I serve on the U.S.-based executive board of Life Light Ministries (http://lifelightinc.com/) in Aurangabad, Maharashtra, India. My role is as Director of Organizational and Staff Development. In that role, I work very closely as a coach / mentor / advisor with John Dongerdive, Life Light’s Executive Director, and his brother James Dongerdive, who serves as the Director of their St. John’s School.
While Life Light does many things in their community, including operating an orphanage, conducting street ministry to lepers, staging an annual regional pastors conference, and so on, St. John’s School offers some unique opportunities. The school is sought after by many local parents. Public education in many parts of India is of very poor quality. St. John’s offers the equivalent of elementary through high school classes at minimal costs, affording high quality educational opportunities for poorer families.
St. John’s School represents three highly desirable opportunities for Life Light. First, many of the students are of either Hindu or Muslim faith households. Yet in St. John’s classrooms the name of Jesus Christ is openly proclaimed. St. John’s has been able to establish rapport with the students’ families through numerous events celebrating different stages of the students’ educational career. Second, St. John’s operates at a profit, currently teaching about 1,000 students, which helps support Life Light’s other ministry efforts. In fact, right now, the school is adding two more classrooms which will maximize the use of their current location by allowing them to add another 70-80 students for the coming school year.
The third opportunity points to a very exciting future. St. John’s is poised, with solid experience and a good reputation in their city, to expand their operations. And demand for educational opportunities in India is exploding as a growing middle class is looking to ensure their children have greater vocational opportunities for their future. St. John’s can grow into more specialized fields in adult education and vocational training programs over the next few years and become an even greater influence in Aurangabad.
I am working with John and James to help carry forward the vision their parents held when they started Life Light more than twenty years ago as an indigenous Christian mission whose purpose is to empower communities to lead a national evangelistic movement in India. The opportunities immediately in front of them are what are compelling me to get my “feet on the ground” in Aurangabad later this year. Life Light not only has the opportunity to be a leading institution of private education but they are working to organize more than 200 pastors in Maharashtra State as a unified evangelical front for the cause of Christ.
I hope this article encourages and excites you. India is still less than 2.5% Christian. But with ministries like Life Light in place, we can be assured the Word of God will go forth and not return void (Isaiah 55:11).
All that said, I am still in the process of raising funding for my tour, to include visiting Life Light and Hujji Ministries International is Sialkot, Pakistan, where I will also be teaching and preaching on the role of marketplace ministries in God’s mission in the world. Would you prayerfully consider a supporting donation to help defray the expenses of this trip? Those can be made via PayPal using my email addresss – firstname.lastname@example.org, or mailed to me, c/o Eden’s Bridge, Inc., 991 Lancelot Drive, Norcross, GA 30071. Eden’s Bridge is a registered 501(c)(3) not-for-profit and your gifts are 100% tax deductible.
Shalom – Dave Doty