Ministry in Richmond and in the Punjab

August 12, 2015 | Viewpoints | Volume 19 Issue 16
Charanjit Kumar | New Canadian voice

I’m not exactly a new Canadian as I arrived in Vancouver back in 1989, leaving behind my hometown of Dadwan, Punjab, India.

My grandparents were traditional Hindu and Sikh, but my father joined the British army and so converted to Christianity, though he was a very nominal Christian. My mother had been born into a Sikh family, but she attended a Catholic Church.  

Growing up I only attended church very irregularly such as on Christmas Eve. But when I came to Canada, I met some friends who were attending a small Indo-Canadian gathering at Sherbrooke Mennonite Church in Vancouver, organized by Pastor Jake Giesbrecht. Rob Sinclair, who would later become a dear friend and partner in ministry, would play Hindi Christian songs on his guitar, and we enjoyed many social events with this small Indo-Canadian Christian fellowship, especially around Indian holidays.

I was baptized June 6, 1992 at Sherbrooke Mennonite Church. Later the Indo-Canadian group disbanded and I joined a local church in Richmond which had a focus on reaching out to Indo-Canadian families in my neighbourhood.

Peace Mennonite Church is very near to our home. My wife Sudha and I began attending Peace in May 2013. Once again we were members of a Mennonite Church. My wife joined a weekly Bible study led by the pastor’s wife, and I joined a weekly prayer group that intercedes for the needs of the community and the congregation. I also participate in Peace Church’s bi-monthly community meal, and I have just started to lead worship.

In 2007 I started a ministry in my hometown, Dadwan, in the Punjab. I joined together with my friend Rob Sinclair and his organization Dusty Sandals, which was doing ministry in other parts of India. In Dadwan, Dusty Sandals started a church plant. We began building a church in 2007 and it was completed in 2009. Church attendance is now around 200. We sponsor many kids from local schools, providing them with nutritious meals and soymilk.  We also started a hydroponics vegetable garden project. There are seven team members who are evangelists and teachers. One of the exciting new ministries is our theology course for young people. Youths can do one- to three-year diplomas or even a bachelor of theology at the church. Many young people are coming to know Christ through this theology course.

I am thankful for all the support that Peace Mennonite Church gives to me and Sudha here in Richmond and when we are ministering in the Punjab. Last year I developed some serious medical problems with my liver and was not able to stay in the Punjab for the time I had planned. Please pray that God will give me good health so I can return. Also pray for the Christian churches across India, as there have been attacks, torching of churches and persecution of church leaders recently because of some of the policies of India’s current Hindu nationalist government.

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