India (MNN) — Old agricultural buildings are finding new life as a Bible college. Believers supported by Gospel for Asia are turning 35 acres of former farmland into a training space for missionaries in northern India.
According to the Christ-followers, the land didn't come easily. It was previously owned by a German agricultural company, but they weren't able to grow anything; as a result, they sold the land back to the government. And that's when the battle began.
The person overseeing this project* says it took four and a half years to get the land, simply because the government didn't want to give it up. One man challenged the project overseer, saying, "As long as I sit here outside your office, you will not get the land!"
Believers began a 24-hour period of prayer and fasting over the situation. Soon after, the man was arrested for corruption, and another took his place. This one showed favor to the project overseer, and GFA-supported believers were able to purchase the land.
They began renovating the old agricultural buildings and updating the utilities. One building became a chapel that will seat 500 people when finished, and another two became housing units for students. In a building that's now become the dining hall, an extremely large kitchen space outfitted with several ovens, stoves, and bread makers will sufficiently feed hundreds of students.
Behind the kitchen, old fields and gardens aren't going to waste. The ground has been turned over, and they've been replanted with mustard, garlic, and spinach. Livestock including cows, goats, rabbits, and chickens roam nearby. The project overseer says it will all be used to help feed hundreds of students and faculty. Any excess will be sold and the profits used for ministry work, such as literacy classes, slum, widows, and lepers ministries, or compassion services usually undertaken by women missionaries.
Sister Martha* currently oversees 19 women missionaries and will also watch over women students residing at the new Bible college. She spoke to MNN recently from the construction site.
"Through one auntie I came to know about the Lord Jesus Christ, and I was willing to study [at the] Bible college," she says. "I'm very happy to be here and to serve [the] Lord. I want to share with others, and I want to give [them] that peace which I have."
Some people are coming to the new school as a result of seeing Christ's love through women missionaries.
"Through literacy class, they learned so many things, and now they join our Bible College," says Martha.
Classes are slated to start at this new school in June. Pray that construction is completed safely and with no interruptions. Pray that more people would support missionary students through sponsorships.
"I want to say from [the bottom of my heart] thank you so much for your helping, because alone, I cannot do anything," says Sister Martha about the missionary sponsorships.
* = names changed or excluded for security reason