With a strong focus on discipleship, Harvest Ministries envisions Church Planting and Evangelism working in tandem. To that end, Harvest Ministries is committed to a wholistic presentation of the gospel. Harvest Ministries has established 110 churches in places where no Christian has lived before. Harvest churches have been established in Karimnagar, Medak, Warangal, Mahbubnagar, Ranga Reddy & Adilabad districts. We are actively working among 11 people groups such as the Gangireddu and Erukula people groups, as well as Tribal groups such as the Banjaras and Gonds.
HIV/AIDS Treatment, Counseling, and Nutrition
Our evangelists are being taught about general health and hygiene so that they can take the message to their villages.
HIV/Aids Awareness: HIV/Aids is one of the greatest humanitarian emergencies. Almost every nation is fighting to solve this issue, which has the potential to wipe out mankind. It is the third world countries that are now seriously affected with this malaise. Poverty, illiteracy, and superstitious beliefs, coupled with loose living and lack of basic health care and hygiene contribute to the spread of this disease.
There are one million AIDS patients in India. Out of this, 350,000 are accounted for in Andhra Pradesh alone.
This disease is making rapid strides, especially in the rural and backward regions of the state, where the people have no knowledge of the disease or prevention. Those afflicted are not willing to admit infection for fear of being treated as outcasts. Therefore, they keep on spreading the disease without realizing the destruction.
In this grave situation we have taken up the challenge of rendering aid to those with AIDS. Harvest Ministries has set up a Health Care Center, which is exclusively rendering services to 90 HIV patients at monthly clinics that we operate though our churches. We provide free medicine, counseling and food apart from sharing the hope one has in Christ Jesus.
If you recall the miracle of feeding the 5,000, you will remember that the Lord Jesus told his disciples to feed the people. When they said it was impossible to feed so many with just five loaves of bread and two fishes, the Lord asked them to bring these to him anyway. He blessed the little that they brought and more than 5,000 were fed that day.
Stepping Stones is a similar miracle taking place in the neglected villages of Andhra Pradesh. It is a simple idea, but it has had a profound impact on the lives of disadvantaged villagers.
The idea was put forth by one of our friends who had visited us. He has been a great source of strength and support to us in the ministry.
The whole idea of Stepping Stones is to help people start up small businesses, to help them earn a livelihood. The recipients repay the amount in small installments, which are then pooled to help others start their own businesses. This will eventually help the community at large.
This entire project started with a one-time investment of $2,700 by a friend. The amount has helped start 10 businesses to date. These include: shoe stores, tea shops, buffalo farms, cattle farms, grocery stores, and more. The investment is as little as $600-800 and the payback period is 20 months.
Here is an opportunity for you to invest in building up the lives of people and helping in the transformation of the community. It can be done one step at a time, one person at a time.
Vacation Bible School
The Harvest VBS programs have been providing us with a wonderful opportunity to share the Gospel with non-Christian children – some of whom have never been inside a church before. We use songs, fun activities and life-transforming Bible stories to connect the children with God. These interactive VBS programs help us bond with the children and share Christ's love with them.
Annual Children's Retreat:
Once a year, we conduct a Four-day Retreat for selected children at the Stonebridge-Vijayalaxmi Residential School premises. This is a more in-depth Retreat, aimed at helping children discover God's Word in a fun and unforgettable way. Guest Children's Ministers use relational, learner-based methods to impart the Gospel to the youngsters. Our dream is to change the lives of these little ones by teaching them practical actionable ways in which they can relate with God.
Because of rampant poverty, especially in the Telangana region, most of the children do not get the opportunity to attend school. Hence many children are forced to work from an early age, so that they can provide for their families. To provide a ray of hope to such deprived children, we have established the Vijayalaxmi Memorial Stonebridge Residential School 65 kms (40 miles) north of Hyderabad in a 15 acre campus. (See www.BridgetoIndia.org) Vijayalaxhmi Stonebridge School has been specifically established in response to this need.
Vacation Bible School: Apart from providing secular education, we wanted to mold the children into future leaders by nourishing them with the Word of God. Hence we are reaching out to the children through Vacation Bible Schools. We have conducted Children's Camps in 62 villages reaching 5,000 children with the love and compassion of Jesus Christ, and thus transforming them.
1. Annual Youth Camp (1st week of June)
Once a year, we conduct a Three-day Youth Camp for young people at the Stonebridge-Vijayalaxmi Residential School premises. We don't restrict the registrations, and around 250 youth attend every year. Over the three days, we create opportunities for the youngsters to hear the Gospel presented in simple detail, and taste God's love for themselves. The Annual Camp we conducted last year proved a powerful life-changing experience for 80 young people who committed their lives to the Lord!
2. Discipleship Camp (3rd week of October)
Large numbers respond to the Gospel at the Annual Youth Camp. We conduct a Three-day Follow-Up Camp for the spiritual development and nurture of these new believers. At the Discipleship Camp, the youngsters personally experience Christian life and values in a Christ-centered atmosphere. We equip each of them to live out their faith, so that they can take home what they've learnt and share God's amazing love with their families and friends.
3. Youth Mentoring Camp (Mid April - End of May)
The Youth Mentoring Camp is an intensive training program lasting over six weeks. We select a limited number (around 25 youth) for this Camp, so that we can personally mentor them one-on-one. Our staff and team-members focus on building relationships and modeling what it means to live a Christ-centered life. Resource persons provide Life Skills training and Vocational classes during the Camp, equipping youngsters to discipline themselves and respond to the challenges of life.
It is disheartening to see young children suffer from HIV/AIDS,cancer and other sickness, and we consider it a privilege to serve them. Since they are coming from economically poor families, they cannot afford traditional medical treatment. With God's love, we provide them with nutrients and medical assistance.
Most villagers do not have access to proper medical care. Out of that concern was born the idea of conducting medical camps. In 1999, we started a general medical camp with help from other organizations and over the years our efforts have expanded. The Lord wonderfully blessed our limited efforts and we've been able to reach out to the people through Eye Camps, Dental Camps and camps for the Physically Handicapped.
Health & Hygiene are non-existent in rural areas. Even worse is dental care. The villagers hardly know anything about dental care. They are not even aware of basic things like brushing one's teeth properly and taking care of them. Chewing tobacco and smoking marijuana is very common, and as a result, most of them suffer with dental problems.
Dental Camps: Our Dental Camps reach 10 interior villages in eight districts. So far, 19 Dental Camps have been conducted. We have treated more then 5,000 with various dental aliments including 897 extractions, 128 cavity fillings and 26 scalings.
Uplifting the rural poor, irrespective of caste, creed or religion, is another key objective of our organization. For the last few years, there has been acute scarcity of drinking water in Andhra Pradesh. The ground water table has receded, and the wells that previously served the rural people have dried up. Keeping this dire need in mind, Harvest Ministries has taken up the project of digging bore wells in the drought-prone areas to help the people overcome the water crisis.
The implementation of this project in 45 drought-stricken Telangana villages near Harvest Churches has created more opportunities to share the Gospel. We drilled 63 bore wells in 45 villages covering five districts. Approximately 100,000 people have already benefited from this project!