Zarahemla Branch supports missionary work in Haiti, India, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. Some areas are hostile to Christianity, but through the love of Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit, the teaching of the gospel in these nations is bringing people to Jesus.
Our mission in Pakistan began in November 2014 with the appointment of an in country missionary. Since that humble beginning, our church mission has grown from one family to 11 churches in various cities throughout Pakistan. All of them are Christians living in the Christian communities in various towns. Their total membership is over 3000.
It is illegal and punishable by death to share Christianity with a Muslim or for a Muslim to inquire about Christianity. Nevertheless, several church groups have been started among Muslims. They must meet separately and secretly. The first convert was told in a dream to contact our missionary, whom he had met, and inquire about salvation.
We met a missionary in India who, converted over 100 Sora villages in jungle region of Orissa in 2009. They had all been Hindu. We began working with him in 2009. He, along with a fellow missionary among the Kui in Orissa had converted nearly 50 villages. About half wanted to connect with us. Their number grew to 31 and we added 5 churches in a part of Andrah Pradesh, but he suddenly died in 2020. He wanted his brother to succeed him and, although we met, we did not know how to contact him.
In 2022, with the help of our missionary in Sri Lanka, we were able to make contact with Joseph. He established our relationship with the 5 churches in Andrah Pradesh and later gathered 11 of the churches in Orissa. Under his leadership, we are again helping to bring Hindus to Jesus.
Our Mission in Sri Lanka began in September 2012 by contacting a local missionary. We visited him in Sri Lanka during January 2013 and met the few Christian groups that he had gathered. There were two stable church groups and 3 small ones. All 5 have grown into healthy churches. In 2021, we added our 11th church. Some are in towns like Nogombo, Bandarawela, and Puttalem, while some are within the various tea and rubber plantations, like Avissawella and Nawalapitiya. The pastor of Nogombo is a converted Buddhist temple keeper who used to harass Christian churches and their pastors, but now brings fellow Buddhists to Jesus. The total membership is about 1100, but many more attend the various worship services.
We first connected with Haiti in 2010, but it was not until 2014 that we began working with a church group that had been abandoned. They consist of 54 churches throughout the nation and operate 24 schools. At least two have closed for lack of funding. We have tried to stabilize them.
Haiti is the 8th poorest nation in the world and the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere. Recently, the government, which was corrupt and weak, substantially collapsed. The leader of our church in Haiti complains that gangs seem to run the country. He thinks it is too lawless for us to visit the island and conduct our usual pastors' training sessions. There is little food or fuel. It has not rained in the Northwest for 11 months. We recently sent funds to feed our members in that area.