Pastor Zion Samuel Eatalapaka is director of Hope Community Trust India. His work is to minister to churches in Andhra Pradesh, in the south of India. The ministry was started by his father, Pastor E. Sudhakara Rao in 1985. It is now directed by his son Zion Samuel and his wife Nicky.
The work is amongst some of the poorest people in India. Small village churches have been established in Andhra Pradesh, many among the Tribal People or the 'untouchables'. These people have no support from any area. The cast system keeps these people in ignorance and poverty and only as the Church seeks to educate them, can they become 'cast-less' and thereby have access to better employment and a hope for a better life. It is only Christians, who are prepared to work with these people and help them. It is for this reason that Pastor Samuel has established a Bible School, children's home and public school to support and train local people.
The ministry now has its campus site at Kuntinivasala in the Vizianagaram District of Andhra Pradesh where the children's home and school are situated along with the Bible School.
The children's home now has 40-50 children living on the campus and attending the school along with local children who are day students. In June 2009 we opened our new school building on the site. We now have a computer room and a library and are currently working on an arts/science room to further enhance the schools facilities. Taking a child into the home means they can have a free education and avoid some of the possible dangers of a life of poverty. In some rural locations children are sold into bonded labour in rice fields to pay the families debt. This means they work for a landowner to repay a debt. They never see any money for their work and the rates of interest may be so high that the debt continues from one generation to the next. A child living in the home will avoid such a situation.
Our Bible school offers 2 years training to young people called to the pastoral ministry. We make no charge for the training and students who show a calling to ministry are supported in the ministry by a monthly salary and where possible the provision of a church and house to live in. We currently support 14 pastors covering an are of approximately 450 miles. Surrounding our campus site in Kuntinivasala are approximately 300+ villages that have never heard the name of Jesus. Our vision is to evangelise such areas and establish churches in these rural villages. In the last 3 years we have established 3 such churches in previously untouched villages with our own bible school students becoming pastors. Many of the villages are very rural and hard to reach by road. There is little or no health care, readily available to these people and many of the children are never educated.
Pastor Samuel regularly runs a medical camp in the rural villages offering people some access to basic health care and medicines. Whilst the government does offer health care to the population of rural India it is not easy for people to access and quite often they don't bother to get small health issues addressed until they become serious and quite often untreatable. Our medical camps have seen considerable levels of blindess and eye diseases many of which would have been treatable if addressed earlier.
We have used volunteers to run medical camps and our future vision is to establish a medical centre in the village of Kuntinivasala. We have acquired a piece of land for the construction and when funds allow we will build a small facility for general medical care for the surrounding villages along with a a small operating theatre to address some of the needs of the tribal areas. Our aim is to send outreach teams to the rural areas running day clinics and then referring problems found to the health centre for treatment as required.
If you would like to make a donation to HCT India, to support the building programme, the children's home, school or bible school, please contact Hope Community Trust at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact Pastor Samuel at www.facebook.com/zion.samuel.1
Nicky (Smith) can be contacted at nickyeatalapaka.com