Our Story

As I write this, I wanted you, the reader, to keep in mind that the story isn’t over yet. Actually, it never will be, until the world as we know it ends.

So, here is the story of Angela Frienship Ministries and the work that God has only just begun! ~Angela

 

My First Trip to India
In 1999, I traveled with a team from Heritage AFlame, in Bolivar NY, to India. It was August, and the compound where Sam and Elizabeth George live and minister was full of activity. Not to give you a report on the trip, I’ll just say, the Bible students were in session, and I met for the first time, Padma. I wish I could say that we struck up a friendship right away, and knew we were chosen to do a great work together. The truth is, I don’t remember meeting him at all. There were so many students, and some really stood out in my mind, but not Padma. I did write him at least once in the year following the trip, and that was that.

 

Initial Contact from Padma
In October of 2005 Paula Ayers gave me a letter that came to the Heritage AFlame office from Padma, to both of us. With the letter, he sent a letter that I had sent to him. The coast that he lives on in India was hit hard by the Tsumani that year, and their church was gone. After praying and fasting for 40 days, he was asking for prayerful consideration to help re-build that church.

 

Praying for Wisdom & Direction
Now, back on this continent, I had been praying for wisdom on what to do with a sum of money that I had just come into. I had considered a few investiments, but nothing gave me peace. Oh how God was moving! He had decided that He was going to take his faithful son in India, and His little broken vessel in Olean, and do a great work. Not Padma and I, but God. Only God could choreograph and orchestrate such as what was about to unfold. I was being placed in an unbelievable position to watch the Hand of God.

The same day I got the letter, I asked Brian Strawser to tell me what 50,000 rupees is in US dollars, (he’s a walking calculator) and he told me. There was a word in there that was misunderstood. The word was “lack”. In my language, it means what someone is short of, in another language is means a certain amount. That wasn’t going to be the last language barrier we’d encounter, but it didn’t matter. I felt I should send the help. Before doing so, I wanted to find out about the validity, or reputation of this man I didn’t remember. I asked pastor Dave Herne, and then asked Sam George in India. Sam could only confirm that he had graduated and gone out, but had no contact with him.

I still felt I should send it, and if he was a hustler, it was on him, not me, because I had been obedient to what I believed God asked me to do. As it turned out, the money was put toward land further inland instead of rebuilding where it had been. The people were still very fearful of another Tsunami.

Moving Forward with God’s Direction
In December of 2005, their first son, Paul, was born to Padma and Dorthi ( I would rather have been Auntie, but I’m Grandmom) and pictures of his ministry began arriving. Pastor’s conferences, and church services, people around him in need. My heart began to stir. Really stir. Padma had a vision to reach seven tribal areas around him. He wanted to reach them with The Gospel, medical camps, and water wells. Clean water can take care of so many medical needs. Much of the sickliness could be cured with fresh, clean water. One Thousand dollars US, can give a well to between two and three hundred people! About three hundred fifty dollars US, can get a doctor and nurses with medicines to the same number of people. They see the love of Jesus in action and are open to the message that can save their souls. When we began drilling wells, Padma would say, “Pray Auntie, pray for the water to flow so that they can receive the Living Water”.

Angela Friendship Ministries is Born
In the winter of 2006, Padma began working on plans for the church. I received an engineered stamped blueprint and noticed that the church was planned for Pastor Padma Kumar Kada of “Angela Friendship Ministries”. The ministry had been named. I didn’t know. I can’t tell you what that felt like, but I do remember the smile and the way my husband looked at me when he noticed it too. Some things just get burned into memory and have to stay there. They held a Women’s Conference on the land in honor of the naming of the ministry.

In March of 2006, money was sent to pay off the land for the church, and some extra for clothes. I felt very sure of the amount that God told me to send for this. At the same time church plans were in the works, Padma was with the first two tribes. Doctors wouldn’t go to them until they were clothed. They had to look more presentable according to more modern standards before the doctors would go in to help. Many were still naked. Yes, very tribal. There was a need for clothing to be purchased and I just, in my own mind, figured that was what the balance would cover. So I told Padma that was what it was for. As it turned out, the balance was way not enough for the clothing, so it was just put in the bank for when more could be added to it. God knew, and you will too if you keep reading.

This is from God!
On March 14, 2006 a pastor’s conference was held. A prophetic word was given by a pastor to the group before a word of encouragement was given from me. Now, Padma had asked me to write the pastors at the conference something that he could read to them to encourage them. I tried to push this task off on my husband – also a pastor – made sense. No avail, my husband told me that they asked ME, and wanted to hear from Sister Auntie. Well… what does one like me say to those like them? They are out in tribes and villiages preaching, teaching, ministering all the time. I’m a wife, mom, Kindergarten teacher! What do I do when I don’t know how? I put it off, and off, and… The day before the conference, I remembered that in India it was conference day. They are ahead of us in time. I had it started, but not finished, and certainly not sent. Padma doesn’t have his own computer, he has to go to an internet cafe’. The tasks of picking up my message, plus put together the conference were his. He kept checking, but no message from me. He went one last time just before the conference and there it was. My message of encouragement for such courageous men. (Thanks Chas!) Back to the prophetic word. You know that no one could have read my message. Padma printed it and showed up just in time. The message that the pastor was speaking was the same message that I had in my message. We confirmed one another. Padma was moved. He shared my message, was questioned by pastors for validity, and it was confirmed. The Holy Spirit was moving. Also in March, I was praying for four specific things the Lord had placed on my heart. On the 24th, I got an e-mail with six prayer requests. Four of which, I was already praying for. The Lord was really letting me know that He was in this.

First Bore Well
On April 10, money was sent for our first well. The digging did not go well. They hit rock that they just couldn’t get through. After trying, the diggers said that they could try to go further, but they would need more money. Padma asked them how much they would need, and it was the exact amount that was in the bank from the land money. Wow, it still gives me goose bumps as I write this, all this time later. I told you, God knew!

All our communication until this point was through the mail and especially e-mail. On April 28th, we had our first phone contact. My husband did anyway. They called while I was at work! It took awhile for them to get the times figured out, but they did, and started to call at 6:30am so they wouldn’t miss me. Then we had to straighten out that it was not a good time on the weekends!

In June of 2006 I was sharing some of these miraculous stories, and on the 22nd, $600.00 was given anonymously for the second well. I know who it is, but they don’t want anyone else to know. Better yet, God knows! Tribal areas one and two had fresh, clean water at this time, and the first medical camp was held for them. Between 250 and 350 people were treated.

Sewing Centers
I want to take just a minute to point out that these groups aren’t easily reached. The geographic location is not easy to travel to, and the mindset is not positive to outsiders. Padma had been beaten, to go home injured to pray, fast, and go again. In July, the third and fourth tribes were successfully reached. We already had the money for their well, knew they would also need medical attention, but we weren’t finished with the first two tribes either. Padma saw the need for widows and young women to be trained in a skill to keep from having to sell themselves into slavery. He knew that they could be trained in the skill of tailoring, but it was an expensive endevor. A house needed to be rented, and teachers hired for one year, and sewing machines needed to be purchased. We still, to date, need more sewing machines, but God can take care of all things. A machine costs $200 in US dollars.

In August the Sewing Center opened. We had two teachers and thirty-eight students. The teachers had to split the class into two classes. They ran a morning class and an afternoon class. There were not enough machines for each student to have one, so this was no easy undertaking. They all worked like this six days a week. In the end, the school was only open ten months, because we needed to use the rent and teacher’s pay for more machines. (That still weren’t enough) So on top of that heavy work schedule, she had to push it into ten months, what she had planned to do in twelve. Yes, “she”, we ended up with only one teacher. You’ll read about the graduation later. After graduation, they are set to make a living, but also have been given the charge to train the women from tribes three and four.

In September of 06, we all really began to pray about the church construction. In October a drunkard man burned down a palm leaf hut church in the area of of the third and fourth tribes. These are some very needy, yet resilient people. Onward always. Instead of prosecuting, they prayed for the man, know that like Paul in the New Testament, he could be a great preacher and winner of souls for the Kingdom.

Work Continues to Grow
In November, Padma went to tribe number five. Knowing that he’d most likely find the same needs, and planned to do the same, provide water and medicines. The needs were the same, but there was a critical, pressing need that had to be met first. They were all so very cold up very high in the mountain region. Interestingly, local political leaders joined the mission team when it came time to distrubute the blankets. They were very appreciative of how the ministry was caring for the physical needs of the tribal people. This people group, like six and seven who haven’t been reached yet, had developed their own language. I’ve been there. In this same month, bore wells were dug. A well was dug on the church property for construction needs.

In December, medical camps were held for the fourth and fifth tribal areas. Padma held another pastor’s conference, and all the pastors and wives received gifts of clothing. They have so little, he wanted to bless them and let them know that the Lord is with them.

Time for a Visit
In January of 2007, church construction pictures began arriving. Padma began praying for my husband and I to be able to come to India for the dedication of the church at it’s completion that spring. I couldn’t even join him in that prayer. If there was remotely a way, the money would be better spent there anyway I figured. My husband disagreed, and our pastor Dave Herne backed him. Noting the reasons that it would be very beneficial for a visit to occur. It was still too much for me to pray for, so I left that up to the more faithful. I did join them in prayer in February, but it was a weak little request. In March, the way for the trip became a reality. A miraculous way. God’s way. And in July of that year, 2007, Chuck and Angela Eddy left to visit the ministry work in India. What a spectacular view of God’s Grace! I cannot tell you what my eyes have seen or where my feet have trod. Who can capture in a photo The Hand of God or the movement of the Holy Spirit? We spoke in villages where people wait on the ground for hours, we held a women’s conference, (Not exactly your Women of Faith kind), met with and praised with Lepers, ate and napped villiagers’ homes, walked down their streets and met with people there, drove through dangerous areas where there was political uprising, watched souls be saved, held a large pastors’ conference, handed diplomas to graduates so grateful for machines and a way to earn a living, so much, so very much that I can’t even touch on. We learned that under the umbrella of AFM, there are about fifty village pastor’s and about fifty tribal pastors. They all need support.

On to Six, Seven, & Maybe even Eight!
In August and September medical clinics for tribes five, six, and seven were held. They each needed wells, their distance from one another is greater than the earlier tribes. This was also about the same time that Padma had made positive contact with an eighth tribe. In October, only two wells were dug. Tribal area number seven still has no clean water. In November, the church construction that was to be completed in the spring, was finally realized. In December, at Christmas time, the church was dedicated.

That winter, the winter of 2008 the ministry took a hit. It may not seem like too much to someone who doesn’t understand the ministry or the country, but Padma’s bike was stolen. It’s not like in the US, and I’ll just leave it at that. Seven tribes committed to, and no way to get to them. Like cutting the legs off of something. The money still has not been raised to replace the bike and get Padma back on “his feet” in traveling. Still, he pushes on.

Digital Camera, Prison Ministry, Second Son, What is Next?
In April Padma was given a digital camera for recording the ministry activities. This is a blessing because he was paying a dollar US for each picture and paying a photographer. In May he felt led by the Lord to begin a prison ministry which he did. It’s in the baby stages, and so will be an area to watch for exciting news. A young woman I was with on a mission trip to Jamaica was led of the Lord to give to India in some capacity. I told her about the prison ministry and she LOVED the idea and sponsord it for 6 mos!!! Also in April, Padma and Dorthi were blessed with a second son. After almost a month, I told Padma that in the US we name our babies before they’re born. Grandmom was wondering what was taking so long. Well, the greatest honor was given to me, because they asked me to name Isaac Elijah.

And An Orphanage!
Because of the stolen motorbike, Padma’s contact with everyone was limited. In June he took a week long trip to check up on everyone. He found all well, good reports on the sewing project and good health. When he made it to the last two tribes, he found a tragic situation. Two sets of parents where tragically killed, leaving seven orphans. Three parents from snake bites, and one from a falling tree branch on her way to her screaming husband who had been bitten. These seven children were being taken care of by no one. They were on the street. Burdened, he went home and shared it with his wife, Dorthi. They decided that they would take the seven children into their own home. And in July was the start of the “Angela Children Home”.

More Children
In March of 2009, five new orphan faces were added to the Angela Home. Four of these children came from a life of living in a rail-yard. When the trains come and go as they do daily, Ramanamah, Rani, Sankar, and Laxman begged passengers for their daily food. They would also run onto the train with a rag, to sweep under the seats. Padma first saw these children in February. He opened up his breakfast box, and was asked by a child for it. Then, others came to him. Having no more food, he bought them snacks. Padma told them that if they came daily, he would bring them food. He went home and prayed for them. He didn’t have what he needed to financially do this. He asked the children at home to pray for them and for provision. One day the children came to Padma and said, “Daddy, you have taken us in, you feed us sufficiently, clothe us and educate us. Take from our daily food, give us less, we will adjust, so that you can give to these children”.
These children only have the names they are called, not given. They don’t know how old they are because they don’t have birthdates. Padma and Dorthi have guessed at their ages. They were left in the rail-yard between the ages of 5 and 6 by their mothers who had most likely had them illegally.
Our fifth new face was also a street child by the side of the road begging. Pooja begged from anyone passing by. Padma told her that he has a home where he could take her. Pooja asked if she would be fed sufficiently, and Padma told her that she would be, and she joined the home.
Because these children have never had schooling, they cannot go to school with the other children. A teacher has been hired to home school them, hoping to catch them up to attend regular school. But the road is a difficult one. Pooja and Sankar have difficulty picking up concepts. Please pray for them. God has not left them as orphans. (John 14: 17-19) He has picked them up and placed them in Godly care. His hand is on them, He has a plan and a purpose for each of them, and what joy it will be to watch His plan unfold in their lives.
After opening te Childrens’ home much of the other ministry has taken a back burner. I very cold back burner. It costs about $40 a month to feed educate and cloth a child in India. School has to be paid for, it’s not free. We have added ministry but have not had funds for medical clinics, wells, and other ministry outreaches. We have been blessed with special offerings to do some, but desperately need financial help. We have 4 of 19 children sponsored. The other ministries are secondary to basic needs. If you cannot sponsor a child, maybe a club or group you belong to can together. At least remember AFM needs in your prayers. Our Heavenly Father knows all. He will not leave or forsake!