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Tuesday, August 26, 2008

UESI-AP






Itinerary of Rev. Sudhakar Mondithoka



Testimony And Involvement in Ministry



Brief testimony about how I came to know Jesus as Savior:
I am from a family of Hindu-Nominal Christian kind of background. My parents were both teachers. I am one among the 9 children (7 brothers and 2 sisters). As a teen age young fellow in the mid 1970s I tried whatever I thought (and others thought) was going to give me happiness and satisfaction in life. But all that I tried only left me increasingly dissatisfied with life. In the boarding school where I was studying for the first two years, I was introduced as the most exemplary student and then by the end of the 3rd year I was dismissed for bad behavior. So I had to leave this school in town/small city and go to the village where my parents were teaching. But it was for my good that this had happened. Around this time my father, who was the Headmaster of a Government School at that time, had a life-transforming encounter with Jesus Christ and there were prayer meetings and other Christian activities going on at home. But I became more and more dejected and disillusioned with life (because of the inner void/vacuum and external difficulties) and I started contemplating suicide. It was during this time that in 1975, while I was in a prayer meeting at home where testimonies were shared and the word was preached, I realized that it was my sin that separated me from God and that it was because of this separation that I became so frustrated with life and nothing could really satisfy me. Then I prayed a simple prayer of confession on an experimental basis: 'Jesus I need you. I am a sinner. If you are the God who changed my father's life, I need that change. Please forgive me of all my sin and give me peace.' From that day onwards, God has been faithful in my life. He changed my life, gave me hope to live, and led me on. It took some time for me to learn as to what exactly happened when I prayed that prayer. I learnt the basic lessons of my Christian life in a systematic way 3-4 years after I was born-again in the EU fellowship when I went to Loyola College, Vijayawada to do my B. Sc. I learned to read and study the Bible, to pray, to share my testimony and the gospel with others, etc., in that fellowship. The Lord has seen me through ups and downs, ebbs and flows, good times and sad times, in life and has been patiently leading me in this adventurous journey of Christian life. Throughout this period, I have been involved in the ministry of the Local Church as well as the ministry among students and professionals through UESI. Involvement in ministry as an individual and family:
Right from my student days, by God's grace, I have been involved in the ministry. I learnt the basic lessons about evangelism in the EU fellowship and those days there was a lot of emphasis on Personal Evangelism and evangelism through small group Bible Studies and some retreats and evangelistic camps. I learned over the years the art of studying the Bible and preaching the Word as well as the Gospel. I learned by observing others as well the art of evangelism and over the years the Lord showed me clearly that He has gifted me in the areas of Evangelism, Preaching the Word, Knowledge, and Leadership and has been giving me opportunities to exercise these gifts in different contexts and different ways. My evangelism has always been under-girded by the principles of apologetics (and am now specialized in teaching apologetics and equipping people for effective evangelism and doing such evangelism myself). I have also had the joy of seeing a lot of fruit in Universities, Colleges, and among Professionals - Engineers, Doctors, Teachers, Judicial and Legal people, Government Officials, etc.
I was the president of two different EUs during my student days. Then I was the Senior Advisor of two different EUs. I was also on the State Executive Committee of UESI-AP for a term (1988-1991) and on different national and state committees over the years. I was also on the Church Elder-Deacon Board at SBF (Secunderabad Bible Fellowship) for 3 years. The Lord enabled me to involve in the ministry, in this fashion, while I was working in the secular world.
Then I resigned from my secular job and joined RZIM-India in 1994 and worked as Asst. Director-Ministries, Director-Ministries, and then as the Executive Director for India and also as the Executive Trustee of RZIM Educational Trust and the Editor-Publisher of the magazine Apologia-Reasoned Answers for Life. I came out of RZIM (Jan. 31, 2006 was my last day of work with them officially). However, I continue to help them in some ways.
We got married in 1991 and the Lord blessed us with a son in 2001. As a family also we have been involved very actively in the ministry among Students and Professionals as well as the ministry of the Local Church. My wife, Santhi is also theologically trained (and when she was teaching Chemistry in College also she was very actively involved in the ministry of evangelism and Bible Teaching) and now she is in full-time ministry, focusing mainly on Women Ministries, Theological Writing, and Training, and in helping me in my ministry in different ways. I am also on the Board of FARMS-India. What gives us a sense of satisfaction as a family is that 1) many came to the knowledge of the Lord in our home, through our ministry, and are remaining in the Lord and 2) many have been strengthened in their faith-life and are serving the Lord faithfully.
We will continue to serve the Lord in the same way as we have been serving Him, except that I now have developed (just over the past three or four years) special interest in the ministry among Muslims (both direct engagement and training others) both at the academic level as well as the level of engaging the people at the popular level. Also now, we would like to concentrate on the writing ministry, more than before. We have already written some together and I have written a small book God - Science, and Scientists: Can We Believe in God in this Age of Science? that was published by RZIM and contributed a chapter Christian Apologetic in a Hindu Context for the book Missiology for the 21st Century: South Asian Perspectives that was published in 2004 by MIIS and ISPCK. I have also contributed a major article Incarnation, the Mission Theology of for the IVP Dictionary of Mission Theology that will come out in September 2007. I am currently working on a book Building Bridges to Faith: A Very Short Introduction to Christian Apologetics. My/our articles have been published in Apologia: Reasoned Answers for Life, Vidyarthi Jwala (UESI-AP), The Answer (COTR), Church Growth Quarterly, In Touch India, and Harvest Times for Your Family (GLS). My wife and I have been involved in training the UESI-AP staff team and other such groups in Christian Doctrines, Theology, and Christian Apologetics for Evangelism and we will continue to do this, as much as possible. My wife will continue to train women and preach God's word to build women of faith.

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