The Meadowlark Church is proud to support Paul Renganathan in his work for the Lord in Chennai, India since 1995. It has always been a mission which many members have been involved with individually, and many have even travelled there. Members can individually help support preaching students or help with benevolence, and several members have been doing so for quite a while. This page details some of the many things Paul and the Christians in Chennai have been involved with.
Summary of the Choolaimedu Church of Christ programs as of April 2019
The Choolaimedu Church of Christ was started in the late 1980s when a young evangelist, Paul Renganathan, took to the streets to give the good news of Jesus Christ to all who would listen. Today the Church has many outreach ministries plus a thriving Bible college.
The Bible College:
The Bible College has around 50 students enrolled in 3-5 year degree programs. Usually around 1 out of 3 are accepted for enrollment. When the students have completed the course they then go and preach the good news in their localities, often starting in a home until they outgrow that and rent or build a meeting place. There are more than 1000 churches throughout India and surrounding countries who can trace their beginnings to this Bible College. Many graduates preach for 2 or 3 congregations. Congregations often help each other with the labor and funding for the construction of meeting places. Their staff of 11 includes 8 Bible teachers.
Care for the poor is provided in many ways. For handicapped people wheelchairs, crutches and adult size, hand pedal, tricycles are provided. Poor widows are provided goats so they can sell goat milk or receive sewing machines or handlooms or grinding machines so they can make products to sell.
India, and the surrounding south-east Asia area, are prone to monsoon rains, cyclones, and earthquakes. As an example, in 2012 while the US was dealing with hurricane Sandy, Chennai was struck by a cyclone. Paul reported:
“I knew it will keep us busier than ever before but never thought I had to begin from my home. The landfall took place on Wednesday evening. Hundreds of trees uprooted, over a half million people evacuated, thousand became homeless and 38 reported killed. Millions of acres of farm land covered with water and over 5000 houses damaged. Dengue fever was spreading all over before the cyclone, now with multiplied mosquitoes it is spreading more rapidly. First I cleaned up the big branch of a tree from my house and then the broken widows and tree branches from the Godson school. There is no damage at the preacher school. 14 of the members of the church lost their homes and many thousands hungry and homeless. The relief work is on and we need 10000 bags of rice to distribute to the hungry and need help to continue the work with mobile clinic to help with medical help. Need help to build the fallen house of Solomon a blind brother. George’s wife passed away and when we went there the George and his two daughters were lamenting and worried that they did not have a penny for the burial. The cemetery nearby would not permit non Catholic Church members to be buried there. I have used my credit card to borrow $200 and did the burial near the railway track. While typing this letter K. David called to inform Saradamma, a blind sister died this morning. She was living in a hut which blew down in the cyclone and was battling with flood all around her place. The funeral is to take place today. There again we need help to do the funeral.
In India there are many orphans or very poor children. Paul has established 14 homes for these children. Many are administered by graduates of the preaching school with their families. The homes are being kept small in order to make sure the mental, physical, social and spiritual well-being is cared for.
The Faith Hospital and Mobile Health Clinic:
This small medical facility is situated in the heart of Chennai. Consultation, checkups and medicines are available free for the sick who are poor and needy. The hospital has an evangelist who prays for every patient individually and shares God’s plan of salvation with them. The mobile health clinic is housed in a bus, which can travel to outlying areas and takes healthcare to those who cannot travel to Chennai. It is also taken to disaster stricken areas.
Preacher assistance at the Bible College:
Bicycles are provided for preachers transportation needs. As a way to make money there are a number of small taxis that the preaching students can drive for hire. While being transported, customers listen to tapes of gospel preaching.
Mobile Gospel Team and Gospel Meetings:
Paul and teams of preachers travel to areas without a congregation to hold gospel meetings. They often establish new churches that way.
Bibles are offered at every opportunity to people who would like to have one. Sometimes Bibles are given away on the last day of a gospel meeting to those who have attended every session, as an incentive.
Bible Correspondence Courses:
Bible lessons are sent around India, around 2000-3000 per month.
“Hear Ye Him”:
The spiritual magazine "Hear Ye Him" is published in English, Telagu, Hindi, Malaylam, Nepali and distributed around India and surrounding countries.
Every year, at the time of the World Bible School graduation ceremony, alumni and Christians from all over India gather for Leadership Classes. These are held for 5 days to help encourage and support preachers and church leaders.
Gospel meetings are being held in Nepal and congregations are being established there. The head of the Nepal Centre of Biblical Research, Gajendra Deshar, is a graduate of the World Bible College. After the 2015 earthquake Paul helped with relief efforts and provided counselling for school children.
Wells and pumps are being provided to areas which lack access to fresh water. Generally the funds for well projects come from the US, and Paul coordinates the construction.
Godson Private Schools:
As an alternative to the Chennai public school system, the Godson schools strive to provide and exciting educational experience designed to help each student grow into a well-balanced person. Middle and upper class families pay for their children to attend, while under privileged, untouchables, physically disabled and outcasts can attend free of cost under the same roof. Many of these poor and outcast would not get an education if not for Godson School due to fees charged to attend public schools. Although the students may have other religious backgrounds, the school is Christ centered and His word is taught to everyone. Paul would like to see other schools open throughout India based on the same structure as the Godson school. There are now over 2500 students enrolled at 3 Godson School locations.
About Paul and Dorethy Renganathan
Paul Renganathan, with his wife Dorethy, live in Choolaimedu, Chennai, India. Paul is a native of Kottara, India, and was converted to Christ in 1970. At that time he was disowned by his Hindu family. He then studied at Faith Theological Seminary (1970-72) and Southern Asia Bible College (1973-75). In 1976 he began teaching at Siloam Bible College and preached full-time at the Sanatorium church. . Paul has traveled throughout India establishing churches. Early on he saw the need for training new converts to be ministers, thus leading to the establishment of the World Bible College in Chennai. Paul and Dorethy, through endless work, have seen the church grow from 4 members in 1985 to more than 50,000 today and thousands of congregations.
With the government of India, and various regional governments, tolerance of Christianity is not consistent. When the climate is hostile the work in India becomes more difficult, at its worst, Christians have been killed. The work is much easier when the parties in power are more tolerant, so please pray for the government of India to be tolerant. Within families, conversion to Christ can cause strife. Paul experienced this first hand, having been disowned by his own Hindu family.
Stories from Paul Renganathan
“Govindamma use to come to Chennai from Chengulpet (60 kilometers) every day to sell vegetables. One day she came to the Bible College to sell vegetables. We brought vegetables and shared the gospel with her. It became a regular occurrence and the gospel got her. She and her husband came every Sunday for worship travelling 60 kilometers each way. They both were baptized into Christ. Lataer on a church was started at their town. M. Lazar is preaching there now. Near to a huge Hindu temple the church of Christ is meeting every Sunday. On April the 13th Govindaiah (89 years old) died in the Lord. They did not have any children. A handful of relatives and many brethren gathered to bury the body. Having seen the love and care of Christians, their relatives now want to know the Lord’s way.”
“T. Moorthy was Hindu well holding a post graduate degree in Arts. After his education he became mentally ill. While he was wandering in the streets of Chennai, one of our brothers took him in his hose. He was helped with the basic needs and medical help. He was completely recovered and obeyed the gospel of Jesus Christ. Then he was enrolled in the Bible College. After completion of the course he began to preach at Uthukottai. He got married and has 2 children. Nearly 83 people were baptized by him. 28 physically challenged people were identified by him for the distribution of wheel chairs. 6 towns are reached by him with the gospel of Jesus. On the 6th of this month he baptized 8 precious souls. A little kindness and the gospel do great things!”
“In 1986 when the gospel was preached in Vijaya Raghavapuram. Harikrishanan and his wife responded the gospel call and obeyed in baptism. The three children of this young family grew up and they obeyed the gospel too. Their eldest son Madhan Raja got married and the good Lord blessed them with a boy child. On the child’s 1st birthday celebration I overheard a 4 year old asking his mother “how come my birthday is not celebrated today?” His mother told “birthday come once a year and you will get to celebrate next year”. I preached a sermon, you get to celebrate your birthdays twice a year and the children loved it. One is the day physically born and another one spiritual. Many non Christian adults too liked it and now are studying with our co workers.”
“V. Peter, a teenager, was working for a motor bike mechanic. One day at the workshop Bro. Williams took his bike for repairs. He shared the gospel with Peter who was working with his greasy hands. Peter, a catholic, has never studied his Bible much before was thrilled to find the truth about salvation of souls. He didn’t let much time go before obeying the gospel. He faithfully worshiped with the church at Perambur. With a desire to study God’s word he came to the world Bible College. First he baptized his parents and then many of his folks. After his graduation he began to share the gospel with many at cemetery Road. Now over 120 people meet there to worship God. Then he began to work at 3 other places and the church was established there too. He composed many Christian songs and got involved working for the relief of the poor and disaster affected. On the 10th of July I was to solemnize his wedding. On the 6th of July he has gone to be with his Lord. It is painful such a fruitful worker is no more here to continue the work. But it is so encouraging all 4 congregations worship and work faithfully for God. I have asked them should we send them preachers from the Bible College. They told other places might need them more. They are well taught in God’s word and have a will to work for Him.”
“Pathmanabhan, a Hindu by faith and a driver by trade, came to the 21 evening consecutive Bible studies at east Annanagar in April1992. He was baptized into Christ right after the Bible study. Then he baptized his only son. He and his son faithfully worshiped God and introduced many to the church. His wife remained Hindu all these years. On the 17th of September he passed on to the other world. All his and her relatives wanted the body to be cremated after the rituals according to Hindu faith. But his son pleaded with them to let the body is buried according to the Christian practices. On the 18th I have done the funeral after a lesson on the destiny of souls. Not only most of the Hindus listened carefully some of them signed up for Bible study.”
“Tirupaty houses one of the famous temples in India. Gospel preaching and teaching are prohibited in 25 miles radius to the temple. Bro. Velaytham and coworkers preached in the prohibited area and were arrested by the police. While they were taken to the police station the police van met with an accident. Velayutham told the police that he was doing things against God’s will. The police man wanted to know more about the living God. He was taught the gospel and was baptized. Velayutham was released immediately.”
“Brother Subba Rao working for the Indian Railways has built a church meeting place with his own money at Singh Nagar and the building was dedicated to God and his church. There was a big gathering on the dedication day and the gospel was preached. At Nutaki the expansion work of the church building started because they are overflowing the capacity of the building. On the 29th of March I was there with the brethren and am thankful for the Lord’s doing. 10 years ago the foundation was laid for the meeting place. At that time we did not know so soon the work was to finish. The good Lord provided. Now they have a houseful. 4 souls put on Christ from there on that day. Gospel meetings were held at 8 other locations in Andhra in which 48 souls put on Christ. Brother K. Israel has organized a gospel festival at Kampampadu. Several hundred came to hear the gospel.”
“While praying for the people affected by the Sandy we got the news that the powerful cyclone Nilam was to landfall between Mahabalipuram and Chennai. I knew it will keep us busier than ever before but never thought I had to begin it from my home. The landfall took place on Wednesday evening. 282 trees uprooted, Over half million people evacuated, thousand became homeless, 38 died, Millions of acres of farm land covered with water, Over 5000 houses damaged. Dengue fever was spreading all over before the cyclone, now with multiplied mosquitoes it spread more rapidly. First I cleaned up the big branch of tree from my hose and then the broken widows and tree branches from the Godson school. There is no damage at the preacher school. 14 of the members of the church lost their homes and many thousands hungry and homeless. The relief work is on and we need 10000 bags of rice to distribute to the hungry ($4 per bag) and need help to continue the work with mobile clinic to help with medical help ($2 per patient). Need help with $6000 to build the fallen house of Solomon a blind brother. George’s wife passed away and when we went there the George and his two daughters were lamenting and worried that they did not have a penny for the burial. The cemetery nearby would not permit non Catholic Church members to be buried there. I have used my plastic card to borrow $200 did the burial near the railway track. While typing this letter K. David called to inform Saradamma a blind sister died this morning. She was living in a hut which fallen in the cyclone and was battling with flood all around her place. The funeral is to take place today. There again we need help to do the funeral ($200).”
“On the 12th January preachers from 14 nations gathered for the International preachers meeting. Most of them rode trains. Some came by public buses. Several groups hired a van each. The group came from Kerala hired a bus. Each one of them had encouraging stories of church growth to share. 24 precious souls put on Christ this day. Every year the International preachers meeting are scheduled on the following day of the graduation. The fresh graduates get a chance to hear the success stories (and struggles) of the past graduates. Several wheelchairs were distributed to the physically challenged on this day. Every year each worker is given a new Bible that he will be able to give to the neediest in his location. Last year Bible distribution was done at various times at different states of India. So we had only 400 Bible left on the preachers meeting day. It was nowhere near the need to distribute over 1000 workers. So the Bibles were distributed to the newly baptized ones from the 31st December. 6 lessons were preached on the preachers meeting day to encourage the workers.”
“Devakrupanandam travelled 360 kilometers to be baptized after completing the bible correspondence course. He works as the facility manager in one of the hospitals in Bangalore. Now that he is Christian he works with Swmainathan to lead others to the Lord part time. He was with us the two days we worked Housur and Bangalore. Having seen the need to preach the gospel he has the desire to resign from his job and do full time preaching.”
“It was 8 p.m. When we reached at the border of India-Bhutan. Over 100 people crossed the border to come to the gospel meeting. Bhutan does not have religious freedom, so they come to India for the gospel. Meeting was over by 10. They walked back to Bhutan in the dark with the gospel light. A school started there for the poor kids. School teachers are Christians. James sing preach there.”
“The earthquake in Nepal on April 25th and the many aftershocks claimed over 10,000 lives. The United Nations estimate is over 8 million people very badly affected. We got report of death of 4 Christians. Over 400 Christian families in Bsabing, 280 families in Rasuwa, 309 families in Makaanopur and 600 families in Panaun lost their houses and livelihood. Bad weather mud sliding slowed the relief and rehabilitation work for the first two weeks. Now the relief and rehabilitation work is going on full swing. Thousand are in need of food, water, medicines, basic house hold items and temporary shelter. Thousands are still in hunger, pain and homeless. Diseases are fast spreading due to lack of sanitation facilities. We have established 16 congregations in the nation in the last 23 years. 10 men are doing relief work. During the first phase of relief work 60,000 food packets, 80,000 water bottles, 10,000 first aid kits and 20 temporary shelters were provided.”
“There was no bound to the joy of many, including Punam’s mother who is a go getter there for the Lord’s church. Punam was helped by the churches in Chennai for her surgery several years ago. Her sister teaches Bible class to the kids there. A little help to people when they struggle goes a long way. Bhim came to Chennai several years ago for medical help. He was a Hindu. He continued to study God’s word even after he returned to Nepal. He became a Christian and now he sent his son to the Bible College in Chennai.”
“Ranga Rao grew up in a church of Christ Children’s home. He earned a doctorate and works as the manager of a sugar mill in Tirupati. He established 2 congregations and preaching part time. One congregation is meeting in his home. His wife Shanthamma worked as a high school teacher for 30 years. This June 30th she retired from school teaching. Thanks giving meeting was organized in their home congregation in Tirupati temple town and I was asked to preach. It was 2 hours and 30 minutes travel one way and I felt it worth not only because of the opportunity to preach to over 200 people but also to get know more about the families involvement in Christ’s work. A little kindness received reflects.”
“In 1987 Bro. Paul Rizzo started the work in Ashok Nagar. The church was meeting in the homes of Christians. As the church out grew the home size in 1993 a small old building was bought and remodeled it for the church to meet. Now the church has outgrown the building. The West Annanagar Church of Christ in Chennai has built them new building. As the new building is overflowing they plan to build more space on the 2nd floor and install a screen and speaker there.”
“Annam Srinivasa Rao came to the Bible College in the late eighties when he was still a teenager. His parents found him a bride and he would not marry her unless she is baptized into Christ. She was taught the word and was baptized the same day of her marriage. Now they have a son and a daughter. The daughter is scoring A+ in college. The work in Tenali was started by them in the nineties. They have nearly 70 to worship there. The church is growing and they are house parents of the Wilbert and Marie children’s home.”