September 24, 2014 – The village of Dumulapata in the eastern region of India was almost completely destroyed after a devastating fire killed four people and destroyed over 100 homes and two affiliated CGC churches this summer. Conveniences such as a gas stove are a relatively new phenomenon for parts of India. Sadly, a local woman (who is not a member of CGC) was attempting to use a new gas stove; she turned the gas on but found that she didn’t have a match readily available. As she searched around her home for a match, she didn’t know to turn the gas off. When she finally found a match and lit it, there was a massive explosion, burning her house to the ground. And because many homes are thatched – rather than built with stone and concrete – the fire quickly spread. Two elderly women were killed in the fire, as they could not escape it in time. Tragically, two infants were killed as well. The explosion happened so fast, one couple fled their home so quickly that they forgot their children. Almost all of the 1,000 residents of Dumulapata were left homeless.
Christ Gospel Church of India has been doing their best to help alleviate the suffering of those affected. Dr. Joseph Yelchuri has led an effort to provide food and clean water to all of those who were affected – both Hindus and Christians. For several weeks, Christ Gospel Church provided two meals a day for those in need, and for some, it was their only source of food. Keep in mind that insurance and government services are not readily available in much of India. Yelchuri has also seen the distribution of over 500 sets of sheets and blankets to those affected.
Rev. Luke Yelchuri, son of Joseph Yelchuri, also noted that some of the villagers were not aware that water from rivers, lakes, or other natural sources – particularly after a major devastating event – can contain diseases. “We’ve also been teaching people how to boil water so they can help take care of themselves. When I got here, many people were sick because they were drinking dirty water.”
Rev. Luke Yelchuri also highlighted that the emphasis is on helping – not preaching. “We’re not preaching at all; we’re not here to convert anyone. We’re just showing the love of Christ.” With all of the global turmoil, it’s easy to forget that many people in developing countries face devastating hardships on a daily basis, although their plight gets scant coverage in the international media. Please keep the people of Dumulapata in your prayers.