- Pastoral Support
- Educational Consultancy
- Statement of Faith
IRFA in special projects never provides money that unwittingly makes churches dependent on financial support. The priority is that every local church is to be self-supporting, self-propagating and self-governing. If local churches cannot give evidence that this is going to happen during the next 10 or 15 years then we are left with no alternative but to withdraw from supporting such a church.
However, there are projects that are directly supported through the fellowship of churches that IRFA has become involved with. The regular giving of churches is for the recurrent expenses of the local church but there are expenses that are over and above the regular income from these churches such as disaster relief, theological training of future pastors, special events that are costly to run can be justified if everything else is in place, publications essential for the developing ministry of the church that are out of the reach of normal congregational expenses, or start-up costs for new church plants.
The following projects are examples where special support is raised and may well become a particular project that churches in Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, United Kingdom and the United States can give through the IRFA Project account nominating the particular project that the gift is being used for:
was recently established out of a sense of compassion for those heavily hit by the recent earthquakes. IRFA is not an NGO but we have now got responsible financial distribution channels that give priority to the gospel ministry as well as the furthering the kingdom of God. Very often atheistic or spiritually undiscerning agencies can discriminate against Christians in the distribution of aid. We received money that could be channelled through our reformed and evangelical churches who were able to develop teams of believers to go out into the badly hit areas in Nepal with strategic effect. Homelessness continues to be a very serious need for many in Nepal and therefore this appeal is still in effect.
The Covenant Reformed Assemblies, centering around the Andhra Pradesh provincial city of Ramachandrapuram, has undergone deep Reformation so that this small reformed denomination is developing freely under its self-governing initiative. A solid partnership between CRA and Cornerstone United Reformed Church in Grand Rapids is giving great stimulus and direction to the work of CRA. 70% of India’s population are in her rural villages and CRA is concentrating their mission in such villages. So much of Christian mission in India is being conducted only in the richer city areas but in man parts the rural villages have been neglected. CRA is ministering to the poorest of the poor and it is very difficult for local congregations to bear the cost of raising buildings that are held in trust by the local congregation. The CRA Rural Church Building Trust is raising the necessary funds to build a single local church building complex that will house the congregation for worship and also a residence for the pastor and his family. Money necessary for such a building is lent at interest free rates but a plan to repay this money is agreed upon through a tangible strategy for repayment. Such a strategy includes the purchase of a paddy field that can be worked by the members of the congregation that would otherwise not be able to contribute toward repayments of the loan. Of course, when the loan is repaid then another congregation can use the money to build their CRA Rural Church Building. Pastors cannot borrow money from this fund to build their own house for retirement. The deeds of the property are held by the CRA Rural Church Building Trust until the money is repaid by the congregation and then the deeds are held by the Consistory of Elders and Deacons as trustees.
Currently there is a Reformation Day Appeal that is being dedicated this year to the ‘CRA Rural Building Trust’. The first amount of money will be lent to Christ Covenant Reformed Assembly in Ramachandrapuram who plan to build a church and pastor’s residence.
The goal for this project is the equivalent of US$40,000.
Reprint of Christianity Explored in Nepali – Pastor Uma Sharma upon commencing the work of Nepal campus church in Kathmandu set it as a priority to translate and to publish Christianity Explored in Nepali. This printing has now run out through very active evangelistic activity by Pastor Uma and his evangelistic team that has taken the gospel into some of the most remote areas of Nepal. It must be remembered that the churches in Nepal are very immature and to have a clear presentation of the gospel for these young believers strengthens him greatly. This project is now looking for the necessary funds to reprint Christianity Explored which will cost the equivalent of US$3000.
Nepali Bibles for Distribution – Pastor Uma was converted from a Hindu Brahman background whilst being a university lecturer in Kathmandu through reading the Bible for himself. With this background he is very keen to give those that are responding to the Christianity Explored course a full Bible. If they were to purchase 100 Bibles it would cost the equivalent of US$500 but if he was to purchase 500 Bibles it would be US$2450.
Planned Week-long Missionary Journeys – Pastor Uma is planning to take a week-long missionary journey with a team from his church to some of the most remote areas of Nepal for evangelistic outreach through Christianity Explored. It is planned that anything from 2 to 6 missionary journeys could be conducted during 2016. Each journey will cost US$600 but these journeys must be very carefully planned upfront.
A strategy of rebuilding DHBS with solid concrete buildings that will eventually replace the dilapidated timber structures is well underway now. Through the funds from the Presbyterian Church of Australia’s PresAID IRFA was able to fund the new Library and Academic Building which is now finished. One of the Presbyterian Churches in Korea financed the new boys dormitory and accommodation block.
The NGO Compassion uses the facilities of DHBS and has upgraded several facilities so that they can give medical attention to the poor families of Mirik and food for 60 children who would otherwise go hungry because of the intense poverty of their families. These children are not sent to orphanages but they receive food each evening and their family life is therefore maintained. Compassion has dug a new well so that the water supply is more reliable. A new generator has been supplied when there are almost daily blackouts. Also Compassion has supplied our theological students with regular food alongside the children which has enabled the students to attend at very much lower fee structures. New buildings are planned for this reconstruction phase to be completed.
Sponsorship of Theological Students for the Pastorate at DHBS
IRFA is currently supplying theological student bursaries to three BTH students. These bursaries are minimal as they costing our sponsors the equivalent of US$800 per year. We are thankful to the Geelong Presbytery of the Presbyterian Church of Victoria for supporting two students at DHBS and one student at the Presbyterian Theological Seminary in Dehra Dun but for double the bursary cost. We would love to sponsor an elder (Kiran) from the Nepal Campus Church for a three month short-term Bible and theological course at DHBS. For us to sponsor Kiran we would need to cover the costs for his family to live without him working for these three months. This would cost something like US$600 for that three month course.
We are not ready to fund postgraduate students or students that are destined to become lucrative NGO directors. We want to support theological students that see a vision for pastoral ministry.
Library Books for a Refurbished Theological Library at DHBS – IRFA is in the process of sending a small shipment of library books to stock a new theological library. Initially four 44 gallon drums for of excellent books from retiring ministers libraries are in the process of being delivered. Indian customs are notoriously difficult but these books are in Calcutta-Kolkata waiting to be released without paying a bribe.
Rev Hiralal and Luxmi Solanki and their family have laboured for more than 17 years with a team of church planting pastors have establishing 11 congregations in Delhi. Four of these congregations are now self-supporting and they continue to be in a partner relationship with the Netherlands Reformed Church (Liberated Synod). Many of the pastors are Presbyterian Theological Seminary, Dehra Dun graduates. Initiatives have been taken to establish the Reformed Bible College that trains pastors that are church planting in Delhi to take up the challenge of establishing the church planting ministry in that city and elsewhere. The curriculum that is used is essentially the same curriculum as at PTS in Dehra Dun.
Over the past several years Hiralal has been set apart by his presbytery to be released from the load of being pastor of a single congregation to having a roving brief that encourages the pastors in their ministry so that the churches become more soundly established quicker. The casualty rate for church planting in Delhi is high but with good pastoral encouragement this failure rate may be reduced.
IRFA has received special gifts to for funding Rev Hiralal Solanki personally and directly so that he can be unencumbered in this wider brief that has been approved by the Synod of the Reformed Presbyterian Church of India.
This commitment has amounted to AU$6240 per year or AU$520 per month which is no small commitment but the Lord surprises us in receiving this amount each year for the last three years. Nonetheless a special appeal goes out for Hiralal Solanki support as the funds held in reserve for his support are soon to run out.