A heart for Subcontinental people
When Nelson Jadav came from India to Australia 10 years ago, he came with a heavy burden.
“It was very hard in India to proclaim the gospel,” he says. “When I came here and saw the environment here, I thought ‘God has given us a chance and an opportunity to do something we could not do back in India’.”
This burden is what motivated Mr Jadav, along with a group of others, to launch Aastha in February in partnership with Rosemeadow-Appin Anglican Churches.
Aastha is a group seeking to reach people with Subcontinental heritage. Named after the Hindi word for faith, the group hopes that through regular Bible studies, prayer meetings and outreach events, it can strengthen the faith of brothers and sisters as well as share the gospel with those who don’t yet believe.
“These are guys that have had a heart for subcontinental people,” says the Rev Brett Hall, senior minister at Rosemeadow with Appin. “We want to engage with and reach the 10,000 Subcontinental people in Campbelltown.”
The first Aastha Bible study consisted of Gujarati and Hindi speakers. While the study was in English, the group sang praises in Gujarati and worked hard to accommodate all who attended.
Mr Arpit Gamit, also involved in Aastha, believes it is important to have a particular ministry focused on Subcontinental peoples, with people who understand the worldview.
“For example, the Hindu background has many gods and goddesses,” he says. “When they hear the gospel, they will think it is one of [these] gods, but we know Christ is the only God.
“When we share the gospel with them, we need to make it clear that God is the only God, knowing how to approach them and what kind of language won’t hurt them.”
As a pastor, Mr Hall is encouraged by the heart for the lost that members of his congregation have.
“This is being driven by the Indian members of my congregation and they have a strong desire to reach out into our surrounding areas,” he says. “In that sense, my job is to help train and encourage them and give them whatever it is they need to do this ministry better.”