The Seed that Holds the Tree



This week a small team of us goes to Odisha, India for a 2-week mission trip. We will visit our children’s care home there, the leper colony and also venture into the Mountains and teach and preach in the tribal villages. Many of these places have not had foreigners there since the last missionaries were there a generation or so ago.


As we consider some of the impact of the gospel in the region of Odisha, we have to start with William Carey who lived there for the last 41 years of his life. Among the incredible achievements of his life, he saw the Bible translated into 6 Indian languages, including Hindi, Bengali, and Odia (or Oriya as it was called back then). Odia is the language of interest for us in this blog article, for it meant when the first Baptist missionaries arrived there 100 years later, the Bible was already in the language of the Odia people.


About 100 years after Carey, in 1904 a Canadian family arrived in Paralekemundi. John and Eva Glendinning, with 4 3 small children. They would lay the foundation and, with other missionaries sent over by the Canadian Baptists, would see many churches springing up through the mountainous regions of the Saura Hills. It was a fruitful time of sowing and also reaping. They laboured for decades, enduring great hardships and making great sacrifices.  It was a hard mission-field, with some returning and others even dying from malaria, dysentery and other sicknesses. Others endured the challenges to the end, some finding their final resting place there. There is a graveyard in Paralekemundi where some were laid to rest that we will visit in these coming weeks.


In 1907 a villager walked 20 miles through the jungle trails to Paralekamundi to meet the missionaries. He handed an Odia tract to John Glendinning entitled “the way of salvation”. The man, named Biswanath, asked the question “Sir, Who is Jesus?”. They were able to share the gospel with him for those few days he stayed with them and sent him away with literature, a hymn book, and a Bible. A week or two later he returned and said he now believes and would like to be baptized. In 1910, his village, Burding, was to be the place of the first official church plant with 44 initial members. By 1912 there were 220 members in that church. And so it was with the work in the Saura Hills. Bodoapoda 1913, Serengo 1915, Rayagada 1922, Narayanapur 1923 and on and on..

A Village called GUMMA

I managed to get my hands on a book that retraces this history and some of the stories of these faithful missionaries I have used the blog title for this blog entry. As I turned the pages my heart lept as I read the names of certain villages we have visited and preached on past trips to India. One such village is called Gumma and is the home village of David, his brothers, and family. Last year they told me “we are Christians because of those Canadian Missionaries, whoever they were”. The seed still bears fruit, as we would not have been able to have the children’s home or the ministry we have there without the labours and prayers of those who went before us.


Pray for us these next 2 weeks as we minister there. There are 11 new churches, planted by David and his team, that now look forward to our visits. They are part of OPEN Ministries (Peacehaven, Odisha, Evangelical, Ministries). His brother overseas a further 9 churches. There is such a great need for teaching for the pastors and churches. We will have a pastors seminar with 30 men from these churches and then a conference with about 400-500 people. Thank you for your prayers and support as God gives the increase.




  1. Reply
    Rick Meadows says:

    Will definetly be praying for you all. Gods protection and care to everyone involved. In Jesus love Rick and Edith

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