IREF’s work focuses on four main areas.
The central and most vital ministry of IREF is spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
IREF is committed to equipping ordinary Christians in local churches to share the good news of Jesus with their fellow nationals. In addition, 200 full-time evangelists, both men and women, are supported by IREF through the Evangelist Sponsorship scheme.
For as little as £1.30 a day, sponsors are able to provide basic living expenses for the evangelists and their families.
IREF takes seriously its responsibility to prepare Indian Christians as leaders, and to equip its messengers of the Gospel, as well as possible. To this end, all the evangelists receive regular, in-service training.
Over 400 towns and villages within a 200-mile radius of Repalle, where IREF’s headquarters are situated, have been reached by IREF’s evangelists, who often travel on foot or by bicycle to access remote villages.
Telegu tracts and Bibles are distributed, and villagers are invited to attend open-air evangelistic meetings. Many new congregations have been planted in this simple way.
Church buildings have been constructed in many villages. Church buildings not only provide a focal point for proclaiming the Gospel and a place for believers to meet in. They also serve as places of safety and shelter during the severe storms and floods that so often hit this part of India.
Care of children and young people
IREF’s ministry includes a large Children’s Home in their Gospel Fields compound in Repalle. The Lydia Children’s Home provides happy and secure accommodation for over 750 children from the poorest of backgrounds, about 30% of whom are without a mother or father.
Sponsorship schemes enable them to be provided with good clothing, three meals a day, full-time education and accommodation in pleasant modern dormitory blocks. Another Home in the tribal colony village of Arumbaka provides education and accommodation for a further 100 children.
All IREF’s many children benefit from the warm spirit of Christian love in which care is provided.
About 500 children attend IREF’s John’s Primary and High Schools. A modern purpose-built school building was completed in 1997. All the children from the Lydia Children’s Home attend the school, together with some day children from Repalle and its surrounding villages.
Priority is given to children from Christian homes and those from the poorest backgrounds, regardless of religion. Classes are held six days a week and courses are accredited by the Andhra Pradesh State Government.
IREF’s first Child Development Centre was opened in the village of Akkivaripalem in 2003. Currently, there are now eight other CDCs caring for about 600 children between them.
The CDCs supplement the education that children receive through their government day schools. Various Child Sponsorship Schemes help cover the costs of schooling and caring for these children.
IREF’s education is provided in an atmosphere of warm Christian love and Biblical values. Find out how you can support this work.
The Repalle Christian Junior College was founded in 1997. It offers a two-year course in a wide range of subjects, providing a link between IREF’s High School and the Degree College (see below). The Junior College currently has about 600 students.
IREF operates the only evangelical degree-giving college in Andhra Pradesh, a state of with over 87 million people. IREF’s Repalle Christian College was established in 1993 and now has around 400 students.
The well-equipped college offers a wide range of first-degree courses (such as English, history, chemistry, physics, biology, and mathematics), and also some Masters courses, all of which receive accreditation through Acharya Nagarjuna University, near Guntur. IREF also runs a Teacher Training College for about 100 students.
IREF’s Industrial Training Centre is situated about half a mile from IREF’s main campus on the outskirts of Repalle. It provides practical training for about 160 young men, aged 16 years and over. It offers courses in electrical and mechanical engineering and associated subjects
In 1996, IREF began to offer a basic 18-month health care course for up to 20 female students a year through its Health Workers Training Institute. IREF now runs a four-year degree course in nursing for women through its Nursing College.
Many young people in India have never heard of Jesus Christ. IREF’s goal is to share the Gospel with its many college students, so that after graduating they can reach out to their new circle of highly influential contacts.
The lives of many students are changed through the personal witnessing of their fellow classmates, teaching sessions outside normal classroom schedules, and active involvement in the daily ministry of IREF. Each year, many of the students become Christians through the annual three-day Youth Conference, held in Repalle each January.
Relief and development
In 2007, IREF(UK) established a special Relief Fund to provide quick-response emergency aid in the wake of natural disasters, such as floods, cyclones and fires, which frequently strike the coastal region of Andhra Pradesh.
IREF has a long and distinguished history of providing aid in the form of food, cooking utensils and blankets at such times. More recently, it has been involved in ambitious housing projects to provide permanent homes for those who suffered as a result of the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami.
IREF also runs Income Generation Projects to help villagers become financially self-supporting. These are supported from the UK through our Unusual Present scheme.