A new 40-foot addition to house a nursery and adult classrooms will soon emerge on the east side of Summit Church in Alta - at the same time as the church expands its orphanage ministry 10,000 miles further east in Hyderabad, India.
"We're expanding in response to the need to reach more people here in our own community and around the world," says Doug Corlew, Senior Pastor of Summit Church. "As we launch our project here, we are sending $35,000 to Dr. Joab Lohara of AIM Asia, for the simultaneous construction of a new home for destitute boys in India."
The church will give a total of $60,000 to complete this phase of the orphanage project, as 10% of all giving toward Summit's facilities debt continues to be sent to India, along with special contributions.
While building their current ministry facility in 2001-2002, the people of Summit raised a separate offering to build a girls orphanage in Hyderabad. The two-story structure provides a home for 150 orphaned girls.
The India project is fully supported by adoptive parents at Summit. They continue to give $20 per month per child for their care, providing them with education and opportunities to mature into productive lives serving God.
At groundbreaking ceremonies on Sunday, September 24, Dr. Lohara thanked the church for their support. "I am delighted to be present on this occasion. When the people of Summit think of a construction program, my eyes twinkle with hope because our India ministry gets a portion of their budget to build our own abodes of love," he says.
"I am grateful to God for this church which is deeply committed to the cutting edge of caring for the destitute and reaching tribal people with the Gospel," says Lohara, who oversees a wide range of ministries in India. "If I had ten churches like Summit to stand behind me in this mission, we could make a huge difference in the land of India. In the words of Psalm 67, 'may God be gracious to you, and cause His face to shine upon you, so that His salvation may be known among all nations'."
For Summit, building an orphanage while expanding their own facilities seems like a natural response to God's grace. "We are a church with a global vision for evangelism," says Bruce Engelmann, chair of Summit's Facility Team, who has also visited the India orphanage. "Our 3,300-square foot addition will enhance our abilities to minister here in northwest Iowa, but we want to reach out to India, too."
Bruce Rusk, chair of Summit's Elder Team, says the church is thankful for the partnership that has grown between Summit and AIM Asia, as well as the other missions it supports around the world. "God has blessed us so abundantly, both materially and spiritually - and we are committed to share these blessings with those who have so little," he says.
"We find it necessary to grow, but we are not focused on physical structures," explains Corlew. "All around us, here and India and around the world, there are people facing the hopelessness of broken lives. In the words of Isaiah and Nehemiah, we are putting up 'walls of salvation' and raising 'gates of praise' as we seek to bring the Gospel of God's grace in Jesus Christ to people who do not yet know Him. That's a project for which we want to give our utmost for His highest."