God raised UESI for raising and strengthening Evangelical faith. The baton of this faith was significantly experienced by Dr. John Breeze, a missionary doctor from Ireland, in Anand, Gujarat who participated in an EGF Conference at Kotagiri. He was burdened for the students’ ministry, as he watched thereat, and returned with a vision to begin it. God, thus sparked a flame of UESI in Gujarat. In fact, Gujarat began to experience the vibrancy of God’s Holy Word and His Holy Spirit! He started Bible Study at his home. In this group Mr. Ravikant Kant, Mr. Edwin Parmar, Mr. Patric Macwan, Mr. C.M. Christie, Mr. Piyush Christian, Mr. Paul Chauhan (who then became Bishop of CNI Gujarat Diocese) were participating. Some students from this group participated in Nasik Camp in 1961. After that first EU in Anand was established.
The Vellore EU secretary Dr. Indira Perry came to Nadiad in 1962 to work as a doctor in Mission Hospital Nadiad. She was the member of Vellore EU while she was studying in CMC Vellore. She gathered college students of Nadiad and started a group Bible Study. Some of these students took part in a two days retreat in 1962 November where Rev. John Garison was the speaker. The Holy Spirit worked in many lives. As a result Bro. Surendra Parmar, Bro. Shantijay Khristmukti, Bro. Ervin Parmar, Sis. Augusta Contractor (now Paul) and others became strong in faith and fellowship. Thereafter Nadiad EU was officially affiliated. Nadiad experienced the spiritual revival.
Prof. Ravikant Kant had met Dr. T. N. Sterret in 1960 when he came to Gujarat. Prof. Kant was a member of Anand EU. He was also burdened for the ministry. After his return to Ahmedabad he initiated efforts for beginning of the student ministry in Ahmedabad. He was assisted by Mr. Suryakant Kant, & Mr. Manubhai Joshi. The first meeting was started in Ahmedabad in 1961. Prof. Enoch visited Ahmedabad in 1963. A series of “Evolution or Creation” was conducted in public community hall. An EGF was started in Ahmedabad in 1965. Prof. Ravikant Kant who served as UESI President later, was instrumental in the spread of the ministry in the state. Rev Jayanand I Chauhan also worked as the Vice-President in UESI for a few years.
The baton was then spread in different parts of Gujarat. Surat, Vadodara, Borsad, Khambhaat, Mahudha, Godhara, Ankleshwar, Valsad, Zalod, Dahod, Rajkot, Bhavnagar and so on. The ministry was strongly developed in Surat and Vadodara and the Students and graduates thereof contributed well for the student ministry in South and Central Gujarat. Many full-time workers emerged from Surat EU/EGF.
The first EGF conference was held in 1964. In 1965 Gujarat Central Committee was decided at the residence of Dr. John Breeze at Borsad. Rev. Jayanand I. Chauhan and Prof. Ravikant Kant were appointed as President and Secretary respectively. Bro. Sathkeerthi Rao said: “This is the first time this happened in the whole country quite unique to the UESI family.”
The first missionary conference was held in 1967, Rev. Theodor Williams was the speaker, from where 10 people joined full time ministry.
Many students came to the saving knowledge of Christ. They grew in discipleship and leadership. EU/EGF ministry in Gujarat has given many pastors and full-time workers to churches, mission agencies in Gujarat, India and abroad. Around 150 full time workers have and are contributing to different churches and Mission organizations.
The spiritual discipline of quiet time, prayer, fellowship and sharing molded many lives of students and graduates and they lived exemplary life in church & society.
In 1984 and 1988, Gujarat EGF Evangelism Team planned a Mass Evangelism Program in 400 colleges in Gujarat. Mr. Samuel Solanki gave effective leadership in this campaign. Many students, graduates and church laymen joined. A follow up program was developed and evangelistic camps were planned for students from other faith.
We celebrated our Silver Jubilee in 1987. The thought emerged that time was implemented by leaders and we purchased a house in 1989, in Nadiad, which we named “Blessing”. Then the old house was demolished and a new one was made according to our needs. After re-construction the State office was started in new building from 8th February 2003. We praise God, that we have now decided to have our own camp center and we are given initial permission from UESI. We are searching proper land and waiting on God, and praying for needed finance.
Our students and graduates have played noteworthy role in field of literature in Gujarat. We have published many tracts originated by us. After decentralization in 1994 our newsletter is regularly published and now it is known as ‘Vidhyarthi Darshan’. ‘Gamta Geeto’ (Hymns We Love) is a branded song book of UESI Gujarat; of which 10 editions have been published so far. The first writer’s workshop was planned in 1972 where Rev. Basil Scott was a resource person. The latest writer’s workshop was planned in November 2017.
Vacation Team Project is a unique Program of UESI Gujarat. In holidays a team consisting of students, graduates and staff go to an unreached place and put their efforts to begin student’s ministry. This is also a training program on the field, simultaneously.
After getting decentralized in 1994, our ministry has grown. Various departments are working. Regional Committees are also formed and working. Our graduates have played vital role in leading regional committees, conducting programs and providing finance. Many unreached areas have been reached. Awareness for the campus ministry development is also being increased. Before decentralization Prof. Ravikant Kant and Rev. Emmanuel Christie, M/s Samuel Solanki, Augustin Christian, and few others played an important role as GEGF president. Mr. Augustine Christian was the first president of UESI Gujarat after decentralization. Mr. Paul Christian, Dr. Joel Macwan, Mr. Kirti Khambhata, Mr. Sudhir Sioni, Mr. P.A. Christie, Mr. Masuk Chauhan, Mr. Rasik Christian worked as president of UESI Gujarat. Graduates like M/s Patric Macwan,Jayant
Christian,Madhusudan Christian, Chandrakant Pathik, Arvind Rathod, Rajendra Kadia, Shiril Parmar, Sanjay Macwan, Priyavadan Gohil, Lukiyas Mahida, Stanly Jacob, and Wilson Parmar worked as GEGF Secretary.
Mr. Bhailal Solanki was appointed as the first State Secretary of UESI Gujarat. Then Mr. Parimal Christian and Mr. Rajesh Kshirsagar also worked as SS. All of them have contributed to the growth and strengthening of the ministry.
Mr. Rajendra Kadia was the first EC Secretary of UESI Gujarat. Others like M/s. Sudhir Sioni, Jayvantiben Christian, P A Christie, Shiril Parmar, Shrish Christie,Martin Christian etc. have worked as EC Secretary so far. Pre-and post- decentralization M/s Robert D Christian, Eliezer Shah, Rashmin Mahida, Augustin Christian, Ramesh Christian, Yogesh Gamit, Masuk Chauhan, Lloyd Christian, Rasik Christian, Amit S Christian have given their services as the state treasurer.
Many students effectively worked as the President,Secretary,Treasurer and Committee members. Many graduates also worked as office-bearers and contributed well. The local unit’s ministry have been growing due to ministry involvement of our students and graduates.
– Contd. in next Issue