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Impact India 360
Meet the Board: Jeff Petherick

(editor’s note) We are taking a little time for you to meet each of the board members of II360 more personally. We put two questions to each board member: “How did you first connect with CEM?” and “Why are you still so committed to CEM’s mission?” First up is Jeff Petherick – Board President:

I made my first trip to India in February of 2003.  I was captured by the children but convicted by Jaya.  I had never met a man so personally dedicated to the betterment of others like Jaya.  His unwavering faith in Jesus and his tireless work in his community told me everything I needed to know.  I could invest my life into CEM, Jaya and his family and I would reap blessings beyond my imagination.  On my trip the following year, I told Jaya I felt God ask me to dedicate my life to this ministry for as long as he has me on this great earth.  Since then, I consider Jaya to be a true brother, not only in Christ, but in family.  His family is mine, and I love them all deeply.

Along the way in the growth of the ministry, Craig Mayes and I decided we needed to create a permanent non-profit that would help raise sustaining money for Jaya and his mission.  His vision grew every year, and it was hard to keep up with him.  In 2005, we formed CEM India USA, a 501c3 non-profit organization.  In recent years we have renamed it Impact India 360, reflecting the holistic approach Jaya has undertaken in the ministry, from births at the new hospital to elderly care at the Agape Home and everything in between.  I have been a Board member since the organization’s founding, but this past year, I felt the conviction to help lead the Impact India 360 Board into a new chapter for the ministry.

Challenges abound, but the opportunity to impact Jaya’s community for Jesus is so great.  Since going,     I have been witness to events that have overwhelmed me.  When we held a contentious town-hall meeting, attended by government officials, business leaders and Hindu priests, I told the crowd we were not in their community to convert them to Christianity, but instead because we felt the love of Jesus compelled us to invest our lives there.  When I finished speaking, the chief Hindu priest, in his intimidating regal garb, stood up and began yelling at the picture of Jesus that hung on the wall of Jaya’s meeting room.  He shook his finger angrily as he looked at the crowd and then back at the picture.  I shuffled a few inches toward Jaya and quietly asked him for a translation.  Jaya said, “Well first off, he told everyone how glad they were to have you come.”  I chuckled and thought, “didn’t sound like that.”  Then Jaya continued, “And he said it was because of this man Jesus Christ that we had come to their village, to build a hospital and bring hope for the community!”  I nearly fell off my chair in disbelief.   Oh me of little faith.  Why should I have doubted that Holy Spirit would show up at exactly the right time?

So we are having an amazing impact.  Not through tracts, proselytizing or preaching.  We are leading with the love of Jesus in the community and they are noticing.  There is much work to be done, and as inflation has raised the cost of medical, orphan and elderly care significantly, it is clear the challenge will get greater.  For this reason, I felt God ask me to step up and help guide the organization into the mystery and uncertainty that is ahead.  We have dedicated the next few years’ work to increasing the annual giving by 100% and to raise funds for the equipment the hospital desperately needs to expand the care.   We are also looking to increase our Board representation, to include others who have chosen to be a part of Jaya’s growing family.  We have faith that God knows our needs and will bring the right people to us in his time.

We have many connected to Impact India that we call “missionaries.”   Whether or not they have visited CEM, each person giving is sending a piece of their heart to India with their donation.  We are grateful for their “missionary” work in India.  As we move into a new chapter, we are hoping and praying that God is calling new “ambassadors” to come alongside the work at CEM India.  He may be asking some to go to India and see what He is doing through his servant, Jaya.  He may want others to pray about utilizing their gifts to impact the ministry or to invest in others who can have a great impact in our work.  As President of the Impact India 360 Board, I ask simply for prayer about coming alongside us with a greater commitment of your time, talent and resources.  And if you should feel God’s call, I am certain you too will find yourself reaping blessings beyond anything you could have hoped for or imagined.