Today I had an incredible adventure. I felt as though I were in a show on National Geographic or the Discovery channel. Pastor Prem, several of his men and I took-off at 6:30am for a three-hour plus road trip to a village called “Buruda Korta.” This village is located in the mountains east of where I am in Tanuku. Through divine intervention, God has opened a door to these people. One of the Pastors with Spirit and Life Ministries has established a work there. That is news in itself as the village is very inaccessible and inhospitable to outsiders. They do not like to deal with the public.
Three months ago, the government created a road (more or less) into the villages of “Buruda Korta.” There is a south village and then a larger north village a mile or two away. The area is an ancient site on the top of a mountain where there used to be a great fort hundreds of years ago. All that is left of the old fort is just some ruins of the wall. Local legend is that a treasure was buried somewhere at the fort and never found (Sounds to me kind of like India’s version of our “Lost Dutchman” gold mine in Arizona).
Pastor Prem has purchased 2 acres of land next to the southern village with the vision of building a ministry compound there that would include a church, school and orphanage. He wanted to personally show me the village and the land so I could better understand the undertaking. In the village they have erected a small 10’ by 15’ church building where the Pastor comes every Sunday afternoon and ministers to this people. The building is made of some concrete, wood and a roof of palm leaves (you can see the picture).
The road has been open to Buruda Korta for three months, but it isn’t much traveled. For one, it is a treacherous journey to take. We had difficulty getting up there even with a four-wheel drive SUV – at one point we got the chassis stuck on a rock protruding out of the middle of the road – it is a dirt road and very rocky. Another, even bigger, obstacle is that outsiders are not welcome (those from the villages and towns down the mountain are unwanted). Government workers and agents are afraid to enter the villages up there, because of past violence against them, including the killing of a policeman. Even though Pastor Prem and the village pastor have favor here, we still went in with a group of eight.
The people live in the village, work in the village and die in the village. The village is their entire world – they will not go outside of the vicinity of their mountain home. They are big-time alcoholics, as they distill the sap from a certain jungle tree that makes very hard liquor. The people have no hope apart from the hope offered them through the gospel of Jesus Christ. The pastor introduced us to a young woman with a disfigured left arm. She had broken her upper arm, but did not go a doctor to have it fixed – nor would a doctor come in to fix it. The children have no school to attend -- they just work doing the chores that are necessary for survival. Pastor Prem talked to a little girl and asked her if she would like to have a school there, and she said that she would like that. From there, we walked over the land that Spirit and Life Ministries own and had a prayer meeting. We prayed for the land to be blessed, the Pastor to be blessed and encouraged, and for the village to be transformed by Jesus Christ.
We got back into our vehicle and drove up the road to the north village about a mile or so away. We just did a quick drive-in and then turned around as the men told us it was too dangerous to get out of the vehicle. So we promptly left that village and headed back toward civilization. After about 2 miles, we stopped at the summit of the mountain pass. Pastor Prem wanted to show me the ruins of the ancient fort that was back in the jungle a few hundred yards. On our way, I asked him about all of the looks we were getting back in the village – especially since he and the other pastor are known and accepted here. He said; “It’s because of you. You are the first white man ever to come into this village.”
Check-out the video of the adventure...