The Harvesters minister in India
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Waxahachie, TX – October 11, 2011 – This summer, May 17-25, Southwestern Assemblies of God University (SAGU) Harvesters singing group traveled to Mercy Hospital in Calcutta, India, and various churches in the Indian state of Ranchi ministering through song.
At Mercy Hospital, the Harvesters stopped in each room to sing, visit and pray with the patients. It took five hours to minister to every patient on each of six floors of the building. SAGU Vice President of Advancement Irby McKnight says, “I was especially moved to sing for those receiving chemotherapy treatments.”
Mercy Hospital was founded in 1977 by Mark Buntain and his wife Huldah. The Buntains began their missionary work in India in 1954. After 35 years of service, Mark died unexpectedly in 1989. Now, more than fifty years later, Huldah continues to serve the people of Calcutta. The building contains 173 beds and serves approximately 100,000 patients a year.
The singing group’s highlight from the trip was having the opportunity to meet and sing for Huldah Buntain. McKnight says, "One of the most significant events for me was the wonderful opportunity to interview Huldah Buntain and to thank her for her many years of dedicated service to the ministry.”
One of Mercy Hospital chaplains, David Luke, also serves as pastor in the city of Ranchi. The Harvesters boarded a nine-hour train ride to sing at Luke’s church. They performed acapella by lamplight for the congregation because the city did not have electricity.
The following Sunday, the Harvesters traveled to three churches. Members worked with a translater to explain the meaning behind the songs they sang. Many of the congregants were familiar with the melodies of the hymns from having sung them in Hindi. In addition to singing, the Harvesters shared their testimonies and the message of the Gospel.
The Harvesters is a ministry of SAGU’s Office of Advancement. Their primary role is to raise support for the Southwestern Foundation. Members include Vice President of Advancement Irby McKnight, Bass; Josiah Hartmann, Lead Vocalist; Dustin Jett, Tenor; Jonathan Rumfield, Baritone.
The Harvesters travel most weekends to perform at churches and other events. Tuesday, October 4, they sang at the National RV Mission America Placement Service (MAPS) Convention in Carlinville, Illinois, for roughly 1400 RV MAPS workers. They will perform at Shepherds Valley Cowboy Church in Cleburne, TX, on October 30 and will sing the National Anthem at SAGU’s Homecoming on October 22.
Southwestern Assemblies of God University (SAGU) is a private, Christian university located 30 minutes south of the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex in Waxahachie, Texas. The University was established in 1927, and now offers more than 60 associate, bachelor’s or master’s degrees on campus or online. More information is available at www.sagu.edu or by calling 1-888-YES-SAGU.