Mohan and Lata are doing great work in India
God's provision has been a recurring theme in their lives
From an early age, both Mohan and Lata were introduced to Christian Education through regular attendance at church and Sunday school. In their early teens, they trusted Christ as Savior. Mohan was 13 years old when a VBS teacher led him to Christ, at Chennai (then known as Madras), Tamilnadu, India. Lata at the age of 12 did likewise at a crusade conducted by Rev. Luis Palau at Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, India. Their Christian nurture ensued through the ministry of Youth for Christ.
Lata, who was 19, moved to Delhi in 1971 and got involved in the youth ministry of her local church teaching both Sunday school and serving as a leader in Youth for Christ. She then entered University to pursue her graduate studies from Madras, also moved to Delhi to pursue a diploma course in Advertising and Public Relations. While Lata was gifted with teaching children, Mohan loved singing. After 6 months of voice training, Mohan regularly ministered in the church singing, leading choirs, and leading in worship.
Lata lost her mother the year after she came to Delhi. This resulted in the added responsibility of 6 siblings to look after (she being the eldest). God sustained her through a lot of emotional pain rendering valuable lessons.
In 1976, Mohan and Lata met in Delhi through the introduction of common family friends. Six months of acquaintanceship followed, and they were married in August of 1976. They have been married 26 years. God has blessed them with four children. All of them have trusted Christ as personal Savior and are voluntarily serving their local church, while pursuing their school and university studies.
Of the 26 years, Mohan served 13 years in the Christian literature ministry 10 years as director of a chain of 10 Christian bookstores across India, and 3 years with an association of Christian publishers and booksellers, as a trainer. These years also included a stint at freelance print designing. Lata although a housekeeper and mother of four young children, continued teaching Sunday school switching roles as superintendent and teacher. She teaches to this day, and is sometimes amusingly referred to as the Sunday school grandmother to some of the kids whose young mothers she earlier taught at Sunday school. Lata also took a keen interest in the women of the church and was instrumental in initiating the Women’s ministry of their church. As a couple they have had the joy of being part of the church’s ministry to families. They have had the privilege to serve on the Church Board at different times, and Mohan as a deacon.
The best of their service in God’s vineyard was yet to come! Unknown to them, God in His sovereign plan had been preparing them for what they believe would be the crowning years of their service to Him. The “service” was to draw attention of the church to the ripe harvest of unreached children and youth in India, and provide them with an effective tool.
In 1991, Awana HQ, Chicago, invited them through Larry Grow, to start Awana in India. They asked for a year to pray and consider followed by a visit to Bangladesh to see the Awana program. Through 1993, they researched the suitability and production options of club supplies, talking to many pastors about the program’s adaptability. After a visit to Nairobi, Kenya, where Larry Grow met with Mohan for the first time and a visit to Awana HQ at Chicago they chartered their first club in India. Their home was their first office. Missionary training was provided to Mohan & Lata in Australia in 1997 and 1998.
The initial years were as difficult as trying to sell refrigerators in the Artic. Pastors and missions leaders were largely indifferent to the needs of the neighborhood kids and the difference Awana could make, as claimed by them. They prayed and preserved. The first club was chartered in 1993. Buoyed with their initial success, they chartered more churches. These were English clubs. Their own children, Chandran, Preeti, Malini and Arun (all below 14 years of age) were their first ministry team at home packing uniforms and handbooks, stacking game equipment into shelves and preparing basic training kits for the day’s training at a church. What a happy irony that Awana should start in a home, with kids as the volunteers.
In May of 1995, they moved into their first real office (they are still at the same address). From day one they have produced all the needed supplies in India. The Indian edition of the English handbooks was published in 1994. The translation in Hindi began in 1995 and the handbooks were published in 1997.
By 2001, God had provided Awana India & Nepal 17 missionaries, 4 office staff and handbooks in 7 languages. The work grew to reach out to approximately 80 clubs through the length and breadth of India and Nepal and one club in Bhutan. They expect Tamil language clubs to start in Srilanka, Malaysia and Singapore.
By June 2002, they will have added 9 more missionaries and handbooks in 4 more languages. This will increase the opportunity to reach more of India. They are hopeful that God will provide more volunteers and missionaries in the coming years, and enable the translation into more languages to reach to reach every major language people group in India.
The response to the Awana program is growing rapidly, and all the new clubs are positively responding by seeking more frequent training and being willing to gradually pay for club supplies.
Lata and Mohan thank God for everything their missionaries, sponsors and the headquarters staff. Their heart attitude is we are in it together. We will work together. We will pray together. We will succeed together. May the Lord be our helper.
Their ministry verse is Psalms 91:1-2, “He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress; my God, in him will I trust."