From Don and Caroline Armstrong, Asia-Pacific Regional Coordinators
For more information about the tea gardens, check out this BBC program about the tea plantations in Assam, the state to the east of West Bengal.
The Church of God started the specific work on the tea plantations about 30 years ago. There are about 450 plantations in West Bengal and Assam, and each plantation can be several thousand acres. There are 350,000 permanent workers on these plantations, and an estimated 2.5 million people in the region are dependent on tea production.
Some plantations go out of business. When this happens, workers are left with no food or money. In December 2014, the Church of God Ministries Hunger Relief Fund supplied food to about 500 families that were starving to death. It was a big help, and since then the families have planted gardens and are living off of the land. The plantation is still looking for a buyer.
Permission from the respective tea gardens was given in January 2016. Once permission is given it is best to start as soon as possible in order not to lose permission. In light of that, Sanjay broke ground on the two buildings in April 2016 and started building with funds he received from the Church of God in Korea as well as with borrowed funds.
The first church (Carron Tea Estate) is going to cost approximately $14,500.00.
The second church (Baradighi Tea Estate) is going to cost approximately $13,325.00.
The difference in cost is due to the fact that the first church, Carron Tea Estate, is difficult to reach with building materials.
From left to right, Pastor Moon, Rev. Sanjay Murmu, and their interpreter