A.L.D. has a dream, and a big one at that. “I want to start 1,000 churches in my life,” A.L.D. says. “One thousand churches or more throughout northern India.”
And A.L.D. knows his northern India well. Born in India’s Bihar as a high caste Hindu in the late 1950s, A.L.D. was swept from home to Calcutta when both of his parents suddenly died. The young orphan was later adopted, and though he remained in Calcutta, India’s northern Bihar, and its array of poverty, never left his thoughts. This poorest Indian state, A.L.D. says, is the place he knew he’d someday return to raise his family.
“Northern India breaks my heart,” A.L.D. says quietly. “It’s known as the graveyard of missions, as if no good, no life, can happen there.” A.L.D. pauses to think. “But I’ve never believed that. Instead, I’m convinced God will turn this land into His vineyard!”
After acquiring a menagerie of academic degrees and credentials, A.L.D. attended Singapore’s Haggai Institute. When he graduated in 1995, he knew it was time to go home. God, he says, had shown him that part of his life’s work would be training other Indians for ministry and church planting. So A.L.D. returned to Bihar where he began overseeing ServLife Social Welfare Trust (ServLife’s registered name with the Indian government).
In just a half-decade, A.L.D. planted nearly fifty churches by training and mentoring young Indian leaders who attend ServLife’s one year program for equipping pastors to start churches. It was at this school where A.L.D. and his team also began tending local orphans. Presently, nearly thirty orphans are under his care, in addition to a separate school for 60 other students in or below the second grade. On weekends, this father of four can be found at his community Calvary Paoursia Church, where he serves as pastor.
“I’ve often said that the goal of ServLife is to find the A.L.D.s of the world,” ServLife founder and president Joel Vestal says. “Because when we do, God can use us to enable His dreams through them.”