The church of Christ in the Rampachodavaram/Tuni area (Andhra Pradesh state) of India began in 1972 when brother J. C. Bailey, a Canadian missionary, converted Barre Ratnam of Rampachodavaram. Brother Ratnam, an educator by profession, began converting his contemporaries, and many educators were brought into the church early on. Most all of these men became gospel preachers, and their teaching abilities provided unusual church growth in the early years.
Between the years of 1976 and 1981, brother Mark N. Hicks, minister of the Braddock Road Church of Christ in Arlington, VA, traveled to Rampachodavaram several times to assist brother Ratnam by teaching through gospel campaigns. Because of failed health, brother Hicks could not return after 1981.
In 1984, the elders at the Center Grove Church of Christ, located near Cookeville, TN, took oversight of the work. At this time the church had grown from brother Ratnam’s conversion in 1972 to 71 gospel preachers, 105 congregations, and approximately 6,000 members. The elders appointed Bill Dudney as coordinator of the work. Bill, retired from the military, was self supported and worked full time as coordinator. He has made sixteen trips to assist the Indian brethren, and, though no longer coordinator, he continues to travel within the U.S. sharing this amazing work with many congregations.
Mark 16:15 KJV
"Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature."
The Rampachodavaram / Tuni Lord’s work encompasses a 400 square mile area in southeast India. Located in Andhra Pradesh State between the coastal cities of Kakinda and Visakhapatnam, it extends inland into the Ghat Mountains. This region covers nine state districts and is home to thousands of villages and millions of people.
The church in India has experienced phenomenal growth since 1985. Presently, there are over 1,521 gospel preachers; almost 4,000 congregations; and approximately 450,000 total Christians (as of January 2015). Each year the church continues to grow at a rapid pace. There are many reasons for this growth. Mainly, increased financial support, our own printing press, a two-year Bible college, Zion School of Evangelism, and a zealous evangelistic effort by the brethren.
In 1999, the elders at Center Grove determined that the mission work in this area had overgrown their capability of oversight. Desiring that this mission work not be slowed, they asked the Willette congregation in Macon County, TN, to become the new oversight congregation. The Willette elders assumed this responsibility on January 1, 2000. As of May 2005, Jack Honeycutt, former pulpit minister at Willette, became full-time coordinator.