Francis Mathew in India

Dear Friends,

This week, please pray with us for Francis Mathew in India.

The most populous country in the world, India is home to over 1.4 billion people. According to a 2011 census, India’s population is around 80% Hindu, 14% Muslim, 2% Christian, 2% Sikh, and 1% Buddhist. Although women in India are guaranteed constitutional freedoms and protections, and several women have served in senior governmental offices, formidable challenges remain for many Indian women, including malnutrition and violence. Earlier this month, the gang rape of a Brazilian tourist has renewed national attention on sexual violence against women.

Francis is pursuing a PhD in Old Testament from Bristol Baptist College through the University of Aberdeen (UK). His dissertation contends with the silence of God in Old Testament rape narratives. Francis’s research will guide the Indian Church’s pastoral response to victims of sexual abuse, as well as its faithful advocacy in contexts where women, and especially minorities, face increasing violence. 
As Faculty-in-Training at the South Asia Institute of Advanced Christian Studies (SAIACS), a partner of the Vital Sustainability Initiative, Francis teaches Old Testament in the Department of Biblical Studies while completing his studies. Previously, Francis served for nearly a decade with Youth with a Mission (YWAM) in Lonavala in western India and Shillong in northeastern India. Since 2021, Francis and his wife Medonuo Zhotso have co-pastored a Vineyard church in Bangalore. Francis and Medonuo have a baby son, Asher Lev.
Francis shares the following message:

I am Francis Mathew, and I’m married to Medonuo Zhotso. Together we have a son, Asher Lev, who is one and a half years old now. As a family we are currently based in Bangalore, India. 
After completing my Bachelor of Engineering (Mechanical) degree from Mumbai University, I served with Youth with a Mission for nine years. After this, I joined SAIACS as a student for my MDiv and MTh (OT) studies. 
I am currently pursuing my PhD in Old Testament Studies from Bristol Baptist College, validated by the University of Aberdeen, UK. My research attempts to understand the theological significance of the silence of God in three Old Testament rape narratives (Gen. 34, Judg. 19, and 2 Sam. 13).
Since May 2023, I have served as Faculty-in-Training at SAIACS in the Department of Biblical Studies (Old Testament). Together with my wife, I have also pastored a Vineyard Church in Bangalore.
Prayer Requests
Pray for me as I continue my thesis work, that I would be able to finish it on time (by Dec. 2024) with much excellence. Pray that my PhD journey will continue to be a transformative learning experience for me and my family, and that it would equip us for the ministry ahead. 
I hope to travel to the UK (Bristol) in May-June for a short study trip (4-5 weeks). This will allow me to focus on my writing and attend a few conferences (Postgraduate Research Students Annual Conference and the Centre for the Study of Bible & Violence Annual Conference) while I am there. Please stand with me in prayer that I would get my visa on time and that my time there would be meaningful. 
Our son is one and half years old now. I would appreciate your prayers for me and my wife that we raise him well. As a family, we need prayers that we would always envision Jesus at the center of everything we do at home, at our church, and at SAIACS.
Francis Mathew

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