Posted on February 28, 2024 Cloud of Witnesses – Feature Kolluri Mallesham John

Cloud of Witnesses – Celebrating 210th Anniversary of International Ministries

Rev, Dr. Kolluri Mallesham John

Director of Agape Interfaith Ministries


I am happy to recount the amazing works of God in my life and how he used ABFMS (aka International Ministries) to transform me.  I was born and brought up in a Christian family at a Baptist church, in Warangal (Telangana, India). I lost my father when I was eight years old. When I was in fifth grade my mother enrolled me in Preston Institute, Jangaon, which was run by the Baptist Mission.

At age sixteen I attended a youth retreat where Dr. Maurice Blanchard, a Seminary President preached. His message awakened my spirit and the words from Hebrew 11:25 – 26 convicted me in my heart.  I surrendered to God and was baptized.

After high school, I went on to study at Osmania University, supported by Miss L. Bailey, Preston Institute Principal. Soon after graduation, I came under the mentorship and care of two Baptist missionaries: The Slater’s and Douglas’s. They gave me spiritual training and moulded me to be a Christian worker fully equipped for mission work.

The Lord provided me with a wonderful partner in Jayamani. After our marriage, we took up teaching. At the encouragement of Helen Bailey and Mary Slater, we began work at Preston Institute.  Mrs. Slater taught me Christian education and together we started the Sunday school and Vacation Bible School (VBS) programs in several villages. I wrote children’s songs to spread the love of God. Before Mrs. Slater left India, she asked me sincerely to continue the work she began. After Slater’s departure, the Lord used the medical missionary, Dr. Tegenfeldt, to make a powerful impact in the Deccan area. He helped to revive the Mary Louise Slater Hospital. I praise God for giving me the privilege to work with such dedicated servants of the Lord including the Gipson’s. Many people were transformed during those years. The Balasantha community which was traditionally a beggar community is now completely different. We financially empowered them and now the people who once begged are currently landlords and money lenders. Today their children are well educated, and the blessings are continuing through generations.

After some years I became the school headmaster at Preston Institute. There were 1,600 students and 25 teachers when I retired in 1996.  I was determined to share freely to the mission who invested so freely in me. I gave my all to uplift helpless children. I was able to support some young men and disciple them in ministry.  Through Rev A.L. Slater the First Baptist Church of Emporia, Kansas supported Jayamani in completing her master’s degree in the U.S.  When returning to India, God used her to establish an orphanage for destitute children. Later we established the Agape Good Shepherd High School. We later started the Preston Junior College which was inaugurated by Area Director Rev. Benjamin S.L Chan.

Over the years of ministry, we were energized by the various Baptist conferences we attended globally. We made connections with many leaders who encouraged us through personal relationships. We are grateful to the Tegenfeldts who helped with our children’s education.   The children are a blessing to us in the ministry. Our children were inspired by our lives and their childhood with the missionaries. Through the support of Kansas Baptist Church, we established Agape Interfaith ministries. Today we are able to continue various wings of service with the help of Kansas Baptist Church and our children’s contribution. Our work includes a home for girls, a boys’ home, AGS School, Preston Junior College, and summer VBS.  I am upholding my word to Mrs. Slater by continuing rural development through the Tharigoppula Welfare Society, and medical ministry through MLSM Hospital. The tribal community of Banjaras has also been impacted by the Lord through our partnership with the Banjara Development Trust. Our work is to develop our communities through spiritual, medical, educational, and financial means.

Our vision is to see lives transformed by the love of God just as our own lives were. Looking back, I see the hand of God everywhere. Without the obedience and faithfulness of the pioneering missionaries, we would still be in darkness – we praise God for the light of his salvation and of abundant life in Him. Today there are no Rutherfords, Unruhs, or Slaters – yet the Lord has kept me to continue the legacy of those wonderful missionaries.  We bless our daughter, Helen Mary, as she continues in our footsteps. ABFMS has left an indelible mark on generations of our family. “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord!”   I am eternally indebted to the services of the American Baptist Mission. To God be all the glory!


*Ben Chan: Special thanks to Cathy Holmes for proof-reading the article