Willie Gomez, GBBMI President
I’m a native Texan. I lived on a ranch in Sweetwater growing up, and I now live outside Waco, where my wife, Kathy, and I operate a photography business. I had a triple bypass in 2008, and shortly after my recovery, I was asked to make a trip to India. I really didn’t know what to expect from that trip, but God certainly had a plan. The trip changed my spiritual perspective in a dramatic way as the Lord opened my eyes for the lost and the urgency for teaching them about salvation.
My wife, Kathy, and I have three daughters who have provided us with eight grandchildren. Seeing the conditions so many children in India live in had a profound affect on me. I truly want to help as many as I can have a better life, and I want to teach all the Banjara people about Jesus.
As president of GBBMI, I’d like to share how you can experience true joy and peace by partnering with us in this ministry. You can contribute to someone’s life here on earth and also be a part of his or her eternity.
Srinivas Naik, GBBMI Vice-President, GBBM-India General Secretary
My name is Srinivas Naik. By God’s grace, I am the founder and General Secretary of GBBM-India and serve as the Vice-President for GBBMI. I am married and have 3 children. I am a Banjara. I was born and raised in a remote Banjara village. Like many Banjara, my parents were illiterate farmers. They had 10 children, including me. We were raised as idol worshippers, following the beliefs of our ancestors. Since I was a good student, at the age of 14 I was awarded a seat in the government merit school in Hyderabad. After three years, I needed additional funds to continue my education. I was introduced to a kind, Christian family, the Luthers, who helped me financially and allowed me to stay in their home.
Out of respect to my generous hosts, I began to attend their church – though I did not believe what they taught. Attending an evangelism meeting caused me to ask, “who is the real God?” – because, in India, people believe in so many different gods. At first, I concluded that there was no god. The next Sunday, at church, the pastor asked “Where will you go when you die?” For the first time I truly understood God’s plan of salvation. I understood that I could not be acceptable to God except through faith in Jesus Christ. It was a struggle for me to accept Jesus as God when I had formerly denied him. But, on October 29, 1989 I accepted Jesus as my personal Lord and savior. I was baptized the next month.
The next time I visited my family in the village, I was reading my Bible – assuming that, as illiterates, they would not know what it was. However, one of my cousins recognized the size and shape of the book and said, “Srinivas, are you reading a Bible?” I confessed that I had become a Christian. My family and friends were very upset. I was expelled from my family and the village. This was a very difficult time in my life.
Thanks to God, over the years my family saw that my Christian convictions remained strong. They also saw the changes that God had made in my life. In 1996, the first of my family members put his faith in Christ. Today, most of my family, and many relatives and villagers are followers of Jesus Christ.
All this time, I was studying to be an engineer, but, a constant echo ringing in my ears asking who will go and preach God’s word to the Banjara nation. In 1992, I gave in to God, and decided to pursue full time ministry. I received my Bachelor of Theology and Bachelor in Divinity degrees from the university founded by William Carey. Since then, I have been doing my utmost to reach the Banjara with the message of Jesus Christ.
Robert (Bob) Crandall, CFRE, GBBMI Treasurer
I have been active in the nonprofit community for over 29 years, working in a wide variety of positions with responsibilities encompassing the creation of new fundraising and planned giving programs, developing capital campaigns, growing annual support, spearheading major special events, and more. The positions included college and university, hospital, social service, and church denomination leadership. I own my own consulting firm, Crandall, Croft & Associates. I hold a BA in psychology and history from the University of Sioux Falls, an M.A.T. in education from the University of St. Thomas, St. Paul, MN, and principal’s certification from Iowa State University. I also completed training in the 2nd AFP Faculty Training Academy and have been a motivational speaker, presenter, and discussion leader at both national and international AFP conferences including the 2009 AFP Conference in New Orleans. In addition to having served on the board of AFP Northeast Indiana Chapter, I have a member of the Christian Leadership Alliance and other professional fundraising organizations. Most recently, I served for 6 years on the AFP Foundation for Philanthropy and last year as the Vice Chair for Fundraising. I have also enjoyed standing in international fundraising, speaking in Brazil, India, Jordan, Israel, Mexico, and Puerto Rico.