Funeral Services are always bittersweet. The thought of never seeing the departed person again, hear his voice or laughter is the bitter part. But then there is the sweet and joyful part, which the ones that are left behind cling to — that there is a better place waiting for all of them after death. In Aundh, a congregation in Pune, Maharashtra, more than 300 New Apostolic Christians gathered to pay their last respects to the family of the retired District Evangelist Vasant R. Raje.
In the afternoon hours of 23 January 2018, District Evangelist (i.R.) Vasant R. Raje breathed his last whilst he was in Jahangir Hospital, Pune. The next morning his body was taken to his grandson’s house. The funeral service and burial was set for the next day at 3:00 pm at Dapodi Cemetery.
Farewell to a Man who Served God Faithfully
District Evangelist Vasant R. Raje was born in 1925 in a small village called Kodoli on the banks of the Warna River, which is tucked away in the Northwest of Kolhapur District. He moved to Pune in his early 20s and lived there for over 70 years. He was one of the key members in starting the New Apostolic Church in Aundh. He lost his wife in 1985 but continued to serve the Lord. Even after his retirement in 2000, he remained very active in the church. The 93-years old Evangelist is survived by his four children and nine grandchildren.
Fond Memories of a Humble Servant
Around 300 members came from near and far to say their goodbyes to Retired District Evangelist Vasant R. Raje. The retired Apostles Nilratna Gorde and David Budhagaonkar spoke briefly about Evangelist Vasant’s life. Apostle (i.R.) Gorde shared that he and Evangelist Raje used to be part of the Marathi translation group. They had often met at the Gorde home to discuss the material they were translating. Evangelist Vasant was known for his humility and humour. Even though he had been elder than most of the team, he had never boasted about his experience or knowledge.
Apostle (i.R.) David Budhgaonkar also paid tribute to the late Evangelist. He shared about Vasant Raje’s devotion to God, the passion for his work, and how he truly had been an inspiration to all the ministers in and around the districts of Pune, Nashik and Dang.
District Evangelist Vasant Raje’s presence will sorely be missed but his legacy which he lovingly left behind – his faith, his love for God, and the things of God, will always live on.