D.R. Gnanasundaram, known to church members around the world as “Brother Reggie,” died June 8 in his native Sri Lanka. The evangelist and church planter suffered a heart attack after surgery to remove a tumor from his kidney. He was 80.
He was one of the first Sri Lankans baptized by missionary J.C. Choate, who visited the teardrop-shaped island off India’s southern coast in 1968.
Gnanasundaram “became a diligent student of the Scriptures, always arranging home studies with peole he had known in the past or with strangers who showed an interest in God’s word,” Choate said.
He helped establish churches in Sri Lanka’s capital, Colombo, and across the island nation of 19.4 million people.
He was instrumental in obtaining legal status for Churches of Christ from the Sri Lankan government, said his son-in=law, Harold Thomas.
Gnanasundaram also helped launch faith-based, short-wave broadcasts on Radio Sri Lanka. Through the ministry, people in Sri Lanka and southern India heard the gospel message, Choate said.
After the Dec. 26, 2004, tsunami claimed 30,000 lives in Sri Lanka, Gnanasundaram was instrumental in distributing relief sent by Churches of Christ, said John Kachelman, minister for the Judsonia, Ark., church. “In our communications with Washington on the distribution, Reggie was a wonderful help and did a great work that brought glory to God,” Kachelman said.
Thomas asked church members worldwide to pray that God “will lead us into the next phase of history of the Church of Christ in Sri Lanka.”
Gnanasundaram is survived by his wife, Mahes, a son, two daughters and five grandchildren.