Bhelwa, Mukut (1884-1959) & Bhelwa, Sonia Bai (1894-1962)
Mukut Bhelwa, an ordained minister of the Mennonite Church in India (MC), was born 4 April 1884 in Khairagarh village, Madhya Pradesh. His father, Atma Ram Bhelwas, was a Hindu and a farmer. During the famine of 1900 Mukut was admitted to the boys' orphanage of the American Mennonite Mission in Dhamtari. Here Mukut was led to Christ, being deeply influenced by the prayer life of Jacob Burkhard.
He was educated through middle school at the mission and also studied in Bible school. His interest in evangelism and village preaching led to Mukut's full-time appointment as an evangelist with the American Mennonite Mission in 1906. In 1915 he began serving at the evangelistic station at Ghatula where he helped George and Esther Lapp pioneer in village evangelism. In 1916 he was ordained deacon for the Ghatula congregation. He was married twice; his first wife died ca. 1918. In 1920 he married Sonia Bai, a trained nurse. From 1933 to 1936 he served as manager of the evangelistic outstation at Likhma, 18 mi. (30 km.) from Ghatula. In 1936 he was ordained by the Mennonite Church in India to the Christian ministry and served in pastorates at Balodgahan and Ghatula.
Sonia Bai was born 12 February 1894 to Hindu parents, Dasrath Ram Sahu and Budhiyarin Bai, farmers in Balod Tahsil of Durg District, Madhya Pradesh. Sonia was admitted to the girls' orphanage of the American Mennonite Mission in Dhamtari during the famine of 1900. She was educated through middle school in the mission schools in Dhamtari and Balodgahan, came to faith in Christ, and became a member of the Mennonite Church in India. She was sponsored by the mission for nurses training at the Christian Hospital in Ludhiana, Punjab. In 1916, she along with a second student, Asra Bai, became the first trained nurses in the Mennonite Church in India.
After their marriage Mukut and Sonia continued in their individual service until 1932, when Sonia gave up full-time mission employment to help Mukut in his work at Ghatula. Here she continued to serve the people with her gifts in healing. The Bhelwas retired in Ghatula on their farm in 1948, continuing their interest and support of the local congregations until their deaths. Mukut died on 4 August 1959; Sonia died on 12 January 1962. They had six sons and three daughters.
Bhelwa, J. M., Dhamtari, M.P., India furnished biographical information on the Bhelwas.
Annual report of American Mennonite Mission (1916-17): 35; (1933): 78; (1936): 116, 121.
American Mennonite Mission, Building on the Rock. Scottdale, PA: Mennonite Publishing House, 1926: 190.
Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, and Waterloo, Ontario, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 5, p. 73. All rights reserved. For information on ordering the encyclopedia visit the Herald Press website.
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MLA style: Friesen, John A. "Bhelwa, Mukut (1884-1959) & Bhelwa, Sonia Bai (1894-1962) ." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1986. Web. 25 May 2013. http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/B506.html.
APA style: Friesen, John A. (1986). Bhelwa, Mukut (1884-1959) & Bhelwa, Sonia Bai (1894-1962) . Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 25 May 2013, from http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/B506.html.