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Location: Singapore Airport
I’ve been looking forward to returning to India since my
first and only visit in December 2002. Of course much has changed in 5 1/2
years. The work in south India has grown substantially. There are many more
churches in Tamil Nadu and there are now churches in the neighboring state of
Andra Pradesh. The work in northern India has not been as successful. On that
first trip in north India we met with Bro. Edward at Union Christian College in
Shillong. But other than Bro. Edward, no one else has ever shown any interest
in becoming PB so that work has not progressed.
This time I will be with Bro Jeff Harris in Tamil Nadu and
Andra Pradesh. Ever since my first trip I have been saving all of my Delta Sky
Miles to make this trip possible. Since we (Julie and kids) have moved from
Mississippi back to Texas, I ended up traveling west apart from Bro. Jeff who
departed from Georgia going east.
Due to lack of flight availability, I am scheduled to
arrive several days after Bro. Jeff’s arrival. At the moment, I am on my
layover at the Singapore Airport having flown here from San Francisco via
Houston and Lubbock.
Location: Vellore, Tamil Nadu
Bro. Judson picked me up at the airport this morning and we
came down to Vellore in a hired car. Vellore is about 120 km south of Chennai
and, due to their slower driving speeds, it took about 2 hours to get here.
Tonight we met with Bro. Sam in his home with members of
his church. Bro. Sam is from a Pentecostal background but as he studied the
Bible he came to see the Doctrines of Grace. He has not yet been ordained as a
PB preacher but, according to Bro. Judson, he was baptized not long ago by Bro.
Guna. Tomorrow, Bro. Jeff and Bro. Guna will be driving up from Chettipatti for
a service tomorrow night. I think the plan is to ordain Bro. Sam as a PB
We had a good meeting tonight which was attended by other
Christians and also some neighbors who are Hindu. Since his church is still
relatively new to the Doctrines of Grace, I spoke on Total Depravity with a
healthy dose of Irresistible Grace thrown in for good measure. I had good
liberty while preaching. Many of the people in attendance understand English
but I still spoke through an interpreter for the benefit of those who don’t.
Overall, I think the message was well received. Obviously, with such a mixed
group there were differing reactions, such as nods of approval or understanding
from Bro. Sam’s church members to open stares from some of the others.
Preaching alone, I am grateful for my previous experience
in preaching through an interpreter. You have to speak much slower and speak
clearly. Plus, it’s hard to keep a train of thought when you have to stop
speaking after every sentence. Having that time gap sometimes causes your mind
to be distracted or it gives you too much time to think and what you say next
comes out a little different than it otherwise might. The big thing, and this
is hard for us Southerners, is not using idioms such as our Southern Expressions
or Americanisms. They are impossible to translate and you don’t realize how
many you use all the time until they are taken away.
Today was a very long day indeed but also a great
blessing. This morning, Bro. Judson and I were met at the hotel by Bro. Sam’s
17 year old son Gibson. We took a tour around Vellore which included a stop for
breakfast and concluded with a visit to a 4500 bed hospital, CMC – Christian
Medical College. CMC was started by a female doctor, Ida Scudder, from the
United States about 100 years ago and has become a very important medical
facility in Tamil Nadu.
We made our way through the city in a hired taxi. Most of
their taxis, including this one, are tiny three wheeled affairs with a roof but
no windshield and no doors on the sides. They are propelled by what appears to
be a two-cycle, one cylinder engine utilizing a go-cart style clutch and a
maximum speed of about 20 mph. The air pollution from these and other vehicles
in the cities of India is absolutely horrendous. Quite often you can feel your
eyes and lungs burning from it. One can only imagine how this, and many other
things, must deteriorate the health of all the people who live in it day after
day their entire lives. The streets are full of these three wheeled taxis along
with the regular cars, trucks, buses, people and animals. And the ride was lots
of fun as always. Who needs “Six Flags” when you have India?
Our stop at CMC was mainly spent in the prosthetic ward
where Bro. Sam works. This is the place where they hand craft all the
artificial limbs for the hospital which are mainly prosthetic legs and feet.
One man who works there has two artificial feet having lost both feet to
leprosy. Our tour guide was an engineer named Anand John Samuel. He showed us
the entire process which included taking sheets of a polypropylene type plastic
and heating it in the ovens over the molds until it conforms to the correct
shape. Then they carefully cut the new limb off of the mold and finish the
They also make orthotic devices such as braces and special
shoes to correct club foot. I showed them the orthotic insoles I wear which
help eliminate my lower back problems. It was an interesting exchange as they
took several pictures of just the insoles and then photos of my foot standing on
After we left CMC, we returned to the hotel and waited for
Bro. Jeff and Bro. Guna’s arrival. They arrived at about 1:00 PM along with
Sister Karen Baldree and Sister Amanda Autry. Sister Karen is a nutritionist
and has come before to care for the children in the orphanages.
Sister Amanda is a first year nursing student and came as a companion to Sister
Karen and to “get her feet wet” caring for people in the third world.
After eating lunch we spent the afternoon at Bro. Sam’s
house visiting, studying and preparing for the evening service. As the
afternoon progressed, I was able to learn more details about the church in
Vellore and our schedule for the evening. The 47 members who were part of
Revival Church had all already been re-baptized and were ready to be constituted
as Revival PBC. Their church had been in existence for about 15 years but they
were Arminian in theology. As they continued to study the Bible, they came to
see the Doctrines of Grace and, after contacting Bro. Guna and then Brothers
Herb, Jeff and Zack on previous visits, became thoroughly convinced of them.
After getting dressed for the event we departed to the
meeting place which was an open air plot of land somewhere in the city. They
had plenty of chairs for all the adults which must have been at least 60-70
people with the children sitting on mats per usual Indian custom.
Upon arrival, I learned that Bro. Sam had decided he did
not feel prepared yet to be ordained as an elder but would instead be ordained
as a deacon along with Bro. Nixon. I further learned that the plan had always
been to ordain Bro. Ebenezer who is an older man and was previously the ordained
minister of their church.
What follows is a brief set of minutes I took during the
Introductory and instructional remarks were given by Elder
Jeff Harris. Elder Harris outlined the events of the evening which would
include the constitution of Revival Primitive Baptist Church, the ordination of
Bro. G. Ebenezer to the full work of the gospel ministry and the ordination of
Bro. Sam and Bro. Nixon to the office of Deacon.
Elder Babu, of Yercaud PBC gave the opening prayer.
Elder Jeff Harris delivered the constitution charge taking
his opening text from Acts 1:14 and remarking that the primitive church follows
the pattern set forth in the scripture including singing, praying and
preaching. In this manner their church would follow the simple New Testament
faith and practice of the first century church.
Elder Guna read the Articles of Faith which the church
members covenanted to keep by a unanimous vote of the right hand. Elder Harris
followed their affirmation of the Articles of Faith by explaining that, as God’s
church, they are the pillar and ground of the truth.
Elder Guna next read, and the church members recited with
him as a sign of their consent and covenant to keep, the Church Covenant.
Elder James Taylor gave the constitution prayer for Revival
Primitive Baptist Church.
Elder Jeff Harris delivered the ordination charge to Bro.
Ebenezer taking his text from 1 Tim 3:1-7.
Elder Guna gave the examination to Bro. Ebenezer on behalf
of the Presbytery which included Elder Guna, Elder Babu, Elder Judson, Elder
Jeff Harris and Elder James Taylor. The Presbytery, being satisfied with Bro.
Ebenezer’s answers, voted unanimously to ordain him to the work of the gospel
Elder James Taylor gave the ordination prayer for Elder
Elder Jeff Harris delivered the ordination charge to Bro.
Nixon and Bro. Sam to the office of deacon taking his text from 1 Tim 3:8-13.
After concluding his remarks, Elder Harris asked the two brethren if they agreed
with the Articles of Faith and would they promise to be helpers to Elder
Ebenezer? Both brethren affirmed their belief in the Articles of Faith and
promised to be helpers to Elder Ebenezer.
Elder Judson gave the ordination prayer for Bro. Nixon and
Bro. Sam to the office of deacon.
Elder Jeff Harris concluded the service with a few brief
remarks from Ephesians 3:21 and also encouraged the members to give their Time,
Talent and Treasure to the church.
Elder Guna led the church in the Benediction Prayer from 2
Cor 13:14 and the service concluded.
Location: Chettipatti and Yercaud
We left Vellore last night immediately after the service
was over and made the long, 4 hour trip to Chettipatti. Bro. Guna and Bro.
Harris were upfront while Sister Karen, Sister Amanda and myself were crammed
into the back seat of Bro. Guna’s tiny little car. His car is Suzuki’s Indian
version of the Geo Metro and the rear fender wells intrude slightly into both
sides of the back seat making it a tight fit indeed. For the most part we kept
a very uncomfortable trip light hearted but by the time we got to Chettipatti at
1:30 am we were very grateful to get out. After taking showers, everyone got to
bed at 2:00 am.
Everyone got up at about 6:00 this morning, ate breakfast
and left Chettipatti for Yercaud (pronounced like “ear-cod”). Yercaud is
perched on top of a mountain 2000 feet above Salem and is much sought after for
its pleasantly cooler climate. Services today were held at the Pattipadi PBC
where Bro. George is the pastor. Pattipadi is a small village about 4 mi past
Yercaud on the same mountain.
I preached both morning services with Bro. Jeff and Bro.
Guna arriving for the afternoon services. They were late due to some business
they had to attend to in Salem. Bro. Jeff has written a commentary on Romans
that Bro. Guna will soon be finished translating into Tamil. We both took our
texts from Chapters 3 and 4 focusing on the Doctrine of Justification.
In the afternoon service four women were baptized by Bro.
Jeff. Since Bro. Jeff and Bro. Guna had already checked into the hotel
back in Yercaud, he didn’t have an extra set of clothes. The situation was
remedied when Bro. George let him borrow a set of traditional Indian men’s
garments, which includes an Indian style shirt and Indian style floor length
skirt. Everyone had a pretty good laugh at seeing an American dressed like
an Indian but it was well worth it since the women were most grateful to be
After the services were over we visited the Yercaud PBC
construction site with their pastor Bro. Babu. It is a large building that has
been under construction for three years and still needs several thousand dollars
to be completed. I think they have about 80 members and are able to meet in the
building which needs to have the kitchen and living quarters finished to be
From there we visited the house of Sister Esther, a single
woman, who lives with her widowed mother and sister who was abandoned by her
husband. They are attempting to build a Christian care center in Yercaud where
they can minister to the physical, mental and spiritual needs of the destitute
children in the area. The concept is that the children will still live with
their families but have their needs taken care of at the center. With this
outreach they will also be able to influence and reach the Hindu parents with
the Gospel of Christ. However, they need several thousand dollars for the
construction. The women have been busy doing what they can, digging the trench
for the foundation by themselves. Such devotion you’ll seldom see in the United
States! Help will have to come from abroad to finish the work and we prayed
that the Lord might open the hearts of God’s people in the United States to
contribute to this worthy cause.
Yercaud is an Indian tourist destination and we are staying
in a nice hotel that only lacks A/C. However, A/C isn’t totally necessary due
to the cooler climate of Yercaud. The hotel also features western style food,
which is a welcome break from Indian food.
Location: Yercaud and Chettipatti
I woke up refreshed this morning after a very good night’s
sleep. We (Bro. Jeff, Sister Karen, Sister Amanda and I) enjoyed our daily
morning devotional together. Each person reads one of the eight verse portions
of Psalm 119 in order and then we share our thoughts about the verses we read.
Providentially, my scripture passage was Ps 119:97, “O how I love thy law!” I
see in it David’s love of obedience to, and delight to obey the will of God. It
is a good time of spiritual fellowship.
After eating breakfast with Bro. Guna and Bro. Nelson we
drove back to Pattipadi for the minister’s conference. Bro. Jeff spoke first
from Romans 4-5 with emphasis on the “Benefits of Justification” in 5:1-2 which
are 1. Peace; 2. Access; 3. Standing; 4. Joy and 5. Hope. I confess that before
the end of his sermon I was moved to tears. Justification nearly always gets to
me and Bro. Jeff was especially blessed preaching upon it. I used my voice
recorder to record the sermon and intend to put it on
don’t know if it will have the same effect on others. The constant interruption
for translating (expertly done by Bro. Nelson I might add) could be off putting
to some. And it may be that you just have to be here to truly experience the
fullness of God’s presence.
Preaching after Bro. Jeff’s message was no easy task and by
prior arrangement with Bro. Jeff, I spoke from
Rom 8:28-39 by providing the
answers to three questions: 1. What works for our good? 2. Why do these things
work for our good? 3. How do these things work for our good? This too will be
website should someone care to find out what those answers are. My
translator was Bro. Ramon who was recently ordained to be Bro. Guna’s associate
pastor at the Good Samaritan PBC in Chettipatti. Bro. Ramon, bless his
heart, did a good job but sometimes struggled with hearing our American accents.
We finished at 12:30 pm concluding the minister’s
conference. We had hoped to preach in the afternoon also but several of the men
needed to leave because their homes were so much further away than Chettipatti
and they needed to arrive before dark. Indian roads are dangerous in the
daytime and especially hazardous at night.
After lunch we took a trip in a row boat around Yercaud
Lake. It was enjoyable and scenic. I also bought some Yercaud coffee grounds
to take home. I was first served Yercaud coffee, which is grown all over
Yercaud Mountain, at Sister Esther’s house the night before. I was absolutely
amazed at the quality of their coffee. I’ve never had coffee that smooth and
great tasting with no acid taste or after bite that is common with all other
coffees. I promise you have never had coffee like this in the United States.
It is, IMHO, the best coffee period and is without a doubt India’s best kept
Back at Chettipatti, we enjoyed the rest of the evening
eating supper, fellowshipping, studying and praying. Amen.
Location: Chettipatti and Eureka Children’s Home,
When I woke this morning at 5:30 am, I felt rested and
spent a good bit of time typing my journal, Bible reading and listening to
Sacred Harp songs I have stored on my computer.
I did not get to go with Bro. Jeff and Bro. Guna to Andra
Pradesh as originally planned. When Bro. Guna went to buy the train tickets,
there were only two seats left. Bro. Jeff was pretty disappointed. Andra
Pradesh is a harder, hotter place to go and having two Americans instead of one
makes it more bearable.
After learning of this situation earlier in the week, it
was arranged for me to preach in the local churches. I saw Bro. Guna and Bro.
Jeff off to the train station at 9:30. Sister Mary, Bro. Guna’s wife, was there
to wave good bye. She is a very quiet woman and I am sure she has seen Bro.
Guna leave many times but as they pulled out of the gate, the anxious sigh she
released spoke volumes.
After Bro. Guna and Bro. Jeff departed I went back to my
room which is in the upstairs of the same building that houses the staff
offices. This building was built since my last visit and the upstairs has two
large bed rooms, a living room and bathroom which are reserved for visiting
guests. It is comfortable and thankfully has ceiling fans that make the nights
much more tolerable.
Downstairs I visited with Bro. Ramon (pronounced like Ramen
in Ramen Noodles) for the rest of the morning. Bro. Ramen was ordained last
week before my arrival and is now Bro. Guna’s associate pastor at GSPBC. He is
well educated having received a degree in theology at an Anglican university.
Most Americans don’t realize what he and others such as Bro. Babu and Bro. Guna,
have given up by becoming Primitive Baptist. In such a poor country as India,
the Anglican (Episcopalian) priesthood comes with all the bells and whistles.
They get a nice house, good pay, a nice car and medical benefits. But these
brethren have forsaken all that for the truth. They have forsaken all that to
become Primitive Baptist. When is the last time you heard of an American
Episcopalian forsaking all for the truth and becoming PB? I have never heard of
it, ever. This is but one of many proofs of the unyielding faithfulness to
truth and genuine sincerity of these brethren.
We talked for a long time about American and Indian
politics, American and Indian history and shared with each other our personal
testimonies. Our discussion was made possible due to his fluency in English and
liberal arts education thanks to his seminary training.
We, Bro. Nelson, Sister Karen, Sister Amanda and I, left
Chettipatti at about 4:30 and made the 1 1/2 hour trip on mostly back country
roads which are washed out and full of pot holes to reach Veerianthanda.
Veerianthanda is pastored by Bro. Immanuel and was one of the places I did not
get to visit in 2002. They have a community outreach program for the village
children who were all gathered to hear Sister Karen talk about good nutrition
and hygiene. I counted about 60 in all. From there, we went out to one of the
village farms where one of the deacons, Bro. Samuel and his family lives. There
were chickens and goats scattered about and from their small house we could see
down to their fields full of sunflowers.
The front porch filled with women and children while our
group was seated in chairs, including Bro. Samuel, facing them. I’ve never
cared for American deserts made from coconut but our host sent a young man up a
tree to retrieve some for us and we watched as he used a large curved machete
type knife to open a hole in the top of each one so we could drink the water. I
have to admit it wasn’t too bad. It was quite a bit better than I expected and
I think it would improve with a little refrigeration considering these were over
90 degrees F. After drinking the coconut water, they cut the coconut open and
we ate the meat which is also quite good. It’s nothing like the coconut we use
in baking cakes and candy in the U.S. Fresh is always best.
After singing and prayer, I was given time to speak. On
the way to the farm Bro. Nelson related a message from Bro. Immanuel that Bro.
Samuel could use some encouragement in his role as deacon. I was glad to hear
this because I thought I would be preaching to the church and had planned a
message accordingly. When I saw we were going to a small gathering on the farm
I knew that was “out the window”. Immediately, I decided to speak from 1 Tim 3:
8-13 but I prefaced my remarks to him by first speaking to the children from
Eph. 6:1-3 “Children obey your parents in the Lord” and then to the wives from
Eph. 5:22 on submitting to their husbands. Upon turning to 1 Tim 3, I exhorted
them to pray for the pastors and deacons, emphasizing the important role deacons
have in the leadership of the church. By this time it was dark and at one point
the electricity went off, as it frequently does in India this time of year and I
took off my watch and used the backlight like a miniature flashlight to read the
scriptures. Thankfully, within a few minutes the electricity came back on
From Veerianthanda we drove to the Eureka Children’s Home
outside Veppamarathur. Bro. Jeff, Bro. Guna and I spent a memorable night there
in 2002. Julie and I sponsor one of the Indian children and this is the
orphanage where he, Surya, lives. In the photo we received last year, he
appears to be an introvert and kind of emotionless and he was not much different
in person. He thanked me for the gifts I brought – a toy car, crayons and
construction paper to draw on but there is not much light in his eyes. One can
only wonder if it’s just the way he is or if the events that have led him here
have caused it or both. Many of the children were full of smiles and ran out to
great us insisting on a hand shake and name exchange but not Surya. Initially,
I had to send someone to fetch him and he didn’t quite seem to know what to do.
Hopefully, I can spend some time with him tomorrow and get to know him a little
better and learn what makes him tick.
Supper was prepared for us by Sister Grace. Her husband,
Bro. Sundarsingh graciously went to the store after dark to get us some bottled
water. They, with Bro. Perez and his wife, are administrators here. Both speak
English so we are able to communicate and enjoy their fellowship. My buddy,
Bro. Judson also stayed for the night. He is a fearless evangelist but also a
big time comic. His English is somewhat limited, though greatly improved since
2002, but his sense of humor always comes through.
Location: Eureka Children’s Home
We spent most of the day with the children. None of the
children are completely parentless. But they all come from homes that are
severely impoverished which is why they are brought here. By law, they must
attend the local public school in Veppamarathur, so we walked with them about
1/2 mile to the outskirts of town. And my, what a difference a little attention
has made for Surya. This morning he was all smiles and sought me out right
away. In his shirt pocket was the toy car I had given him. All day long he
showed himself to be quite the happy little boy with the sparkle in his eye I
have come to expect from my own children.
We, Sister Karen, Sister Amanda and I, had a good day
singing and fellowshipping with each other. Bro. Judson also visited with us
for a while. We talked about the scripture and, as always, enjoyed some good
In the evening we went to Boomidi and visited Bro. Robert
Kennedy and his wife and children. They live in the rear of the recently
completed church building. Their infant son, only four weeks old, has been sick
and they have understandably been very concerned for his health. Sister Karen,
our nutritionist, gave Sister Kennedy some nutritional advice on how to care for
her health and the baby’s. We had prayer, particularly for the infant and then
departed for the church in Regedahalli. They also have a children’s program and
Sister Karen was scheduled to spend some time with them.
Bro. Stephen pastor's the Regedahalli Church which is in his
home town. I also met his parents who are farmers and members of the church.
Bro. Stephen is another example of the faithfulness of God’s ministers here.
Just two weeks ago, he was evangelizing in the village preaching Jesus Christ
when he was attacked by a mob of Hindus and beaten up pretty badly. He suffered
a broken tooth and spent some time at the hospital recovering from it. He also
told me he and his church have been under pressure from a woman who has come
around preaching Seventh Day Adventist doctrine. Thus, Bro. Stephen has been
preaching on why we meet on the first day of the week. I told Bro. Stephen we
are blessed when we are persecuted for great is our reward in Heaven. If there
are varying degrees of that reward, I have no doubts his will be much greater
than mine. (Note: Please Read
Tragedy in India - Sister Gracy Passes Away
While Sister Karen was speaking with the children the
ministers stood off to the side, as PB preachers often do, talking amongst
ourselves. Bro. Stephen’s wife served us coffee and I, as usual, took mine
without sugar which the Indians find to be quite the enigma as they always use
sugar in theirs. Judson, Mr. Comic Relief, said it is because I am from Texas
and am already so sweet I don’t need any sugar in my coffee. Needless to say,
thinking about how I am often perceived back home, I doubled over with laughter
and Bro. Judson made me promise to tell everyone what he said when I got back.
Still howling with laughter, I assured him that I would, and would remind them
of it often. I fear those who know me best, might not be so quick to agree with
Bro. Judson’s assessment of my sweetness. But I do.
We left Regadahalli, returning to Boomidi, and met in one
of the church member’s home. This is the same home Bro. Jeff and I preached in
when we were here in 2002. All of the local preachers were there including Bro.
Nelson (who translated), Bro. Stephen, Bro. Immanuel, Bro. Robert Kennedy, Bro.
Judson, and Bro. Perez (they pronounce it Boris). I spoke from II Cor 5:7, We
walk by faith and not by sight.
After the service was over we drove back to Eureka where
Sister Grace had supper ready. Sister Karen elected to stay the night and
Sister Amanda and I came back to Chettipatti with Bro. Nelson.
We didn’t do much today. There were no meetings scheduled
so I stayed at Chettipatti for the day. Yesterday, Bro. Nelson and Bro. Kennedy
had noticed the “Doctrine of Grace” outline from Bro. Gus Harter. I keep it in
the front pocket of my Bible cover and often reference it for T.U.L.I.P.
verses. At first they were going to make a photo copy but I insisted on typing
it up for them and spent today doing that. I also typed up the “Five Phases of
Salvation” found on the reverse side. I changed or added a few things to suit
me and turned it over to Bro. Nelson.
I also got my journal typed up to date, washed a few shirts
and socks, tried to play cricket (similar to baseball and I stink at both) with
the kids and visited with Bro. Nelson and his wife Kiriba (Tamil for “Grace”) I
also met their son Jefferson who is named for guess who? Bro. Judson brought
over his wife and two daughters. I was glad to meet them for the first time and
we took some pictures to record the event.
Sister Mary sat with us at supper tonight. She said Bro.
Guna called and said he and Bro. Jeff are doing well. I borrowed Bro. Nelson’s
cell phone and talked to Julie for 15 minutes. Her voice was a welcome sound.
She was getting everyone ready to attend Samuel and Benjamin’s first T-Ball
game. She also mentioned that Samuel has been unruly lately and she has had to
up the corporal punishment as a result. I’m not too surprised. This usually
happens with the kids when I am gone. ‘Tis but another example of why children,
particularly boys, need a father in their life.
Today we went to Tinnapatti church for Sunday services. I
preached at this church in 2002 when Bro. James was pastor here. Sadly, he died
suddenly of a brain tumor the following year. After that, Bro. Judson, who is
originally from Tinnapatti, pastored for several years until he resigned in
favor of full-time evangelism. Since then Bro. Nelson has been their pastor.
Although he lives in Chettipatti, it is only a 15 minute drive. Bro. William
who has been exercising, lives in the parsonage and assists Bro. Nelson with the
I preached from
Galatians Chapters 3 and 4 on the Faith of
Abraham. Before the services we had a baby naming ceremony. I was asked to
pray for the infant and announce his name which is Davis Abraham. I thought
that was appropriate given my text. His father was one proud papa.
We came back to Chettipatti for lunch and spent the
afternoon resting. The heat and humidity was pretty intense today and I was
thankful we at least have fans. Since we are on the second floor it’s much
hotter than the first floor and we spent some time downstairs in the kitchen enjoying the
cooler temperature. India is the only place I’ve ever willingly taken two cold
showers a day, thoroughly enjoying them both.
Tonight we had a service with the children and staff of
Good Samaritan Children’s Home here at Chettipatti. Since this was not an
official church service, several of the girls and boys each performed a musical
dance routine and Sister Amanda played her violin.
Before my message, Sister Karen, Sister Amanda and I sang a
trio “Saviour Like a Shepherd Lead Us”. I then spoke from Ezekiel 34:12 which
prophesies that God would send a Shepherd like David to gather His flock.
During my message I turned to Matthew 18:12-13 which speaks of the ninety and
nine sheep that Jesus leaves to find the lost sheep. I thought it would be fun
to have all the kids help me count each person in the room till we reached 100
and find our lost sheep. They all had a good time and big laugh when the one
hundredth sheep turned out to be
Bro. Guna's brother-in-law, Bro. Simon, who lives in the orphanage and
helps take care of the boys.
Today we started the long trip home. We said our good
byes to everyone in Chettipatti and then were accompanied to the train station
by Bro. Nelson, Bro Judson, Bro. William, and Bro. Boomidi. The train ride
was pleasant and much more comfortable than traveling by car. Bro. Nelson,
who traveled with us to Chennai, told Sister Karen and Sister Amanda his
testimony in coming to the Primitive Baptists. Similar to Bro. Babu and
Bro. Ramon who left promising careers in the Anglican Church, Bro. Nelson left a
job as a stock broker and the possibility of becoming a Catholic Priest, had he
desired it, in coming to the Primitive Baptists. He has had to endure his
Catholic mother’s scorn to no end over the choices he has made but happily
preaches the doctrine of Jesus Christ which is Salvation by Grace.
From the train station, we hired a taxi which took us to
the hotel were Bro. Guna and Bro. Jeff were waiting to meet us. Bro. Jeff and I
got caught up on the events of his trip. The train ride Thursday got them to
Andra Pradesh at about midnight. On Friday morning Bro. Jeff was able to send
some email which has been unavailable to us the entire time at Chettipatti due
to some kind of IP problem. After lunch he and Bro. Guna attended services at
Bededu PBC in the village of Bededu about 1 1/2 hours from their hotel in
Ananatapur. Upon their arrival, a father of one of the deacons had just passed
away and Bro. Jeff was asked to speak at his first Indian funeral.
On Saturday morning they departed to the Kenegal PBC which
is in a small village but with a membership of about 300. Bro. Jeff preached
four messages from Romans on 3:23, 5:1-10, 8:28-39 and all of chapter 12. They
had Sunday morning services at Kenagal where Bro. Jeff noted he had especially
good liberty. His text was from James 1 “The Trail of Your Faith”. After lunch
they left for a Primitive Baptist fellowship in Gooty-Ananatapur. While Bro.
Jeff was preaching that evening, a drunken mob of Hindus threatened their open
air tent meeting with violence. One Hindu pounded on a bass drum, inches away
from Bro. Jeff, trying to drown out his preaching while the mob completely
encircled the group of worshippers shouting and yelling at them. Bro. Jeff said
he was preaching John 14:6, where Jesus says, “I am the way, the truth, and the life:
no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”. He had to yell at the top
us his lungs and kept repeating it to them over and over again. Finally, seeing the
mob was about to pull down the tent, Bro. Guna insisted that they leave, to
which Bro. Jeff responded that he was not afraid, to which Bro. Guna responded
that he was and wisely grabbed Bro. Jeff and got out of there. It figures I’d
miss all the fun. After that they took their scheduled train ride to Chennai
and checked into the hotel where we caught up with them.
After resting a few hours and taking (and enjoying) a final cold Indian
shower, we dressed and left for the airport taking one last harrowing ride
through Chennai. Bro. Guna related an Indian saying which is, “If you can drive
in Chennai, you can drive anywhere in the world.” I believe it. In fact, our
taxi finally rear ended an SUV during a sudden stop in the traffic. It was a
solid bump, not a crash, and of course no one got out to check anything or call
the police but went on their merry way.
At the airport we said our good byes to our Indian Brethren
including Bro. Nixon who rode a bus up from Vellore to give us a copy of the
video tape they made of the Revival PBC constitution and ordinations. Once in
the airport, Lufthansa and the Georgia group went one way and I and Singapore
Airlines went another. My flight leaves shortly before midnight and I will
travel all of Tuesday over the next 36 hours to Lubbock, Lord willing.
Praise the Lord I’m home. All of my flights went without
incident. Even my relatively short layover in San Francisco went without a
problem considering I had to collect my luggage, go through passport control and
then customs and check in for my domestic flight to Lubbock via Houston in
Driving on straight, flat, fast, smooth and desolate Hwy 82
is, after being on curvy, hilly, slow, rough and crowded Indian roads for a week,
a some what surreal experience. Seeing my sweet wife Julie is, by far, the best
part of coming home.
In retrospect I’m thankful for the opportunity I’ve had to
go to India once again. If the Lord is willing, I hope to return again
someday. You can not go there and not be changed. It makes you thankful for
the things you have in life both material but especially spiritual. And it
makes me thankful for what God has done in raising his church and saving his
people in an impoverished, far away country. I pray God will bless us to see
how spiritually impoverished we are in this country and bless us to be willing
to loose a few material things for the more valuable spiritual blessings God has
promised us when we make Him our first priority over all things.