Stand therefore, having ... your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;
Eph 6:14-15

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My Trip to India
December 2002
By Elder James Taylor

North India

Day One:  Thursday 12/5/2002

Day Two:  Saturday 12/7/2002

Day Three:  Sunday 12/8/2002

Day Four:  Monday 12/9/2002

Day Five:  Tuesday 12/10/2002

Day Six:  Wednesday 12/11/2002

Day Seven:  Thursday 12/12/2002

Day Eight:  Friday 12/13/2002

South India

Day Nine:  Saturday 12/14/2002

Day Ten:  Sunday 12/15/2002

Day Eleven:  Monday 12/16/2002

Day Twelve:  Tuesday 12/17/2002

Day Thirteen:  Wednesday 12/18/2002

Day Fourteen:  Thursday 12/19/2002

Day Fifteen:  Friday 12/20/2002

Conclusion

Day One:  Thursday 12/5/2002

Bro. Jeff Harris and I are in route to India.  Lord willing, we plan to spend one week in Shillong, Mahalaya in north India and one week with Bro. Guna at Chetipati in Tamil Nadu, south India. 

This story began several weeks ago on Nov. 3, 2002.  Bro. Timothy Guess had come down from Memphis to preach at Aberdeen.  During lunch he shared his experience with me about his recent trip with Bro Zack Guess, Bro. Herb Hatfield and Sis. Ruth Hatfield in India.  I related my recent experience with Bro. Jeff Harris, Bro. Jerry Hunt, jr., and Bro. Dolph Painter at the constitution of the Las Vegas Primitive Baptist Church.  I distinctly recall making the remark that I would like to have the opportunity to spend more time with Bro. Jeff.

That afternoon was my turn to preach.  Much of my preaching lately had been upon the gospel, belief in the gospel and the effects of preaching the gospel.  My text was the 10th chapter of Romans.  If the Arminians disregard the 9th chapter, Primitive Baptists have been guilty of ignoring the 10th.  So I preached on verses 10-13.

Ro 10:9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
Ro 10:10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
Ro 10:11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.
Ro 10:13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
Ro 10:14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?
Ro 10:15 And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!

God's elect don't need to hear the gospel in order to have eternal life but I believe this passage plainly teaches God will send them the gospel to tell them of that life.  There is no corner of the world that is to distant or to hard to get to.  Is anything to hard for God?  Why wouldn't God send his gospel message to all his elect?  Verse 18 says, verily, their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world.

Do I believe that my going to India is going to cause anyone's name to be added to the lambs book of life?  Of course not.  Hearing and obeying the gospel are not conditions to be met in order to get everlasting life.  But the 10th chapter of Romans does set forth, as a statement of fact, that those who have everlasting life will hear and believe the gospel.

Well, words have consequences.  I had no idea what was about to happen next.  To those who read this beware, the Lord pays closer attention, much closer attention, to what we say than we realize.

The very next day, Monday Nov. 4th, I had a phone call.  Low and behold it was Bro. Jeff.  And you've no doubt guessed that he asked me to go to India, which he did.  One day, only one day later and here it is.  I was scared to death.  Where am I going to get the money for the plane ticket, how am I going to get the time off from work with only 4 1/2 weeks before we are supposed to leave, how am I going to pay the bills if I have to take time off from work without pay?

Immediately I looked up the cost of a round trip plane ticket to India.  It was going to cost over $4100.  I could have passed out.  How were we going to come up with that kind of money on this short of notice?  I wasn't sure this was going to work out at all.

Bro. Jeff called again Wednesday night.  I expressed my doubts about such a costly ticket.  As it turned out he had already reserved two tickets for only $2700 each (I say only) and he had to have my answer by Fri. or they would go up $800.  No pressure, right?  He told me I could back out and he would understand but I replied that I wanted to move forward, though he no doubt heard the tentativeness in my voice.

I called Wade Collins (my employer) earlier that day to see if I could get off work.  He said he would see if it would work out for me to go.  I'd felt for a long time that eventually I might go to India.  Having expressed that desire to Wade over a year ago, he encouraged me to go when the time came, though neither one of us expected it to be so sudden.

The next morning, on my way into Chattanooga, TN to work at ASTEC Ind., I was meditating and pondering the decision I had to make the next day, whether or not to buy the plane tickets.  Then it came to me.  Did I really believe what I preached last Sunday or not?  If the Lord had sheep in Timbuktu who haven't heard of the gospel, was I going to practice what I preached and go preach the gospel to them or not?  Well I had my answer.  I knew that if I didn't go I'd be the biggest hypocrite that ever walked the face of the earth.  It wasn't that I had to go.  No, I must go.  I Co 9:16.

Bro. Jeff called again that night.  I expressed my certainty of desire but my need for clearance from my company.  I called Wade again Fri. saying I had to have an answer and I would understand if he said no.  I also explained my desire to keep my two weeks of vacation but would use them if I had to or take two weeks off without pay or a combination thereof.  Wade put me on hold to consult with his father Ronald, our company president.  After a few minutes Ronald came on the phone and after asking a few questions he made a proposition.

We had several customers in China who need a service call from PTI (our company) and another to whom we needed to make a sales presentation.  If PTI were to let me have the two weeks in India as time off with pay, would I be willing to go to China the following week to do business with our customers?  Hallelujah!  Two weeks off with pay for only one week in China?  Absolutely.

Now all we have to do is raise the money to reimburse Bro. Jeff for the plane ticket, raise money for my general traveling expense, obtain a visa from India, obtain a visa from China, buy a plane ticket from India to China, arrange a travel schedule with our Chinese customers, buy plane tickets to fly around China, buy a plane ticket from China to Lubbock, TX for Fri. Dec 27 because my sister Barbara is getting married on the 28th, and 50 dozen other things that have to be done between then and Dec 5th. Nothing to it. :)

As of today, Dec 5, 2002, the Lord has raised the money to reimburse Bro. Jeff for my plane tickets.  I owe a debt of gratitude to the saints at Crosbyton PBC who contributed much and to the saints at Aberdeen PBC who dug deep into their pockets.  Both of these churches are a testimony to the love and zeal they have for the spread of the Lord's work and the preaching of the gospel.  And lest I forget, Grace Chapel also was a major contributor to whom I am equally grateful.

Day Two:  Saturday 12/7/2002

8:00AM local time - Friday 12/6/2002 8:30PM CST

We are about 28 hours into our trip.  We lost a day coming over but will gain it back when we get home.  Right now we are on an India Airlines jet, taking us to Guahati.  It was delayed two hours but they don't tell you that in the airport.  You just sit and wait wondering if maybe you missed your flight.

Making the change from the international terminal to the domestic terminal in New Delhi, last night, was quite an experience.  The first thing you notice the second you step off the plane is the smell.  After a couple of hours you get used to it but it never goes away.  We had a difficult time finding the free shuttle bus service over to the domestic terminal.  The signs are either not well posted or non existent.  The worst part of it all is there are about a 1000 cab drivers, circling like sharks, who all claim they will help you find the shuttle but somehow you always wind up at their cab.  Bro. Jeff said the last time they had to make this terminal change in New Delhi, the cab driver exacted $40 from them and he took them to an unsavory hotel which cost another $60.

Being the new kid on the block, I made the mistake of giving a one dollar tip to an Indian who had insisted on pushing my luggage cart and then insisted on a tip.  Bro. Jeff had warned me earlier not to do this but thinking I would get rid of him I did it anyway.  As soon as I did, it was like Jack Cousteau on National Geographic.  That dollar was like meat to a shark and I could see they were getting ready for a feeding frenzy.  Even as I handed it to the fellow, Bro. Jeff gave me the no-no look but I realized my mistake to late.

Now this Indian wants more money.  "No", I said and tried to ignore him but he thought he smelled blood and kept pestering me.  Meanwhile I could see all of his fellow sharks were getting excited.  I continued to ignore him but he kept it up and began incessantly tapping me on the shoulder.  Finally, with the iciest voice I could muster and without looking at him I told him he "had better stop touching my shoulder".  He got the message and reluctantly he and the rest of the sharks began to back off.

The only people in the airport who were of any help at all, are the airport officials.  They weren't easy to find, you basically have to meander around until you bump into one.  But with enough time and enough questions we finally found one who took us to the shuttle bus and we made our way over to the domestic terminal.

There, I was able to call Julie who was on my Mom's cell phone.  They were on the their way to Austin for the weekend.  I believe they were going to a wedding shower for Barbara.  We sat around the airport for a good long while waiting for our plane to Guahati

One thing about the airports in India, when a plane is delayed, they don't say so on the PA system or on the monitors.  The monitors don't show the flight number and consequently don't say that it is delayed.  When the time draws near and there is no plane you have to ask around to find out what is going on.  Only after they know exactly when the plane will depart, do they post the flight number and the new departure time.  It's disconcerting to say the least but that's how it is.  None of the native passengers were the least bit concerned by it.

10:10 PM

Well, we finally made it.  Since getting up Thursday morning, I've been up for 52 hours straight.  Not a world record, for sure, but long enough.  We arrived at Guahati at about 1:00 PM followed by a 3 hour drive up to Union Christian College in Shillong, way up in the mountains.  The scenery is beautiful and the air is fresh.  UCC is a reformed Presbyterian school that Bro. Jeff and Bro. Zack visited before.  We both brought a short message, his from Ps 37:1-5 and mine from Ro 1:15-17.  Bro. Jeff encouraged the students to have a consistent walk with Christ, mine was a brief delivery of the gospel.  We were able to conduct all of our preaching at UCC in English only.  Because there are so many languages in India (over 1000), the only common language is English, therefore English is the official language at UCC. 

After the assembly at UCC we then met with the Umsaw Presbyterian Church.  Bro. Jeff spoke from Ro 9:35, who shall separate us from the love of Christ.  I spoke from John 15:13, Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.  Both of us were dead tired by then but we both felt the empowering of the Holy Spirit overcoming our weariness.  I was particularly moved by Bro. Jeff's message at Umsaw.  We then walked down to one of the elders house where we were fed meat and rice.  It was pretty tasty and a lot better than the airplane food.

The three hour car ride to get from Guahati to UCC was quite a trip.  Some parts of the road were newly paved but other parts were extremely worn out making the going quite slow at times.  There are no posted speed limit signs.  You can pass the vehicle in front of you anytime you want, regardless of whether there is another vehicle coming or even in blind curves on the sides of the mountains with no guardrails and drop offs hundreds of feet down the sides.  These people not only walk by faith they drive by faith too.  The roads are very narrow, very curvy and our driver liked to drive very fast.  The best way I could describe it is, it's like riding the "Runaway Mine Train" at Six Flags Over Texas for three hours nonstop.  Pass the Dramamine please.

Day Three:  Sunday 12/8/2002

I awoke from our night's rest feeling refreshed and ready to get about the days business.  Our first service today was at UCC.  I spoke from Acts 2 about the resurrection.  Bro. Jeff spoke from II Chron 7:12-14 about the five elements of revival, 1. Contrition, 2. Confession, 3. Conversion, 4. Continuance and 5. Courage.

Perhaps you've wondered why we are spending so much time at a Presbyterian college and as you'll see, at Presbyterian Churches.  It's mostly do to Bro. Jeff's relationship with Bro. Edward who is the English professor.  Bro. Edward first learned of the Primitive Baptists through Bro. Bradley's preaching on Trans World Radio.  Bro Edward contacted Bro. Jeff and rode the train for three days just to meet Bro. Jeff down in Tamil Nadu at Bro. Guna's on a previous trip.  You don't make that kind of journey unless you are very, very interested and already in agreement with Primitive Baptist doctrine.

That meeting led to Bro. Jeff and Bro. Zack's first visit earlier to UCC.  Bro. Jeff has a deep interest in starting a Primitive Baptist church here.  Our labors right now are to lay the foundation for the to happen.  It won't be easy but just about anything worth doing is seldom easy to do.

Our next service was at Mawlai Presbyterian Church.  It is a very large church in Shillong.  I estimated there were at least 700 people, while others estimated 1000.  I was asked to give a scripture reading and Bro. Jeff preached from I Co 15:51-58.  His topic was Our Victory in Christ and set forth the bodily resurrection as being a foundational truth.  We were able to speak in English.  According to the pastor, at least 75% of the church understands English.  After Bro. Jeff finished, their pastor then gave a 15 min synopsis of the sermon in their tribal language of Khasi. At one point Bro. Jeff asked the church what would you tell a child if their parents were "fixing" to die.  I chuckled at Bro. Jeff's use of a good old southern colloquialism, while wondering how many people in the church wondered what you are supposed to repair or fix when you die.

We next spoke at the evening service at UCC.  Bro Jeff spoke from John 6, Fear not it is I.  I spoke from Luke 18, The Parable of the Pharisee and the Publican.  Bro. Jeff had spoken to them in the morning service about revival.  I felt impressed to speak about how revival will only come with repentance.  The contrast between the Pharisee and the Publican is an excellent example.  The Pharisee was very religious and very devout just like we are but he was full of pride and self-righteousness.  The Publican, however, had not been religious or devout but he was so humble about his sinfulness that he went away with God's blessing rather than the Pharisee.  If there is no humility and confession of sin, there will be no revival.  I felt there was a moving of the spirit and good liberty in both our preaching.  Many of the students were noticeably effected in their countenance.

Day Four:  Monday 12/9/2002

Today was very busy and I'm quite tired as a result.  This morning I led a Bible study on Creation vs Evolution.  The Bible study was not attended by very many students but those who did attend were very attentive.  The students are very reserved and it is not easy to get them to open up.  But after I finished speaking, I was able to get them to talk a little bit and we had a good conversation.  Towards the end, I was able to speak to them some about election from Eph 1 and Rom 8.  About half of them are Baptist (Arminian) and the other half Presbyterian.  I could tell that Primitive Baptist doctrine was new to them.

At 10:00 we went to a Christian elementary school and grade school.  Bro. Jeff brought a short message encouraging the students, many of whom are Hindu, to believe in God.

At noon we had a visit with the campus teachers.  We each gave a short presentation followed by a question and answer session regarding social and political issues between the US and India.

In the Afternoon, we took a short sightseeing trip to the top of the mountain next to the school.  UCC sits on a lake at the base of the mountain, which would be considered the foothills of the Himalayas.

In the evening, Bro. Jeff brought a message to the students from Ec 12:1, Remember thy creator on the days of thy youth.  We then proceeded to Umbir Presbyterian Church where I brought a message on the Parable of the Sower.  Most of the members speak English but after I finished one of the elders who is a doctor and a very intelligent and gifted man, translated my entire sermon from memory using only a few notes.

Day Five:  Tuesday 12/10/2002

This morning I led the Bible Study at the chapel.  When Bro. Edward found out my musical inclinations he suggested that I teach the students some music.  Their normal worship usually consists of hymn singing, using the very same hymns we Primitive Baptists sing in church.  However, their hymn book is tuneless so they have never learned four part harmony.

I spoke to them first about the importance of singing and making melody in our hearts to the Lord and also that singing is not for show.  Singing should be poured out from a true heart of worship towards God.  I then asked if they had a song they would like to learn the extra parts to.  Someone suggested "Great is Thy Faithfulness".  In less than twenty minutes I taught them the base and the tenor which they were able to memorize with me singing it to them.  A few of the girls already knew the alto and if you had closed your eyes, you would have thought we were in an Old Baptist church back in the States.  Bro. Jeff was so excited he let out a whoop when we got done.

Next we went into Shillong and ate an early lunch with the Philosophy and Logic Professor, Dr. Mawlong Lyndam.  From there we went on a sight seeing trip around Shillong.  We went to the top of a local mountain on the opposite side of Shillong from UCC.  We could see the entire city in the valley below us and UCC in the far distance.

Next we went to a small man made lake in the city which was built by the British during colonial rule.  As we walked around the lake we saw four young men on a stage with cowboy hats, boots, guitars and a fiddle about to give a free performance.  Needless to say Bro. Jeff and I were quite curious and next thing you know we were being serenaded to Alabama's (the famous country/western group) first big hit "Dixie Land Delight".  Bro. Jeff and I were beside ourselves at hearing country music in India.  They were pretty good too.  The lead singer had just the right amount of nasal twang and southern enunciation, so you'd never know he wasn't from out part of the world.

As it turns out, Bro. Jeff actually knows the real Alabama band because Randy Owens' (the lead singer's) mother is a Primitive Baptist.  Bro. Jeff preaches meetings at the Primitive Baptist Church Sister Owens attends near Fort Payne, AL.

We had a good visit with Dolph (Rudolph) at Bro. Edwards this afternoon.  Dolph is 32, a member of the largest Presbyterian Church in Shillong and a chemistry teacher at UCC.  He is also an excellent translator who accompanied us to Shillong earlier today and goes with us on most of our excursions.  He was also the one who translated for me on the first night when we preached at Umsaw PC.  In the course of the conversation Bro. Jeff expressed to Dolph our desire to eventually start a Primitive Baptist Church here.  Indeed, as Bro. Jeff told me later, part of the reason he wanted to preach at the various Presbyterian Churches was to show them that Primitive Baptists have much in common with the Presbyterians besides our obvious differences.  Dolph is the kind of person you would want in a church member, if you could talk him into being baptized.  He is a firm believer in election and predestination but he has such strong roots in the Presbyterian Church, I doubt if he would convert.  But we don't know the mind of the Lord, yet, and that is why we are here.

Tonight, Bro. Jeff and I sang a duet to the students at the evening service.  Having sung the melody and tenor from "What Wondrous Love" to Dolph and Edward, they asked us to do it for everyone.  We sounded pretty good though neither of us will win any awards.  However, it seemed to be enjoyed by all.

Bro. Jeff spoke first from II Cor 13:14, It is commonly called the Apostolic Benediction and reads, The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen.   I spoke on the importance of memorizing and learning the word of God.  I first read Deut 8:3, 6:16 and 10:20 and then showed that those were the scriptures Christ used in Mt 4 to reprove the Devil when he tempted Christ three times after his 40 day fast.

We ate supper tonight with Edward, Mr. Pachuau and Dr. Rajaratnam.  Dr. Rajaratnam will be visiting today and tomorrow because this is UCC's 50th  anniversary and he is an original student.  He now lives in Chennai, Tamil Nadu and is a very influential economist, lecturer and book writer in India.  Bro. Jeff mentioned later that he had seen his books in the book stores in the Indian airports.  His writings on the plight of the poor sounded very interesting but I wouldn't give you 10 cents for his doctrine.  He is a socialist, Lutheran, World Council of Churches, Universalist.

Day Six:  Wednesday 12/11/2002

I woke up with a sore throat this morning.  It's getting worse tonight but I'm taking some Cipro the doctors gave me before I left the US.  The cold night air doesn't help.  No one here at UCC or in any home we have visited has any heat.  We ate at the home of a doctor tonight.  It is nice, relatively large by their standards and has absolutely no heat.  I'd say it's about 40-45 degrees here at the college.

Bro. Jeff brought a message to the students in their morning Bible study on Ps 51:17, the sacrifices of God are a broken spirit..  We cannot be made whole until we have first been broken.

Next, we attended the UCC campus grade school/preschool which consists of children from the UCC faculty.  They sang several songs for us and like their older counterparts, they sing very well.  Bro. Jeff and I then taught them how to sing "King of Kings and Lord of Lords", which they learned very quickly.

At 11:00 we attended the dedication ceremony of the new fountain in front of the recently constructed administration building.  The college choir sang in four part a cappella and sounded as good as anybody in the States.  There were even noticeable overtones.

After lunch at Mr. Pachuau's we went to a gift ceremony for all of the current and former professors.  As each person received their gift, everyone politely clapped.  Then they started calling people back up to get the gifts, based upon each department, for their missing coworkers.  I could tell Bro. Jeff had really been paying attention when he, who kept clapping for people who were picking up gifts for coworkers, started wondering why there was no enthusiasm or clapping.  When I pointed out what should have been obvious to any one who was really paying attention, he lost his supposed enthusiasm too.  :)

Tonight Bro. Jeff was scheduled to speak at the largest church in Shillong.  Jaiaw Presbyterian Church usually seats 1000-1200 people on Sunday.  The building is a huge auditorium.  But I doubt if there were even 100 people there tonight and it looked and felt empty.  Bro. Jeff who spoke from Jn 21:11-15 was a bit disappointed.

After Bro. Jeff finished preaching, one of the elders translated his sermon into Khasi and re-preached the entire message from memory.  We were both seated behind the very tall pulpit completely out of view from everyone, which is a good thing because jet lag finally over took me.  I had mentioned to Bro. Jeff on the flight to India that I had learned how to sit bolt upright in class at Texas A&M and fall dead asleep without head bobbing.  I tried to stay awake but listening to a 30 min sermon in Khasi did me in.  Thankfully, the only one who saw me was Bro. Jeff.  When I opened my eyes, I slowly looked to my left at Bro. Jeff who nearly busted out laughing.  He said he'd been watching me the whole time and kept waiting for my head to bob but testified that it never did, not even once.  He said I must have been out for at least 15 minutes solid.

I wasn't scheduled to speak tonight and haven't spoken much today, which is a blessing given the condition of my throat.  I did visit with some of the college students, earlier today. 

There's an old saying, "The way to a man's heart is though his stomach", which has always applied to me and being in India is no exception.  Various college girls have assisted in the preparation of our meals and this morning two girls helped Edward's wife, Helen, to fix our breakfast.  I've noticed their attentiveness at the evening chapel service (which is mandatory) and their attendance at the morning Bible studies (non-mandatory).  Feather Beauty (whose name fits), Susngi and Anne Volylne speak three languages.  Their tribal language is Sentec, their regional language is Khasi (spoken in and around Shillong) and of course English.  I'm constantly amazed at how many people know 2,3 even up to five different languages.

Bro. Jeff and I were also paid a visit by three of the college boys.  I met two of them earlier, W. Moning Belgit and Solomon Udayar.  They are very earnest and very sincere.  They have a real spiritual hunger.  It is good to see that some of the students are beginning to trust us enough to open up to us.

Day Seven:  Thursday 12/12/2002

Today was our last day at UCC.  I will remember my time here quite fondly.  This whole week and, for about four months prior to our arrival, UCC had been preparing to celebrate their Golden Jubilee 50th Anniversary.  All of the buildings have been repainted.  A large out door stage was built and many important former students, faculty and the governor of Mahalaya gave speeches to the students and parents.

Some speeches were very good, of which the governors speech was one.  On the other hand there was Dr. Rajaratnam's speech.  I don't doubt that he has done many great things for India but I believe that if he could have gotten any more puffed up with pride, during his speech, he would have floated right off the stage.

Bro. Jeff and I were among the people who were invited to sit on the stage.  I must say that we have been treated like royalty the whole time we have been here.  These people are very genteel and their hospitality is second to none.  The speeches lasted an hour longer than expected. 

After lunch we spent the rest of the afternoon watching the students give performances of their tribal dances.  I believe there were close to 30 different dances representing as many tribes.  Some dances were war like, others had regard to the harvest festivals and others were related to match making.  It was very enlightening and enjoyable.

After the program was finished we spent quite a bit of time having our pictures taken with the students.  From a people who tend to be shy and quiet, I think it revealed their acceptance of us.

Day Eight:  Friday 12/13/2002

Last night was a rough night for me.  By 8:00 I was feeling very tired from the fighting this infection in my throat.  Having taken several medications, I decided to go to bed at about 10:00.  But soon after I laid down my heart began to race and I could tell that my blood pressure was up.  I tried to go to sleep but couldn't.  My heart condition was very worrisome.  I knew something was really wrong and I feared that I was having a reaction to the medicine because I had also taken my anti-malaria pill and Cipro earlier in the day.  I ran a fever off and on and finally asked Bro. Jeff to pray for me. 

I felt better in my spirit but it took until 12:30AM before my heart calmed down enough to sleep.  If I had been in the US I believe I would have checked myself into a hospital, something I almost never do.  But given our location and our travel schedule today, I decided to make the best of it and press on.  Even now, I can tell that the infection in my throat has settled down into my lungs and I still feel light headed from time to time (due to jet lag).  But like I told Bro. Jeff, this isn't as bad as getting Montezuma's Revenge like he did one time in the Philippines.

Conclusion

I will remember my time at UCC rather fondly.  I was impressed with many of the students.  Haban Moksha who wanted to learn the tenor to "Great is Thy Faithfulness".  W. Moning Belgit and Solomon Udayar who came to visit us and have an extra Bible study with us.  Armitha Momim who always asked us what scripture reading we wanted the students to do each night at chapel service.  Nada Yami who assisted in serving many of our meals and Feather Beauty, Susngi and Anne Volylne who appear to be inseparable friends.

From the staff, Bro. Edward Karuma above all.  "When the time is right", he told me, he will become a Primitive Baptist.  Bro. Edward is a special person who loves the doctrines the Old Baptists hold dear.  He is like a sponge, soaking up everything we say and teach.  His wife, Helen, is also a precious and gracious host, serving the Lord with meekness and godly fear.  Also, Bro. Pachuau (the Principal at UCC).  He is a member of the  Church of God an Arminian off shoot of the local Presbyterian with some charismatic leanings which effects their music more than their doctrine.  Most of the Presbyterian churches still sing a cappella or use a keyboard or guitar in moderation.  Barbara Rose Lyngdoh one the English teachers.  She is an attractive and intelligent woman who assisted us much and was involved in many aspects of our stay.  She had a very sweet spirit.  Rudolph (Dolph) Manih, whom I mentioned before and was always very friendly and helpful.  Ashish Malhotra, he did much of our driving for us.  Joseph Mathew, Julie Sun Wahlang and Marco Mitri who were most gracious to us.  And Dr. Lyndem, also a member of the Church of God, but one who will probably take a more prominent role at UCC in the years to come.

The night we were at the Umbir PC.  I met Sister Eba.  Bro. Zack and Bro. Jeff met her the first time they went to UCC and preached at Umbir.  Evidently her mother was very sick at the time and her husband had recently walked out on their marriage.  The brethren went to her house to pray for her mother, after which she made a full recovery.  It is difficult to describe the gratitude that she has towards Bro. Jeff and Bro. Zack and even me now.  She is a mild mannered and sweet in spirit.  She accompanied us Wed. night to Jaiaw PC and also sat with us during the presentation of the tribal dances Thurs.  I believe we will see her again on our future trips because of the great love she has for us.

Concerning the many Indian tribes that make up the seven state area of northeast India, the Khasi are the original tribe in and around Shillong.  What was interesting to me about their culture is they are a matriarchal society as opposed to almost all societies we know which are patriarchal.  However, in public they don't come across that way.  In the churches all the leaders are men.  At every home we ate at, the women served the food while the men ate.  Only after the men have eaten do the women eat.

But we learned from Bro. Edward who is originally from Tamil Nadu, the Khasi men take their wife's family name.  And when they die the house they lived in , always goes to the oldest daughter.  The women also seem to a dominant role in decision making, even usurping authority (or what should be the authority) of their husbands.

Bro. Jeff and I both stated that would never sit very well with us, to no one's surprise I'm sure.  Although neither of us was too concerned about the eldest daughter inheriting the house, the rest of it wouldn't do.  Bro. Edward said the Khasi women are very reluctant to give up their family names.  If a church was ever started here, I see where this is going to be an additional issue that will have to be dealt with.  As for the other tribes in the area, I don't know if any of them are matriarchal or not.

Our trip today has been relatively uneventful.  Bro. Edward and Mr. Pachuau accompanied us on our ride from UCC to Guahati.  Truly a testimony to their love for us as it is a three hour trip both ways.

On the way through Guahati, we were stopped by some police who were checking to see if the drivers hide licenses.  Our driver, as it turned out, did not.  Providentially, Mr. Pachuau was with us because he was able to convince them to let us go on.

We flew from Guahati to New Delhi and from New Delhi to Chennai (Madras).  After retrieving our luggage we made quick phone calls home to our wives and greatly enjoyed the sounds of their voices.  As soon as we stepped out of the terminal, we spotted Bro. Balin.  This was my first time to meet him and meeting a fellow Christian brother in this place is indeed a great joy and a comfort.  He had rented a large van which took us to our hotel.  It is fairly nice and reasonably comfortable.  Best of all it has running hot water and A/C which is quite a luxury in this land.  After settling into our rooms we had prayer with Bro. Balin, took a warm shower and headed to bed.

Day Nine:  Saturday 12/14/2002

6:30 AM 

I would be remiss if I did not report the events that tool place in my spiritual life after going to bed last night.  Even though the bed is somewhat hard, I was able to go to sleep after only a few minutes.  I hadn't slept long, when suddenly I awoke.  It was my heart again, just like last night.  It is not that my heart rate has actually increases because I checked my pulse both last night and the night before.  Its is symptomatic of an ectopic heart beat.  An ectopic heart beat is an extra beat within the normal two beats and is unhealthy to say the least.  I have had this condition in the past but only briefly for 5 or 6 seconds.  It's effect feels like my heart rate has increased.  This time instead of being brief it continued on and was getting worse.

If it was the medicine that caused it the night before, I couldn't blame it on anything last night because I purposely avoided all medicine, except for some throat lozenges, and avoided all caffeine.  I prayed for relief silently at first.  Finding no relief I sat up getting more concerned about why this was happening to me and why here in India?  Then I did something I may not have done in my entire life, I prayed out load while I was completely alone.  Obviously, I have prayed aloud many times at meals, at church and in prayer meetings.  This was the first time I have ever done so in my private praying.  I begged the Lord by his mercies to calm my heart down and it only seemed to get worse until I finished praying. 

Within two seconds after I stopped praying a felt my heart rhythm return to normal.  What more can I say, I knew it was the hand of the Lord.  I laid back down but was still very uneasy and felt an ungodly presence in the room with me.  I believe that's when I began to realize what was really going on. 

In the past I have had what are called night terrors.  They aren't like nightmares in that you don't dream about scary events.  Instead a night terror is an event that happens to you.  They are ten times worse than any nightmare I've ever had.  I won't go into all the details but I always felt like they were brought on by demonic attacks.  My night terrors were accompanied by the same arrhythmia of the heart as well as elevated heart rate.  Some were even accompanied by what could only be described as demonic screams.  Scary?  Believe me you don't want to experience one.  When you are finally able to wake up, you feel or sense an evil presence in the room that only goes away with prayer.

I felt that evil presence in the room.  It was all over the place.  I was still feeling very uneasy physically and now very uneasy spiritually.  I began to pray aloud again, this time asking God to cast evil spirits out of my room.  I prayed for spiritual warfare and the victory of good over darkness all in the name of Jesus Christ.  As soon as I finished, I felt the departure of that evil presence and the comfort of the Holy Ghost.  What a relief, what a victory.  I was immediately reminded of the hymn "God's angels encampeth round them that fear him".  I also became much more sober about what we are doing and what lies ahead.

I also found out that in this place the devils don't give up very easily.  I had to pray aloud several more times because I still could sense the great, yet invisible battle that was raging all around me.  After about a half hour of vigilance and prayer, I felt an overall sweet presence in the room, the ordinary presence that is normally there but never noticed because we take it for granted.  I then slept well and woke up feeling refreshed, even though the night was short.

10:00 PM

This morning we were supposed to leave for our first meeting at 8:30 but Bro. Balin was delayed by traffic and we didn't get under way until 10:00AM.  The meeting was held in the conference room at a hotel.  Some of the people at the meeting were Bro. Balin's church members and the rest were CSI (Church of South India - the Anglican Church) and the Church of God (Pentecostal) and one non-denominational Christian.

Bro. Jeff and I took advantage of the opportunity to preach sovereign grace to them in both the morning and afternoon sessions.  They were reluctantly receptive to our messages.  We could tell that election, predestination and immediate regeneration were new to the non-Primitive Baptists.  However, they seemed to be opened minded to out messages.

After the afternoon session, we went over to Bro. Balin's house for "tea".  The non-denominational brother named Paul, went over to Bro. Balin's house where we had a good conversation talking about things of the Lord. 

Next, we went on a ride through the city to get to the nearest bank.  It took 1 hr 15 min to get there.  The descriptions I'd heard about driving though city traffic in India are legendary and I was not disappointed.  Who needs "Six Flags" when you have India!  It's just about impossible to describe.  You really have to experience it for yourself.  Cars, buses, vans, motorcycles, bicycles, people and cows are all packed into one mad, headlong dash down the street.  There really are no lanes.  Even the oncoming lane can be yours if another big vehicle isn't coming and you don't mind running a few motorcycles off the road, which our hired driver did numerous times.

The whole scheme is so inherently dangerous, I probably shouldn't admit to how much fun it was.  Not that I enjoyed seeing our driver run others off the road but some of our encounters with oncoming cars, buses and motorcycles were so breathtakingly close, I could have touched them just by reaching a few inches out the window.  What a blast!

I can't tell you how many times after a near collision, I would slowly glance over at Bro. Jeff and he would slowly glance over at me.  Then we'd kind of smile and wait for the next escape from certain doom.  I've often said, "If you miss by an inch, it's as good as a mile."  I had to put that philosophy to the test for over two hours and watch one narrow escape after another.  But after all that, there wasn't a single accident.  I figure we are in the Lord's hands whether it's for good or ill, so we might as well enjoy the ride.  :)

Day Ten:  Sunday 12/15/2002

3:00 PM

Presently, we are on our way to Salem from Chennai.  Bro. Balin helped us load our luggage on the train and we embarked on the five hour trip south.  This morning, I woke having slept through the night without a problem.  Having offered prayers to God before going to bed last night, asking for his protection, I felt that there would be no problems and this time there wasn't.

After rising, we made our way over to Bro. Balin's house for breakfast and then took the two hour trip out to the village where the church is.  We stopped at one village to pick up a group of children who accompanied us to the meeting place.  It was a slow drive through tens of thousands of acres of rice fields.  Eventually, we made it to a rustic brick building about 20"x30" in size with a metal roof.  There are large openings where the doors and windows would be if there was money to purchase them.  I think there are 18 baptized members, plus children.  All of them are Hindu converts.

The building sits in one of the rice fields just outside the village.  We could see the top part of the Hindu temple in the middle of the village.  All the houses were dirt floor, dirt (mud) walls and thatched roofs made from the rice stems.  The only way these people could be more impoverished is if they had no place to live at all.

The singing was lively and well done.  We each had only 30 minutes apiece because we had to get back to Chennai to catch the train.  Bro. Jeff preached on Predestination from Eph 1:3-6, which is my favorite passage in the whole Bible.  Nothing has brought more comfort to my soul than, "According as God hath chosen us in him....".  My heart overflows with love and gratitude towards God, every time I think about it.  Bro. Jeff's four points were:  1. We are governed by the divine Providence of God.  2. We are governed by God's divine purpose.  3. We are governed by his divine power.  and 4. We shall all be gathered by God's promise.

In typical Primitive Baptist fashion, Bro. Jeff went long preaching for 35 minutes.  ;)  Keep in mind you have to preach through an interpreter, Bro. Balin.  However, these things are directed by God's providence because I was able to comfortably finish in exactly 25 minutes. 

I felt impressed to speak on "God's Glory in Election".  I initiated my message with the story of Moses seeing God's glory on Mt. Sinai.  In that passage, regarding God's glory. the Lord makes a statement that the Apostle Paul quotes in Rom 9:15, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.  God, therefore, manifests his glory in election because:  1. We could not save ourselves.  2. God's mercy is demonstrated in election.  3. God's compassion is demonstrated in election.  4. God's grace is demonstrated in election.  All of which brings glory to his name.  I felt this to be my best liberty yet while preaching through an interpreter.  At the end, we all gave a resounding, Hallelujah!  These people may be poor in this world's good but they are rich in God's grace.

Afterwards, we prayed for several of the church members.  One of the men had been injured when he was accidentally run over by his ox cart.  He was very thankful to us and thankful for our prayers.  We also prayed for one of the families who specifically asked us to pray for them regarding persecution from the Hindus in their village.

Day Eleven:  Monday 12/16/2002

We were met at the train station last night by Bro. Guna, Bro. Nelson and Bro. Guna's son Richard.  After arriving at Bro. Guna's compound in Chetipati, we went right to bed.

This morning we had our first meeting with all of the local Primitive Baptist preachers.  There were also some deacons and a few preachers from other orders who are interested in the Primitive Baptists.  Because of the anti-conversion law that has been passed in Tamil Nadu, Bro. Guna asked us to preach on persecution.  The anti conversion law said that no one under the age of 18 could be baptized and anyone over 18 who didn't register with the government before being baptized would have both the baptizer and the baptizee thrown into jail indefinitely.  Consequently, we were not able to baptize anyone on this trip because the government was known to have spies and informants who turned anyone in if they disobeyed the law.  [Thankfully, this law was repealed in 2004 - JT]

Bro. Jeff brought an excellent message on persecution and I have included the outline here.

I.  There are four reasons for persecution

  1. Pride of the wicked Ps 70

  2. Zeal towards the wrong thing Rom 10:1-3

  3. Hatred towards God and Jesus Christ Jn 15:20,24

  4. Ignorance of who God really is Acts 9 (Saul of Tarsus)

II.  Remember the persecution of Christians in the past

  1. They sought to slay Jesus and ultimately crucified him Jn 5:16

  2. God is sovereign over our suffering, Ro 8:28, God is able to take that which is bad and bring about good

  3. God has promised to sustain us by grace I Cor 10:13

  4. God will bring deliverance either from persecution or through persecution II Cor1:9-10 and II Tim 3:10-12

III.  Responding to present persecution

  1. We are called to suffering I Pet 2:14-21

  2. We commit our suffering to God

  3. A call to suffering brings glory to God

  4. We should rejoice in the midst of suffering

  5. We should pray for the persecutors

IV.  Resting in the future

  1. The Christian must always have his eye towards heaven

  2. The greatest weapon the enemy can bring against us is death but the Christian is victorious over death I Cor 15:51-52

  3. We do not fear death because Christ lives

  4. We should rest in our future reward  II Tim 4:7-8

I spoke next on persecution as it regards our need for strength from God to bear it.  Using Peter as an example, I endeavored to show that in his own strength, he wouldn't confess Christ in front of 3 people, Lu 22:54.  But with the power of the Holy Ghost, Acts 1:4, he would confess Christ to the very same people who had crucified our Lord and 3000 would be converted and added to the church. Acts 2:41.  I felt that both of us had good liberty.

After lunch we reconvened for another session.  I spoke from the Psalms of how David endured persecution by both praying to God and worshipping and praising God when times were toughest.  The young preachers told me later they particularly appreciated this message.  Bro. Jeff then held an interesting Q&A session.  One topic was with regard to the eternal state of Judas Iscariot and another was why do the elect sin if they are elect?

Afterwards, Nelson and Richard set up their badminton court and we all took turns playing including myself, Bro. Jeff and Bro. Guna.  We had a great time and after half an hour we got cleaned up to go into one of the local villages.  This was a Hindu village, actually all villages in this part of India are Hindu, where Bro Daniel Mathews has begun church work.  We met in his home and both Bro. Jeff and I preached.  About half of the people were converted Hindus and the other half were still unconverted Hindus.

Bro. Jeff preached from I Cor 2:9-10 how that in order to believe we must have 1. Revelation vs 10-11, 2. Inspiration vs 12 and 3. Illumination vs 12.  I preached to them that they should not fear persecution because Christ had overcome the world, Jn 16:33.  The fear of man bringeth a snare, but whoso putteth his trust in the Lord shall be safe, Prov 29:25 and finished with I Jn 4:4, Greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world.

Afterwards, many people came forward for prayer.  We prayed for each one of them in turn, asking the Lord's blessings on them.  Many who came forward were the unconverted Hindus.  One woman in particular, caught my attention,  She was clearly possessed with an evil spirit.   When Bro. Jeff began to pray for her, she began to writhe and hiss like a snake.  We of course, do not have the apostolic gift to cast out devils, but we are told to pray for people who are in that condition because God is still able to cast out the evil spirits.  I believe this demonstrates how different things are in India compared to the United States.  God had placed a hedge of protection around the United States that doesn't exist in India.  Demonic possession was very common in New Testament times and it is common in India today.  I believe this demonstrates the magnitude of the spiritual warfare Christians must deal with in India.

Day Twelve:  Tuesday 12/17/2002

We held our second day of meetings with the preachers.  Bro. Jeff taught on Perseverance and Sanctification.  He taught that perseverance is an extension of sanctification.  We are placed in the position of sanctification by God (Jude 1), by Jesus Christ (I Cor 1:2) and be the Holy Spirit (I Cor 6:11).  We are sanctified inwardly by the work of the Holy Spirit (Gal 5:22-25).  We manifest perseverance by seeking after God (Jn 8:31), our prayer life (Rom 12:2, Eph 6:18), desire to do good (Rom 2:7, II Thess 3:13 and by continuing in faith (Acts 14:22).

Perseverance is maintained by the power of God (Ps 29:24, Phil 1:6), the power of Jesus Christ (Jn 10:27-30), the power of the Holy Spirit (Rom 6:14), Christ's prayer (Lu 22:31-34, Jn 17), a holy fear of God (Jer 32:40) and through faith (I Pet 1:3-9).

My message was titled "From Saul the Persecutor to Paul the Persecuted.  Saul met all four reasons, Bro. Jeff gave yesterday of the reasons for persecution.

I.

  1. Pride of the wicked - He was a young man trained at the feet of Gamaliel Acts 7:58, 22:3

  2. Zeal towards the wrong thing Acts 22:19, 26:11

  3. Hatred towards Jesus Acts 9:5

  4. Ignorance I Tim 1:13

II. But Saul was a chosen one

  1. A vessel of election Acts 9:15

  2. Chosen to bear Christ's name

  3. To bear that name before Israel and Gentiles and Kings

III.  Paul the preacher of Jesus

  1. Antioch of Pisidia Acts 13

  2. Preached the resurrection of Jesus Acts 13:30, 36-37

IV.  Paul the Persecuted

  1. Paul's message is now contradicted and blasphemed Acts 13:45

  2. Paul is persecuted 13:50

  3. Almost stoned at Iconium Acts 14:5

  4. Was stoned at Lystra Acts 14:19

V.  The Perseverance of Paul

  1. Returned to Lystra, Iconium and Antioch Acts 14:21

  2. Confirmed and exhorted the disciples 14:22

  3. We, like Paul, will be delivered, not from, but through tribulation (persecution) into the Kingdom of Heaven.

In the afternoon session we held another Q&A session.  This one was entirely on the topic of, "Why do the gifts of signs, wonders and miracles no linger exist in the New Testament Church?"  Bro. Jeff and I both spoke at length from the scriptures turning to both Old and New Testament passages.  We were not surprised that this topic came up, there has been a strong Pentecostal influence in this area the last 20-30 years.  This subject will probably continue to come up but there was general agreement, acceptance and approval of our teaching.

This evening we went to Tinapatty PBC.  Bro. James is the pastor there.  He is the one that Julie and I have been supporting.  Monday was the first time we met.  He was so happy to meet me.  It is a blessing to see how grateful he is for our support.  He also remarked how happy he is to finally meet me after all this time.

I preached first.  The first half of my massage was on believing God, Acts 27:25 and believing Jesus Christ, Jn 14:1-11.  The second half was a practical application of belief as it regards the Christian's spiritual warfare, II Cor 10:3-4 and Eph 6: 10-18

Bro. Jeff spoke on faith.  He used examples of faith from the lives of Moses, Gideon and Samson.  Then showed how the exercise of faith produces prayer and holiness in the believer.

After we finished preaching, we had prayer with many of the church members.  It is rewarding to see the faith of Christians in a Hindu village, who, not that long ago, were also Hindus worshipping devils but have now turned to worship the living God.  We prayed especially for one man in the church who has gone blind.  He was a welder and could not afford to buy a shield to protect his eyes.  According to Bro Jeff, this is a common problem in India because of the poverty.  Tragically, it cost this brother his eyesight for life.  The situation is worsened because he also has a wife and a baby daughter.

Bro. Guna said that Bro. Zack is sending money to support them.  In this kind of society there are no jobs or programs for the blind.  I told Bro. Guna that in the future, if there were any church members anywhere who welded for a living, that I would personally buy them a shield.  I have done enough welding to know how dangerous it is to weld without a shield and I would hate to see anyone become blind if there was something I could do to prevent it.

Then we stepped over to Bro. James' house which is next door to the church building.  Grace Chapel paid for its construction.  It was rewarding to see how thankful and pleased Bro James' is with what the Lord has provided.  He is also very excited about his upcoming marriage.  He is looking forward for having someone to cook food on the new stove he bought.  I can relate to that!

Day Thirteen:  Wednesday 12/18/2002

This morning was our final meeting with all of the local Primitive Baptist preachers.  Bro. Jeff spoke first on the "Christian's Hope".  I spoke next from II Cor 4:1-9, 16. 

The morning session was immediately followed by our last Q&A. before lunch.  We were asked why people leave the church in time of persecution.  Bro. Jeff and I both responded that it is because they are either not real believers or if they are, the Lord will chastise them and bring them back.  I took my text from Mark 4:16-17 in the Parable of the Sower.  These are they with a stony heart rather than a heart of flesh, Ezek 36:25.  They have no root in themselves, meaning they are without Christ, Is 53:1.  When tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, immediately they are offended.

After lunch, Bro. Richard and I challenged Bro Jeff and Bro Guna to a game of Badminton.  We all had a lot of fun, especially since we beat them in three straight sets.

This evening we met with the Bommidi Primitive Baptist Church.  It is about 1 1/2 hours from Bro Guna's.  The church is meeting in the house of one of the church members until they can build their own meeting place.

I spoke from the 23rd Psalm.  Bro. Jeff spoke from I Jn 5:4, our faith which overcomes the world.  We each had good liberty and enjoyed a good spirit of fellowship with the members of the church.  Some members were Christian before becoming Primitive Baptist.  Others were Hindu before coming to know Jesus Christ as their Saviour.

Tonight we are staying at the Good Samaritan Orphanage at Veppamarathur.  It is a 1/2 hour further from Bommidi in a very rural location.  Bro. Guna said that when the compound was first constructed they had several encounters with king cobras inside the buildings.  Thankfully, no one has ever been bitten.  A snake bite out here could easily mean death because of the distance from medical help.

Day Fourteen:  Thursday 12/19/2002

Last night was a long night.  Since there were three of us (me, Bro. Jeff and Bro. Guna), we all spilt up the beds, two in one room and one in another.  Bro. Jeff volunteered to stay in the single room because he snores at night and didn't want to disturb anyone.  I was relieved to hear that because I'm a very light sleeper.

I may have slept for an hour when my dear Indian brother cranked up the old chain saw and sawed logs all night long.  I even reached over and gently nudged him a few times.  I got him to roll into just about every position know to man, all to no avail.  It was a very long night.

Meanwhile, I notice there is not the least bit of sound coming from Bro. Jeff's room.  Naturally, I figure he's sleeping soundly and not snoring and I was wishing things were reversed.   But Bro. Jeff had refused the extra blanket Bro. Guna had offered him and about midnight when the temperature began to drop, he woke up cold and stayed that way all night long.  I asked Bro. Jeff, with a grin, if this is what the Apostle Paul meant when he said, Endure hardness as a good soldier.  Oh well, I reckon both of us will sleep well tonight.

From Veppamarathur we came on back to Chetipati were we met the Fishers.  They are an Australian couple who teach the children of missionaries, at a boarding school here in India.  They providentially met Bro. Herb over a year ago at a hotel.

Bro. Fisher, it turns out, is very sound doctrinally which led to an immediate friendship between him and Bro. Herb and all the rest of us.  We had a good conversation with them and I look forward to their fellowship in the future.

We also went into Salem to meet with Bro. Peter Herb.  He is a recent Primitive Baptist convert who came from the Pentecostals.  Evidently he is very fond of Bro. Herb Hatfield who is the one who baptized him.  Bro. Herb also held a preaching service at Bro. Peter's house when he was here last summer.  Consequently, Bro. Peter added Herb to his name in honor of Bro. Herb.

He has been quite a delight to be with.  Though he is not yet a minister, he attended our ministers conference and was so enthusiastic, he was a great encouragement to us.  He wants to see a church started in Salem and has begun adding a second story addition to his house to accommodate a church meeting place.  He has a great zeal and love for God and for the doctrines of grace.  I believe the Lord will use him mightily in the years to come.

Tonight, with Bro. Guna interpreting,  we met with the children in Bro. Guna's orphanage.  They are such a delight to be with.  I enjoyed playing tickle games with them and they very much enjoyed playing it with me.

This is, however, our last day at Bro. Guna's.  Tomorrow, we drive to Chennai to head home.  I feel the same kind of sadness we all experience at the end of a week of Harmony Hill or Camp Moriah.  I do hope to return to India many more times in the years to come.  It is a great blessing to see how God has worked in the lives of these people.  It is also a great blessing to reflect on how God has worked in my life and how God has worked  in the lives of so many of my dear friends and family back, whom I look forward to seeing soon.

Day Fifteen:  Friday 12/20/2002

We made it to the airport in Chennai with a little time to spare.  We left Bro. Guna's around 7:15 this morning.  Bro. Jeff, Bro. Guna and I were accompanied by the Fisher family.  The four of them plus the three of us and the driver made for a tight squeeze in the Tata Spacio which is spacious by Indian standards but not American.  Even sitting completely upright my knees touched the dashboard.  With three rows of seats and the luggage on top we made the trip in about 7 hours driving time not including stops.

We stopped for lunch and made a stop to visit Bro. Raja Stephen.  He is a Primitive Baptist preacher who lives about 45 minutes from Chennai.  He operates a small boys orphanage.  He also is doing evangelism in the city where he lives.  We hope to eventually start a Primitive Baptist church here.

Time was short so we didn't stay long.  The ride from Bro. Guna's was long and slow.  Most of our driving never exceeded 45 MPH and was often much less.  The train is definitely faster and more comfortable.  However, Bro. Guna and the Fishers were going to Chennai anyway and the total cost for the driver and the vehicle was only $24 plus $20 gas.

Bro. Jeff also wanted me to have the experience of driving up to Chennai.  It wasn't as harrowing as our earlier drive though Chennai, although we did enjoy the same thrilling ride to the airport once we got into Chennai.  But the trip up was still filled with its share of narrow misses.

We enjoyed good conversation with the Fishers all the way up.  They speak "Primitive Baptist" if you know what I mean, which very much impressed Bro. Jeff and me.  Naturally, Bro. Jeff is hoping that when their stay in India ends in another 18 months, that they might facilitate the establishment of a Primitive Baptist church in Australia.

Conclusion

Bro. Jeff and I both made it out of India on our planes.  Bro. Jeff went back home through Europe and I went on my way to China were I was able to share the gospel with our Chinese agent in Guangzou.  When he held my Bible I could tell it was possibly one of the only ones he had ever seen. 

I flew into Lubbock right on schedule and enjoyed my sisters wedding to Joey Lowrance.

As I reflect on the brethren in south India I feel just as comfortable with them as with any Primitive Baptists in the United States.  I feel like I have more to learn from them than they do from me as I consider the things they endure to live their faith.  Besides Bro. Guna and Bro. James, Bro. Nelson (who is Bro. Guna's right hand man and indispensable in the day to day operation of the orphanage) Bro. Judson and Bro. Kennedy stick out in my mind. 

For one final example of their dedication let me relate my experience with Bro. Judson.  He is very thin and not very tall.  He asks piercing questions but talks little and never talks about himself.  His preaching brethren told me how he would go into the jungles and travel from village to village to preach the gospel.  His method was to teach reading and math classes to anyone who was interested.  Using this opportunity he would share the gospel with them.  Sometimes, he was physically persecuted and thrown out but he always went on.  Sometimes he saw the deadly jungle animals, tigers and cobras but he pressed on.  When I tried to give him $20 he wouldn't take it.  I insisted and told him I wanted him to use it for his traveling expense and he reluctantly took it.

This kind of person and, the people he labors with, are what makes it worth traveling half way around the world.  I pray God will bless His work in India for years to come and pray for the day when I'll get to return.

Elder James Taylor

 
 

10/1/2006

 

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