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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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.
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
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.
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
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
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
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
As it turns out, Bro. Jeff actually knows the
real Alabama band because Randy Owens' (the lead singer's) mother is a
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
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.
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
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
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
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,
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.
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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. :)
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
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.
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
Pride of the wicked Ps 70
Zeal towards the wrong thing Rom 10:1-3
Hatred towards God and Jesus Christ Jn
Ignorance of who God really is Acts 9
(Saul of Tarsus)
II. Remember the persecution of
Christians in the past
They sought to slay Jesus and ultimately
God is sovereign over our suffering, Ro
8:28, God is able to take that which is bad and bring about good
God has promised to sustain us by grace I
God will bring deliverance either from
persecution or through persecution
II Cor1:9-10 and II Tim 3:10-12
Responding to present persecution
are called to suffering I Pet 2:14-21
commit our suffering to God
call to suffering brings glory to God
should rejoice in the midst of suffering
should pray for the persecutors
Resting in the future
Christian must always have his eye towards heaven
greatest weapon the enemy can bring against us is death but the
Christian is victorious over death I Cor 15:51-52
not fear death because Christ lives
should rest in our future reward II Tim 4:7-8
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.
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.
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.
Twelve: Tuesday 12/17/2002
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.
Pride of the wicked - He was a young man
trained at the feet of Gamaliel Acts 7:58, 22:3
Zeal towards the wrong thing Acts 22:19,
Hatred towards Jesus Acts 9:5
Ignorance I Tim 1:13
II. But Saul was a chosen one
A vessel of election Acts 9:15
Chosen to bear Christ's name
To bear that name before Israel and
Gentiles and Kings
III. Paul the preacher of Jesus
Antioch of Pisidia Acts 13
Preached the resurrection of Jesus Acts
IV. Paul the Persecuted
Paul's message is now contradicted and
blasphemed Acts 13:45
Paul is persecuted 13:50
Almost stoned at Iconium Acts 14:5
Was stoned at Lystra Acts 14:19
V. The Perseverance of Paul
Returned to Lystra, Iconium and Antioch
Confirmed and exhorted the disciples 14:22
We, like Paul, will be delivered, not
from, but through tribulation (persecution) into the Kingdom of
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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