Entrynumber 6

June 29, 2010

India Trip -6-

                        As our team worked in Aurangabad, we had some great National Partners.  The Women’s Ministry where Robin Brown and Nancy Hockey taught and worked primarily with the Pastor’s wives and other women active in the Evangelical church in India, specifically in the State of Maharashtra, they were assisted by representatives of the Hindustani Bible Insti8tute, Sister Ester who has been working with these servants of God for a long time and is well regarded and very capable.  A young couple named Shradha and Ravi Thorat helped the entire team in countless ways.  They assisted in interpreting, scheduling, driving, planning, making it easier to move around the city and stay on time for our meetings.  They have just moved to a village where there is no church, nor has there ever been one.  Under God’s leading they have rented a small house, are there to be a resource and help to the people, have already brought in a medical camp to help the villagers with their basic health education and sanitation and are representing Jesus in practical ways to the villagers.  In the next few months they will introduce prayer fellowships and house church meetings, winning these folks to Christ.  They will surely need our prayers over the next months as their needs change and their load increases.  Pray for Shradha and Ravi.  At the end of our stay in Aurangabad we met with a prayer cell in the basement under a store in a space about 15’ by 30’, with over 50 in attendance.  We were there just to worship with them, not to speak or have an active part other than prayer.  In this service, as in other meetings, we could feel the heavy presence of evil, and saw its evidences be overcome by earnest, heartfelt prayer.  There was no threat of physical danger, only the sense of spiritual battles taking place.  God gave great victory and I must say my little box of faith was shattered and I began to realize the vast expanse and variation in the working of God among His children in India.

            After our visit to the caves, it was time to move on to Chennai where we had another week of ministry and events awaiting us.

June 27, 2010

India Trip -4-

            The theme I used in teaching the young leaders and SS Teachers was an expansion of Ezra 7:10 where Ezra declares his desire to read, study, teach and live the Word of God, followed by Paul’s letter to Timothy where he desires to teach others to teach others. 

            Most of these young leaders do not have access to teaching techniques or methods, so it is important to direct them to the lives of some of the great teachers of the Bible.  Were I to go again, I would add in a unit on teaching, “The Fear of the Lord is the Beginning of Wisdom.”All in all, the ministry our whole team had in Aurangabad was positive, uplifting and satisfying both to the students and to the teachers.  Our stay in the hotel was comfortable, and the food was prepared for us, keeping in mind our tender western stomachs.  One evening we had an entire Indian dinner, chosen by one of our Indian translator/guides.  We (I) was careful to state it would be good to go light on the spices used. 

            Traffic is the one indelible mark of India in my memory.  2 wheelers, 3 wheeled pedicabs, bicycles, 150cc motorbikes, huge trucks, ox carts, peddler’s wagons, narrow streets, driving on the left, lane markings as mere suggestions, horns blowing constantly and pedestrians scattered like salt are constant – day or night, yet few accidents and seldom any evidence of road rage on the part of the drivers.  Definitely, one must keep their wits about them while moving as ped Xings and sidewalks are not known.   All these people who need to be reached for our Lord and in need of salvation.  Stay tuned, Sundogger

India Report

June 27, 2010

India Trip -5-

            I’ve mentioned quite a bit about the traffic, but little about the dense population.  That really is the factor that drives the traffic.  Many of the poorer people cannot find work, try their hardest, and usually find something, even if it’s selling fresh fruit or similarly needed commodities to the rest of the people.  Even a few Rupees will help bring rice and other needed food to their cooking pots.   If selling pineapples is successful, they will ‘sub-contract out to another one or two people to buy from them in order to sell on other corners and carts.  This concept was very much alive in the US in our earlier years and has been undermined and wiped out by the Liberal welfare policies where those who are employed will pay high taxes to subsidize the welfare payments, taxes by the government on even tiny one-man pushcarts, inspections, fines, licenses, permits to use vacant land and all the other red tape placed upon an entrepreneur who wants to start any business. 

            Begging and panhandling is common, and many children as young as 5 or 6 years old are sent out to beg money, but have to turn much of their receipts over to their ‘handler.’  If you appear to be a westerner, you will be mobbed on the street by people who will follow you for long distances, and for a long time just in hopes you will share with them out of your great riches that may be present only in their eyes. 

            Your heart aches for these people who have nothing to hope for, except maybe a better birth next time around.  Pray for the Indian population to continue to make progress in solving the apathy and listlessness among their people, and that the promises of a loving God for their soul’s redemption will somehow reach their ears.  HBI and other evangelical organizations are active in reaching such people with the Gospel and helping them become self-sustaining people.

The ‘Caves’

June 25, 2010

India Report -3-

The Caves

While we were still in Aurangabad, we visited the Allura Caves, actually these are various parts of temples and Monasteries carved out of the rock of the mountain.  While in these places, visiting the Monastery that was completed in the 8th Century, I began to reflect on the teachings of these false belief systems and their little kernels of truth contained in them.  My mind went back to the Genesis account of the Tower of Babel where God confounded languages, causing families, tribes and people groups to drift further and further apart, and how if one looks at a map it is easy to see the nomads could have drifted east and then south into the Indian subcontinent through the Indus Valley and over the centuries their recollections and oral family traditions drifted further and further from the true message of Jehovah God’s dealing with men.  If we consider this common beginning, ALL false belief systems are obviously a corruption and degradation of the truth, instead of Christianity rising from some common root.

            Reliable historians documented the martyrdom of the Apostle Thomas in India after Jesus ascended and the gospel record he brought.  While these caves are very interesting from a historian’s point of view, to the Bible-believing Christian there is a sense of oppression of the truth as one walks through these passageways. 

            Workmen chiseled away at the mountain until the end result showed ornate buildings, hollowed out, some of the shrines with unique acoustic characteristics and great attention to detail.  While we were there, to be able to give a Gospel of John to an interested person who was seeking spiritual insight was a rare privilege, as was the case with one of our group.  Thank you Lord for opportunities that arise at the most unexpected moments.

India snake story

June 24, 2010

India Report

While I was in India, I had a vivid reminder of the revolution in communication.  While I was dependent upon email, because I’m not going to go on Facebook for the millions, I received a shout from one of our team members telling me I had to read a new Facebook post.  It seems a poor, little, hungry black snake had gotten into our house in St. Petersburg, FL looking for a handout.  It appeared right next to our bed, and I received word of this through Facebook only minutes after the report hit the walls of many friends.  While initial reports were of a huge one, it turned out to be about 16” long, and my son-in-law took it to a happier hunting ground where insects abound.  (No, not the happy hunting ground in the sky.)  While this type of communication is now commonplace, I recall in my Navy days, using the Morse Code and considering it the fastest, most reliable method of communication at the time even though it was sent one letter at a time.  God still answers at the speed of prayer, and I’m sorry my wife had to experience the shock of a snake in the bedroom.  She forsook the bedroom for a couch until I returned from India and have since fixed – I think– the snake’s port of entry. 

            While visiting some ruins of an 8th Century Buddhist Monastery and temple in India, I saw the remains of a poisonous snake someone had stomped upon.  My guide said it was indeed poisonous, not only the snake but the false belief system of Buddha that entraps so many people with its poisonous philosophies.  More to follow, keep coming back.  Sundogger

India Trip Report

June 23, 2010

I guess you all deserve an update from me.  Our team left Tampa on the 5th of June, flew from Tampa to Dubai, but landed at a time when I couldn’t see any of the waterfront or exotic islands they have created.  After a comparatively short layover, not enough time to even get the computers on line to send messages, we boarded another plane for Mumbai – Bombay, and flew across the Arabian Sea, arriving in time to get boarding passes, etc for a short in country flight from Mumbai to Aurangabad. (sp) We had to clear immigration and customs in Mumbai, which was rather easy, boarded for Aurangabad where we landed around 12:30 PM.  Leaving Tampa at about 6:30 and crossing 10 time zones, needless to say we were tired and a bit disoriented.  We stayed in a hotel that did not offer wireless internet, so getting to send msg’s was impossible.  The food was adequate, and over the entire trip, none of our party was sick at all, PTL!  My lectures were in another hotel about 10 minutes away where there was wireless, but getting the code was a bit difficult.  Ingenuity solved that problem.  I had 3 hours lecture in the morning, 1 ½ hours lunch break – back at our residence hotel, then back for 5 or 6 hours more before we closed out for the day.  I did get on line one day, and cleared emails, but also went on Skype to talk to my wife.  This workshop/teaching schedule went on for 3 ½ days,   I was teaching Sunday School teachers, some pastors and a few 18-20 year olds.  Many of the women were Pastor’s wives and they brought their children along.  I started with about 30 in my class, but by the end I had over 60.  I taught a rapid overview of the Bible stressing its unity, and a course on effective teaching as well as personal Bible study.  At the end of the last session, many people lined up to pray with me individually for various ailments and family situations, including one woman who had just come out of a Sikh  family who were tormenting her for her faith in Jesus.  That evening we went to a cell group/prayer session of around 50 people that meets in a basement about 15X25 feet, sitting on the floor or standing and only ‘honored guests’ seated in chairs.  I recognized a lot of my students from the week, and greeted and encouraged them.  The next day was a trip to some caves and hollowed out mountains where some interesting things occurred. 

More to follow in the next few days.  Sundogger