at 5:50AM because our hotel decided to deny our reservation for the whole week
in the name of the love of money. A
wedding party wanted the entire hotel so we had to get out. :)
We had an
early breakfast and met some Christians hanging outside of the restaurant. We then headed to the compound. A classroom of children were meeting outside
and Vijay asked me to go out and teach them.
So I tried to teach them the 5 Patterns (Chaos, Creation, A Blessing or
Commission, A Failed Test of Obedience, Judgment). Then I taught them the 4 Themes (Creation,
Sonship, Kingdom of God, Temple). They
were very attentive and my little friend Durgrao was on his A game. He easily repeated everything and then was
able to tell me again 8 hours later. And
Nani, a very kind 13 year old who was very close to Vijay's father, was in the
class and paid attention very well.
started teaching on The Lord Jesus. He
was great and exhorted the brothers to embrace the sovereign God! I was able to chat with Satya about how to
make fly swatters and about buying some beds for people to sleep on.
then able to teach on Jesus Christ being the fulfillment of the hope that
Israel had. I tried to make the class
very interactive and gave my philosophy on discipleship: meeting with men weekly to hold them
accountable, pray for their lives in very specific ways, read the Bible and
apply it to their contexts, seek to do ministry together and then also multiply
by making sure the disciples are meeting with disciples. They seemed to embrace my challenge for them
to imitate this practice.
We had a
longer lunch and I played some more cricket.
I saw more animals up close. This
time I saw a hen with her little chicks.
Very cute to watch.
lunch we had our last session:
Concluding the Drama. We talked
through the book of Revelation and I had the students describe the evil and
chaos of India. And then we all prayed
at the same time for God to change India and the hearts of the people. I love seeing that style of prayer.
tried to bring up the idea of predestination and the need for the saints to
persevere. There were great questions
about why doesn't God save everyone and why would God pour out wrath. We discussed Romans 9 and I tried to present
that God wants to display His full character in displaying not only mercy but
wrath. And that seeing wrath on others
makes the objects of his mercy able to know the riches of his glory even more. A very deep and difficult topic. But Raju and Prashant told me during the
break that they have never really heard it explained like that but it was clear
and that they embrace it. I was very
encouraged by them.
that break, there was a rich discussion about how we describe our
testimony. I tried to encourage all of
us to stop using the language, "I accepted Jesus into my heart." And there were a couple of brothers who
raised concerns. Like John 1:12 saying that
"all who received him" could be the same as accept. I tried to make the point that when Paul
shared his testimony in Acts 22 and 26 and 1 Timothy 1, God is the main
actor: "God had mercy on
discussed the need for the perseverance of the saints. I tried to take them to several texts that
talk about how God is active in our perseverance and yet we are also called to
act. The notion of both and. This subject could have been dialogued about
for a long time. But we needed to finish
I had the
students read Revelation 20:11-15 and think about the sober nature of the last
day. The Lake of Fire is no joking
matter. I then had this class cry out
for God to save people they knew to be spared.
All of these men prayed out loud and I wish there was more of this type
of loud, desperate intercession in more American churches. I'm personally helped to keep praying if I
hear that my brothers are still praying.
concluded but then a brother asked questions about American wealth: how did America become so wealthy and now it
is struggling. Jim did a great job
making sure that we don't equate financial wealth in America with some type of
health, wealth and prosperity philosophy.
Jim also talked about how the American church has a different set of
problems because of wealth. The
discussion is something I would love to explore more with Indians. The very apparent disparity of wealth is
overwhelming to me. What is there to do?
short time of resting, Vijay packed us into the SUV and we drove to a village
that was nearby. The students from the
classes came as well. So we walked
through the alleys of this village with dozens of people. There were so many children who were
intrigued by us. They wanted to shake
hands and say hi and make eye contact and laughed when I tried to pronounce
their names. Primraj did a great job at
trying to keep them quiet while Jim, Gerin and Dave all preached the gospel
through Vijay's translations. I was
really encouraged to hear them boldly proclaim salvation in Jesus. Jim was very thorough in a short amount of
time. Gerin was lively and expressive
and quick to talk against idols and speak for the love of God in Christ. Dave was very passionate to talk about how
Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil.
Thank you Lord for these men and their faithfulness to your good news! And thank you Lord for our brothers who set
up this awesome time and did the translation.
headed to a place where we would have a meeting at 8pm. As we walked down the streets, I would sing
songs in broken Telugu and then in English and this myriad of children would
gladly repeat me through song. The
children were so lively and eager to smile and give handshakes and want their
pictures taken. I love the kids here. Lord save all of these children! Raise up workers for your kingdom through these
waited for the meeting to start, we sat in someone's living room and had bread
with Nutella. We had some prayer and
then entered this meeting with over 100 people.
Nani and Satya, Vijay's brothers, had been playing beautiful music and
another pastor Elijah, Isaac's brother, sang with conviction and then prayed
for our time. Jim then came up and
prayed as well. Karun was translating at
this point. Dave then came up and gave
his testimony. I praise you for saving
him! Then Vijay introduced me and Nani
to simply share my testimony and describe how God was pursuing me by having me
meet Christians at Indiana University. I
then talked about how sinful I was and asked the crowd if they had sinned. I then explained that we all deserve the
righteous punishment of Hell and we deserve to be thrown into the Lake of
then talked about how merciful it is that Jesus would be crucified! How gracious it is that He would come and
love sinners so well! I cried and tried
to plead with them to repent from their sins and believe Jesus to take away
their sins. I contrasted the criminals
that died beside Jesus. And then we
invited people to come up if they wanted to trust in Christ. Gerin graciously prayed for us and then Vijay
shared a little before closing the meeting in prayer.
meeting, many people came up and asked for prayers for their health. Several of the youth asked for prayers for
their studies. Two asked for prayer for
their salvation. And one man asked that
God would help him to stop getting drunk.
It was a very interesting time as Jim, Dave and Gerin were praying with
people. And Jim encouraged us all to
engage with them and ask questions if possible for why they wanted prayer.
crowd saw us off as we finally got into the SUV again. Thank you Lord for a wonderful,
gospel-centered evening! Thank you for
the hard work of Vijay, Karun, Nani, Satya, Primraj, the students/pastors and
also of our team! You are so amazing to
have the body doing so many different works of grace!
way to Flavours, Vijay told us that we could now have our room back at the same
hotel. That was good news for sure! We were all willing to simply sleep on the
floor. And many people here do that as their
norm. Oh how easy it is to get used to
so many comforts!
back to our rooms and Jim led a helpful discussion on the importance of
tenderhearted words and beneficial language that is gracious. Jim has been very faithful to shepherd us
through devotionals and conversations and prayers. Thank you Lord for the work you have done in
his life! And how you are using him in
so many others!