After an all night train ride to Chennai, we arrived at 6AM yesterday. We went to our dorm room at teh campus of Emmanuel Methodist Church and I tok a 2 hour nap. After a shower, we were off to Church of the Living God in Chennai.
This was my second time to preach in this particular church. There are approximately 2000 people who attend each Sunday. This church was founded by Pastor Paul’s brother Paul Kiraburakan.
The service was very energized with fervent prayer and several pieces of music by a group of children. After I had finished preaching, I spent the next hour praying for several hundred people.
I was also privileged to have Pastor Sam who has a television ministry here in Chennai, come by to seee me. Pastor Sam and I have been communicating by phone and internet for over a year.
In the evening, I returned to Hebron Prayer Incense Church. This church is pastored by David Anand Kumar. The church meets on the top floor of his home, near the local medical university. Since my last visit, his congregation has grown and become somewhat international. He now has people from Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania worshipping in his church. This has forced him to move his services to primarily English. Once I was done speaking, I prayed for about 30 minutes with those in attendance.
Yesterday I also discovered that the power cord to my laptop was no longer working. I think a power surge killed the power box on my cord. Unfortunately, I didn’t discover this until I needed to charge the battery.
Today, I packed my bags to get ready for the airport. After breakfast, Paul took me to a shoe store, because he felt my sandals were in poor condition and I needed better shoes. So I am now breaking in a nice new pair of Indian sandals.
We are having lunch today with Pastor Victor and his family. I led conferences in Pastor Victor’s church last year, but was unable to do that this year. It is good to see old friends again.
After lunch, I will be going to the airport. My first flight leaves at 6PM for Delhi. I will be in Delhi until 2AM when I leave for Frankfurt. Then on to Chicago and Houston. I will arrive in Houston Tuesday at 6PM. I am spending the night in Houston and will catch the 8AM flight to Corpus Christi.
I love India, but I am ready to be home. My mind is exhausted, it has been a great journey.
I will try to post pictures in the next few days…I have plenty, but an unpowered laptop is pretty uselsess.
Today we travelled to Dindigul and led a pastor’s conference. I was feeling a bit sluggish this morning as the pace of the past two weeks is starting to catch up to me. To help me compensate, I made the afternoon session a question and answer session. The pastors had great questions and kept mme on my toes.
This evening, I packed my bags will catch a train to Chennai with Paul at 8 PM. Tomorrow I will be preaching in his brother’s church in the morning and his brother in law’s church in the evening. This will be my second opportunity to speak in both churches.
Monday morning I will do one more conference and then I have to be at the airport around 3PM to catch my 6PM flight.
Carol and I are glad my return home is drawing near.
I started my day with a visit to a local colony of lepers. I had preached in an adjacent village last year and had encountered of few of the lepers then. This colony houses about 200-300 lepers. Many are missing toes, fingers and various facial features. For many of them they have other serious mental and physical challenges as well.
Benjamin and Elishba have adopted this colony as their ministry focus. Benjamin brings food out weekly and shares songs and Bible stories with them. Many of the lepers believe in Jesus, but they doubt His power to heal them.
For the past two days, I had found myself praying for the miraculous healing of 7 lepers within this community. My understanding is that God is going to do some miraculous healings within this colony as building blocks of belief. There was one woman in particular that caught my attention and I found myself praying over her quite extensively. I believe she will be one of the 7.
After distributing food to the colony we headed back to town and I spent the afternoon resting. I am beginning to feel the physical drain from nearly two weeks of multiple speaking engagements and long hours of ministry.
Tonight I spoke in our final open air meeting in Madurai. I told the crowd that I wasn’t feeling very strong, so I knew it would be a great meeting. I emphasized that in our weakness, God’s strength is revealed.
Several testimonies were given during the service including a testimony of a man who was healed from being very sick after I had prayed for him on Wednesday. I used these testimonies to talk about why God heals in the first place. I explained that He wants us to see His power to save and deliver us from sin. The miracles are simply the building blocks of our faith. I told the crowd that ultimately we all must decide who Jesus truly is.
When I was finished approximately 30 people came and gave their lives to Jesus. I was also asked to pray for another 100 or so for healing, family problems, etc…
It was a great ending to another wonderful visit to Madurai.
Today I made my second visit to Tirchy. I visited Tirchy in 2006 on my first visit to India. Today, I spoke at a meeting for local pastors. I spent the morning speaking on personal discipleship.
As I was wrapping up, Pastor Paul began to get very weak due to the heat. I prayed for him and decided that I would make the afternoon session a question and answer time. The Q & A session was very good and the pastors had some challenging questions for me.
When the conference was over we went to the home of Pastor K (I can’t spell his last name) for lunch. I had been a guest in Pastor K’s home in 2006 and it was good renew my relationship with his family.
This evening I have the night off. I will be going to the leper colony tomorrow with Benjamin and Elishba.
Today we began with a monthly pastors meeting with about 200 people in attendance. A local pastor was the first to speak and he spoke on taking “your” limitations off of God. This pastor was very energetic and animated, engaging the group as he spoke. As he was speaking Tom showed me his message notes for the day. He was also going to speak on taking “your” limitations off of God.
When Tom finished speaking, I was given 10 minutes to conclude. I challenged the group to move from “amen” to “action.” I gave an invitation for them to commit to removing the barriers that were preventing God from using them corporately to redeem this city.
Tonight we did another open air crusade. Tom took a new step and preached without notes or a manuscript (which he normally uses). It was a great message about life changing encounters with Jesus. When the invitation was given many came forward. We spent 30-45 minutes praying with the people for their needs.
This is our last evening with Tom as he will be flying back to Canada tomorrow evening to be home for a few days before leaving on his next speaking trip. He and I have begun to develop a good friendship and I hope that God will continue to build our relationship and dialogue in the days to come.
Tomorrow we are speaking to a group of pastors and church leaders at Pastor Paul’s church. He has advertised that we will be speaking on end times prophecy (good thing Tom has his Blackaby Study Bible with him). Tom is going to speak on the first 3 chapters of Revelation, discussing Jesus examination of His church. I will be speaking on God’s judgment and grace.
Later this week I will be ministering in a leper colony and speaking in the cities Dindigal and Tirchy, where I have spoken previously.
Today, Tom and I led the final pastor’s conference in Madurai. This series of conferences and open air meetings had been billed as an “End Times Crusade,” so we both spoke out of the book of Revelation. Tom spoke on the letters to the 7 churches in Asia Minor, asking the question: “How did Jesus end up on the outside of His church?” I led the group through the holiness of God as described in Revelation 4 and the redemptive task of the church in our world. I challenged them with the urgency of our mission to share the good news of grace to all mankind.
The worship in this meeting was powerful and many people were giving testimonies. The most meaningful for me was a woman who had been blind when I prayed for 3 years ago. She testified that she received sight in one eye immediately after I had prayed that night. Her other eye was so touched that doctors were able to perform a sight restorative surgery, that before they had told her would be of no use. She was able to look on me today for the first timeough both eyes.
Tonight we took Tom to the Madurai airport to begin the first leg of his journey back to Vancouver. He will arrive home around 2AM Friday morning. This time with Tom has been a good learning experience for both of us and we took time to speak into each others lives. Tom and I both believe that we will work together in a similar capacity again at some point in the future.
Tomorrow I will travel to Tirchy where I will lead another pastor’s conference and speak in the evening. On Friday I will be accompanying Elishba & Benjamin (pastor Jesudoss’ daughter and son-in-law) to a colony of about 300 lepers, where they minister weekly. On Saturday, I will go to Dindigal and lead another pastor’s conference and speak in the evening. From their pastor Paul and I will take a train to Chennai, where I will speak in his brother and brother-in-law’s churches, where I spoke last year. On Monday I will lead a final pastor’s conference in the morning before heading to the airport for my flights home.
I left Houston on the morning of the 12th and flew to Chicago. While in Chicago I met several passengers who were going to be aboard my Air India flight to Frankfurt. Included in those I met was a pastor from St. Louis, MO who was going visit pastors he supported in Germany. There were also 2 men and a woman from Calvary Chapel in California, who were going to visit pastors they supported in India. It was a sweet time of fellowship, each of us going to encourage overseas pastors in their work.
In the past I have flown Lufthansa to India, but this time I was on Air India. I actually like Air India better, as they offer better leg room, which made the long haul much more pleasant. I was also intrigued by the external nose camera they had on the plane. It was fun watching the take off and landing.
I arrived in Delhi at 9PM on Tuesday. My first stop was a Swine Flu health check station that included a thermal imaging camera and video display that recorded each of us as we got off of the plane. Once I cleared customs I retrieved my luggage and exited the airport to find Pastor Santhosh waiting for me with a big smile. We met Pastor Joy Thomas and loaded my luggage in to his vehicle. They then took me to a nearby hotel. The hotel was basic, but very comfortable. Because Diwali (the Hindu festival of lights) was beginning this weekend, there were big flashing lights on my hotel window, so my sleep mask became very necessary.
Wednesday we went to a small village outside of Delhi, where I met Pastor Wilson. Pastor Wilson runs the Rohini Pentecostal School and Church. The interesting part of his ministry is its location. The school and church are located in a village that is 100% Hindu with no Christians; however, all of the students in the school are Hindu, even though it is a Christian school. The school teaches the students Hindi and English using scripture verses and songs. Pastor Wilson has found himself having great favor with his Hindu neighbors. You can see the harvest in the making. The other memorable thing about Pastor Wilson’s ministry is his daughter Glory. Glory has a worshipper’s heart and a smile that just radiates from deep within.
We met with a group of about 25 pastors on Wednesday. We were very delayed due to traffic, so I only was able to speak for about 1 hour and then spent time eating lunch with them. Chicken curry and rice was the menu for the day. Wednesday evening I went to the home of Pastor Joy Thomas and his wife. Pastor Thomas has visited the US on several occasions and will once again be in the US next April. He currently oversees a great number of churches in eastern India. We left his house and drove back to my hotel in the dark, because his headlights quit working.
On Thursday we once again went to the village where Pastor Wilson’s church is located. We had a great conference again with about 25 pastors and ended up having a great time of dialogue and sharing. The best part of the day came when the Lord gave me the opportunity to minister to these pastors. As I laid hands on each one, the Lord would give me words for them. I watched a great number of these men and women begin to weep as the Lord used me to speak deeply into their hearts. The Lord also gave me a word for Glory, Pastor Wilson’s daughter, to begin writing down the songs that the Lord was putting into her heart and to share them publicly that the body of Christ might be built up.
After returning to Delhi, I spent the evening with Pastor Santhosh and his family. Pastor Santhosh lives in a small one bedroom apartment with his wife and two children. He is very benevolent, often sending his resources to the pastors he oversees. We enjoyed a great meal and fellowship, as I have been communicating with and praying for he and his wife for number of years now.
Since Diwali was getting ready to start the streets of Delhi were very crowded and fireworks were being set off all around my hotel. Between that and my fear of oversleeping and missing Friday’s flight, I did not sleep very well.
Friday morning, Pastor Santhosh and I headed to Delhi airport to catch a flight to Kochin. Once we arrived in Kochin, we went to the train station and Santhosh and I caught a train to a city approximately 3 hours away. We were tired once we arrived, so we rented a room to drop our bags and take a small nap. I met Pastor Sabu Daniel while I was there. Pastor Sabu would be our host over the next few days in Kerala. After catching 2 hours of sleep, Pastor Santhosh and I headed to the train station once again to catch a train back to Kochin, so we could pick up Dr. Blackaby at the airport at 4AM. This train ride was an experience. We had “general admission” type tickets and Santhosh convinced the conductors to let us move to a 1st class coach. So at each stop we would get off run further up the train and try to find an open door on a first class coach. The train would begin moving, so we would have to jump back on. The final time we tried this we ended up on what could best be described as a “cattle car.” It was packed wall to wall people, with people hanging out of the doors, we were in fact barely able to get on the steps. I pushed my way in and spent the next hour with a man’s hands on my waist, back, and shoulders, with flesh pushed against me from all sides. My prayer simply was “God if they are going to be pushed against me, let your anointing flow through me and touch some of these lives, because of it..”
We arrived at Kochin at 1:40AM. I was barely able to get off of the train, because of the crowd and again had to push my way through. I was very tired having only slept for 2 hours. So I tried to sleep sitting up, but could not, so finally I laid out on the concrete floor of the train station and got an hours sleep. We go to the airport right as Dr. Blackaby’s plane landed and a half hour later, Dr. Blackaby appeared….tired, but mobile.
We went to the Kochin train station and caught a 6AM train headed back to the city Santhosh and I had been in the night before. We arrived shortly after 9AM and stopped by the guest house to change clothes. Then we jumped into the 3 wheeled cab and drove an hour into the hills. We went into a very beautiful area full of rubber, banana and coconut trees called Malepolly. We went to the house of Pastor Sabu and his wife Monemah. This precious couple has a house church and they have taken watch care over 10 orphan children who have lost one or both parents. This precious couple blessed us with eggs, toast and coconut milk. We then began our conference with approximately 20 pastors. Most of these pastors are young men in their mid to late 20’s. They are very fiery in their desire to undertake fully the work of the ministry. We had great discussion and they asked many great questions. After lunch Dr. Blackaby spoke, even though he had not been to sleep since early Thursday morning. God gave him the strength and he delivered a great word of encouragement to these pastors. When he had finished speaking, we laid hands on each pastor and prayed as the Lord gave us words to speak. Again the words of the Lord brought great strength to these young men. Then in a very touching gesture, they asked to pray for us. We sat down and these young men began to pray, the sounds of their prayers roared loudly, then a young pastor from Nepal began to speak and prayed a prayer of favor, boldness and authority over Dr. Blackaby and I.
As evening neared, we headed towards town and were taken to the home of a precious Christian couple. This couple has a beautiful daughter who faithfully serves as a missionary to Ethiopa. Their home sits on the banks of one of the rivers and provided a beautiful place of rest. We watched as local men fished, others washed clothes and others paddled by in their wooden boats. Dr. Blackaby headed for the nearest bed and bid us farewell for the night, while I also took a short nap. At around 7:30 Pastor Santhosh and I went to the house of Pastor Sabu Daniel. There as about 70 people gathered in the courtyard worshipping. I went inside where I met pastor Santhosh’s mother, father and sister. Pastor Santhosh’s sister is also the wife of Pastor Sabu Daniel. Pastor Santhosh asked me to only preach for about 20 minutes, because the public address permit was good until 8PM and the Hindu people would get offended, if we went longer.
I decided to tell the story of Naaman from 2 Kings 5. As I said the name Yaweh, all of the sudden there was a shrill screaming and a splash as a demon manifested within a man who was standing outside the fence and threw him in the river. Many jumped up to rush to his aid and Pastor Sabu and others delivered him from the demon. When I was finished speaking, I prayed for many who were sick and one woman whose marriage was on the verge of divorce. Several people trembled and wept as I placed my hand on them and prayed.
When I returned to the house where we were staying I found Tom awake…his sleep schedule was definitely not adjusting well. We talked about the service and then both went to sleep.
Sunday morning after waking up we had tea that was provided by the home owner. Tom and I spent several hours talking…actually, I think I did all of the talking….I told Tom to remind me to be quiet the rest of the day. He brought out an interesting observation. He said you were speaking on a man being healed by immersing himself in a river, and a man was delivered last night as he was thrown into the river. I had not thought of that and was grateful for the observation.
We walked to Pastor Sabu Daniel’s house for morning worship. We learned that a man had been struck by car and killed earlier in the morning and that many of the church members were ministering to this man’s family. I also learned that Pastor Sabu Daniel had written a book, from a dream God had given him. The book is an interpretation of the dream and it is called “Renaissance.” Pastor Sabu Daniel will be translating this book into English at some point and I will be very interested to read it.
We ended up with only a handful of people for church, but the presence of God very strong. Many shared in prayer, song and scripture reading. Tom spoke on God’s molding and shaping process. When he was finished, Pastor Sabu led a very fervent prayer over Tom and I that very much echoed the prayer given by the pastor from Nepal the day before. As he was praying, the Lord gave me a word for Pastor Sabu. The word dealt with the spirit of revival that has been birthed in this pastor. The Lord had me describe the outward flow of this revival and how the river in front of his home was a representation. The Lord also had me liken the effect to the flooded rice patties behind his home.
We spent the afternoon with Pastor Sabu and his family, before returning to the home we were staying in. We recharged our computers and rested up for our overnight train ride to Madurai.
The train ride to Madurai was a new adventure as well. Our tickets were for the air conditioned sleeper car. Tom opted for the top bunk and I took the bottom. All 6’4″ of me on a 6’1″ bed was pretty amusing. As we got to Madurai, I hung out the door of the train, looking for Pastor Jesudoss. He of course, found the whole thing very amusing.
This afternoon, I caught up on the latest happenings with the Jesudoss family since we had last visited. The big news in the house is the baby that Elishba and Benjamin are expecting in March.
Tonight, we held our first open air crusade meeting. I spoke for about 40 minutes and then we spent another 45 minutes or so praying for those who came forward. The man that stuck out in my mind, has a skin disease and is mute…I look forward to the news that he has received healing and the ability to speak.
This past week we were blessed by a family from another local church. Their pastor is one of my overseers and he had shared our story with his congregation. They were so moved that they decided to help support our ministry efforts with something we had been seeking for some time…vienna sausages, fruit cups and crackers. They even supplied the lunch sacks for us to put together ready made meals for the homeless who come across our path. We had no sooner put them togetherand prayed over them, when a young man walked in. He asked if we had work and we told him that we did not. I asked him if we could pray for him or feed him, but he walked out the door. I prayed for him as he walked away and almost as soon as I had said “amen”, he reappeared in the door asking if the lunch sacks had food. This contact allowed us to meet and further minister to Jamyron.
I’m writing this blog post from the international terminal at Chicago O’hare. Last night’s flight was uneventful, but my hope to get a decent night’s sleep was not so grand. My room was on the end of the hall near the motel entrance. I was serenaded by traffic noise, people entering and exiting, and a very amorous couple in the adjacent room. That’s ok, it should allow me to sleep more on the two overseas flights. I have a 7 hour layover in Chicago before catching my 4PM flight to Frankfurt, Germany. Fortunately, this is the longest of my layovers.
God is already doing miraculous work in this trip. Pastor Santhosh had great difficulty in getting the conferences together in Delhi and Kerala, prompting him to cancel them yesterday. After an email session that included some options for a more “intimate gathering”, the conferences are back on again and Pastor Santhosh seems to have gotten his second wind.
I will try to post as I have internet access.
I have had my upcoming trip to India planned since last year. The dates were discussed and bantered back and forth…schedules were coordinated. The only thing that was left was to raise money for airfare and incidental expenses. This shouldn’t be hard….should it?
I have been watching the airfare slowly creep up as the date drew closer and closer. Last week I only had $150 towards my airfare and I was at less than 2 weeks until departure. Yesterday evening (1 week to go, I was still over $200 short).
We had some friends over for dinner last night. As they left, they slipped some cash into my hand. $200!!!! Of course I couldn’t get into the bank until this morning. I had been watching a series of flights that left Chicago and routed through Germany. Over the last week those had climbed into the $1,800 range. Another flight through the UAE had been at $979 for a while, but it didn’t arrive until a day after the other flights and over the weekend it had gone to $3,800.
This morning I awoke and ran to the computer, the money was in the bank. I had $1,190 to work with. I jumped on Vayama and boom…the flights through Germany I had been watching, were $1068 round trip. I booked them and they were confirmed within an hour. I next booked my round trip from Corpus Christi to Houston. I had 20,457 frequent flier miles with Continental. The round trip was 20,000 frequent flier miles and $80 in fees. I had just enough.
God is good all the time!!!