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.