Dateline: Tuesday, 12 Jan
11:47:29 + 0530
January 3, Randy Wolfe and I left Portland,Oregon to begin the New Year in
ministry in India. The Northwest Airlines 767 headed north and east, away
from Puget Sound and Mt. Rainier, over the vast backcountry of Canada,
non-stop to Amsterdam where we connected with a KLM 747 flight to Bombay, or
Mumbai as it is now referred to.
Mumbai , India:
Old Bombay – After seemingly endless hours crammed in an artificial
life-space 33,000 feet over the earth we finally arrive. It has taken us
nearly 40 hours to transit from Seattle to Bombay. It’s 1:00 in the morning,
but the baggage claim area is jammed with the odd-normal mixture of
returning nationals, backpack lugging adventurers and business people.
We hail a taxi for
a three or four hour respite at the interestingly named "Sun and Sand"
hotel. We arrive exhausted and see neither sun nor sand. We rise at 4:15 AM
and the same taxi driver who must have just dropped us at our hotel picks us
up again for the short drive to the domestic airport. The streets are quiet
at this hour, with a haze of pollution mixed with fog lying still around us.
Men and women lay along the road, wrapped in filthy grayish blankets,
finding whatever relief they can from their daily toils. Ditch-diggers lay
sleeping alongside their projects, skinny long-tailed cats dance,
ballet-like through darkened alleyways. A rat, huge and thick, darts across
the pavement; a dog here and there stands watch over their masters and their
We come to a
railroad crossing and our driver turns off the ignition as the sight of
crossbars blocking our path greets us. We wait while three separate trains,
filled with early morning travelers going who-knows-where pass smoothly by
in the inky darkness.
This is India –
an overload of sensory images: Sight, sound, smell,
and we cannot escape the realization that we are surrounded by millions of
people. The press of humanity shows itself everywhere, from the dirty,
turban encased young man patiently sitting beside us on his bicycle to the
knot of men on the corner, playing some kind of Indian poker game, to the
huddled forms leaning over tin dishes, pushing down an early morning meal. I
wonder what their diet consists of. I wonder what they will do all day
today. I wonder what thoughts consume them – what hopes, what fears.
Randy has done
this before. Bombay is not novel to him; it is desperate. I am new to the
country, but I have seen India over and again in places like Lop Buri,
Thailand, Danang, Vietnam, Cebu City, The Philippines, China, Hong Kong.
Cities which have their beautiful side–their glitter and their glory, but
cities with dying, corrupt and pathetic under-bellies. I see in the streets
of Bombay what I have seen in so many cities: Quiet, painful, immutable
We board our
aircraft for our next flight and are squeezed into our seats surrounded by
bags and sacks and boxes and people. Unless you've traveled in Asia or
Africa or South America, you probably have no concept of the kind of
overloading that is routine on flights in these places.
Climbing into the
early morning skies, we watch the sun rise and look down on emerald green
fields and jungles, interspersed with the brown and rust colored cities of
India's interior. Before we know it, we are landing at
Hyderabad, a city of some 6,800,000 inhabitants. We're
not "there" yet, but we sense the nearness of journey's end.
At Hyderabad we
meet John Wesley, the lovely-spirited and strikingly handsome administrator
of Earnest’s church. We are dropped off at our hotel for a meal and a few
hours’ rest before beginning a six-hour train journey to Vidayawada where
ministry will officially begin. Vijayawada was named for the goddess
Kanakadurga, also known as Vijaya. The city lies 271 kms from Hyderabad
between the Krishna River and the Budameru.
The city of
Hyderabad was founded in 1589 and is the fifth largest city in India.
Hyderabad 's population, at nearly seven million, makes it the 31st largest
city in the world; relatively small compared with Mumbai's 18 million plus
Hyderabad sprawls on the banks of the River Musi, and is the city where north
meets south. This is the capital city of Andhra Pradesh. We will preach here, but first we will travel to Vijaywada,
situated along the banks of the Krishna River among the Indrakiladri Hills
where we will conduct a pastor's
school and an evangelistic crusade. Vijiwada's two million souls make it a
virtual village after experiencing Hyderabad's crowded streets.
During the morning
Randy and I sit in the coffee shop talking about the concept of fathers and
sons and biblical government in the church. We are both strengthened by our
times of prayer and our discussions. We are both committed to the enterprise
of not merely talking about fathers and sons and government in the church,
but doing something of significance about these things. I am reminded of the
Bible word, "exploit." I think about the "greater works" Jesus promised we
should do. I consider the times, I reflect on the lateness of the prophetic
hour. I realize there is a generation, which will arise in the earth and,
with violence take the kingdom by force. I want to do exploits, greater
works; I want to be part of that number "called to the kingdom for such a
time as this." I want to do violence to the kingdom of darkness. I want to
see Jesus become known in the hearts of men and women. I want to not only be
included "in that number" when the "saints come marching in," but I want to
be part of the number who will cause heaven to become overcrowded.
A.M., Wednesday, January
the central Indian countryside by train. I have lost track of when this
portion of our journey began, and have no idea how long we have been
traveling. The thick darkness outside gives no clues as to the corridor
through which we pass. We can see no homes, no streets, no trees or fields,
no animal or person. The world is hidden from us in our deep cocoon of
fleeting light, sweeping past mile after mile of unseen landscape, yet we
know at an intuitive level, that outside the steel and glass of our
carriage, India is awakening to another day of quiet, painful struggle for
rises to choice and comfort and option and malls and mail-order and internet
communication, India opens her eyes as she has for thousands of years,
simply wondering where the next meal will come, if the next meal will come,
if a simple piece of cloth can be had to replace the rotting blanket which
has provided thin protection against the elements of sun, rain, heat and
small team sits on an overloaded train steaming through the inky darkness.
They have appeared from various locations, silently moving through the
incessant crowds: Timothy, an associate pastor, Rana, a 21 year
old girl who will sing in our crusade and Randy and myself. Each of us is
now alone with our
various thoughts, prayers and anticipations of the days to come. We will
begin ministry tonight in Vijayawada, but for now, we pass thousands upon
thousands of hopeless, aimless and precious people who wait in the bleak
darkness outside our windows for light to dawn.
Without warning, the sun
begins to tint the sky a copper and pink hue. I glance at my watch:
6:25 A.M. Trees begin to silhouette
themselves, water-filled rice paddies begin to reflect the early morning
light, clouds appear, then a mountain outlines itself against the horizon.
India is coming alive once more and I cry in my heart, "Lord, let India
live. Let her shake off the spiritual slumber that has wrecked millions of
lives in every generation before ours. Let this be the hour of Your
visitation from heaven. Shower grace upon the land, Lord. As the great winds
sweep the heights of the Himalayan peaks north of us, cleansing the
mountains of refuse and pollution and of every trace of man, so let Your wind
sweep the hills, the plains, the villages and the cities and cover this
people with Your mercy. Let them see, let them know, let them love Jesus."
Randy spends time
with Timothy, his friend and interpreter from last year, who said that
anti-Christian sentiment is rising throughout India. There is concern among
leaders everywhere. The newspapers are filled with accounts of attacks,
government responses, angry, anti-American, anti-Christian editorials. We
are cautioned not mention any
other religion or belief system in our preaching as opposition groups are
sending people to attend church services looking for a reason to act with
violence. Our God is for us, and according to our belief in His Word He shall
protect us. We must pray for our brethren here. Persecution experienced is
far different than persecution read about. God is all-sufficient!
As the hours grind
slowly by to the sound of steel wheels on steel rail, I step out of the car
to breathe in fresh air. I am joined by an Indian man who stands with me,
silently watching the countryside as we pass through. I notice an oddity
about this man: He has a green, rubber hand with a large ruby ring on its’
artificial finger. He notices me noticing and tells me about his injury. He
is an Indian soldier and
lost his hand and the arm to the elbow in a bomb blast. He proudly tells me
that he traveled to Germany to have this arm and hand constructed. I wonder
why he has chosen an olive drab green hand. It certainly looks strange to
me. Perhaps he wanted the new hand to blend in with his olive drab green
uniform. The ruby ring on the rubber finger seems even more odd. But the man is
proud and seems to be happy, and this is India, and men with green, rubber
hands have every right to have green rubber hands if they like.
--------------------------------1:40 PM, Wednesday, January 6 -
A long journey by train ends. It has taken us longer
to travel by rail from Hyderabad to Vijayawada than it took us to fly from
Seattle to Amsterdam, Holland. We are weary, but when we are converged upon
by local pastors, come to meet us at the train station, we are refreshed by
their buoyant spirits. We drive to pastor Spurgeon’s home where his wife,
Rachel has prepared a lovely meal for us. After lunch we are driven to our
hotel to prepare for the evening service. The hotel is Spartan, the beds are
traditional eastern – very narrow and a bit short for me, but we have air
conditioning and are able to rest for an hour or two before we are retrieved
and driven to the open air meeting field. I'm getting used to the colorful
names that converts to Christ give themselves. We hear names such as
"Spurgeon," "Wesley," "Moody" and other great Christian leaders of the past
We arrive during
worship, speakers booming a uniquely Indian melody, which lifts the lyrics
of praise as our jeep takes us alongside and in front of the crowd as though
we are some kind of dignitaries. I feel
self-conscious as we are paraded in front of these precious people, but this
is the "Indian Way," likely learned from the British.
Randy preaches a
solid and hard hitting message on the power of the cross from I Corinthians
1:18. He tells the crowd that the choice is theirs to either believe and
accept the word of God or to reject the word of God as "foolishness."
There is a good
response to the altar call, and I am soon surrounded by eager Indians
pressing their heads towards me in request for me to lay my hands on them
and pray. One man tells me he is filled with blackness and witchcraft. As I
pray, demons begin to manifest themselves and he twists and contorts as an
ageless battle is fought before us. In a few minutes, the man is released by
the demonic forces and asks Christ to come into his life. He begins to worship
and praise God as deliverance and salvation come to him, evidence of what
Randy preached: "The preaching of the cross is….the power of God to them
Many sick come –
those with deaf ears, unknown maladies, and diseases, there is so much hurt and
brokenness among these people, but God is faithful and manifests His glory
and power among them.
We return to
pastor Spurgeon’s home where Rachel has gone quickly after the meeting to
prepare of all things,
spaghetti, french fries and green beans for Randy and me. She and her
husband have lived in Illinois, where Spurgeon studied at Trinity
Evangelical Seminary in Deerfield in the 1970’s. Two of their five children
are U.S. citizens and live in Colorado Springs and Roanoke, Virginia. We are
blessed by this lovely family. Their seven year-old son, Spurgeon, Jr. is a
quiet, shy and handsome young man. I miss my girls when I talk with Evelyn,
Spurgeon’s 15 year old daughter. She is a field hockey player, and is the
national champion of India. Her sweet spirit and quiet ways remind me of my
young daughter, Carrie.
dinner and good conversation, we incn back
through crowded, noisy streets in the church van, carrying us to our hotel. As we lay
on our beds, sleep is hard to find amid the raucous litany of blaring,
insistent horns, shouting their demands for passage through the narrow,
motorcycle, bicycle and rickshaw-choked street below us.
------------------------ 6:25 A.M., Thursday, January 7
Morning arrives again. The sun, a brilliant, tangerine
effervescence, bores a glowing hole through leaden, pollution-filled skies.
Billboards are illuminated, advertising the action-adventure, romance,
thriller movies that must consume so many night-time hours of the people of
the city of Vijayawada. Early morning merchants make their way from beds to
the market-place. Trucks, cars, vans all vie with human-powered vehicles for
space in the cramped, serpentine streets. High above the growing congestion,
we rise with the sun and prepare for the pastor’s conference where Randy and
I will teach – Randy speaking about miracles, me talking about the anointing
of the Holy Spirit. Day four of our India mission has begun, and we wonder
what the remaining days and nights will bring as we are joined with
intercessors across America, praying for a mighty visitation of God’s mercy
and glory in this nation.
On our way to the
morning meeting, we phone home for a brief update and I learn that my
brother in law, Jim, a good friend and new Christian has been hit by a train
and is in critical condition. He was driving an eighteen-wheel semi with a
load of steel when he attempted to brake for a railroad crossing on thick
ice. The truck slid onto the tracks just as a freight train, moving at 45
miles per hour smashed into Jim's cab, throwing him through the windshield.
Jim smashed into a steel pole and fell into a snow drift where he would have
suffocated had it not been for the quick actions of another driver. The doctors do not expect him to live. I am
stunned by the news. Jim only accepted Christ as his savior in late November
while he and my sister were visiting us in Washington. The team immediately
intercedes for him.
Pastor’s Conference begins with Randy teaching the first session of his
"Flowing in Miracles" series. I follow with a quickly titled, "Flowing in
the Anointing" teaching. After two and one half-hours’ teaching, Randy and I
lay hands on every man and woman in the room. Following our meeting, Randy, suffering from nausea
and diarrhea spends the afternoon in our room. I opt to leave Randy with his
misery and go to Spurgeon’s home
for lunch, during which we break into a lengthy discussion about the sad and
disappointing levels of non-cooperation
between Christian denominations in India. Spurgeon expresses frustration over the lack
of fellowship and cooperation between the Assemblies of God, the Foursquare,
the Church of God and others, and tells me that he believes much more good
could be done if these bodies would work together. I have recently resigned
from the Assemblies of God, and Spurgeon is impressed
that I would leave the only denomination I have known in order to work with
other Christian groups.
7:15 PM. We make
our way to the open-air meeting and discover that the crowds have grown
since last night. I
preach from John 5, emphasizing that although God has not yet come through,
the healing has not yet come, although men and women are still "waiting",
Jesus is coming! A hundred or so men and women respond at the altar for
salvation. I've heard so many reports of "thousands" of Indians responding
to calls for salvation that I determine to be extremely conservative in our
counting and reporting of numbers here. We lead those who come for salvation in prayer,
and I endeavor to lay hands
on each of them. My concern tonight is as always that those who decide to
follow Jesus will be personally led and discipled by the local Christian
community. Praying for God to save us is one thing: Growing in Christ is the
We drive to
Spurgeon’s home where Rachel has made hamburgers and fries for Randy and me.
The long day finally ends and Randy and I lay awake talking until nearly One
O' Clock in the morning . The night is interrupted for me over and over again as I awake to find
myself interceding for Jim, then for the meetings, then for Jim. I do this
all night and awake feeling as though I haven’t slept at all. The morning
brings day number six. Randy reflects that we have less than one week
remaining on our mission. My thoughts are now continually with Jim and my
------------------------ Friday, January 8
Today I will teach
the first session, and if Randy is feeling well, he will preach tonight.
Tomorrow we will finish in Vijayawada and take the eleven O’ Clock train to
Hyderabad. It will be an all night journey back to the city, and Randy and I
will preach in different churches Sunday morning. In the morning session,
the Holy Spirit begins to manifest Himself with power as I teach. I suddenly
realize the academic nature of the session is fast turning into a Holy
Spirit visitation. I invite the pastors to come forward and we lay hands on
them and pray. Bodies begin to fall across the concrete floor. Many of the
pastors have never seen anything like this before. We try to explain to the
men to catch one another, but they still do not understand and people
continue to fall backwards onto the concrete. Bodies are
everywhere. No one is injured. God is moving on men. After an hour, Spurgeon begins to explain
to the pastors what has happened. He says we must expect something to happen
when we invite the Holy Spirit into our lives. The "something" that happened
has shocked the pastors, but they also recognize that it is God in our midst.
As we arrive at
the stadium for the evening service, we discover that Bishop Ernest
Kamanapalli has arrived from Hyderabad. Randy defers and asks Bishop
Kamanapalli to preach. The Bishop speaks of the attacks on Christians and
exhorts us with the refrain, "It’s time to pray!"
------------------------ Saturday, January 9
There has been much concern among the brethren here because of the violence
against Christians in the nation. We spend time with the Bishop and he
speaks to us about his concern for those who have suffered loss in the
violence. He talked with a man on Friday who was beaten horribly because of
his faith. The violence seems to be increasing, while the public outcry
against violence also increases.
We are in the
morning Pastor’s conference sessions. Randy is speaking and I will conclude.
We then must check out of our hotel, drive to the pastor’s home and wait for
the evening meeting. We will take the 11 PM train to Amalapuram. With
its beautiful coconut tress and lush greenery, Amalapuram is one of the most
scenic places on the planet. We will
speak there tomorrow, Sunday morning, then return to Hyderabad where we are
looking forward to some rest.
honking, bleating and blasting of every conceivable kind of horn has worn on
our nerves. The
sounds invade our room at night and in the morning. We are constantly
blasted with these offending sounds, and it will be like heaven to return
again to the quiet of our Hyderabad hotel. At six O’ Clock this morning, a
loud explosion rips out from just under our window. I cannot see the source
of the blast, but Randy and I are now wide awake. We don't know either the
source or the target of the explosion, but someone has certainly detonated
some kind of device with the intent of causing destruction.
We are both weary,
lacking sleep. Randy has spent two days suffering from dehydration, diarrhea
and nausea. We don't investigate the bomb. We only muse that it will be good to get
back to Hyderabad.
we learn that we will not be returning immediately to Hyderabad. The pastor
of Manna Church, a congregation of 2,500 has asked us to come to Amalapuram
for Sunday instead. We conclude the Saturday night service, once again
seeing masses of people come to salvation. This is especially important to us as we
read more about the violence against Christians. The Hindus call what we are
doing "making forced conversions." We will discover later that already four
Indian states have enacted quickly drafted laws forbidding these conversions
fellowship and the evening meal at Pastor Spurgeon’s home, and at 11:15 PM
begin the journey by van to Amalapuram. The trip through congested, narrow
roads takes five hours. On the way, we come within inches of becoming
involved in a head-on collision. A huge lorry, moving much too fast for the
road conditions and passing other vehicles comes towards us in our lane. Carl is driving and slams on his brakes, but it
appears that we will collide regardless of his efforts. At the last possible
moment, our driver swerves off the road and we drop off an embankment and come to
a dusty and sudden stop in the dirt of a field. We have missed certain death by less than a
foot. The prayers of our intercessors and the intervention of angels no
doubt have kept us tonight. I have been sleeping soundly and miss all the excitement.
The jolting of the vehicle shakes me awake. I'm drowsy, but hear the others
in the car breathing heavily. These are the only sounds I hear; heavy
breathing and then my own voice asking "what's happening?" No one answers
for a long time.
------------------------ Sunday, January 10
We arrive at the
ministry compound at 4 in the morning and drop into our beds, exhausted. At
10:30 in the morning we drive to the church and are greeted by more than two
thousand voices, echoing in the street as the believers praise and worship
God. Randy and I both preach – I from Acts 17 "These who have turned the
world upside down have come here also" – appropriate because of the
increasing tensions between Hindus and Christians. Randy preaches about the
Siro-Phonecian woman who cries as a "little dog" for "crumbs" from the
the service, we have lunch with the pastor’s family, then drive through the
ministry properties. We visit Manna College, Manna Jr. and Senior High
School, the Orphanage, where 500 children have found a home and love and a
family. We drive to the leper compound and the ministry hospital. We then
drive to another high school. The first is for the orphans, the second is
for the children of the city. We are impressed with the ministry. We learn
that for $2,500 each we can build a two-room house for lepers. For $14.00
per month we can support one leper.
We then hurry for
a two-hour drive to the train depot in a neighboring city and catch the 7:50
PM train to Hyderabad. The train trip lasts for nine and one-half long
hours. We arrive in an enclave of Hyderabad at 5:30 in the morning, and are
met by one of the drivers from the church. We are driven to our hotel, but
are too wired to sleep. We enjoy an early morning breakfast and take turns
luxuriating in our first hot bath of our trip.
We have seen
hundreds of men and women saved. We have seen bodies healed. We have seen
demons flee. This is First Century Christianity at work. This is the true,
pure gospel in action. As I am mobbed by hundreds of hurting people, showing
me every kind of sickness and disease, I look into their expectant faces; I
observe them swathed in cheap cotton robes and saris and see their bare
feet. I wonder if this is not precisely the scene Jesus saw in town after
town as He walked throughout Israel two thousand years ago. I want to
experience the same compassion, the same care, the same power to heal that
He exhibited. I want to touch them and see their blind eyes opened, their
ears unstopped and their broken bodies restored. The sight of the lepers,
gathered around us as I pray for them, will not soon fade into memory. I am
deeply moved and touched and changed by this India experience. I will not
pray the same or believe the same or hope the same again.
So, now we are in
Hyderabad. We have only three nights remaining before we begin our long
journey homeward. We are torn: On the one hand, we could remain here and
preach and pray. On the other, we are missing our families dearly. We must
go home, but we no doubt will return again.
------------------------ Monday, January 11
Monday, January 11
brings fresh news of more violence against Christians. Beatings, threats and
church burnings have been increasing even since we have been in the country.
The local pastors are talking about the persecution more and more. Jody
Kamanipalli, son of Bishop Kamanipalli is urging the pastors to be strong,
to be of good courage and to pursue the mission God has given them.
Following the afternoon teaching with the pastors, Randy preaches a simple
message of salvation and 43 men and women come forward to be saved. We are
encouraged by this response, because these people come to Jesus with the
threats of violence against them fresh in their hearing. Each of the people
who attend our meetings is part of the Hindu religion. Each wears a bright
and unmistakable "dot" on his or her forehead. I asked our host if these
dots will be removed when people receive Christ as Savior. "Oh, yes, they
will remove them" I am told. "So everyone who sees these people will know
they have rejected Hinduism and have embraced Jesus?" I ask. "Yes," is the
simple answer. Abandoning Hinduism and becoming a Christian, especially in
the current climate will mean the loss of employment, loss of family and
great persecution, possibly even death. I find myself wondering if Americans
would be so bold in their faith as to mark themselves for everyone around
them to see their faith.
------------------------ Tuesday, January 12
Tuesday, I teach
the 9:30 A.M. session and the Holy Spirit breaks through in a powerful way.
I ask discouraged pastors to come forward. Eight men respond and all eight
are overwhelmed by the Spirit and fall to the floor where they remain until
nearly noon. Then waves of the Holy Spirit sweep into the room. We are
singing, "Come, Holy Spirit, I need Thee" and the Spirit speaks to me, "As
at Pentecost!" The power of the Spirit increases. I can hardly imagine His
presence and strength and nearness being any greater, but He increases in us
again and again. Men are weeping, laughing, shouting, leaping, dancing,
waving hands in the air. As tears stream down cheeks, I am overcome with
thanksgiving to God for His faithfulness. I meet with Bishop Ernest and
Rachel Kamanipalli in the Bishop’s office. I gave them a prophetic word
concerning the direction of their ministry last night, and they have
questions and need clarification. It is a wonderful time of fellowship and
ministry. The Bishop says to me, "Consider your mission accomplished here."
He means that he needed to hear that word which I shared with him. I learn
that he has postponed his flight to Sri Lanka by one day in the hopes of
hearing from the Lord. God has answered him and he and Rachel are greatly
In the evening
meeting, I preach about seeking God for the FULL measure of His victory in
our lives. I pause to invite people to come to salvation and a dozen or more
come to the altar and receive Christ. Much later, after most people have
departed, I am praying for the lingering few when a lady asks "Please pray
with me to be saved." One more soul has just been plucked from the kingdom
of darkness and has been delivered into the kingdom of God’s Son.
our final day of ministry in India. We are scheduled to fly to Bombay
(Mumbai) on Thursday afternoon where we will wait nearly seven hours for our
flight to Amsterdam. We will wait three and one-half hours in Holland before
boarding our flight for Seattle. If all goes well, we will be home in thirty
hours from the time of our first flight.
This afternoon we
drive to a market so that Randy can purchase a suitcase. We pass stall after
stall of vegetable stands, meat shops, choking, eye-burning, mind-numbing
soot and smoke and pollution. Smells of filth, food and crowds of people
collide to produce an unbelievable, unforgettable odor. The smell permeates
our clothing, our skin, our hair. We sit at dinner and it seems the food has
acquired the flavor of the smells around us. Traffic is jammed together –
pedestrians and vehicles and cows and water buffaloes and dogs press into a
living, tediously moving mass, threading through the narrow, winding maze of
streets, boulevards and avenues.
Randy and I are
weary: The combined effect of disturbed sleep, train travel, long flights,
hard beds, blaring horns, wild car rides, late nights, early mornings,
praying, preaching, teaching, counseling have slowly, inexorably taken their
sure toll. Randy returns home to a weekend of rest before returning to his
office on Monday. I arrive at home on Friday and begin teaching a SCUBA
class on Saturday and Sunday, and begin preaching at River City Assembly on
Sunday night. I will have Monday to rest, then preach on Tuesday through
Thursday and leave for Alaska on Friday. When I return from Alaska, I pack
and leave for Ireland and England and Northern Ireland. My first opportunity
to rest will come in March, just before I leave for England and Israel.
But tonight we are
back in our hotel room. We are ready for sleep. Tomorrow will bring new
challenge and new anointing. We are thankful for God’s faithfulness and look
forward to Thursday’s long journey home.
------------------------ Wednesday, January 13
It is Wednesday
morning. We are awakened, as we have been every morning since our arrival,
by the Muslim call to prayer, blaring over loud speakers. Punctual at 5:30
A.M. the voice is plaintive, insistent, futile. After fifteen minutes of
wailing, the voice evaporates. Then ten minutes later, it begins again,
continuing for another fifteen minutes. I lay in bed wondering if the
ten-minute interlude is the mullah’s teatime. I think about the dead god he
prays to. I wonder what would happen in the earth if Christian people were
as earnest and as dedicated to prayer as the Muslims.
This is our final
day of ministry here. One teaching session, one impartation session, and the
evening meeting and we will prepare to return to America. As the day
progresses, we experience bittersweet emotions. I have come to love these
Indian people as family. I know about their families. I have held their
children and prayed for their needs. The Bible College students are
especially precious. Their faces reflect zeal, excitement, anticipation,
faith, hope, vision. Randy and I encourage them, bless them, pray with them,
listen to their visions and their fears. We walk through their dormitories.
We notice the Spartan and simple furnishings and the lack of possessions. We
encourage these young people to have faith, to be bold, to refuse to limit
their potential – we encourage them to win all of India to Jesus.
During the evening
service, another altar invitation is issued. Eleven more souls are
born-again as men and women walk to the altar for prayer. We rejoice. In the
last three nights, in the midst of fears of physical persecution, nearly
seventy people have asked Jesus to become their Savior and Lord.
As we lay our
hands on the saints, bodies are strewn across the floor. The church is not
accustomed to this phenomena, and more than a few people fall backwards and
smack the marble floors with sickening sounds as pastors fail to catch them.
I pray for one man who falls backwards, but I am not concerned because four
pastors stand behind him. I am horrified as these pastors notice the man is
falling and politely step out of the way to make room for him to fall! I
wonder if we will have a funeral tomorrow, but the man appears to be in fine
shape later when he rises.
At last the last
notes have been sung, the final prayers prayed and the people file out. It
is a sad scene, yet we are excited to return home again. I attract a
congregation of children as happens wherever we go. The little ones – three,
five, seven years old crowd around me and we play games, slapping hands,
teasing, laughing. I lift two children and hug and kiss them. They all laugh
and push their way through to be the next to be lifted by this huge,
A guard leaves his
post at the gate and approaches me as we are getting into the car. We cannot
communicate by speech, but his eyes speak better. We smile at each other,
bow and wave goodbye. I bless him and we are off into the night.
We return to our
room and pack, then lay in our beds watching the University of Tennessee
upset the sixth ranked Kentucky Wildcats on television. At 2:30 A.M. the
game ends, we switch off the television and slowly succumb to sleep.
however, passes slowly, painfully for both Randy and me. Randy can’t find
sleep and I toss, turn, groan, and mumble unintelligible gibberish, which
does nothing for Randy’s fight for sleep.
We have seen
hundreds of people saved. We have seen bodies healed, demons cast out, lives
encouraged and restored. We have seen people fall under the power of the
Holy Spirit. We have seen them laugh, scream, dance, shout, leap and run.
And now we leave them, but we leave them with the Holy Spirit Who both
called us here and has promised to remain with this vibrant, growing church.
Ahead of us lie
nearly forty hours of travel before we see our homes again. We will wait
seven hours in Bombay for our flight to Amsterdam. Three hours will pass at
Amsterdam before we board our Northwest flight to Seattle. Then our aircraft
will lift us high above the earth again, passing over the North Sea, then
over Iceland, Greenland, and the remote upper reaches of the frozen mass and
finally settle again on the tarmac at Seattle. Then a small commuter
airplane will push us south to Portland and home. Randy has told me that
this has been his most successful and most enjoyable missions trip to date.
For that I am exceedingly happy and glad. We have grown closer to each other
and have shared the victories of ministry together. We have been blessed
with good health and have sensed and seen the protective hand of God upon
We are grateful to
our intercessors. The health, success and ease we have experienced would
never have happened if faithful men and women had not cried out to God daily
for us when they could not see, could not know what our circumstances were.
We pray that God will bless and multiply grace to each invaluable and dear
intercessor for their support and help during these days.
We leave India
with many images pressed into our spirits. We have seen abject poverty – a
poverty almost beyond belief to the Western mind. We have seen cows being
preferred and honored while little, tiny infants wander naked through busy
streets. We have watched old men and women and young children converge on
our car at intersections, pleading with their eyes for a small gift from us
while Mercedes Benz and Volvo automobiles belch exhaust fumes into their
faces. We silently cry – lifting our hope and faith to the Father to bless
and lift these hurting, hopeless people into the arms of Jesus.
------------------------ Thursday, January 14
The final act of
our India ministry is to invite Rachel Kamanipalli and her son Jody, Timothy
and his wife and several children to lunch. We share wonderful fellowship
and then our driver takes us to the airport where we board an India Air
flight to Bombay. The flight is brief, a mere hour. At Bombay we take the
KLM shuttle across the city from the domestic airport to the international
airport where Randy and I sit in the hot and steamy "Business Class Lounge"
reading books and watching the clock. We have a seven-hour layover and time
seems to react with us to the heat. The hands of the clock move as
lethargically as we feel. At last we board the DC-10 which will carry us up
over Karachi, Pakistan, and Afghanistan, then north of Baghdad, Iraq, over
Iran, Turkey, the Balkans and into Eastern Europe. I sleep most of the way.
When we arrive in Portland on Friday afternoon I must prepare for ministry
on Sunday and through the week in Vancouver, then leave for Alaska on the
following Friday. I will need all the rest I can find.
Amsterdam is a
culture shock for us. Gleaming floors, clean water, fancy restaurants and a
hotel in the airport. Randy plunks down $22.00 so we can both luxuriate in
private showers. I slowly shave, waste gallons of water brushing my teeth,
then let the searing water beat into my back. I feel as though two weeks of
filth, sweat and stink have been chased down the drain. Refreshed, Randy and
I walk to our departure gate and wait only one minute before being allowed
to board our flight.
hours at 35,000 feet, Randy nudges me awake and points down seven miles
below us where Greenland, with barely a cloud to obscure our view is
revealed. I have flown many times over this landmass, but have never seen it
so clearly. The expanse of snow, rock, ice, water, tundra and mountains is
breathtaking in the early morning light. The sun flashes crimson through the
port windows of the aircraft and swathes Greenland in brilliant hues and
subtle shadows. The wonder of God’s creation and man’s invention, which
enables us to take in this view, are overwhelming.
We are four and
one-half hours from Seattle. Seven hours from Portland. Eight hours from
home. A workday for most people, but for Randy and me, just enough time to
remember the events of the past two weeks; the victories won, the
salvations, deliverances, healings; the testimonies we heard during our
final luncheon – Jody informed us that the pastors who had come to the
conference all began to share with him after the final service that they had
all – no exaggeration, no hype, no overstatement – they all received
healing. For some it was a physical healing and for others it was a healing
of another kind, but Randy and I are humbled when we learn the extent that
God has used us during our time with these beautiful people.
Eight hours and
we’ll be home with our families, but only hours ago we left our family – in