It really was an amazing day yesterday in Hyderabad, India.
We had torrential rain most of Friday night. We woke up the next morning to a very rainy and windy day—to discover there was a cyclone (hurricane) off the coast causing heavy rain in this part of India. We really wondered if anyone would come to the AiG conference. As I wrote before, we hired a video team in India (plus we flew over a couple of our own AiG personnel) to record five of my basic messages and have them translated into Telugu (and in post-production eventually into Hindi as well).
I mentioned yesterday that on Friday evening upwards of 800 people turned out. The rain held off until after we started, which allowed the 800 to come.
We were amazed—really amazed—that despite the terrible weather (and India desperately needs the rain, by the way), over 1,000 people braved the elements to attend the conference on Saturday—the church auditorium was basically full!
Once I started speaking yesterday, the weather deteriorated. Not long after we started, the weather was so bad, all major roads into the city were closed—there was terrible flooding—dangerous-to-travel roads. In fact, one of the cameramen on his way to the conference with a video camera (he, like so many others here, rides a motorcycle to get around) had an accident and ruined the camera! So our team had to scuttle around to get another camera.
The church leaders were amazed with the crowd! They praised God for the high numbers. They said if the weather had been good, they would probably have had to turn people away. I learned that some people actually walked to get to the conference.
We found out later that 152 churches from across India were represented at the conference—pastors (and other Christian leaders) and laymen came from all across India.
Now, another very amazing thing! Church leaders told us that with usual Bible conferences, by early afternoon of the next day, numbers would start to dwindle—maybe only 50% would remain by the afternoon—but at this conference, the people stayed ALL DAY—the auditorium was filled all day long on Saturday!
In his prayer at the end of the conference, one of the pastors said, “Lord, we have never heard these things before.” Indeed, people were so thankful for AiG being there. At the end I was surrounded by people wanting photographs, autographs, and just wanting to ask questions about the Bible—I think I could have stayed there all night!
I have included some interesting photos for you to view below—but first, just a few examples of the feedback (I will include more in a future blog):
- Many pastors told me that the church in India is ripe for these Bible-upholding messages—that they had never heard this information before and the church in India desperately needs it.
- One young lady quietly told us she is from a lower caste (all of you probably know that there is a caste system in much of India) and because she is a Christian, she is now an outcast from her family—she is totally alone in the world. She told Dr. David Crandall of our staff, “but now I know I am special because God created me.”
- A pastor who comes from a gypsy family, and who now has a mission trying to reach the gypsies, said this information is just what he needs to witness to his people—he asked for all my PowerPoint slides (as did other pastors)—and of course I gave them the slides.
- I found out that one group of students at a Bible college who attended the conference are from nearby Burma. They sneak across the border (I was told that they will get shot if discovered) and leave their family for four years and come to be trained at the Bible college in India. They often have only one set of clothes as they walk (sometimes hitchhiking) from Burma and down into India. They are so devoted.
I have had many experiences that have reminded me more than ever how blessed we are to live in the USA—we really live in luxury compared to India. Also, the sacrifices many Indians make to take the gospel to their people is beyond words—they have hardly any resources—hardly any books. And yet we in the West fight over copyrights, the color of the carpet in the church, and other issues! There is so much more I could even say, but I will leave it at that.
The interesting photos from Saturday:
Two photos of the people sitting in the auditorium—these people stayed all day.
One photo of the electric lines to the generator that were lying in pools of water. Because of drought, there is a shortage of power in India. Also, some of the coal-fired power stations have run out of coal! We had to rent this large generator so we could videotape this conference and have reliable and consistent power.
Because of the terrible weather, the chicken meal that was being provided for all for lunch was an hour late in getting to the church—we modified the program and then people finally were able to get their lunch—but they had to go outside in the pouring rain and line up in the rain to get their meal—and they still stayed and came back for the rest of the afternoon. Amazing! I just don't believe people would do this in America. I think most would have stayed home or at least gone home under such conditions—but not these people—they were so hungry for the messages.
Another photo showing inches of water around the church—people had to walk through this to get into the auditorium.
Please pray for India and the proclamation of the gospel there.
Once we get the videos produced, we will send masters to Christian leaders across India and have them duplicate and give out freely as many as they can.
At the end of the conference, one of the church leaders said, "We so desperately needed the rain, but we thought if rain came, the people would stay away—so we prayed for fine weather for the conference. But the Lord allowed torrents of desperately needed rain and brought the people to the conference, too! We got both! Praise be to the Lord."
Devotion: Waging war
(Judges 5:20–21) They fought from heaven; the stars in their courses fought against Sisera. The river of Kishon swept them away, that ancient river, the river Kishon. O my soul, thou hast trodden down strength.
Fighting against God & His people is a war that cannot be won because when God takes up the fight all of Creation engages in the war against the enemies.
Thanks for stopping by and thanks for praying,