I have been privileged once again to visit Repalle, Andhra Pradesh, accompanied by Tim and Norm, two men from my church, who participated in the ministry. The trip had a profound effect upon them, as they witnessed the extreme and extensive poverty, the intensive depth of spirituality of the believers, and the response of the unsaved.
These people are poor in earthly goods, but the believers are very wealthy spiritually. Tim and Norm were able to share their testimony and witness for Christ both publicly and privately. They also prayed over many of the needy and ill, and helped in some maintenance work that was needed in the church there.
As usual, we found ourselves welcomed by a gracious and enthusiastic gathering of believers and children at the orphanage in Repalle. This was my fifth trip to India, and I am always amazed and overwhelmed at the warm reception every team has received upon arrival. Tim and Norm were moved at the vast number of children all wanting to be close to them. Indeed we were followed everywhere we went. Much of the time I would end up teaching a totally impromptu lesson at the request of the Indian translators when these large informal groups gathered.
At the Youth Conference itself, as many as 3,000 young people attended the services. At each service, before I proclaimed the gospel, I would share with the young people vital topics that I thought might help and encourage them in their faith and walk with the Lord. I shared such topics as: how to pray; how to walk with God; what it means to be Spirit-filled; how to read the Bible; the importance of finding Christ in the Old Testament, and the need to mortify sin in the believer’s life.
At each service I also presented, as clearly and powerfully as I was able, the precious gospel of Christ. I was once again impressed by the serious and attentive response of the young people. Over 450 of them made a first-time profession of faith in Christ. Many of these youth are from Hindu families and thus become immediate outcasts, being severely persecuted once they become believers.
On the Sunday of the conference we started the day by baptising forty people who had previously come to faith in Christ and had been discipled for some time. I then preached in five separate services, each lasting about one and a half to two hours. Most days began for us at 6.00 a.m., ended at midnight, and were non-stop. This is truly a hungry and thirsty people!
New Bible College
The foundation for a new Bible College has been laid in the grounds of the Indian Rural Evangelical Fellowship (IREF) during this past year. This college will train fifty young men each year to be pastors and evangelists.
This is truly exciting! Imagine having a sound, ever-growing, Reformed work in the land so dear to the heart of the apostle Thomas, William Carey, Amy Carmichael and, of course, and most importantly, our Lord. Please join me in prayer that the Lord would continue to raise up workers, preachers and the financial support to minister to the dear people of India.