Saturday, October 27, 2007

"As My Father has Sent Me.."

"... so send I you."
Our schedule here in Machilipatnam is definitely easier paced than some of the journeys we have been sent on. We have a morning performance, lunch break, rest and then off to a local village meeting with a mix of believers and Hindus.




Our first village meeting was a test run of what to expect, what could be accomplished (crafts - yes or no), what could be shared (full Gospel presentation) as well as size of the crowd.

We drove around ten miles out of town, and the farther the road took us, the less road there was. Recent rains had created deep rutted routes in the roads caused predominately by ox carts and bicycles. We dodged dozing cattle, braked occasionally for wild boars running across the road and of course the incessant horn blaring every few seconds to warn any humans crossing our path was still an annoyance but obviously a necessary one.

Even before we stopped the car, we could see our destination. The road was blocked by brightly adorned villagers and children waiting in the drive leading to the church. As they saw our car approach, the children waved, jumped up and down and displayed the 3 foot floral garlands, waiting to be placed around our necks. We exited the bus to cheers and a hail of raining flower petals. The children and women each had fistfuls of loose flowers ready to mark our path like a bridal procession. It was humbling and reminiscent of the verse in 2 Corinthians 2:15:

"For we are unto God a sweet aroma of Christ in them that are saved."



A tent was outside the church hall and over 100 children and many adults quickly seated themselves to listen, to see what these strangers from a strange land had to offer.

There were many smiles, giggles and "ants in the pants" as we waited for the sound system. The church children stood and did "action" songs with abandon until they would look our way, notice our watchfulness ,and then they would dissolve into laughter, hiding shyly behind other front line friends and start again.

When our program finally began (without the sound system) our audience could definitely be qualified as captive. Adults gathered around the perimeter to see what was happening under this tented domain. The laughter was contagious and the joy spreading throughout the village. V shared the Gospel and Pastor J closed with a message of hope in the Living God. We passed out "treats" to the children and kept handing them out until the box of 150 packets was gone. Widows and elderly villagers were also able to partake in the abundance.

At the close, a diminutive elderly woman approached the table with hands folded in prayer, speaking quickly. the Pastor explained she was asking for prayer, which then created a growing crowd behind her, reaching forward all seeking blessings. Pastor J addressed the crowd and told them we would make a "Group" prayer. Pastor R interpreted the utterances of this humble fool for Christ, calling upon the only Name that saves.

The old woman would be interjecting as I prayed, and with each speaking "in the Name of Jesus" she would add her own verbal additions. When we finished, I was curious to what she had been adding, Pastor J responded, "she was speaking in tongues."

V and I exchanged a glance, simultaneously saying, "it is all speaking in tongues to us."