Only let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of your affairs, that you stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel, and not in any way terrified by your adversaries, which is to them a proof of perdition, but to you of salvation and that from God. For to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake, having the same conflict which you saw in me and now hear is in me. Philippians 1:27-30
Travels with Elizabeth
It was a blessing to be in India for 3.5 weeks, and to travel with Elizabeth, our oldest daughter. We were excited about traveling and spending time together. She had not been to India since 2007, and she looked forward to seeing her grandparents, getting introduced to the girls at the Girls Home and seeing what the Lord is doing in India.When we got to India some of the team members of the 2015 Medical Mission Team were still in Pune, so we spent a couple days with them. The first evening, Kathy Tetlow and Chris Blieden went for a walk to the local coffee shop, and Elizabeth and I went with them. On our way back, we had to cross a main street, being careful to keep our eyes on the traffic zooming by in both directions. Elizabeth was right behind me, to my right. Since we were so focused on the traffic, neither of us noticed the perforated metal pipe in the roadway. Elizabeth stepped right into it, opening up a sizable gash on her leg. Chris held the wound tight until the bleeding stopped and we continued home. Once we saw the severity of the wound, we knew that she would need stitches
That began a journey that I am sure Elizabeth will never forget. First, we tried a clinic that was open in the neighborhood. The Doctor there did not think she needed stitches at first, and then said that he could stitch the wound but his instruments were not “sterile”, if that was OK with us. Of course, that is never OK, so we continued on our way to the Emergency Room. In India, healthcare is strictly based on what a person can afford, so we had to pay for each step individually. We paid to get admitted, for x-rays, for the materials used by the doctor in ED and finally the surgeon. All in all, it came to $150.00. For an average person in India, that is two or three week’s salary! We got home and Elizabeth was glad that she survived her first trip to an Indian hospital!
It never seems that there is enough time in the day to accomplish all the things that need attention on these trips! God is moving among His people in India. Men are being trained to handle the Word of God. We spent quite a bit of time praying and discussing in our faculty meetings the need to stick with the Word and not allow the new trends and winds of doctrine to enter in any sphere of the ministry. The mainline Theological Institutes in India have for the most part have become liberal in their thinking; some of the prestigious ones have walked so far down that road that they no longer see the Old Testament as valuable or as canonical.
One of our graduates from KSOM is currently serving in Bihar. He recently called and asked for prayer because many are being forced to return to their castes and religion of their forefathers. It is a movement called “coming back home”. He said that many of the believers are standing by their faith in Christ and are willing to die for it. He did not ask for protection, or a way out, which was not surprising to me. He asked for boldness and courage in the midst of this trial, that the Lord would fill them afresh with the Holy Spirit so that many will see the Cross and the Gospel in and through their lives. Saints, this is why we train men at KSOM, that they would contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.
Pastor Bhalerao came by for a visit. This is not unusual for Pastor Joseph and Vishranti. People call, drop by and visit anytime of the day and night and they know if Pastor Joseph or Vishranti were to be home, they would find fellowship, love, prayer and support. I know they are my parents and I know that I have a bias, but for what it’s worth, I am seeing lives that are totally dedicated to serve the Lord. This March Pastor Joseph will be 80 and he continues at a pace that is mind boggling, by the grace of God. Every day they present a living example of who Christ is to them and what it means in a small way to live that Word. Paul said so many years ago, for me to live is Christ and to die is gain. They live that out every day. I am blessed to be able to experience that and know that we can live for Christ Alone.
Looking to the future
The Lord is taking the India Ministry to levels we could not have imagined. Opportunities are being presented, and doors are opening. Resources are very limited, yet as we have always believed that where the Lord guides, He provides. We earnestly covet your prayers for the entire ministry. There is so much going on that I can only scratch the surface in this one article. But stay tuned! And continue to pray for the Pastors in the field, the Girls at the Home, the students and faculty at KSOM, the Churches all over India. Pray also as we open the Community Development Center at Pune Center, teaching Spoken English and Introduction to Computers to ladies who would never have had that opportunity otherwise. Pray that we will share the Love of Christ through it all.
We thank you for all the prayers and financial support, it makes all this possible. We do lift you and your families in prayer. We realize that some of you are going through trials and overwhelming things but it is our confidence and prayer that the Lord will bring you through.
In His Service