Hot Tea, Heated Water and Breakfast

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Hot tea was delivered to our second story room at 6:00 a.m. on Thursday, October 27. It was followed by a tin of hot water at 8:00 a.m. We were called to breakfast at 8:30 a.m. When cooking for a crowd, Elizabeth cooks over an open fire behind the house, causing our bathroom, also on the backside of the house, to fill with the smoke from the fire and causing our eyes to sting and burn.

Elizabeth gave us a piece of chalk with chemicals to draw a line on the baseboard covered with ants. Shortly, thereafter the ants disappeared. Despite the screens (for our bedroom only), flying insects aplenty find their way to the single fluorescent light bulb in our room.

At 10 a.m., classes began, with 100 hundred children in the children’s class on the roof under a canopy for Bonnie to teach and 80 preachers in the second story prayer hall for me to teach. We each taught for 4 hours, 2 in the morning and 2 in the afternoon.

Bonnie noted: “The children in Bible class have a wonderful knowledge of the Bible.” I, too, observed that the children have a superior knowledge to most American children of Christian families (and often their parents as well), about such biblical details as even the number of years each of the first three kings of Israel served, and about a unabashed and boldly stated confidence that there is only one church and that denominations are lost. These unbaptized elementary age children appear more converted and more knowledgeable than many Christians that I know! The Babu family and others with them have done a tremendously good and thorough job of teaching the Gospel even to young children.

Steve Hogan sent a football for Vijay’s children, and they convinced me to play with them after the afternoon lessons. It was not long before they were catching the ball like experts and doing a fairly good job of hurling it back as well. I’m no expert at the sport by far, but shortly we experimented with efforts to intercept or deflect passes to the receiver, running primitive pass routines while opposing members attempt to interrupt the completion of the play and they learned to successfully pass the ball to their peers so that they could catch it. I hadn’t done anything like this in years, and though we are experiencing Indian winter weather, the heat and humidity resemble a hot, humid Mississippi summer day.

Friday morning, October 28 began similarly as had the previous day – hot tea followed by a pail of hot water, after which we had a call to breakfast. Steve Hogan had instructed the Babus to fix Bonnie and me some “American” food, and they were doing their best to oblige. Part of our breakfast was fried potatoes, and since there was more than Bonnie and I were going to eat, Elizabeth served some to Vijay when he seated himself at our table. He remarked how much he enjoyed this American breakfast, and his wife told him if he liked it so much, he could just go back to America with us when we returned!

The Babus have an automatic washing machine, unlike the washing procedure I observed the day before at a neighboring house where the woman repeatedly beat the clothes on the ground. Elizabeth volunteered to wash our clothes, so Bonnie took down to her trousers and shirts because they are more difficult to wash in the bath bucket than our underwear; besides, Bonnie did not want at least her underwear hanging for all attending the two-day meeting to see. The only electric clothes dryers I have seen in Asia are in stores to be purchased; almost without exception, clothes are dried by sunlight as they hang usually on lines positioned on roofs.

Traditional tardiness of Indians (and others in Asia and elsewhere) contributes greatly to small crowds at the beginning of sessions, and this concerns brother Vijay. He avows that Christians should do better than this. Eventually, Bonnie’s rooftop ladies’ class had 130, and my men’s class was about 100 in attendance. The numbers exceeded expectation, and so teaching times were extended to permit cooking more rice; a total of 55 kilograms of rice were cooked for lunch this day alone.

Cell phones are everywhere, and just like in America, Christians need to be charged to silence them before services. Bonnie taught lessons from her book Christian Principles, and I taught lessons from my book The Church Divine. We taught for two plus hours in the morning and for two hours in the afternoon. Bonnie and I as a team often double the teaching hours, she while teaching children or women and me either teaching men or teaching combined groups. We are more effective in our mission efforts than either one of us would be alone or two men would be. We are a team, and we complete each other in so many ways!

Explore posts in the same categories: Children, Good Eats, Good Friends, India, Ladies' Class, Ladies' Inspiration Day, Lectureship, Overseas, Preaching Appointments, Travel

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