Lectureship Attendees Sleep on the Floor

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November 2-4 (Wednesday through Friday), we were immersed all day each day in the Bible Lectureship at Kakinada, India. Lectures began at 10 a.m. to about 1 p.m., and they continued from 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.; then they concluded Wednesday and Thursday after sessions from 6:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. I taught twice daily (once to preachers daily) except on Friday, I spoke once (since the activities concluded about 3:30 p.m.), and Bonnie taught a ladies’ class each afternoon; ladies filled a room, a hallway way wall to wall and crouched in a stairwell – hundreds of them thirsting for the Word of God. An average of a little over 400 attended daily with frequent surges of attendance ranging from 600 to 700. There were a total of 15 baptisms.

The church provided breakfast, lunch and supper, cooking 150 kilos of rice daily (330 pounds or about half a pound per person) plus trimmings. A sufficient supply of water was an issue, draining about daylight what water was attainable at the compound from the rooftop, gravity feed storage tank; this required the import of 5 or 6 55 gallon drums of water daily.

High government officials visited the lectureship and expressed their approval. One official was accompanied by his bodyguard sporting an automatic pistol and an entourage of photographers and videographers. A special group of visitors arrived Friday for a few moments, a congregation of the Church of Christ from a leper colony. They sang a song to those present. Their disfigurations attributable to their horrible disease were evident. All ages were present, including small children. Brethren from the state of Orissa came, too, and sang a song as well. Almost everyone present spoke Telegu, excepting Roger Wright, Bonnie and me plus Vinay David from New Delhi.

I’m glad we didn’t have far to travel each day to retire for the night. We were thoroughly exhausted by the end of the day, and it was a chore for me to climb the stairs to the third floor where we lodged. We had the benefit of an air conditioner and a ceiling fan if we wanted it, plus an attached bathroom. Attendees of the lectureship slept on the floor in the auditorium, other rooms on our level on the floor (men’s rooms and ladies’ rooms) and outside our bedroom door in the hallway. Some may have slept in the open on the roof or in the compound at the base of the walls. People traveled hundreds of miles to be here – whole families – nearly all of them members of the church and many preachers.

This particular church does a good work, which includes TV and radio evangelism, grading about 3,000 Bible correspondence courses daily, widely distributes Gospel literature, Bibles and electronic media. The congregation has matured to the point that it has elders and many active members who make every aspect of what the church does a part of their Christian service. Joshua Gootam is the capable preacher here – really bigger than life – a current day hero of the faith. His son Ricky is extremely talented and experienced, too, in preaching, teaching, evangelism (locally and distantly in India), highly educated and directs the onsite children’s home of 80 boys and girls; again several members of the local church devote themselves to this latter endeavor, too.

As much as the church here does, and as many as their supporters may be, as one might imagine, there is never enough funds to accomplish everything as well as it could be done. Some of the children have no shoes (flip-flops or sandals), and they go to school barefoot because of that. There are not enough mats for every child to sleep on as they slumber on the floor nightly. The church spends around $25,000 annually on Bibles to give away, and massive amounts of money on distributing literature and Bible correspondence courses in India. The church is a good steward of the Lord’s money, doing what it can regarding evangelism, edification and benevolence. It is a pleasure to be a small part of one of the church’s good works.

One funny observation, though, before I conclude this blog entry. There is a little, portable washing machine in our bathroom. Now remember, there is a shortage of water – sometimes no water at all in the pipes fed from the storage tank on the roof. With the aid of cuticle tool in a grooming kit I affixed the quick release (twice in two days) for the washer’s intake hose to a tap intended to fill a bucket. Picture this. The electric cord is stretched to the max in one direction, barely reaching a wall receptacle. Then, in the opposite direction, also stretched to its max, was the water intake hose. The wastewater hose (as the directions instruct) lies on the floor to expel water on to the floor, which will eventually make its way to a floor drain (but the floor will remain wet everywhere for a day). Now imagine this. The washer, resembling a crucifixion victim with outstretched arms has to be positioned directly in front of the bathroom door, which opens into the bathroom. To operate the machine and to put clothes into the machine, one must open the bathroom door 30 degrees and high step over the electric cord, shut the door, re-step over the electric cord, reach over the opened lid of the washer to deposit clothes, shut the lid and reach to the front of the machine to work the controls. To enter the bathroom further requires high stepping over the intake hose; to leave the bathroom, one must at least high step over the electric cord twice, swing the bathroom door closed and then open again. It would almost be simpler to stick with washing the clothes in the bucket – or beating the wet clothes on the ground before hanging them up to dry. Oh, did I mention that there is no place to hang the wet clothes?

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

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