Majoring in Preaching, Minoring in Plumbing

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Bonnie noted in her travel diary for Tuesday, November 15:

Once again Louis was asked to speak on a particular topic. It seems that a new false doctrine is affecting the Lord’s church, and P.R. wanted Louis to refute it. He had a copy of the book that promotes this false doctrine. So, Monday evening Louis skimmed the book, and during part of Tuesday morning’s seminar session he discussed some of the false doctrines taught. Then, he taught No Hermeneutical Gymnastics, Please! and The Church Divine, which reinforced the truth and further refuted the false doctrine. Classes were from 10 – 5 with an hour and a half break for lunch. Much to my surprise, we returned to the Douglas home for lunch. Shelia fixed our evening meal as well.

Every false doctrine among some of the members of the churches of Christ makes its way to India and other foreign venues as well (e.g., antism, liberalism, etc.). Even when false teachers cannot gain a following in America among many Christians, printing a book and sending it abroad infects numerous Christians with such heresy. I cautioned the Indian church leaders before whom I spoke for the three-day seminar not to believe what they hear just because a white-skinned, English speaking, American Christian says it (1 John 4:1)! I reminded the brethren of impending personal, individual accountability before the Judgment Seat of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:10). About 60 Christians left the Lord’s church and formed a separate congregation to practice the heresy of Jay Wilson and his erroneous doctrine declared in his book Cleansing the Inside of the Cup.

Also excerpted from Bonnie’s notes:

On the way to the Douglas home, we stopped at a hardware store to purchase a new showerhead for our bathroom. The one there is clogged and almost useless. Upon arrival Louis replaced the showerhead and the screens in the faucets in our bathroom. It was a minor investment for us to make compared what the cost of a hotel for the several days in Bangalore would have been. Shelia was astounded that Louis was capable of such endeavors. It would take at least two weeks for a plumber to come, and Douglas does not know how to do such things.

We discussed until a late hour with Douglas proposed plans P.R. Swamy and he are considering about replacing the Bangalore Bible Institute with an international quality college in which the Bible is taught. The first step is relocating from the site on Davis Road to someplace peripheral to the city center; it is anticipated that the sale of the current property should net sufficient funds to repurchase property elsewhere either with suitable facilities or to build on a lot adequate campus buildings. The church meeting place would accompany the move. The courts must officially decide whether the present real estate may be sold and whether a purchase may be made elsewhere. Then, the legalities and a host of other considerations respecting some type of institution of higher learning must be explored carefully.

Wednesday, seminar classes resumed, during which I continued presentations from my book The Church Divine, which emphasizes that the New Testament church is divine while discussing a number of topics. In conversation between sessions, the preacher of the breakaway group and the three other brothers accompanying him wanted to know why a respected India brother translated and printed the book noted already for its false doctrine if, in fact, the book teaches false doctrine. I assured them that I share that question and will be making my own inquiry of that Indian brother. This topic would not rest, and I agreed to review the book in more detail and forward that information to brother Swamy for translation and distribution.

Bonnie was teaching a ladies’ class the last session of the day, and P.R. tried to collect me and leave, until I reminded him that Bonnie was teaching a class and not with us yet. It took us three trips on successive days to the little hole-in-the-wall mom-and-pop store to get all of the correct pieces to finally replace two facet screens and the showerhead (once to get the showerhead and two facet nipples with screens, secondly to return one of the facet nipples and screen and order a bigger one and thirdly to retrieve the larger facet piece).

Thursday, the seminar concluded at 1 p.m. Before the seminar began on Thursday, two women and a man were taken to Davis Road Church of Christ for Christian baptism. Brother Swamy took us to a Chinese restaurant to which we had been in previous years often before while in Bangalore for lunch. Beside that establishment, we always find our dessert at a Baskin Robbins; Bonnie and P.R. each had one scoop, but I had two scoops of the sweetest, best tasting butterscotch ice cream I can remember. Afterward, Bonnie and I were deposited back at the home of Douglas and Sheila.

Around 5 p.m., P.R. called to say that he was on the way and be ready; trying to be ready for whatever the venue might be, I took my bag with the minicomputer and whatever else we thought we might need, not knowing to where for what purpose we were on the move. We knew there was a possibility that we be having a home study as we had last year. Instead, brother Swamy took us to Sheila’s workplace whereupon he exited the auto rickshaw and she boarded it. This new trio headed to a shopping district, and Sheila asked us what it was we wanted to buy. We were surprised because we had not expressed to anyone a desire to buy anything and nothing occurred to us to purchase. Therefore, we window shopped, and yes, we did buy some items – some clothes for Bonnie, some scarves and some trinkets for our grandchildren. Finished with our little shopping spree, we found an auto rickshaw to take us to Davis Road.

Shortly thereafter, we boarded a rented car to take Sheila (Douglas had to be out of town with the children’s home for which he is the director), Saroja and P.R. out to eat at a restaurant of their choice – another Chinese eatery! Twice in one day I had Chinese chicken and noodle soup. This time, though, I had some tasty roasted chicken slices.

Friday was moving day for us again. We packed our suitcases, weighing them to ensure that we did not exceed the combined allowable weight of 44 pounds per bag, and that our carryon bags weighed no more than 15 pounds (difficult when the empty bag weights seven pounds). After breakfast, we resorted to our rooms where we proceeded to catch up on computer work.

Around 11 a.m., Saroja and P.R. arrived bearing gifts of a necklace, earrings and hair clips for Bonnie. We returned the gesture by bestowing upon them a jade bracelet for Saroja and a little jade elephant for P.R.

Brother Swamy and I also settled accounts. I failed to put a cap of expenses ahead of time on our participation with brother Swamy this year, assuming it would cost about what it did last year, $1,000. I was shocked at first when on the last day of our visit to Bangalore that P.R. said, “You owe me $2,000.” He readily produced figures to validate the itemized expenditures, and brethren always have a good explanation for the funds expended. Prior to our arrival, the program we had discussed was to travel to Namakkal and Velur as we had the previous year, but to my surprise (why am I continually surprised?), the program was completely different than what we had discussed. Travel for preachers attending the seminar from afar, their lodging, food, hall rental, video and still photographers, video production and mailing, our transportation and food comprised the figure that P.R. uttered – all of it valid and needful expenses. We gave him additional funds, too, for printing tracts.

Next, we headed for the airport in time to permit us a two-hour window ahead of our scheduled departure. Note Bonnie’s observation from her notes.

Sri Lankan Air disputed our international luggage weight and informed us we were 5.5 kilograms overweight. Louis reminded them that we were international travelers and what were we supposed to do with extra bags upon arrival to Asia if they were not honored as we travel among the various cities in India. They finally informed us they would make an exception this time, but in the future upon landing in India, we would have to pay extra baggage weight for all flights. Upon reflection, I would think that since Sri Lanka and India are two different countries that this flight would qualify as international travel! Besides, other airlines when shown that our tickets were purchased as part of an international travel plan, do not hassle us about extra weight. I suppose in the future we need to limit ourselves to one checked bag and one carryon (weighing less than 15 pounds) to avoid this hassle. However, I simply do not see how we can manage this as I need one set of clothes for Myanmar and a different set of clothes for India, besides our teaching materials that I usually leave at our last destination. We typically bring books and tracts to leave with various individuals as well as some crackers and cereal bars for our consumption while traveling. This allows us to pack at least one suitcase inside another for our return trip home.

Finally, we made our way through the various processes required to leave India (e.g., immigration and security) to our departure gate. We had just finished availing ourselves of the nearby restrooms and were about to look for a cold drink to buy when our plane began boarding – an hour earlier than scheduled! To our surprise, we arrived in Sri Lanka at about the time our plane had been scheduled to depart from Bangalore. Perhaps, I thought, Sri Lanka was trying to compensate for Indian Standard Time! No, I was informed by our hostess Lilani Thomas in Sri Lanka that rather than an hour late like Indian Standard Time, Sri Lankan Standard Time is customarily only a half hour late.

We rented a small van taxi without air conditioning, which in hindsight was not my brightest move, and spent more than double the time in flight trying to navigate the many miles through congested roads to our destination. Our driver didn’t speak English, and we could not get our phones to call Lilani. Two of the three numbers I had failed to contact her as well through the use of the driver’s phone, but fortunately a third number reached her, and she was able to give him directions to near where we were going.

Our communication with the outside world is somewhat hampered. Our phone company sent us a text to advise us that our international data plan for our phone we have with it is not covered at our “present location.” We suspect that making phone calls to the US, for instance, at a hefty price is not affected, and we were able to advise our daughter through a text message that we have arrived safely at this next leg of our journey.

Sometimes friends and brethren tell us of how tired they get from just reading about our journeys. We get plenty tired from experiencing them as well, plus chronicling them tires us a second time, too. Everywhere I go in several nations, beloved brethren approach me and tell me I look like I’m tired, and I guess that I am, but I expect to rest a little along life’s pathway and then to rest eternally in heaven above.

Explore posts in the same categories: Gospel Meeting, India, Ladies' Class, Ladies' Inspiration Day, Overseas, Preaching Appointments, Seminar, Sri Lanka, Travel

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