Kakinada Base of Operations

Thursday, November 1, 2012, Bonnie, Therman Hodge and I made our way from Visakhapatnam to Kakinada, India; it was a two and a half hour drive. After parting from Samuel, who graciously drove us, we had lunch at the home of Joshua and Kabita Gootam. Lunch over, we headed out to the village of Gorinta, about 45 minutes away. There we found 39 in attendance, 33 of whom were women and young children. Lord’s Day attendance is typically 60 women and 40 men; while we were there, most of the men were working.

Thursday was a Hindu holiday during which women are required to stay in the home and cook sweet food for their husbands. However, these Christian sisters opted rather to assemble for a Gospel message, despite the fact that most of their husbands are Hindu. All attending Thursday were converts from Hinduism. The world over, women frequently exhibit a sensitivity for spiritual matters in greater numbers before men; here is no different.

Friday, November 2, 2012, Therman and I headed out with Ricky Gootam to a distant mountain, jungle village – over two hours away. Heavy rain overnight, continuing throughout the day, resulted in destroyed sugarcane crops and significant flooding. The little village to which we went is without electricity daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Therefore, we met in a dark masonry structure with little natural light available because of the storms. Again mostly women comprised the approximately 50 persons present. Therman preached and I exhorted the Christians and Hindus present; three precious souls responded to be baptized.

Aside from the residents, the villages and countryside through we which we traveled could have been offered as evidence that we were somewhere in Africa. At the same time, some of the terrain – minus the coconut and banana trees – might have argued that we had driven back to West Virginia. Like many of the days before in our 2012 Asian excursion, we spent an inordinate amount of time traveling by land to remote sites. We were here because Joshua Gootam’s television program introduced the Gospel to people off the beaten path, and several of them subsequently became New Testament Christians.

On the way back to Kakinada, we stopped at another especially poor village, much of which is drenched in standing water. We had an abbreviated devotional with about 30 brethren and some Hindus. These Christians, too, were converted from Hinduism. Our activity was curtailed due to inclement weather and the impedance that caused, prolonging our travel time – not to mention rain, floods, darkened skies and no electricity.

While Therman and I were away for the day, Bonnie taught a ladies’ class of sisters in Christ from the congregation that is serving as our base of operations. About 20 ladies participated, and they also expressed appreciation of Bonnie’s book Living Principles (in Telegu). (We brought funds from an American congregation for publication of one of my writings, The Parables of Our Lord. It will be a combined, single printing in the Telegu language of both of my volumes on parables.)

Upon returning to Kakinada, I bought a plastic table and two plastic chairs to add to the Prophet’s Room in which we are lodging at the church building. It will double as an eating table and a work table; we used it for work first before we ever got around to eating our breakfast upon it.

Saturday, November 3, 2012, we woke to another rainy day in India. Three inches of rain fell overnight alone. Consequently, our morning meeting at a village some distance from Kakinada was washed out – literally! A swollen creek washed a bridge away, and there was nowhere dry in the village if we were able to get there. Elsewhere, flooded railroad tracks prevented Vinay David from Delhi arriving on schedule. Another American couple flying in had their flight cancelled due to inclement weather, and they were scurrying to find a flight to any airport within four hours driving distance of Kakinada. Not only are lectureship speakers finding it difficult to travel in view of the cyclone that has buffeted the east coast of India – which storm keeps on giving, but quite possibly the lectureship attendance may be adversely affected, too. Brethren also may have difficulty attending due to poor weather as well as interrupted train and car routes. Some may need to attend to storm damage of their homes, crops and workplaces. The rice crop, which was ready for harvest, has been destroyed by the cyclone.

Bonnie and I had some idle time on our hands today. With it we worked on articles for the November issue of Gospel Gazette Online, amused ourselves with some computer games, went shopping and communed with Therman Hodge, Betty Choate and the Gootams. In the evening, we went to a thanksgiving meeting to celebrate the purchase of a home by one of the members of the church; approximately 40 brethren were in attendance. Afterward, we returned to the Gootam’s for supper; Indians eat late supper meals compared to people in the United States.

Tomorrow is Bible class and worship with the Satyanani Church of Christ, in which building Bonnie and I are lodging. Monday will be preparation for the upcoming lectureship, and so only a morning outstation meeting is planned about an hour and a half from Kakinada. Otherwise, Bonnie and I will use available time to work on the next issue of Gospel Gazette Online. We never have a reason to be bored as long as we have time to ourselves and access to our mobile office.

 

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