Onward Christian Soldiers!

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My travel to New Delhi from Sri Lanka by plane on October 19 was uneventful. I happened upon a Burger King before my flight, and I was perfectly pleased to sample a cheeseburger, fries and soft drink prior to my airship voyage, even though I had not eaten breakfast very long before; opportunity encouraged me to push the two meals closer together than what was necessary.

The New Delhi airport is a big place crammed full of travelers flitting here and there in every direction. Similar to the circumstance Singapore, at first I had trouble meeting up with my brother charged with my retrieval, in this case Vinay David. The aeronautical journey between the two countries took three and a half hours, but the taxi ride from the airport to Vinay’s New Delhi residence took three additional hours because of the oozing along, bumper to bumper traffic jam.

Immediately the next day, brethren Vinay, his father, brother Francis, and I embarked on a train ride that rivaled the nearly 12-timezone jaunt on three airliners from the USA to Singapore weeks earlier; since we took the express train, it only took 17 hours to reach our terminus in central India. Then, we traveled another three hours to Korba where we would lodge for several nights. I had intended to make good use of the downtime aboard the train by setting up my mobile office, but the rocking motion of the carriage threatened me with nausea when I tried to read, and so I had to give that up shortly after commencing. However, at nights and before breakfast in my hotel accommodations I not only reviewed my lessons to teach, but I also faithfully worked on preparation of literature for publication.

It so happened that we snagged an older sleeper coach, which was severely infested with roaches, to the dismay of all three of us. Finally after killing off as many trespassers as we could, we resigned ourselves to sleep despite the uninvited guests and bedfellows.

Our final destination was near Korba at Balco, India. There, a congregation of about 70 members and additional family members and visitors totaling around a 150 assemble regularly in a modest, well-kept masonry meetinghouse. The church and we allotted about 27 hours over four days for a seminar and the Lord’s Day worship. I turned heads and sparked conversations in both towns as I was the only white person to be seen in this part of India to which westerners apparently do not often come. Many in attendance slept on the stone floor of the auditorium for several nights to afford themselves of the opportunity to be a part of the 4-day seminar; we provided up to two meals daily for the wayfarers. We also provided an abundance of literature to satiate the spiritual appetite, too.

Lodging for us was satisfactory in a coffeehouse/hotel in Korba. It was the first time, though, that I stayed in a room that was secured with a bolt and a padlock on the hallway side of the door. A slightly sadistic sort of a fellow could have roamed the halls sliding the bolts closed on the doors and flipping the whole-room electrical power switches off outside the rooms; I quickly dismissed the fleeting thought from my mind.

Not infrequently, Indians misspell my name or break it up; here I turned into “Lousi” and brother Vinay nearly turned into a devil with the spelling, “Devid.” Nevertheless, no place that I have ever been anywhere on the planet did I make so many instant and earnest friends. I found so many aspects of my visit truly remarkable. Attendances typically amounted to around 200 people, some of whom came from distances. Attendees included church members, Hindus and denominational people. Eight precious souls, men and women, obeyed the Gospel while I was there, though their decisions were not based on my presence; they were quietly immersed in an isolated stream away from any of we three travelers, owing to sensitivity of the political state of affairs.

Members of the local congregation were formerly Roman Catholics, Lutherans and Hindus; two members were Hindu priests. They both destroyed their residential idolatrous shrines, and one of them went so far as to destroy Hindu temples that he had constructed in the surrounding communities. In addition, this dear brother gave property to the church to enable it to construct the meetinghouse abutting his home, and he provided to the church elsewhere property for a cemetery for Christians. Another former Hindu surrendered his past occupation of making Hindu idols.

One family in particular and their Christian neighbors took possession of us daily to uphold us, make us feel welcome and to feed us. Mealtime, though, sometimes was as late as 10:30 p.m., a little later than my norm. Brethren took endless pictures with me, and if even half of them make it to Facebook, surely we will break it!

Our program theme was “Male Leadership in the Church and in the Home.” This involved the organization of the Lord’s church as well as God’s plan for the home. On the Lord’s Day, lessons that I presented concerned not forsaking the assembly and what follows becoming a Christian.

With some apprehension I departed America for this two month foray into four Asian countries. With some misgivings I boarded the never-ending train ride. Along the way at times I quizzed myself as to what I was doing over here, particularly so soon after the passing away of my beloved Bonnie; even yet, tears and sorrow visit me briefly from time to time. Overall, though, it has been good for me to be abroad in harness for our Lord Jesus Christ. Three weeks and two days remain before my scheduled return trip to the USA. Tomorrow, I board a train once more for the return trip to New Delhi.

I lost phone connectivity as soon as the train left Delhi, and I have not had any Internet available. Therefore, I have been running dark – out of communication – for these several days, except for when I borrowed a phone to call my daughter Rebecca to assure her that I am fine. Brethren in Balco are reluctant to let me go and anxious for my return; Lord willing, I will return to my friends and brethren in the future. Thank you if you had a part in sending me overseas for Christ.

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One Comment on “Onward Christian Soldiers!”

  1. lol – You are a good writer with good humor. I enjoyed reading this with gratitude to God for your life for Him.

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