The conference in Lucknow was a great success—PG says the best ever. The people seemed to be very blessed and encouraged and strengthened and taught. We left the hotel every day at 9am, returning very late. We had a few hours in the afternoons at the government guest house across the street from the conference center. The second day as we were finishing our lunch, Brian pointed out the window and said, “Look, there’s a monkey in that tree.” It was just a few feet away, and it turned out there was not one, but three. I went outside, and they were everywhere, running around, swinging from the trees, teasing the dogs who chased but never caught them. There were four on the roof of the building, including two tiny tots, clinging to their mothers. It was fun to watch them, but actually, they’re a little on the mean and nasty side. I don’t want to take any home with me. I’m content to visit them in India.
Monkey chasing is exhausting….
The Sunday morning service was more than five hours long. They recognized fifteen different missionaries who had received beatings in the past year for preaching the gospel, allowed them to tell their stories, and then the leaders honored them by washing their feet. They had been dishonored by men, but they are honored by God and the church. It took an hour for them to tell their stories, and how I wish it had been translated for us, but it was not. Shaji whispered a few details to us as the stories were being told. There was one woman among the group, perhaps a 30 year old woman from Indore, in the center of the country. She told how she and her husband were both arrested for preaching, and were separated and taken to the police station. Her four year old daughter was taken with her, and the woman was beaten by a policeman all the way to the station. She was kept in the jail for some days, and during that time sang and worshipped the Lord. When she began to do so, a woman jailer fell on the floor and began to have demonic convulsions. The woman prayed for her and she was set free. It seems she had had these fits all her life, and her husband had left her because of them. She has remained free, and the young missionary woman said it was worth the beating she received to see the woman set free.
Brian preached on a door of hope being opened for the church in India, a door of hope in the valley of trouble. At the end of the service, the people streamed through the “door of hope” with great rejoicing! I believe that great breakthroughs will occur this year for these missionaries.
We concluded the evening service with a candlelight ceremony. It was very moving. PG told the story of how he and Lilly first saw the cooking fires burning all over the mountains, and how they were challenged to take the light of the gospel to the people of India living in darkness. He told the stories of many of the first workers to join them, who I have come to know and love here in India.
God is moving greatly in this country!