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Grace be to you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ. (Ephesians 1:2) Remember that we will be having a camp meeting here in West Virginia from June 17-21. Camp meetings are always a great blessing, and, unless you have been to one, you cannot imagine how helpful they can be to your spiritual life. I pray that you will be able to attend. We have many camp sites here, and they are free, so please bring your families and be prepared to study the Bible with us. For those needing a motel, you can contact Woodys Motel in Pineville at (304) 732-6540 or The Cow Shed Motel in Pineville at (304) 732-7000. There are also rooms, cabins, camp sites and RV hookups at Twin Falls State Park, about half an hour away from the camp meeting. You can contact Twin Falls at (304) 294-4000.
In this Issue
by Lynnford Beachy
by George McDaniel
India Trip Report
by Lynnford Beachy
(The following is a report of a missionary trip that Brother Howard Williams, of Restoration Ministries in Jamaica, and I took to India, March 19-April 9, 2003. Due to the possibility of this article falling into the hands of anyone who may try to hinder the spread of the gospel in India, names of people and places have not been used. Editor)
Wednesday, March 19
We arrived in India around midnight on Wednesday, March 19. It was 80° F (26.6° C) when we landed and we knew it would be much hotter in the daytime.
Howard and I had prayed much about our trip because we did not know what to expect, and we wanted the Lords blessing on every part of the trip. We had read stories of Hindus attacking Christians and Muslims. We had also read about Muslims attacking Christians and Hindus. We also knew that of the over 1.2 billion people who live in India, 81 percent are Hindus, and 12 percent are Muslims, none of whom have much of an appreciation for Christians, and especially Christian missionaries. There is even a law in certain parts of India making it illegal to convert Hindus to Christianity.
Howard and I had been warned about bringing Christian literature with us on the airplane because Hindu officials might give us a hassle even though there was no law against it. We had sent several boxes of literature ahead of time to India so that we would have it to use at our scheduled meetings. As I was packing for the trip I found I had some extra room in my luggage, so I brought a few hundred booklets and tracts with me, just in case some of the literature had not arrived in the mail. I was praying that the Lord would allow the literature to go through customs unnoticed so that it would not arouse any trouble from the authorities. I had some of it in my carry-on luggage, and some in my checked luggage.
As we exited the airplane, my heart rose to God in prayer to protect us and the literature from any trouble. We did not know what to expect. After a short wait in line, we were called up to the counter to go through immigrations. The man behind the counter did not say a word to us. We handed him the cards that we were given on the airplane explaining certain information about our trip, along with our passports. He looked them over for a short time, then stamped them and sent us on our way. As we were leaving Howard remarked, He didnt ask us any questions at all. That was the easiest customs I have ever been through.
We then proceeded to the place where our luggage was placed on a conveyer belt to be x-rayed. We were supposed to remove all metallic items from our persons, and go through a metal detector. I was praying that they would not open the bags and find the literature. As I was about to empty my pockets of change and any other metallic items, they rushed me through the metal detector. It beeped from all my metallic items, but the inspectors waved me on, motioning me to get my luggage and go.
By this time we were feeling relaxed regarding the possibility of being hassled by the authorities. We proceeded to the place to get our checked luggage and, after a very long wait and more prayers, we collected our checked luggage, with the locks intact and the literature safely inside.
As we were leaving the airport with our luggage, there were several counters with officials waiting to open bags and examine the contents. Again, I was praying that the Lord would intervene and get us safely out of the airport. As we approached one of the counters, we were waved to go towards the door. There, a lady collected a paper that we had been given and motioned us to go. We exited the airport with a sigh of relief and a prayer of thanksgiving to the God of heaven who watches over His children. There were many people outside the airport waiting behind a fence for their friends and relatives. We saw a man holding a sign that said, Welcome Howard and Lynnford. We were warmly welcomed by our friends who had arranged for a car to transport us in India.
We were directed to the car, which looked identical to probably 100 other cars at the airport. It was an old-looking white car, with rounded corners like the way old cars used to be made. It was very nice, with room for six people and a roof rack for any luggage that would not fit in the car. We were glad for that, because it was needed.
Soon we were on our way, traveling through busy streets at 2 a.m. Just like Africa and Jamaica, everyone drives on the left side of the road and they sound their horn about every five seconds. In addition to all the cars on the road, there were an innumerable amount of pedestrians, bicycles, motorcycles, buses, and three-wheeled taxis that looked like a cross between a motorcycle and a rickshaw. For being so small, these auto rickshaws were designed to hold four passengers, some seven, but they were often filled with more than their limit. These were the most numerous vehicles, next to the bicycles and motorcycles.
After a half-hour drive we arrived at the house where we were to stay for the night. Almost the whole family greeted us, being wide awake at 2 a.m. The family was very friendly, greeting us with ear-to-ear smiles. They ushered us in, offering to get us anything we needed. The lady of the house offered to fix us a meal, which we declined, being ready for sleep. The father was busy making sure that we had everything we needed, and their daughter brought us water, pillows, sheets, and whatever else we needed.
The home was very nice, yet simple. With the family, being Catholic, there were many pictures of Mary and Jesus around the house. The floor was concrete, and a ceiling fan circulated the air that was aided by much ventilation from the open windows, which let in numerous mosquitos as well. We had come prepared with sleeping bags, but we knew immediately that we could not use them because of the heat. We were given sheets to cover us, and we laid on our small air pads that we had brought with us. We found that many people here sleep on the cement floor with just a thin mat made from one layer of straw, preferring that to a bed because it is cooler.
Thursday, March 20
In the morning we were introduced to some Indian food. Our hostess had prepared some small round patties called idly, made from white rice flour mixed with black gram flour. These were to be dipped in dahl, which was much like split pea soup with hot chilies added. They kept us supplied with thin tortilla-like bread that was very much like crepes. We ate that with the dahl and idly patties, using our fingers, as silverware seems to be a scarce item in India. They also gave us some oranges and bananas. The food was very good.
Just before leaving, this lovely family wanted us to have prayer with them. Then we said our goodbyes, expecting to see them again on our journey through this city on our way north. The man of the house works for a television company, doing video editing. He offered to translate and broadcast any of our video tapes on television. The cost of this endeavor is about $640 for one-half hour of broadcasting. This may be a good opportunity.
It was hard to say goodbye to such wonderful people, but we took comfort in knowing that we would stay at their home another night on our way north.
Indian people are very friendly and humble. The women greet you by putting their hands together in front of them as if they are about to pray, and they bow their heads a little. Men use this greeting as well, but it is more common for the women. In conversing with Indian people, you often see them bob their heads back and forth, not shaking their heads as we say no, nor nodding their heads as we say yes, but bobbing side to side with their faces pointing forward. This seems to be a way of saying hello, saying yes, or acknowledging a request. This was something new to us, and we found it very welcoming.
After breakfast we began our long trip to the first city where we would hold meetings, about 220 miles from the city where we arrived in India. It may seem like this would be a relatively short trip, but with the incredible amount of people in India, many of whom were on the road, either walking, riding a bicycle or motorcyle, or traveling in the rundown buses or large trucks, it was a slow trip. There seemed to be a town to go through almost continually, and our car traveled 50 mph (80 kmh) maximum, usually topping out at 42 mph (70 kmh). When we were in the country, we saw many fields of rice, and other agriculture.
The roads were in fairly good shape; there seemed to be people working on them constantly. Many times we saw groups of people hard at work moving gravel, dirt, and asphalt by hand. There were a few large machines to aid with the road work, but it seemed that much of the work was done by man power and woman power. Men were standing by piles of dirt with short-handled shovels, while women would travel back and forth with large bowls on their heads to carry dirt. They would carry the dirt to places on the road, empty their bowls, and then return for more dirt.
The people of India are very diligent people. There were an innumerable amount of people; on the road, in fields, and in towns, and they all seemed to be busy working at something.
All the women wear dresses down to their feet, many wear a long piece of material wrapped around them with one end draped over their left shoulder (saree), and most of them had their heads uncovered, unless they are Muslim. Many of the people have a red or white dot in the middle of their foreheads. These dots have different meanings, designating their marital status (if a woman), their religion, or it is just done by choice. I was told that a white dot on a mans forehead indicates that he has gone to pray to the Hindu gods. A red dot on a mans forehead is used as a family namesake, but is only used by Hindus. Many of the men had both a red and a white dot on their foreheads. We found that most of the men wear something that looks like a skirt. It is more like a sheet wrapped around the waist. Sometimes it is full length down to their feet, and sometimes they fold it up to go just above their knees.
We saw a few small monkeys along the road and many cows. The cows are allowed to do just about whatever they want. They meander through busy towns, on the roads, and through yards, scavenging for food or just resting. Hindus believe that all of their gods reside in every cow, so they are considered to be holy. If a person happens to hit a cow, we were told that many people will come, ready to fight. We noticed that these cows are used for pulling wagons and for milk. Sometimes they are tied up along the road. We also saw some pigs meandering through towns as well, and I saw one large rat.
Howard and I tried to sleep in the car, but it was difficult. I think I managed to get more sleep than Howard. We stopped along the road to get some fresh jelly coconuts, to drink the water and eat the jelly. When coconut is fresh it is not hard and stringy, with white milk inside, but rather it is green with white milky jelly inside and filled with cloudy, sweet water.
We finally arrived in the town of our destination, with only a short time to get cleaned up before the first meeting at 7:30 p.m. The home where we were to stay was very nice, located on the upper level of a house owned by a family who lives on the lower level. There was a beautiful view of the nearby mountains.
We were very refreshed after a nice cold shower (there is no hot water) which felt good in the hot weather. After a light dinner of dahl, potatoes, and roti (flat tortilla-like bread), we left for the meeting room, which was located in the basement of some city stores. The meeting room was very nice. It was large, and it had chairs to seat 100 people. There was music playing over a loud speaker system that had been arranged for the meetings. There was a large scarlet backdrop with white writing in an Indian language. We were told it said, The Words of Jesus. It was very nicely done. The white writing was made from Styrofoam cut out in the shape of letters.
There were about 30 people there for the first meeting. Everyone was very friendly, and they seemed to be very interested in the meetings. Songbooks were handed out and they began singing in an Indian language. I tried to follow along, but I could make no sense of the letters, which are totally different from English letters. They almost look Arabic. In Africa we could sing along even though we did not know the language because we could read the words, but there was no chance of that here.
Howard had the opening meeting. It was a little difficult to speak through a translator, and it was a little hard to make out the words because it was amplified over a loud speaker and the acoustics of the room made it echo. We could not get by without the loud speakers though because the meetings were in the middle of town and there was the constant sound of horns blowing, the noise of engines and the hustle and bustle of the city.
From what I had read about how Hindus treat Christians and dislike Christian gatherings, I was surprised that there seemed to be no alarm at the fact that we were holding a Christian meeting over loud speakers right in town, with many people all around. We did not have any trouble from anyone, and the people were very friendly to us.
Howards message went very well, and the people seemed genuinely interested. However, there was not a lot of response, so it was a little hard to know if they were following the message. As we got further into the meetings it became evident that they were paying attention and wanted to learn.
After the meeting we greeted everyone, and they were very happy to see us come to share the message.
Friday, March 21
After a good nights rest, we headed back to the meeting place. I had the first meeting, on Gods love in giving His Son to die for our sins, then Howard had the next meeting, explaining the importance of having a correct knowledge of God.
After that we broke for lunch, which was quite an experience. We went to a nearby restaurant. As we entered we noticed that the people were not eating off of plates, but rather they had a large banana leaf on the table, from which they were eating their food using their hands as spoons.
We were ushered up to an upper room that had air conditioning, and the waiter came by with a handful of banana leaves to spread out in front of everyone as their plate. Howard and I were given plates and silverware instead. Then the waiter came by with a big bowl of rice and he put a pile on everyones banana leaf (or plate in our case). He then came by with several containers of different types of mixed vegetable concoctions. He dished out a spoonful of each for everyone, and then he came by with small bowls of different types of sauces, most of which were very spicy. Our friends next to us grabbed handfuls of the different sauces and foods, and used their fingers to mix them heartily on their banana leaves. They then began to shovel it into their mouths with their fingers. No napkins were provided, but there was a sink in the corner of the room to be used after you were finished. Howard and I were happy that we were provided with plates and silverware.
Near the end of the meal, we were given some liquid made with lime juice, garlic and other seasonings. We were told that it would help us digest the food and get rid of any gas. It tasted very good. We put some on our rice, and drank a little. Then we were given a leaf wrapped up with some spices inside. We were also given a handful of fennel seeds to go with it, all of which was supposed to help our digestion.
After our meal, we returned to the meeting room for our next meeting. Howard shared with them the truth about the one God of the Bible. This subject aroused some questions, and we knew that the people were understanding what was being said. We promised to answer their questions in the upcoming meetings.
Howard and I retired early Friday evening, as we were very tired from our trip and we had not fully adjusted to the ten-and-a-half-hour time difference.
Sabbath, March 22
On Sabbath morning we planned to start at 9 a.m. But, as one brother said, If we tell people to come at 9 a.m., they will come at 10 a.m., and that is about what happened. We were able to start a little before 10 a.m.
I shared the first message on the sonship of Christ, beginning with a recap of what we had shared the day before on the one God of the Bible. By the end of the meeting, the people seemed to be able to understand that Christ is the literal Son of God who was begotten, before all creation, in the express image of His Fathers person. However, there were several questions raised regarding how Christ can be called God if His Father is the one God of the Bible. Therefore, I shared the next message to help clarify the position of Christ and His relationship with, and His distinction from, the one God of the Bible. By the end of the meeting, everyone seemed to understand clearly the identity, position and distinction of the Father and His Son. We asked if there were any questions on what had been presented so far, and they said that all of their questions had been answered, from the Bible, in the presentations.
Next, Brother Howard shared what the Bible says about the spirit of man and the Spirit of God. This was a difficult subject to tackle, and it aroused several questions and discussions. The Lord blessed and the message was presented clearly, yet, after an hour and a half, the subject was not finished. We broke for lunch with the promise that the issue would be clarified the next morning. We had planned to visit one of the nearby mountains to walk in the afternoon, so no afternoon meetings were scheduled.
After lunch several of us packed into cars and headed for the mountains. It was a very scenic ride up a narrow, winding road. We had to pull aside for several buses and trucks. The plant life was different from what we had seen on the flatland. There were some very large trees. We saw some jack fruit trees, prickly pear cactus, pine trees, and some of the more rare banana trees.
At the top of the mountain there was a fairly large village with marketplaces, and many people on the streets. We stopped here to explore a plantation owned by a friend of one of our group. It had many banana trees, and coffee bushes, along with black pepper vines growing up some of the trees. They picked a jack fruit and gave me some to try. It was very good. It tasted somewhat like a pineapple, but not so sweet.
Jack fruit is a large fruit, about the size of a watermelon, that grows out of the sides of large jack fruit trees. It is interesting to see, because I am used to seeing fruit come out of trees near the leaves at the end of branches. But jack fruit grows right out of the side of the tree, about eye level, at the base of the tree, some fruit comes out higher up, as high as thirty or forty feet, but it is always very close to the middle trunk of the tree. It is a large, oblong fruit with a very coarse green skin filled with dimples. The skin turns a brownish color as it ripens. The flesh is yellow like pineapple, separated into sections about the size of a strawberry, each with a seed about the size of an olive. They collected all the seeds to boil and eat like beans.
The people of this village were very friendly, including the Hindus. Several of them accompanied us on our walk, and they were eager to show us all the plants on the plantation, and get us to photograph them.
We departed from the village, thankful for the cool air that we had enjoyed as a reprieve from the hot lowlands.
We retired for the evening praising the Lord for His goodness and guidance during the meetings.
Sunday, March 23
On Sunday morning Brother Howard continued his study on the Holy Spirit. By the end of the presentation all the people expressed that where it had been unclear, now they understood. Afterward, I began the next meeting by sharing some further supporting texts of Scripture to give even a broader picture of what the Bible says about Gods Spirit, and then we allowed the Bible to explain to us how the Father and Son are one, and how it is that the Son can be called God in the Bible, even though He is not part of the one God of the Bible, God, the Father.
By the end of the meeting the people said that they now understood how both the Father and His Son dwell in us by the Holy Spirit of God.
Up to this time we did not address any of the questions that people had concerning verses that, to them, appeared to support the idea of the Trinity. We opened the meeting up for questions, and the Lord worked through Howard and me as we worked together to answer each of the texts that had caused questions in their minds. We wrote them on the board, and very soon the people agreed that we should begin erasing them off the board as supporting texts for the Trinity. We erased several of them, but, before we knew it, it was 2 p.m. and we needed to break for lunch.
The owner of the car that had been hired to take us around India invited Howard and me, along with a few others, to come to his house and eat lunch. His house was humble, yet nice. We were beckoned to sit down in the small living room around an even smaller table. Then his daughter-in-law brought out two large banana leaves and set them before us, filling up the small round table. These were to be our plates for lunch. Then she brought out several dishes filled with a beet mixture, a green bean mixture, a potato mixture, a carrot mixture, a green pea mixture, and an onion mixture, and scooped out a small pile of each and arranged them in a line at the top of each of our leaves.
She then brought out a large bowl of rice mixed with some vegetables and seasonings, and built a generous pile in the center of each of our leaves. Howard and I knew what was expected of us, having seen it in the restaurant. We were expected to use our hands to grab a portion of one of the piles, and mix it with the pile of rice, and then scoop it into our mouths using our fingers. We were asked if we wanted a spoon, but we declined, and began the new experience. As we were eating, our hostess kept returning, making more piles on our leaves with different types of food. We ended our meal with the traditional mixture of lime juice, garlic, and other spices, to help the digestion of the meal.
The food was delicious. It was even better than the food at the restaurant. We had been initiated in the Indian custom of eating off of a banana leaf with our fingers. We were told that there is an acid in the banana leaf that is released when hot rice is placed upon it. This acid is supposed to help in digestion. With our hands thoroughly covered with food, we were ushered into the kitchen to wash them. We enjoyed a short visit with this lovely and friendly family.
After the meal, Howard asked to take a picture of our cook and waitress. We found that Indian people are honored and excited to get their picture taken. She posed with her lovely, two-year-old daughter.
We returned to the meeting place and again addressed the questions that had been raised. Soon all of the texts had been answered, and had been erased from the board, and we asked if there were any further questions. There were none, except one man asked about 1 John 5:7, which we had already answered. He said that he had been out and would like to hear it again. Our newly-arrived translator, who had come to relieve our other translator also wanted to hear this text explained. Howard suggested that one of the ministers who had heard it explained should come up and explain the verse. Howard asked all those who already understood the verse to raise their hands. Almost everyone raised their hands. Then he asked, Who would like to come up and explain the verse? The enthusiasm died down a little. Finally a volunteer came up to explain the verse. He brought out some good points, but it did not sufficiently answer the question. Another minister shared his thoughts on it as well, and one lady shared some thoughts also.
Although the answers were good, it was clear that we should examine it again, so we went over it again quickly. By the time we finished, everyone was in agreement that this text does not support the Trinity doctrine. The only way a person could find a Trinity here is by adding two different words to the text to make it say, There are three [persons] that bear record in heaven... And these three [persons] are one [God]. But that is not what the verse says. It says, There are three that bear record in heaven... And these three are one. When it is compared with verse 8, it is easy to see that this verse cannot possibly be teaching a Trinity god. We saw that the Father bears record in heaven by His personal physical presence, as well as His Son, and that the Holy Spirit bears record in heaven to the angels in the same way it bears record on the earth when the Father or Son are not physically present. We also saw that the witness they bear is one. They perfectly agree. We saw clearly that this verse does not prove the Trinity in any way.
With all the questions being addressed, and the subjects that had been presented being thoroughly understood, there was only one crucial subject that had not been covered, and that was the death of Christ. We wanted to make sure that these people understood the death of Christ but, as slow as the messages had been going, we were not able to get to the subject earlier because we wanted to be sure that each subject was well understood. By the grace of God, this had been done on the subjects of the one God of the Bible, the sonship of Christ, and the Holy Spirit. The remaining day was to be dedicated to covering the subject of the death of Christ, addressing any questions on this subject and looking at some history.
That evening we were able to sit and visit with the people, which we had not really had a chance to do before. It was nice to get to know the people, and hear some of their testimonies. One of the men was very involved in the meetings and had an extremely loud and clear voice, reading the scriptures without a loud speaker and being heard as clearly, or even more clearly, than those of us who had the help of the loud speaker system. This man shared with us his story.
He had been visiting areas in India that were populated by extremely zealous Hindus (called the RSS), who are violent toward Christians, not allowing any Christian church or meeting to take place in their area. He would go into these places and dance and perform for them. He would get their interest, and soon most of the people of the village would come to see what was going on. After he drew a large crowd of these zealous Hindus, he would stand on a chair and preach Christ to them.
After frequently visiting these villages, three whole villages decided to become Christians, and they stopped paying a tax that went to celebrate a holiday in honor of one of the Hindu gods. This aroused the anger of some of the zealous Hindus, and they determined to put an end to this acceptance of Christianity. They found out that this brother was responsible for bringing the gospel to these towns, and they were determined to kill him. Several of them found him traveling home from one of these villages on a motorcycle, and they approached him in jeeps and ran him down. When they hit his motorcycle, it flew into the air, hitting the branches of a tree, and then falling down and landing on him. The zealous Hindus left him for dead, thinking that they had fulfilled their mission.
This brother lay there in blood for two hours, then he was found by a friend and was brought to the hospital to have surgery. His femur had been broken, and kneecap destroyed. A surgery was performed, with metal plates and long screws inserted in his leg. His femur was pushed up into his hip nearly two inches, damaging his hip and destroying the hip joint, shortening his leg. The initial surgery did little to correct the problems, and barely saved his leg.
He now walks on a crutch, and has one shoe about one-and-one-half inches thicker than the other, but he can barely walk. He has a wife, a two-year-old son and a one-year-old daughter, but he is unable to do physical work to support them because of his condition. He desires to continue his missionary work for the Hindus, but with his leg condition he finds it very difficult. He showed us the x-rays of his leg, showing the screws and plates, and he also showed us a doctors report explaining that a surgery could be done to remove the metal plates and screws, and replace the hip joint, and that if this were done, he would walk normally again. The report said that this surgery would cost 275,000 Indian rupees, which is nearly 6,000 US dollars.
All of his friends, church members, and relatives had exhausted their resources to pay for the initial surgery, by selling their cows, chickens, and whatever else they could spare. With this, and the help of a large donation from a Catholic man, they had raised 300,000 rupees for that initial surgery, but now they cannot raise the remaining money for the next surgery. They raised all they could, and it was only 30,000 rupees. That is 255,000 rupees ($5,424) shy of the needed money to pay for the surgery. I felt bad that I was not able to give this brother the money for the surgery, because I could see his desire to share the gospel. He was especially excited about the truth about God, and wants to share it everywhere. I told him that I did not have the money to give him for the surgery, but he asked me to share his burden with others and pray that the Lord would supply the funds for the surgery. I told him that I would do this.
Monday, March 24
On the last day of the meetings, I shared what the Bible says about the death of the Son of God. Since many people were unfamiliar with what the Bible says about the dead, I had to share a short study on the state of the dead and the destruction of the wicked. Many of them did not know that the dead know not anything. (Ecclesiastes 9:5) This subject raised a few questions and, by noon, all the questions had been answered and they could see that it was the soul of the Son of God that was made an offering for our sins. (Isaiah 53:10)
The next meeting I shared some history of the truth about God from Christs time up until now, showing how the Trinity doctrine came to be considered to be the foundational doctrine of Christianity, even though it is not taught in the Scriptures.
After another trip to the hotel for lunch, Brother Howard shared the final message of the meetings, calling upon the brethren to apply the knowledge they had learned and share it with everyone they meet. The Lord really blessed, and a few people came off the street to hear the message.
After the message, we called all the ministers and leaders to come forward, and we had a prayer of dedication for them to teach the message that they had learned. Everyone who came to the meetings had come believing in the Trinity, and now everyone was leaving thoroughly convinced that the Trinity doctrine is the strange god of the papacy as prophesied in Daniel 11:36-39, and they were determined to share the truth about Gods love with the world. Howard and I were overjoyed to see how the Lord had blessed at the meetings.
It was hard to say goodbye to our new friends whom we had come to love. We rested well, and the following morning we packed up our things to travel to the next city for our next set of meetings.
Tuesday, March 25
On Tuesday, after a six-hour drive, we arrived at our destination. Two pastors met us at the hotel where we were to stay. The hotel was nice; it had two single beds in the middle of the room. There was no phone. The bathroom toilet was the traditional Indian toilet that is level with the floor. There was no shower or bathtub, just a faucet with hot and cold water, and a bucket for bathing. After getting cleaned up we headed to the meeting hall for our first night of meetings.
The meeting room was very nice. It looked like it would seat 150 people. It was decorated with ribbons and flowers. About 60 people showed up for the first meeting, a slight majority of them being women, many of them young women. There were several young men as well. At the previous meetings our audience was almost exclusively pastors and Bible workers, but at these meetings it was different. Howard and I realized immediately that the meetings had to be conducted a little differently, focused on trying to reach the hearts of these young people who had come. The Lord blessed as Howard shared the opening message. It was encouraging to see the faces light up as they saw the need to get to know God and seek Him with all their hearts.
After the meeting, most of the people came up to the front for prayer. Many of them wanted us to pray for them for healing of different types of sicknesses and pains. Others had financial struggles or other troubles they wanted prayer for. We prayed with them in groups. There were about four groups of ten each that we prayed for. The people were very friendly, and they seemed eager to hear what the Lord wanted to share with them in these meetings.
Wednesday, March 26
The Wednesday meetings began with Howard asking a few questions. He asked, How many gods are there? Most of them answered There is only one God, but one man answered, There are three in one. Howard then asked them another question, Who is the God of the Bible? Many of them spoke up and said Jesus Christ. Howard explained to them that we would like to look at the Bible and, after doing so, they may be surprised that they are wrong. The Lord blessed through Brother Howard, and the point was brought home forcefully, with abundant Bible testimony, that the one God of the Bible is God the Father. He read five of the seven places where the Bible says that there is one God. (The seven are Malachi 2:10; Mark 12:32; Romans 3:30; 1 Corinthians 8:6; Ephesians 4:6; 1 Timothy 2:5; & James 2:19.)
At the end of the meeting Brother Howard asked the question again, Who is the one God of the Bible? Surprisingly, many of them said, Jesus, even though a few said, the Father. Howard explained that we had just read from the Bible that there is only one God, and that one God is God the Father. After asking the question a few more times, with a decreasing number of people answering, Jesus, they finally agreed that the one God of the Bible is the Father. Howard ended the message by explaining the importance of knowing Gods love so that we can love Him in return.
I had the next meeting and, again, I asked the question, Who is the one God of the Bible? Surprisingly, most of them said, Jesus, with only a few saying, the Father. I reminded them that about ten minutes ago they all agreed that the one God of the Bible is God, the Father, and that we had just read it for ourselves in the Bible. Again, they came to an agreement that the one God of the Bible is the Father. Then the Lord blessed with a message on His love for us in giving up His only begotten Son. They saw from the Scriptures that Christ was truly born from His Father before anything was created. They also saw that it is extremely important to know this in order to appreciate Gods love in giving His Son, and so that we can love God with all our hearts. At the end of the meeting, I asked if there were any questions about what had been presented so far. There were none. I asked them when Christ was born from His Father. They answered, Before anything was created. Everyone seemed to have understood the messages thus far.
After lunch, we returned for the next meeting. Brother Howard shared a message to bring home forcefully the truth that had been presented. He began the meeting by asking the same question. He asked, According to what we have read so far in the Scriptures, who is the one God of the Bible? Howard and I could hardly believe their answer. They replied, Jesus Christ. All except for one person who said, three persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Again, Howard had to remind them of some of the things we had read in the Bible and, again, they agreed that the one God of the Bible is the Father only. The Lord blessed in the meeting to impress upon them the importance of understanding this message.
After the message, we opened up the meeting for questions. Nobody spoke up. They said there were no questions. We had planned for this time for questions, so I just refreshed their memory regarding what we had read, by reading all seven of the verses that use the term, one God. After we were finished I asked if there were any questions. One man spoke up, The Bible says, the one God is Father, Son and Holy Spirit. I said, Okay, let us read the verse, please give us the Bible reference, and let us read it for ourselves. He again asserted that the Bible says that the one God is Father, Son and Holy Spirit. I challenged him to provide us with the verse, reminding him that we just read all seven places where the Bible says there is one God, and that every time it is clear that it is referring to the Father, and the Father alone. He sat down for a short time, then rose to his feet excited that he had found the verse that supposedly said what he had claimed, it was 1 John 5:7. I said, let us read it, and see what it says. Let us see if it says that God is made up of three persons. After examining and understanding what verse 8 means, we went to verse 7 and found that it does not prove a Trinity.
We closed the meeting, and one excited man, who had moved to the front to hear better, said, This is the truth, I have heard many sermons, but this is the first time I have heard anything like this. He said, Most people just preach, but you guys are researching the Bible. He said that he wished we could stay several days longer. It was refreshing to see the truth take root in their hearts.
We ended the meetings for the day, and prayed with several people who came to the front for that purpose. We retired for the evening, rejoicing to see the goodness and blessings of God.
Thursday, March 27
On Thursday morning I shared a study on the death of Christ, which included a study on the state of the dead and the destruction of the wicked. The Lord blessed, and the people could see that Christ truly died for our sins and His Father was the only one who could raise Him from the dead.
Brother Howard shared the second message on the Holy Spirit. The Lord blessed in this meeting. They were able to see that the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of God rather than a separate individual.
We were invited to eat lunch at the home of one of the pastors. They had a very humble home, with only two rooms (a kitchen and a bedroom). They have five children, so it is crowded. The food was very good, and we had a nice visit.
After lunch, we began the meeting by asking all the pastors and Bible workers to come to the front. I asked the ministers a few questions. I asked, How many gods are there? Everyone answered quickly that there is only one. Then I asked, Who is this one God of the Bible? Again everyone answered quickly, The Father. I asked, When was the Son of God born? Several of them answered, before the creation of the world, but some were unsure, especially those ministers who had been skipping most of the meetings. I asked, Who is older, God the Father, or His only begotten Son. Several of them said, The Father, but one minister who had missed most of the meetings, said, They are the same age, and then he read John 1:1.
Most of the people already had a good understanding of the Father and the Son, but now the influence of this minister seemed to be troubling them. We read the verse and found that it does not say that the Father and His Son are the same age. This minister then said that Jesus Christ was just words in the mouth of God the Father, that the Father and the Son are the same person. His influence seemed to cause others to question, and it became clear that there was still a lot of confusion on the subject. I shared a few Bible texts to help clarify what the Bible says about God, and then we closed the meeting with a promise to return in the morning and clarify the subject, and answer any questions they might have. We strongly encouraged all the ministers to attend the rest of the meetings, and to sit at the front so that we could have interaction.
Howard and I saw that the ministers who seemed to think they did not need to hear the messages, and just wandered around during the meetings; absent most of the time, were having a bad influence upon those who had been attentive and learned the truth. Many of the common people had heard and understood the truth. They probably could have explained the truth better than some of the ministers. It reminded me of when Jesus said to the ministers of His day, The publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you.
We had heavy hearts as we left the meeting place, but we were encouraged that this is the work of the Lord, and He will take care of it. The Lord sent a pastor and a Bible worker to encourage us near the end of the meeting. They had been to the previous meetings, and we knew that they had a good understanding of the truth.
Friday, March 28
On Friday morning I shared the first meeting, covering the history of the early church and their beliefs. We saw that the early Christians all believed that Christ was literally born from His Father before anything was created. Then we saw how Origen invented the idea that Christ was eternal, just like His Father, teaching that He did not have a beginning. We saw how the Trinity was invented based on this false theory, and how the papacy exalted this strange god according the prophecy in Daniel 11:39. After this, we examined just what the orthodox Trinity is, what tritheism is, and what modalism, or Jesus only, is. We saw that all of these false doctrines were invented by Satan to deny the sonship and the death of Christ, hiding Gods love from their adherents. Everyone admitted that these false theories are no better than the false gods made of wood and stone that were out on the Hindu shrines which dotted the countryside.
The Lord greatly blessed in this meeting. They already had the background of what the Bible says about God, Christ, and the Holy Spirit, so it was easy to explain the truth and show them the danger and error of the Trinity and these other false theories about God.
Brother Howard shared the next meeting, bringing home the truth about God and showing the importance of it, and the effects that false theories about God have in our lives. He then went into the necessity of obeying God, and dealt with a subject that was close to most of the people at the meetings. He shared what the Bible says in 1 Corinthians 14 about speaking in tongues, that it should only be done if there is an interpreter. We all had a good example to go by, because we needed a translator to speak with them. If we did not have one, the messages would be useless to the people because they could not understand them. The Bible says that all things must be done to edify the people, and it says that speaking in a language that others cannot understand does not help the people, and should not be done in church unless there is an interpreter.
Brother Howard also brought out the importance of praying with the understanding. He noted that when a person is praying, others should not raise their voice at the same time, because they will not be edified by the prayer of the one offering the prayer. When everyone speaks in prayer, all saying different things at the same time, it is a bedlam of noise, and it is very difficult for anyone to receive edification. Howard pointed out that Paul says, But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness. (2 Timothy 2:16) Vain babbling will cause people to become more ungodly, rather than edifying them. The people seemed to have been blessed by the message.
We were again invited to lunch at the home of a pastor attending the meetings. The food was very good.
At the afternoon meeting, we asked if there were any questions about what we had presented. There were none, so I presented a few Bible verses describing the one God of the Bible as the Father and the Father alone. Then I asked if there were any questions. One man who had attended for the first time that afternoon, asked why Jesus said we should baptize in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. I pointed out that every time the apostles baptized in water, they did so in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. If we baptize in three names, then we must say that the apostles were wrong to baptize the way they did. Either we are wrong, or they were wrong. We all concluded that we must be wrong if we baptize in three names, so we concluded that we must baptize in the name of Jesus Christ when we submerse people under water. We then could understand the truth of Christs words, which were not a formula to recite at baptism but a command to teach, or immerse in the truth, about the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, all of which are vital in a Christians experience.
A lady asked about John 1:1, and we saw that Proverbs 8:24-30 is a perfect parallel to what is said in John 1:1. Both say that Christ was with His Father when He created in the beginning. Both say that Christ is divine by nature, with Proverbs explaining that this is so because He was born from His Father. The new brother who had only attended the afternoon meeting, and asked about Matthew 28:19, rose and said he must be going, but he said he was impressed with these teachings and likes them very much. He said he would like to learn more about these things. I felt that the Lord blessed us by sending him to give us encouragement.
After answering questions regarding John 14:10, 11; Genesis 1:2; and 1 John 5:7, we closed the meeting with the majority in agreement that the Bible does not teach the Trinity anywhere, but rather that it teaches there is one God, the Father, who has a Son who was born from Him before anything was created, and that the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of God the Father, rather than a separate individual from Him.
We were very encouraged by the success of the meetings on Friday, and we praised the Lord for granting such good success. Many people expressed their appreciation of this message; that now they can have a personal relationship with God and His Son. It was encouraging.
After the meeting, many people came forward for prayer. We prayed with them for over an hour, each of them wanting personal attention.
The Sabbath was now upon us, and we retired for the night with high spirits.
Sabbath, March 29
On Sabbath morning, Brother Howard shared a sermon on the validity of the law of God, ending by proving that Saturday is the Sabbath, the only day that God ever blessed and set aside exclusively for the purpose of worship and communion between God and men. The Lord really blessed and the presentation was so clear that the people said, themselves, that Saturday is the Sabbath; Howard did not have to tell them. Many people learned the Sabbath truth for the first time, and rejoiced in the light. Others were not willing to accept the Sabbath truth at this time. I pray that they will continue to study it for themselves.
Howard and I stayed at the meeting house during lunch to visit with the people. Many of them wanted us to take a picture of them, and several of them hired a man to take pictures of us. We had a nice time together. After lunch, we had time for testimonies. Several people explained how the Lord blessed them in the meetings, and how precious this truth is to them. They explained that they had been confused about God, but now they understand what the Scripture says about Him, His Son, and the Holy Spirit of God. Some expressed how thankful they were to learn about the Sabbath.
We had a baby dedication, and then Brother Howard answered a few questions on the Sabbath that had not been addressed earlier. We ended the meetings with prayer, and then we sadly said goodbye to all the dear people whom we had come to love.
Sunday, March 30
On Sunday morning we made the five-hour trip to the city where we had first arrived in India, to stay the evening in the same lovely home that we had stayed in our first night in India. We had a nice time with them, and planned to leave early in the morning for the next city where we would be holding meetings, in a neighboring state. However, before retiring, we received a troubling report about Muslims seeking for Americans in that state, to kill them because of the war in Iraq. We even heard that one vehicle returning from there that night had been stopped by a Muslim roadblock and everyone was asked for their passports.
After prayer and counsel with the US embassy, we decided to go ahead, trusting that God would take care of us.
Monday, March 31
Before we were able to enter the neighboring state we had to acquire a permit, and pass through a check point and several stops to pay tolls. We were careful to pay close attention to any signs of a road block set up by Muslims searching for US citizens. Praise the Lord, we did not see any of these road blocks, even though we traveled for several hours at night, which is a time when such road blocks would be more likely. The only road block we saw was a road block setup for a police check point, but they were only stopping traffic going south, and we were headed north.
The trip was longer than we thought. We left about 11 a.m., and did not arrive at our destination until 10 p.m. We had a flat tire on the way, so that took some time to repair.
We arrived safely, and were met by a pastor, and escorted to a nearby hotel where we spent the night. It is very hot in this northern city, even through the night. We had a good nights rest, ready to begin the Bible seminars on Tuesday morning. We had planned to have our first meeting on Monday evening, but we arrived too late for that.
Tuesday, April 1
The local pastor who had arranged the meetings informed us that he had advertised our meetings in the newspaper, on the radio, and by posting bulletins in many parts of the city. This was not a good idea considering the circumstances in India. In India there is a group of extremist Hindus called the RSS, which is short for Rashtriya Sheba Shang (People Movement Service Society).
The RSS are dedicated to promoting Hinduism and fighting against anyone who opposes the Hindu religion, specifically Christians. We heard about the RSS many times along our trip. As noted earlier, at our first meetings we met a man who had been run over by a jeep, driven by a group of RSS, while he was riding home from a missionary journey to an RSS stronghold. The RSS are supported by, and cooperate with, the ruling government party of India, the PJB, so their influence is widespread in India. They would be considered something like a religious form of the KGB of Russia, or the SS of Nazi Germany. We had learned during our trip that we should be careful that the RSS does not find out about our Christian meetings. They are especially antagonistic against foreigners coming to India to conduct Christian services.
Just as we were about to leave for the meeting room to conduct the first meeting, the pastor received a call on his cell phone from a local television news channel informing him that they wanted to come to the meetings and broadcast a report about the meetings on the evening news. The pastor was noticeably nervous by this call, stating that he did not inform the television news channel about the meetings, and that it could cause trouble.
We left for the meetings, which were scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. We arrived at the meeting place; a very nicely-kept Roman Catholic meeting room that was often used for Christian meetings. There was a large banner at the front of the room with our names painted in large letters, welcoming us. We were warmly greeted by the people attending the meeting. There were about 25 to 30 people at the first meeting. Brother Howard shared the first message. At the beginning of the message he asked the congregation the question, How many gods are there? Everyone agreed that there is just one. He then asked, Who is this one God? Everyone answered, Jesus. Brother Howard then opened the Scriptures and read many verses that state plainly that the one God of the Bible is God the Father.
When this realization struck home to several of the people in the audience, it caused quite a stir. They were troubled with the idea that Jesus Christ is not the one God of the Bible, and that, instead, the one God of the Bible is God the Father alone. Several men rose to their feet with questions, and Bible verses they wanted answered. Brother Howard encouraged them to continue listening to the presentation, and explained that afterward we would examine all of their questions and Bible verses. This did not please one man, who was determined to get answers immediately, and it caused a dialogue in the midst of the meeting. Since it was getting late, we closed the meeting for lunch, expecting to return for further clarification after lunch. Howard and I spoke one on one with several of the men who had questions, and then we left for lunch.
However, there is an important part of the story I left out. During Brother Howards message, two men from the television news station came into the meeting room, one holding a large television camera and the other carrying a tablet for taking notes. The camera-man had the traditional red dot on his forehead, indicating that he was a Hindu. He recorded video footage of Howard preaching, with another brother translating, for about five minutes, using different angles, and then he turned the camera on me and the other brother who was sitting at the front with us. Then he turned the camera on the large banner behind us, and then on the audience. During all of this time the other man was taking notes. After taking a sufficient amount of video footage, the camera-man called one of the pastors outside to ask him some questions, and then they left.
The pastor who had arranged the meetings was greatly troubled by this experience. As soon as we left the meeting room for lunch, he explained to us the seriousness of the situation. He explained that one of the meeting attendees knew the camera-man, and informed the pastor that the camera-man is a member of the RSS. The pastor was very worried that he would bring the video footage to the police, and then the police would come to the meeting with the RSS to cause trouble.
The pastor said that he wanted to stop the meetings immediately. He explained that if the RSS and police came and found Howard and me there, they would arrest all of us immediately, put us in jail, and then the RSS would come to the jail to cause us many problems. He said that if we would leave immediately, then the police and RSS would just bring him to the police station and question him for several hours, and fine him for his actions. The pastors counseled us to get out of the state as quickly as possible, and leave the city immediately. He was very worried that the police would show up any minute.
We went back to the hotel and hurriedly packed our bags and, after prayer, departed. We drove for several hours, but we knew we could not make it safely out of the state that evening unless we drove all night, which was a dangerous thing to do under the circumstances. We anxiously approached the police road block that was situated about 30 miles south of the city, stopping traffic traveling south. We knew that it was possible that the police already had our names and pictures, and that a stop at the road block could cause us problems. As we approached the police road block, they were busy inspecting a vehicle, so our driver just drove around the road block on the northbound side of the road and continued traveling south. The police didnt seem to be concerned that we had driven around the road block, and we praised God that we had passed this check point without even being stopped. We drove until about 7 p.m., and then stopped at a hotel for the night.
Wednesday, April 2
We had a nice rest and, after breakfast, we continued our journey back to the city where we had entered India, where we would be safely outside of the state that had given us trouble. Before we could enter the next state, we had to pass an inspection station. We approached the inspection station and saw all the signs for the road block, but there were no officials around. We passed by this check point as well, with no trouble, and again we praised the Lord for His protection over us. We arrived at the home where we had stayed earlier, and we were greeted by smiling faces, thankful that God had answered their prayers and kept us safe.
Thursday, April 3
On Thursday morning we had a meeting with a local pastor who seemed to be genuinely interested in the message. We telephoned the pastor, where we had had the trouble with the RSS, to find out how things had gone after we left. He said that the RSS returned to the meeting in the afternoon, looking for the two foreigners who had come to have meetings. He said that they brought him to the police station and questioned him for some time, wanting to know where we had gone. He informed them that we had gone and would not be coming back to the meetings.
They fined him and let him go, telling him that they wanted to have further talks with him the next day. The pastor told us that he watched the news and they had shown the video footage with our pictures and names, stating that we were foreigners who had come to India to hold Christian meetings. He told us that now that our names and pictures were publicized so much, and because the RSS were searching for us, that we should not return to the state to hold the meetings in a neighboring town as had been scheduled.
After prayer, and consulting with the brethren who were with us, we all agreed that it would be best for us to stay out of the northern state until things cooled down, which would be too late to hold the meetings there on this trip. It was a very difficult decision to make. We could have taken the train to our scheduled meeting place, and then taken taxis to our destination, but with our names and pictures so publicized, and with the RSS searching for us, and the Muslims searching for US citizens, and with everyone here who is familiar with the conditions in India strongly encouraging us not to go, we felt that all the signs were telling us that it was best to stay where we were. Both Howard and I prayed about the situation, and we both concluded that it would be best to stay there.
We felt that we were between a rock and a hard place. We did not want to be like Jonah, who fled his duty to preach to Ninevah by hiding in a ship, nor did we want to be like Paul, who boldly went to Jerusalem where he was captured, brought to Rome, and there imprisoned and killed, when the Lord had used many people, through inspiration, to tell him not to go to Jerusalem.
We decided to stay where we were and try to share the gospel in any way possible while we were there. We also decided to invite the pastors from up north to come visit us. However, they were unable to come. The Lord blessed with several opportunities to share the gospel in the city where we were staying.
Friday, April 4
On Friday evening, after Sabbath began, we gathered together in the home of our hosts who had several questions they wanted answered. There was so much interest in learning more about the Bible, and getting their questions answered, that we stayed up until about 1:30 a.m. Everyone expressed their happiness in finding the answers to their questions in the Bible.
Sabbath, April 5
On Sabbath morning we again gathered together, but this time they wanted to hear the message we had come to share in India. The Lord really blessed them with understanding, and they were rejoicing that they could finally understand the truth about God, and have a personal relationship with Him and His Son. They were also glad to know that they now have something better to offer the Hindus than what they already had. They could see that the Trinity doctrine is no better than the strange gods of the Hindus, and any illustration of it would fit in well on top of the Hindu temples that dot the country. The lady of the house expressed her desire to share the truth with those around her and start a church in that city.
Sunday, April 6
On Sunday, after breakfast, we went to the zoo. It was a very large zoo, spread out over a large area. We saw many monkeys, the Indian bear, and several other animals that inhabit India. A high point of our visit to the zoo was seeing an elephant walking through the zoo with a man on his back. As he came by us, Howard motioned to the man that he would like to ride on the elephant. The man stopped the elephant and told it to stoop down, and called Howard to climb on. After a short trip on the elephant, Howard climbed off and was greeted by a spray from the elephants trunk. The driver asked Howard if he wanted to be blessed by the elephant, by having the elephant rest his trunk on Howards head. Howard declined. Hindus worship many strange things as gods, and the elephant is one of them. After Howards adventure, he convinced me to try it, so I also climbed on the elephant. It is much higher than riding on a horse, it seems that it is about twice as high. The elephant has long, bristly hairs (about three inches) all over his back, but they are so scarce that they are hardly noticeable unless you are up close.
After the ride, I was also greeted with a spray from his trunk. I am not sure how he collected such spray, because he did not drink any water while we were with him. Fortunately, neither Howard nor I got much of the spray on us. It was a neat experience for both of us.
We ate a picnic lunch together, and then departed from the zoo. We went to a mountain where the apostle Thomas was purportedly killed. A Catholic church was built on the site, and it contained what was supposed to be a piece of Thomas bone, a cross supposedly carved out of stone by Thomas, and a painting of Mary and baby Jesus that the apostle Luke supposedly painted, and Thomas supposedly brought to India. A sign said that the cross bled during mass on several occasions. It was portrayed in such a way to make it appear that Thomas practiced his religion in the same way the Catholics do it today, but I am sure that that is not the case. I am sure Thomas did not carve out a cross in a rock, nor did he carry with him a picture of Mary and baby Jesus. Nor would he, if he were alive, appreciate the fact that many people kiss the glass-covered piece of his supposed bone.
There seems to be validity to the story that Thomas came to India, converted many Hindus to Christianity, and then was killed by Hindus. He is said to have died when a Hindu pushed a spear into his back while he was praying.
After visiting that site, we went to the cave where Thomas was said to have slept at night, along with a tiger that kept him company. There was a church built on this spot as well. After this, we visited the site where Thomas was buried, but his grave is empty because long ago his relatives came to take his body back home to be buried.
A large church was built on this spot, and we noticed at the front of the church there was a statue, which was supposed to represent Jesus, with two blue peacocks standing before him. Howard and I remembered that more than once we had seen a pair of blue peacocks, just like these, standing before statues on Hindu shrines. It was remarkable as we saw the same idolatry practiced by Catholics that is practiced by Hindus. We were told that many Hindus visit these places and worship the images of Christ, Mary, Peter, and others, just as they do their own idols in their shrines. They find it easy to practice their paganism in the Catholic church as well as practice it at their own shrines, and I guess it makes it easier for them if they have some of the same images to worship in both places, like the blue peacocks we saw in the Catholic church.
Howard and I had read about people who worship idols made of wood and stone, but we had never seen it first hand for ourselves. Our trip to India struck us with the reality of what we had only read about before. I had visited Catholic churches before and saw people giving honor to images, but, after seeing it done in the same way in pagan Hindu shrines, I was struck with the extent of image worship that is carried on in the Catholic church. It is just as real and forbidden by God in the Catholic church as it is in the pagan temples.
Monday, April 7
Monday was dedicated to answer any questions of the family who were hosting us, especially the lady of the house, who planned to share the truth with others. There were questions about image worship, and why Moses set up an image of a snake on a pole for the Jews to look upon to be healed. They also asked about the dove coming down at Christs baptism, and about speaking in tongues. They wanted to understand the identity of the beasts in Daniel and Revelation, and they had several other questions. We studied late into the night, and the Lord greatly blessed.
Tuesday, April 8
On Tuesday morning we traveled to a historical site outside the city. There were several large Hindu shrines and images carved out of rock, each carved from a single rock. Howard remarked to me that someone had spent a lot of time carving all of these things, and we agreed that it had been a big waste of time. We saw a shrine depicting the Hindu Trinity: Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva, and it reminded us of the pagan roots of the abominable Trinity doctrine that masquerades itself as Christian in most of the Christian churches of the world today.
We had seen many Hindu temples and gods along our trip, but here it seemed like a center for the creation of these false gods. We went down a road where the constant sound of hammering was heard on every side. There were many shops on either side of the road where many men were busy carving gods out of stone. It was a disheartening sight. We were told of a Hindu saying that goes like this, marriages are made in heaven, and gods are made on earth. When we stopped to get out of the car, many salesman came to us, trying to sell us little gods of every description. I found it strange that people would carve gods out of stone and then sell them, and people were gullible enough to buy them. I dont know how they could think that these gods could do anything for them.
While we were there, we enjoyed climbing on some of the natural rock formations. It was a beautiful place, only marred by the many sculptures of false gods. From atop the rocks, we could easily see the ocean to the east of India called the Bay of Bengal. It lay just about a quarter mile from where we were. We went out to the beach to eat a late picnic lunch and find a few seashells before returning to the home of our hosts.
Again, we stayed up late studying the Bible. It was encouraging to see how eager this Catholic family was to learn the truth. The lady of the house, pledged to share the truths she had learned with all those around her. She had a special burden for the Hindus. This burden was shared by her husband who likes to witness to Hindus at his work in Television broadcasting. I showed him a list of false doctrines of the Catholic church, with dates of when these doctrines were accepted. I was surprised when he showed me a list of many of the same false teachings that I had listed, and his dates matched almost perfectly. I asked how he could know all this and still believe that the Catholic church was the right church to be a part of. He admitted that he does not believe all these false doctrines, even though he is a member of the Catholic church. He and his family all said that they do not bow down before images, nor worship them, neither do they believe the pope has any more authority in religious matters than any other man. We found that the large majority of Christians in India are Catholic, so it seems to them that it is the thing to do, even if they know things are not right there.
Wednesday, April 9
Wednesday was filled with preparations for our departure. We took care of all last minute necessities and packed our things. We took our first ride in an auto-rickshaw, the small three-wheeled taxis that are so common in India. There were seven of us, including the driver, riding in the rickshaw. It was an interesting experience. It was so small, and traveled very close to other traffic. We had to be careful not to stick our hands outside of the vehicle, because if we did we might lose them.
It was hard to say goodbye to our new-found friends, and our family in the Lord. We left for the airport around 10 p.m. and, after a long ordeal going through red tape, we finally boarded our plane at about 1 a.m. It was a long flight home, and then we were reunited with our families, where we rehearsed the events of our trip to our loved ones at home, praising the Lord for His goodness to us, and all the blessings He poured out in India while we were there.
Your Prayers are Needed
Please pray for all the people in India, and especially for those who are involved in spreading the truth in a country where Christians are so few, and where they suffer persecution and hardship. Being a third-world country, there are many financial needs for the ministers doing the work of spreading the truth. Please pray that the Lord will supply all the needs of these dear brethren in India.
Fearfully and Wonderfully Made (Part 16)
by George McDaniel
(This is the sixteenth in a series of health articles that are designed to help you gain a deeper appreciation for Gods amazing handiwork of the human body and a better understanding of how it works and how it can be better maintained by simple methods. George McDaniel is my father-in-law, and has been a registered nurse for many years, which, along with much research, has taught him many useful health principles. I pray that you are being blessed by these articles. Editor)
For those who have not read the previous articles, I will explain the method of selection of topics. It has been said that there are eight natural remedies that can be used to heal the body of disease and to maintain it in a healthy condition. Someone came up with a mnemonic (memory device) for remembering them. This is: NEW START. This stands for nutrition, exercise, water, sunlight, temperance, air, rest and trust in God. The first four have been covered. Therefore, the topic for this issue is temperance.
Many people think temperance means not drinking alcoholic beverages. It has a much broader meaning than this. The word itself means moderation or restraint. True temperance can be described as avoiding everything harmful and using moderately those things that are good. We live in a very intemperate age. The motto of many people seems to be, If it feels good, do it; if it tastes good, eat it. Restraint, or self-control, is a virtue that is not much admired today.
Temperance is beneficial in every aspect of life: eating, drinking sleeping, working, studying, playing, or whatever. Intemperance can go to either extreme. For example: eating too much or not eating enough to sustain life could both be considered intemperate behavior.
Intemperance weakens us mentally, physically and spiritually. Blessed art thou, O land, when thy king is the son of nobles, and thy princes eat in due season, for strength, and not for drunkenness. (Ecclesiastes 10:17) Here, gluttony is placed in the same category as drunkenness. Both overeating and alcohol consumption dull the mind and impair judgment. Food can be as addictive as alcohol, and for the same reason. Certain foods, as well as certain drugs, cause the release of brain chemicals that serve as neurotransmitters, such as serotonin. When the brain is flooded with these substances, a feeling of pleasure occurs along with feelings of energy and strength. This effect soon wears off as the supply of neurotransmitters becomes depleted, and is then followed by feelings of depression and exhaustion, so the person takes more of the substance or behavior that gives him the pleasurable feelings. Once this pattern of addiction occurs, it is very difficult to break. The person involved will frequently deny being addicted.
Among the things that can cause addiction are: certain drugs, alcohol, tobacco, and sugar- and fat-laden foods. Also included here are sexual experiences, pornography and romantic or other exciting works of fiction. Strangely, just reading about some of these things, or viewing them on the screen, or picturing them in the mind, can cause the release of the pleasurable neurotransmitters to the extent that actual addictions can occur.
It is almost impossible for an addict to overcome addictive behavior on his own. He needs help. He has to realize that this behavior is destructive to his life. Then he has to want to overcome it.
There are a few people who have stopped addictive behavior because of the strength of their will. They realize it is harmful and they need to stop and they do just that. Most people, however, are not in this group, although many of them think they are.
Some people have been instantly delivered from addiction by Gods power in their lives. Everyone needs to start here, by asking God to help them and committing their lives to Him. However, there are many who need the help of a support group in overcoming addictions.
Not all intemperance leads to addiction, of course, but by focusing on the extreme situation, we can be led to see the need for balance in our lives. Also, there are probably many more who are addicted to something than most of us realize. Such things as TV viewing, shopping, spending money, hobbies, hoarding, etc., when carried to extreme, can all be considered addictive behaviors.
When I speak of the need for balance, I do not refer to the balancing of good and evil, positive and negative, yin and yang, in our lives. This type of balance is the foundation for all pagan religions. We need to totally eliminate the evil, negative things, and have only the good; only that which comes from God. Our motto needs to be, Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God. (1 Corinthians 10:31)
I hope this little discourse on temperance will help you, as you make decisions day by day, to keep yourselves in good health, physically, mentally and spiritually.
Something for the Young at Heart
We would like to give you an interesting and easy way to study the Bible, so we are including a crossword puzzle for you. Try it and see what you think. If you have any suggestions, please let us know. In order to maintain the flow of the study, this crossword puzzle is not split into Across and Down sectionsAcross or Down is indicated at the end of each line.
Christ Fulfilling the Psalms (Part 3)
Jesus said, All things must be ____ that were written in the Psalms concerning Him. Luke 24:441 Across
The Psalmist says, I am ____ with them that go down into the pit. Psalm 88:44 Down
The Messiah was ____ with the transgressors. Isaiah 53:125 Down
The Psalmist says, Thy wrath ____ hard upon me. Psalm 88:716 Down
The Lord hath ____ the iniquity of us all upon His Son. Isaiah 53:67 Down
The Psalmist says, Thou hast put away mine ____ far from me. Psalm 88:83 Across
All of Christs disciples ____ Him and fled. Matthew 26:5614 Across
Speaking of death, the Psalmist said, I am shut up, and I ____ come forth. Psalm 88:89 Across
Jesus prayed to His Father who was able to ____ Him from death. Hebrews 5:712 Across
Note: Jesus depended upon His Father to raise Him from the dead because He could not do it Himself. (See John 5:19, 30.)
The Psalmist says, Why hidest thou thy ____ from me? Psalm 88:142 Down
Jesus cried out, My God, My God, why hast thou ____ me? Matthew 27:4614 Down
The Psalmist prayed for his ____. Psalm 109:417 Across
Jesus asked His Father to ____ the people who crucified Him. Luke 23:3410 Across
David wrote, The LORD spoke to my Lord saying, Sit at my right ____. Psalm 110:111 Down
Jesus applied this Psalm to Himself when He said that David called Christ ____. Matthew 22:42-4516 Across
Who is set down at the right hand of the throne of God? Hebrews 12:28 Down
The LORD spoke to someone saying, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of ____. Psalm 110:46 Down
The book of Hebrews applies this verse to ____. Hebrews 5:5, 615 Down
"The ____ which the builders refused is become the head stone of the corner. Psalm 118:2212 Down
Peter applied this verse to Jesus Christ of ____. Acts 4:10, 1113 Across
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