Greetings brothers and sister at home,
Today we went to the village of Chennur, about 10km north of Kaddapah where we are staying. When we got there we sang some songs with the children that were there until the rest of the people gathered for the worship service. Just before we started pastor Victor told me that these were Hindu families. I later learned that most of them were converts from Hinduism, but there were also some Hindu visitors. I spoke to them about the mercy of God through the story of the calling of Matthew. I adapted the message to fit their situation and pray that the Lord gave me the right words and that He will work through them. When church is over, many people line up for us to pray for them. They have so many physical ailments that they want prayers for. But we also pray for their souls and salvation.
After lunch we go back to the same congregation for an afternoon VBS. We have 105 children and many adults. This afternoon, sister Laura was not feeling well. She takes her turn at the hotel while we go. Alison and I split up her story to teach. We pray that Laura will be ok. The heat, and food and long days all wear us out. I pray that the Lord will grant her as quick a recovery as He granted me and give her renewed strength to continue the work.
It is quite apparant that the children in this village do not know as much about the Bible as some of the others. So our message is all the more important here. This group of kids is much harder to control during the craft time. They were great for the story but not they can't control their energy and excitment and it gets quite noisy. That makes it more difficult. It is fun that they are so excited about it, but it makes it more exhausting for us.
On the way back to the Hotel, we take a small detour to see an ancient Hindu temple. It is a very beautiful sight along a river at the base of a hill, called the hill of flowers. There are not many flowers now, but you can imagine what it may have looked like at one time. Tradition has it that the man who built this temple was a Hindu priest who was a disciple of the Apostle Thomas, who is reported to have come to India. He learned the gospel of Jesus Christ, but then was under great pressure from his fellow Hindus and diverted from the gospel. He apparently tried to combine Christian teachings with the Hindu belief. He built this temple along the river. Of course, combining Christianity with Hinduism destroys Christianity. It is fitting that this temple now is vacant and only a haunt for birds and wild animals. That is quite picturesque of what happens when you try to combine Christ with any other world religion.
The Lord keeps giving us unexpected surprises. We went to eat at the Mantra Restraurant. Actually it is the only decent restaurant near our hotel. They seated us in a private room with a table for about 8 and there were only the 3 of us. Laura did not feel like eating today. Not long after we sat down they brought two young Indian girls in to sit at our table. We bagan talking with them. They spoke fairly good english. I noticed one of them had a cross on a neclace so I asked if they were Christians. They said they were. We had a very enjoyable visit with them while we ate. They were sisters who were going to school here. Their father had died when they were young and their mother lived in Hyderabad. They are going to engeniering school, in electrical engeniering. They hope to be able to get a job and help support their mother. But their real dream is to come to America some day. That seems to be a common ambition of many of the young people here.
We look forward to a good night sleep and pray that Laura is better tomorrow.
Blessings to you all,