Dear Brothers and Sisters,
It has taken me a lot of time before I wrote the newsletter. Since we dedicated the new church building in the month of November last year, there were many things that needed our attention. During the first few weeks of the dedication, we had quite a few visitors. The attendance averaged about 70. But as the new visitors witnessed straight-forward services (no hype, nor a band, nor frenzy of hallelujah’s) they might have found them a bit strange! Within a few weeks, the attendance came down to 50, and sometimes it is only 40. As much as we desire to see the church grow in numbers, there are certain things we cannot comprise on. Our Lord only commanded us to share the gospel, not to convert others (Mark 16:15). Conversion is the work of the Holy Spirit (2 Cor. 12:2). We plead with them passionately and give them all the biblical reasons why they should believe the gospel, but ultimately it is God who converts them and adds them to His church. To that end, we strive to share the gospel in our workplaces, in the streets, and through our lives. Please pray for our church people, that they may share the gospel with compassion and urgency.
Things are changing in our society rather rapidly. People are becoming more aggressive and radical in their religious beliefs. I believe they are being stirred up by the “hate preachers.” Although we still have freedom to distribute gospel tracts in certain areas, Christians are being targeted. Compared to Northern India, there is reasonable amount of religious tolerance, but things are changing and changing quickly. Please pray that the Lord would give us grace, boldness, and confidence in the Gospel to proclaim it and share it freely.
Please pray for Ramu. The Lord has answered all your/our prayers as far as Ramu is concerned. Though his parents are Hindus, they do send Ramu to church. Many have prayed for him, that his parents may not prevent him in going to church. The Lord has heard our prayers. Praise the Lord. They don’t bother him anymore. We recently had an opportunity to share the gospel with them as well. Currently, Ramu is writing tests to get qualified to get a government job. In a densely populated country like India, getting a job is one of the toughest tasks for an Indian youth; especially the rural youth. Ramu has recently lost a job because he did not want to pay a bribe. He said “If I were not a Christian, in a split second’s time, I would have paid the bribe. But because I am a Christian now, my conscience would not allow me do it.” Please continue to pray that he and others may get a job and settle down.
Though our congregation is small, most of it is comprised of young people who are in their 20s. All of them need to settle down, but getting a Christian spouse is one of the toughest challenges we face in our situation. Many who claim they are Christians are devoid of a Biblical testimony and are not personally affected by the rudimentary elements of the gospel of Jesus Christ. This is very unfortunate. We live in a very traditional society where one is expected to obey everything their parents or elders in society say. When parents are not Christians, pragmatic decisions are made, and the problem gets bigger. On the one hand, one may want to honor his parents; but on the other hand, we are commanded to honor what the Lord says. It is in this type of context that our Lord said, “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:26). Please pray as we counsel and guide these young people that they may make the right choices in marriage. Please pray for grace, wisdom, and boldness.
We as a church meet three times a week. There is a “Doctrine Class” before the Sunday Morning service takes place at 11:00 am. We conduct an Evangelistic Gospel service every Sunday evening. They’re a couple of individuals that are coming to the evening service. Please pray that the Lord would open their hearts. We tend to get more visitors on Sunday morning, and many of them are not saved. Please pray. We meet on Wednesdays for Bible study and prayer, and we meet in a different location for Bible study and prayer meeting on Thursdays. Please continue to pray that the Lord would send us the timely help to share the burdens in the local church ministry.
On a personal note, I have not been doing well (health wise) for the last few weeks. I was down with typhoid fever three weeks ago. Although I am feeling much better now, I feel I am not yet fully recovered. I also struggle with asthma. Our son Shane, was also down with typhoid a few weeks ago. He is doing well now. Our children are writing their exams. Please pray. My wife is doing well and has been a great help to me in all aspects of my life. My parents are doing well. They also have some nagging health problems. Please pray for them too. Please pray that the Lord would heal me completely and use me for His glory.
After all, we are all servants in his vineyard, aren’t we? And we want to serve him faithfully and effectively for his glory.
Please drop me a line, when you are free! We would love to hear from you.
In His Grace,