India Diary Note 5 (Sept – Dec 2011)

My dear friends,

There is a lady called Sister Francis, not a nun although is called Sister, she is simply a child of God just taking the Gospel to people who are just drawn to her.  She has a following of men who have drinking problems, Muslim and Hindu ladies looking for more from life, she has a Sunday school of about 15-20 children and young persons who want to know more about Jesus, they want to worship and to sing and praise God.  She invited me to join her group on Sunday at 10.30am to share the word, which I was delighted to accept.

From my previous diary note 4, this was the lady whom I met in the OM book store.  Luke Ingledow this is of interest to you, as the OM (Operation Mobilisation) book store is an offshoot of the same group you will possibly be getting involved with.   At 8.30am after a hearty breakfast of porridge, curd, honey, tea and bread I took off to first go to the River of Life Church for praise and worship, followed by a useful sermon given from the book of Jonah, in explaining that when God wants us to do something, we just cannot get away from him, even though we may try as Jonah did.  Left the River of Life Church at 10.15am as Sister Francis said she would meet me outside the Manoshanti Hotel at that time.

Sister Francis is about 5’2” in height with black shiny long hair styled in plaits and a lovely smile.  She wore a churiddar, which is Indian ladies outfit, in a green/blue colourful blended silk knee length top, a green (or maybe blue) silk shawl with plain green silk pantaloon trousers and leather sandals.  She rides a scooter, very well may I add, or at least I did not fall off or maybe it was God that held me firm, anyway it was a good journey and we arrived safely.  She has an 18 year old daughter so will leave you to judge her age as it would not be polite of me to do so.

Her home was a pleasant humble abode, the floor was basic concrete and a bamboo carpet was laid out on our arrival and folded away afterwards.  We all sat on the floor and after polite courtesies we entered into our fellowship.  No music, but worship songs in Hindi and English were sung mixed with prayers for maybe 20 minutes.  Afterwards I shared ‘Who is Jesus’ as a human, and to show his emotions, all of which was supported by biblical references from the NIV bible.  Sister Francis translated into Hindi with one of the ladies present who read direct from the bible in Hindi.  It was really meaningful, the Spirit of the Lord was with us all and I came away feeling very inspired.  Have agreed to return on Weds at 6pm to continue in ‘Who is Jesus’ and who he says he was – The I am’s i.e. I am the bread of life – I am the way, the truth and the life etc.  We finished about 12 o clock when Sister Francis took me to a place called ‘Kampal’ where I was invited by ‘The New Creation Church’ who had a park picnic. It was in a shaded tree area adjacent to a beach.  Good time was had by all then I headed home.  The fellowship with Sister Francis and her following is pleasantly left on my heart.

We are getting close to the Alpha Leaders training day on the 7th Dec, less than a week to go.  So far 105 invitations have been given, which is really great, target is 125.  Will be very happy if we get 75 people turn up on the actual day, but I will leave that to God; Proverbs19:21 Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails. The Alpha support training team arrive in from Bangalore at 5am on the morning of the 7th.  At 8am we will set up the PA system.  Arianne, a fellow evangelist will be on the registration desk at 9am.  At 9.15am the musicians arrive and we plan to have praise and worship from 9.30am to 10am, then the training will begin.  A morning break will be given halfway through for tea and biscuits.  At 1pm three testimonies will be given from different people of their walk in the Christian faith. After further training the day should conclude about 4pm.  At 6pm it is planned to take the Alpha training team from Bangalore to visit a poor area of Panjim, where there is a Muslim settlement, where some of the Muslims are beginning to follow Jesus, we will have a Christian fellowship gathering there for an hour.  We will conclude the day with praise and worship songs at my open veranda where we will have a simple meal of rice, samba (sauce) and fruit. Please pray that the Alpha training day will be a success, not for us but for the Kingdom of God.

One hiccup that occurred with the Alpha planning was that, last night I had a phone call from the hotel manager of the venue to say apologetically that they had double booked the hall by mistake and that we had to change venue, can you imagine; two months planning 6 days to go, invitations already issued with all details on, caterers and all support staff booked and now we have no venue!  Whilst I was a little abrupt with him it was left that we would both pray and ask for the Lords guidance and to meet the following morning.  We did meet and we did sort out the situation with the Lord’s help.  I had to concede in my stance of staying, but the new venue is only a short distance away, we have laid buses on to ferry people to the new venue, it was agreed not to tell anyone until the actual day so as not to confuse people.  When people arrive, William Dias the manager will direct people from the Hotel and I will be at the new location to greet people and apologise for inconvenience.  The really good news is that for the same money we have ended up with a much better place and a bonus of having air conditioners operating, so thank you Lord, thank you.

The man who has a drink problem and post-traumatic stress syndrome remains in hospital but is actually being discharged tomorrow which was only informed to his wife this evening.  She will take him home tomorrow and we are praying that the landlords will allow him to stay at least for a few weeks so as to fully recover now he has stopped drinking; of course we pray his self-control will remain strong.  The landlords are Christians so we are praying for a positive result to this.  Whilst he has been in hospital, his wife has found a way to distribute bibles in both English and Hindi, we have also had healing prayers with the patients including the Hindus.  His wife is such a gentle angel, she buys and distributes jam portions for people to have with their bread in the morning for breakfast, and she takes two biscuits for each to have with their tea such a charitable lady, they have little finances but what they have they are being charitable with.  An 11 year old boy was admitted a few days ago with very aggressive behaviour, but nowhere else to put him.  He had run away from the orphanage he was staying in, although he had parents and his mum was actually in the hospital staying with him, he had been taken to an orphanage as sometimes the parents just cannot afford to look after their children.

Last week I spent a day with Fr. Samuel a Roman Catholic priest, at a place called Savordem, he has been a friend of mine for the past four years.  He is a humble man and very knowledgeable on the scriptures, he is in his early seventies and has been a priest most of his adult life.  He is about 5’2” in height, in fact a little smaller that Sister Francis who I talked of earlier, a serious and deep thinking man.  He was explaining to me about a worship hall that he has got involved with, it is not a Roman Catholic place, he came across the place by accident and quickly identified that they were not teaching the scriptures correctly so felt he had to get involved, to help and organise them.  While I was with him he took me and we paid a surprise visit to the place, it was big, able to seat a thousand people, fully open at the sides but with a 3ft wall and corrugated tin roof.  He was shocked and I was amazed when we entered as there was a group of people, not Christians that were performing a type of exorcism, with people falling and writhing all over the place.  But oh my, you should have seen Fr. Samuel sort them out and stopped it, God Bless him, he was like a little bull dog, I had to smile at him, it was just great to see.

Glen Fernandez is an Indian Pastor living in Dubai, he gave me free accommodation in his villa when I first came to India five years ago, off and on I have lived in his villa for over six months at varying times but had never met him, but we obviously had talked many times on the phone.  We were fortunate to be able to meet this time as he was paying a visit to Goa, although I no longer live in his villa we have remained friends and it was so good to meet him at last.  We spent a pleasant half day guitars and we all prayed together.  There was a travelling Nigerian Preacher/evangelist there by the name of Paul Adeniji, we were surprised to find we had a mutual friend in Paul Marsh-Malkhani (Anglo-Indian) the author of a book called ‘Leader in the Making’ and himself a Preacher/Teacher of the scriptures who has travelled extensively in India.  Paul did not know that Paul Marsh had written a book and wanted a copy, a copy of which I had but it was in my home in Panjim where I live, but over 50km away and Paul was leaving in just a few days, said I would try and get a copy for him before he left..  Paul’s train left at 9.25am last Monday morning, I caught the bus and was on my way to see him before he left, tightly gripping the book in my hand, still had 6km to travel to meet with Paul but it was 9.20am, I was sweating and not just from the heat, praying hard all the way to let the train be a little late.  On arrival at the station I was ten minutes late, thought the train had gone, ran as hard as my legs would carry me hoping and praying that I was heading to way down the platform so excited to have made it, my exhaustion from running just melted away.  The most surprising thing was that I had only been there a few minutes when the train actually came.  Thank you Father God. Paul and I have spoken several times since he has left, he had two more preaching’s before going back to Nigeria via Dubai. Have a feeling that I will be seeing Paul again, don’t know when or how but know it will happen.   Paul Marsh; when you are reading this Paul said he enjoyed your book very much.  And Paul Adeniji; you gave me a love gift for my Ministry in India and I want to tell you, the money bought two tambourines one was given to an elderly lady and her children followers so she could play in a house Church Fellowship.  The other was given to a Filipino lady by the name Arianne who is a fellow evangelist so she can carry with her on her life’s travels.  Both were told the story of you and so was given as a gift from Nigeria to them.  This is truly the body of Christ in action.  Thank you Paul, my friend.  God protect you and keep you safe on your travels with the Lord.

Well, it’s time to close now, only time left for one more diary note after this, then I am on my way home, via Mumbai to meet and spend time with my friends Maria, Christopher and Mohita.  Time has gone so quickly and the Lord has favoured me with so many blessings.  As I write this my thoughts are remembering my direct family, Church family, relatives and friends back home, but also the sadness of what has become my family here in India, so many wonderful people, I want to put them in my ruck sack and bring them back to UK with me, even though I will be back to India in a few months.  My heart hurts a little tonight the tears are freely flowing so it is a good job no one is around.

There is still much to do here before leaving, especially the Alpha training day on Weds 7th Dec. send me your prayers please.

Good night and God Bless.

Your friend in Christ,

Love and God Bless.

Jim

To see photos from Jim’s travels, please visit our ‘Jim in India’ gallery.

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