William V. Beasley
Oak Ridge, Tennessee
We left for India on April 21, 1980 for six weeks of teaching the word of God. We wanted to have classes with English-speaking Christians. By having the classes in English, we were able to cover much more material than having stop-and-go preaching using interpreters. Also, we knew exactly what was being taught - and how - in its entirety. Furthermore, we planned to concentrate on a few English-speaking churches in order to build some strong churches that could in turn sound out the Word.
We believe that we were able to accomplish our goal. We taught a series of lessons entitled "That Ye May Believe," from the gospel of John and a series from 1 John, "That Ye May Know" (Beasley); and a survey of the Old Testament, "Established and Characteristics of the Church," and "The Dangers of Apostasy" (Humphries). We believe that much good was done.
The first church where we taught was Malakpet in the Hyderabad/Secunderabad area. The second series of classes was at Kazipet. The church in Kazpiet, in our judgment, has great potential. The congregation is made up mostly of school teachers and railroad shift supervisors. These brethren are well educated and capable of becoming very good students of the Word. They all, including the children, speak fine English.
We had small classes in our hotel room when possible, and taught many evenings at little congregations in and around Hyderabad. Some of the village congregations (at least six) have been meeting regularly for five years (since being established on John Humphries' first trip to India). These brethren pleaded with us to stay and teach them more. The great need and limited time are both heartbreaking and frustrating.
We took turns getting sick, but we managed by the grace of God to keep our classes going. We are most grateful for the prayers of the congregations which supported our efforts and the prayers of our home congregations.
The Lord willing, and if family conditions permit, we would like to return to India in the fall of 1981.
We noted some things which caused discouragement among the Indian brethren. First, some who preach regularly seemed a little discouraged when we did not jump at the chance to support their pet-project (most of the Indian brethren converted by our liberal brethren had a pet-project needing support). We taught, explained, insisted, re-taught, re-explained and re-insisted that it was not our purpose, nor the purpose for which our support had been given, to financially underwrite evangelistic, benevolent or building construction projects. This, of course, needed to be discouraged among the Indian brethren. Faithful brethren in India are holding the line against such and, in fact, refer to their liberal brethren as the "Denominational Church of Christ."
Second, for one to come from America to "preach/teach Christ," but, seemingly, be more concerned in proving that other brethren (American and Indian) are dishonest, untrustworthy, etc. was a source of some discouragement to faithful brethren. Also, a stay of only ten days or two weeks, unless seriously ill, seems hardly worth the expense, of the Lord's money, to fly to and from India. We are not discussing those who become so ill as to endanger themselves and thus had to return to the U.S.A. Such has happened to good men. If one continually (two or three trips in succession) gets too ill or too discouraged (and there are many things in India to cause westerners to weaken) to do the work, it would seem a good idea to leave that particular work to the ones with `cast-iron" stomachs. It would not be amiss for congregations to ask "How long do you intend to stay?", and, especially, "How long did you stay on your last trip?" when support is requested.
In spite of physical discomfort (the summer, we learned, is not the time to be in India), the discouragement caused by the death of the Indian preacher (who was making arrangements for our classes) and other relatively minor problems, we feel that much good was accomplished through teaching and through the encouragement of being with brethren-in-Christ. We were especially happy to see, as we have mentioned before, that congregations established five years before were still meeting to worship and praise our God. We were also encouraged to learn that preachers who had lost their financial support from America were still preaching. It was good to know that their faith did not carry a "For Sale" sign.
Brethren, we earnestly solicit your prayers on behalf of the saints in India.
Truth Magazine XXIV: 38, p. 615