By John Humphries
Thanks to our Heavenly Father and your prayerful sup-port we have completed our gospel work in India for this fall. John Steward Tyler and I left on October 2 for India and returned to Louisville, Kentucky on November 15. This recent trip completed 20 years for me in doing gospel work there. I first began going to India in 1976. God willing and with your prayerful support, I will try for another 20 years!
The efforts went well in my judgment. The gospel was preached to many precious souls and Bible classes were con-ducted for many saints in different places. We had a Bible study with nearly 60 Indian preachers in Shanthi Nagar (near Hyderabad). I gave a general survey of the Bible and John S. gave a study of the miracles of Jesus. The preachers said that the studies were very helpful to them and that they will present the material to the people in the various villages where they labor in the gospel. This is what we wanted to accomplish.
After the work with the preachers in Shantlai Nagar, another smaller class for preachers was conducted in the Guntur District which is southeast of Hyderabad. Also, we separately preached in gospel meetings with various congregations. One of the largest meetings was with the
Bharath Nagar church where T. Wilfred preaches. We had overflow crowds each night. Brethren had to place benches outside the meeting house with outside lighting to accommodate the crowd. I hated to stop the meeting but our stay in India was drawing to a close. In all of the meetings we baptized 83 precious souls into Christ. The Indian preachers have told me that they were also baptizing converts during the time while John S. and I were in gospel meetings in other places; and so the total number of baptisms was about 120.
Brother William (Bill) Beasley also was in India during this time and was faithfully teaching and baptizing souls into the Lord. We met together a few times and talked over the phone a time or two. He was covering a different part of the State of Andhra Pradesh. He was also teaching preachers and holding gospel meetings in various places. We are confident that much good was done.
In the twenty years that I have been going to India, the church has dramatically grown from a mere handful of brethren to several thousand brethren all over the state. There are now far too many places for me or any other person to cover in the six weeks that we generally stay in South India. When several of us go, we usually split up into different teams. John S. and I did this on this trip. We teamed with faithful Indian gospel preachers.
We are presently (in India) printing 10,000 Telugu language Bibles. This is a tremendous task as you can well imagine and is still going on diligently as I write this report. Also, the Indian brethren are printing up many tracts in the South Indian languages. Brother Bill Beasley has written several excel-lent tracts and some of these are being printed at this time. I also have several that I have written and these are being printed in India. These tracts will do much good as the people love to read anything that they can get their hands on. It is a real blessing to be able to get material into their hands that will teach them the truth and save their souls. The only limit to the number of tracts that we print is in the funds that we have avail-able. We could use some help if any is interested and able to respond.
The most distressful occurrence during this stay in India was the horrible cyclone (hurricane) that hit Andhra Pradesh. Winds were in excess of 100 miles per hour and the rain was exceedingly heavy. It was the worst storm in a decade. Thousands lost their lives and many more lost everything that they had which wasn’t much to begin with by our standards in the West! Many brethren were affected by the storm’s fury. Homes were destroyed. Crops were either washed away or blown away. Farm land was ruined for years to come. Lives were lost and families were disrupted. The government is reacting slowly to the disaster. However, Christians are not at the top of the list by any means! Hindu officials and bureaucrats look after their
Some of us have already responded to their needs. Brother T. Wilfred (faithful Indian preacher) is acting as a messenger for some of the brethren to see that the help is received by the needy brethren in coastal Andhra Pradesh. John S. was caught in some of the heavy rain as he and some of the Indian brethren fled the storm. Also, Bill Beasley was conducting Bible classes in the area. The storm blew the roof off of the place where they were having the studies. Fortunately, the brethren were not inside at the time.
I certainly regret having to report these tragedies in India. However, I feel that you brethren would want to know of these things. Remember these dear brethren in your prayers, please. They are hurting.
On the other hand, there are many positive stories that I could tell concerning my experiences in India. While there are many stories concerning individuals (Indians)who have made great sacrifices in order to be Christians, there are success stories as well of brethren who excelled at their work and received much deserved recognition. You must understand that it is a very rare occurrence in India when a Christian (non-Hindu) is highly honored by the government. I am referring to brother Vinaya Kumar, Head Master for a high school in Andhra Pradesh, who received the National Teacher of the Year award in India. This is a very prestigious honor as there are millions of teachers in India! He went to New Delhi (capital of India) and received the honors. Needless to say, this brother is an outstanding gospel preacher as well! I have known him since 1976. He and I have worked together in many gospel meetings. He is a skillful translator. He has also translated a number of our tracts into Telugu for printing.
May I mention, too, that there are several gospel preachers in India that could really use some help as far as monthly support is concerned. I can assure you that $35 a month would be a great blessing to them and would relieve them of the pressure of trying to make ends meet while they preach among the poor daily wage people in the villages. If anyone is interested, please get in touch with me.
If anyone has any questions concerning the gospel work in India, please contact me. I will do my best to answer your inquiries. Thank you for your interest and support of the India effort. God willing, I will be returning to India next fall. If you can help, please let me hear from you so that I can know how to plan my trip budget. Please put us in your budget for 1997. Thank you for any consideration.
Guardian of Truth XLI: 2 p. 10-11
January 16, 1997