By: Nathaniel Ng
Hi guys. I’ve written a report about my trip to Chennai, but just realised that it would be very long, about 20 pages, so I’ve split it into 3 parts, and would upload it over the next week or two.
Anyways here’s the first one:
10 days. 1 Country. 2 States. 13 villages. Numerous experiences. Pt 1.
It started out with the musing upon the way Timothy was used even in his “youth”. I heard from somewhere that their youth may extend all the way as far as maybe 30, 40 years old, and so with that in mind, I’m definitely a youth, as like many of us.
So the question was, though young (or old, depending on your perspective) as I am, how can I be used as mightily as “young” Timothy was?
John Sung was 20+ when he used to begin a revival across the lands.
C. H. Spurgeon was 19 when he was the pastor of Metropolitan Tabernacle. I was told that whenever someone commented on his youth (which was very often), Spurgeon would always reply, “Yea I know, I’m still working on it.”
What can he do about his youth should God choose to call him at such an age? But the question I’m asking myself is: What can I do to prepare myself even at my youth should God choose to call me sooner or later?
So what was their secret?
While I don’t have extensive knowledge about how Spurgeon or John Sung and the likes were called to their ministry, I did have a vague idea that Timothy (who has 2 books [letters] devoted to attend to him in the Bible) was called to his ministry though he was a “youth” (1Ti 4:12a Let no one despise you for your youth).
Since there isn’t in existence, as far as I know a formula devoted telling one how to be used by God, I supposed I can only listen and obey what Paul prescribes to me in Philippians 4:9. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice.
Great stuff there. One problem though – I can’t meet up with Paul and learn from him. So I had to find another Paul.
And so I sourced around. And just before I began my internship, I managed to find one who was willing to take me along with him. Aunty Emily told me that Uncle Peter (Jamir) would be doing a trip to the state of Chennai and Gujarut on the 20th to 30th, visiting planted village churches.
And so that was it.
I left on the 20th, on a 4pm (SIN) plane from the budget terminal on a Tiger plane. I arrived at 1045pm Chennai time (all timings from now on would be in Indian timing, which isn’t always very punctual).
At the airport Uncle Peter and Pastor Manmathan came to meet me. We took a 1 hour taxi to the hotel.
Chennai, like everywhere else in India, and depending how you look about it, the rest of the world, is a land of financial contradictions. The mega-rich (for example you have houses worth 2 billion rupees. 1:32. Do the math) co-exist with the poor, albeit not very fairly.
Well we had Briyani for dinner that night, and apparently I heard reports when I was back in Singapore that I ate a lot. Anyways, we left the next morning for the train. The record breaking train.
Not in terms of cost of constructing it, neither in terms of the ticket prices. It was a 28 hour long journey on a train. Goodness. 28 hours. That’s longer than flying from Singapore to the US!
But I survived it. Twice. Oh the wonders of God! I couldn’t tell you how bored I was at times on it. So the train ride went on, and we arrived in Vyara, Gujarut, in the afternoon. The missionary there received us and brought us to the mission centre.
I cannot tell you everything that has happened there, because I’m probably not able to remember everything, and I probably don’t have the time or energy to type everything out anyway.
I don’t think I fancy typing 40 pages of detail descriptions of the visits to the 13 villages whilst we were there for 7 days. If it were narrative accounts you can quadruple the pages.
Yea, we visited 13 villages in the space of 7 days. Each village at least about 60 – 90 km apart, and each village about anything from 4 – 60 km apart from each other.
The thing about these Indian roads is that you can’t travel too fast for care of pot-holes. Not to mention there are hundreds of lorries everywhere, and on 2 lane 2 way roads, you gotta be careful when over taking, if overtaking at all.
Sometimes, you have the odd truck overturning. Or maybe experience the hair-raising event of knocking a hare in the night when they run out of the forests to look for food (what do they eat anyway?).
So at that speed, you can imagine how slow we went about. The max speed we could travel was only a 60. And I shudder how to describe to you when we were travelling at night from village to village.
And about these villages, some are quaint, some are rustic. They vary from place to place. However one thing that is common in almost every village is or has been persecuted.
Persecution has a range for you to choose from as well. They have everything from the beginner’s difficulty of hostile attitude to believers to the medium difficulty of having rubbish being poured onto the church site to the advance difficulty of death threats and beatings to the expert difficulty of burning of churches and killing of pastors and believers.
But in the midst of all this persecution, mild or severe, you notice on thing – the joy of the Lord exists within each believer.
So happy they are to praise the Lord that there was one church who just couldn’t stop singing!
The very first village we went to, Khambla, we were an hour late. And for the past hour we weren’t around, the believers of the church were singing. And so we sat down on the seats and waited for them to finish singing, because I can’t sing in Tamil. Or in Hindi. Or in their dialect, Gujaruti.
And so we waited.
And we waited.
For the next hour or so, they continued singing! In the end, they sang for over 2 hours! I wonder what the response would be like here in Singapore if singspiration exceeded the hour mark.
It is hard to describe their singing. It has so much energy in it due to their percussions. It can be compared to a cacophony in terms of zest. But in spirit, very devote.
After the singing, Uncle Peter got up and did a sharing from the Word of God. And after that they prayed. And prayed.
That is one of four things we did there. Attending prayer meetings. It is also during this trip which I got exposure in the public sharing of God’s work, sharing about 4 times.
Prayer meetings there are very special to the Indians. To them, the power of prayer is real. You have healings in the name of Jesus through prayer, you have demons cast out in the villages in the name of Jesus.
Uncle Peter shared with me that in the village, through prayer, the Holy Ghost works in 2 mains ways. Though sadly mocked or brushed off aside as dubious in the city churches, one of the ways is through the casting out of demons.
The second way is the healing of sickness. Here, their faith is different. Not different in the sense that we do have faith in the same name of Jesus, maybe not different as in the sense that it is greater than ours, but different in a different perspective.
How do I explain it? Not to say that all the city dwellers are doubters. Not to say that their faith is stronger than ours (though I have to say that generally speaking, they rely much more upon the name of Jesus than you would find an average city dweller), but it is different.
Let me try illustrate. It is like a German Shepherd and Alsatians. Both are of the same kind, but it is of different breed. Not that we can determine just like that who is the better fighter, and I suppose it is the same as what I am saying.
Same faith, different breed of faith. Not to conclude which is stronger. The good thing about simple people is most of the time you find simple faith.
But yes. Prayer is very important to them, which leads me to the next thing which we do – house visits. Prayer is such an important thing, and so is the presence of the pastors in the house of the believers.
At certain villages, we would go about visiting houses to pray for them, to encourage families facing loss or difficulties.
Prayer is administrated for just about anything. Healing of sickness, blessings for a plot of land, blessings upon the livestock of villagers etc etc
There was this family (sorry I cannot remember the village name. Too complicated), whose head was the deacon of the church. His son-in-law recently met with a horrible accident, thank God he did not die, but had to have his leg amputated. He has one daughter and his wife to support.
His son recently eloped with an unbeliever, and he and his wife has no idea where he is, and he hasn’t contacted them, and the mother was tearing as she was sharing.
It is times like this, when house visits just means so much, especially when one is praying, to commit everything into the hands of the sovereign God.
There was another family, who has been living in a rented house for an exorbitant price. They cannot afford to stay there much longer, and the problem is that neither can they afford to build a new house.
They have a plot of land, a little smaller than the size of the clubhouse, they have the foundations of the house laid, but have no money to cement the bricks on.
Such is the things we pray for during house visits.
Here is the overview of my trip, as well as 2 of the 3 things I did over at Chennai and Gujarut. In my next article, I will be continuing my sharing on 3 of the 3 things as well as share a story of a miracle told by Uncle Peter.