AN UPDATED STORY OF
GOD’S GREAT FAITHFULNESS
FOR 75 YEARS
TABLE OF CONTENTS
1. The Beginnings 7
2. The Revival Era 11
3. A New Movement amongst Students 14
4. Literature Ministry 16
5. Establishing New
Worship Centres 24
6. Our Gospel Clinics and Schools 29
7. Our Television Ministry 36
8. One Single Internet Voice 41
A Brief Sketch of the 75th Year of Ministry
I. New Centres and Advances
II. Our Worldwide Labours
III. Youth and Children’s Camps
IV. Our Large Campaigns in Andhra Pradesh
V. Labours in Far-flung Regions of
VI. The Annual Retreat
“… For I am God, and there is none else; I am God and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning ... My counsel shall stand and I will do all my pleasure…” Isaiah 46:9-10
Our Almighty God and Saviour not only knows the end from the beginning, but He declares it such that we are in no doubt as to what God intends to do for us . My late mother who went Home four years ago often quoted the Scripture, “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you … thoughts of peace, and not of evil.” (Jer. 29:11)
We live in times today when hope and trust are hardly to be found anywhere. But God’s children have an abiding confidence and know for certain in their hearts that God’s Word and covenant do not change. All these 75 years since this Fellowship was founded, we have tasted and seen the promises of God coming into effect and carrying us forward. It would be wrong for us to be found without faith and trust in the Living God in any given situation, however critical.
There are dimensions in God’s work which cannot be measured with any human scales. Thus there are always surprises galore and manifestations of God’s grace and might which are way beyond our farthest thoughts or imaginations. Our recurring fault, however, appears to be our small faith. Of course, we have absolutely no right to be grieving the heart of God with our fears and thoughts of unfaith.
But now, as we move forward into the last quarter of our pilgrimage as a Fellowship, before we complete a hundred years, if Jesus tarries, what are our real goals?
On this occasion, I have deliberately chosen to write in the first person and not in the usual formal manner of stating cold facts in the impersonal third person.
The masses of men around us who still worship wood and stone and are without Christ condemn me deeply. Perhaps we the Church of Jesus Christ, are the only army in history that has dithered and wavered over the command of their Captain to “take the Gospel to every creature,” for over twenty centuries. I do not want to be classed and judged in heaven as a malingerer (one who shirks duty by false pretences) or one who feared to brave dangers or death for Jesus and sought to save his own skin. The fire of true love which burns out all fear, disobedience and cowardice needs to be rekindled in our hearts into a consuming flame.
This is no time for big words, boasting or high-sounding
theological jargon. A wonderful speaker who preached with great facility and
fluency once told me that he found it very difficult to speak to individuals
concerning their souls. What a tragic failing! You and I dare not “fight the
air” reeling off impressive statistics and figures from the platform, but
should learn afresh “to seek and to save the lost sheep.” Individual souls are
born into the
While it is fitting and in fact essential that we should give wholehearted praise at all times to our Saviour who bled and died and rose again for our salvation, for all His mercies showered so freely on us, we need to also confess with true contrition our many sins of omission which have resulted in our reaching only a small fraction of the billions who inhabit this planet. God in His mercy will look upon the sackcloth which we wear closest to our skin and grant us a fresh anointing for His service.
Now whatever God has planned for us and whatever is in His mind for us, shall we not arise and set our hearts upon doing it? Running in our own ways, failing to see the full vision and being found to be wanting in obedience and faithfulness, are our grave dangers today. Above all else, I would ask from God a broken and contrite spirit which trembles at His Word for both you and me. May God shed these upon us, as the dew of heaven.
1. The Beginnings
He sat as a naughty boy, in the high school meeting, chiefly to mimic and poke fun at the preacher’s awkward accent. But then he was so gripped by the message that he cried to God, “If you can save a sinner like me, save me.”
The dear Lord Jesus heard his prayer and touched and transformed him. The prayers of my godly grandfather for his youngest son, Daniel, were thus answered. Earlier my grandfather as a very orthodox Hindu had had an amazing experience of Christ when he was steeped in a very sincere search for salvation through an ardent study of his Sanskrit scriptures.
From day one of his salvation, my dad obeyed God by confessions of his having cheated his own sister and slandered his pastor, etc., God began to fashion and train him for a stupendous and inimitable life work.
His sharpness in the field of sport as a soccer player, an all-rounder who excelled in other games as well and later as an exquisite tennis player, all helped to make him a hardy disciple. Being soft and sloppy was no part of his make-up. His bent for mathematics gave him a keen mind. Apart from other equipment, it was his discipline which he learnt through the Spirit of God, of a regular prayer life, which really fitted him for the blessing that God had in store for him.
Getting close to the legendary man of God, Sadhu Sundar
Singh, during a brief spell in his teenage years, further sharpened his prayer
life and filled him with longings to just live for Jesus. He even told Sundar
Singh that he would accompany him to
Contrary to his expectation and desire to live as a
single man and serve Christ, when God led him into marriage, by indicating to
him clearly who his future wife was, there followed eight years of further
training. These eight years were spent in teaching high school students and
teacher trainees, while he himself learnt further lessons in prayer, riding to
a remote location outside
When suddenly God’s call came to him, while praying alone one evening, to leave all and follow Him, he was ready to say, “Here am I, send me.” Returning home from prayer, he told his wife of God’s call. She on her side, was quite willing and happy to say, “Behold, the handmaid of the Lord,” little knowing the trials of faith, which she would have to face and the walk of faith which would be required of her.
Three key men, who had caught a vision to reach university students after touring some Indian universities, were seeking for the God-appointed person who could head a new untried ministry. Of course, they little knew that they were kindling a flame which would grow and grow until it reached some of the trackless and remotest areas of the globe. Today the areas to which the Gospel is being taken by some of our men have not even jeepable roads; one has to penetrate dangerous jungle tracks to get there. In most of these remote regions, they are being received with wide open arms, as the people had never heard of such a wonderful Saviour who lifts abject sinners out of their dungeon-depths of sin and darkness. Our television broadcasts too in numerous languages are penetrating remote regions.
This team consisted of Dr. D.D. Dasan, a college friend
and acquaintance of my dad, Rev. Jehangir Darashah, a Parsee convert from a well-known family and
Dr. Howard Guinness who played a significant part in the rise of the
Inter-Varsity Fellowship in
The venerable, old
I vaguely remember a serious-faced dad leaving home for
the station to entrain for
In fact, this work began in the face of much scepticism
and scorn. The established missions and hoary Christian institutions of
Of that first year of the Fellowship I know but little.
To me as a little boy of seven, it was the excitement of receiving Daddy home
on his occasional visits from
Dad was receiving unemployed graduates in the new home which he had established and was teaching them the Word of God in order to make them men of faith and zeal. They were given free board and lodging in the Fellowship home and when they eventually landed a job, they left. It was, of course, intended that they would become true witnesses who would take the Word of God wherever their jobs took them. At its inception, there was only one young graduate who chose to enter this new home and Dad would teach him. Dad often recounted the scene, “I would ring the bell and this one young man would enter and take his seat and I would proceed to teach him the Bible and the things of God.”
Now to Dad, the scene contrasted badly with his accustomed addresses to a thousand attentive high school students, seated in neat ranks before him in the school assembly. God’s Word then came to Dad, saying, “A little one shall become a thousand, and a small one a strong nation.” (Isaiah 60:22) This promise became an enduring treasure-loom for the Fellowship.
Many of us today have become partakers of this promise which God gave Dad. We who are in the field 75 years after, are witnessing the continual unfolding of this great promise.
2. The Revival Era
There was nothing manipulated or stage-managed in what I witnessed as a young teenager. It was real spiritual revival accompanied by practically all the miracles which are recorded in the New Testament. It was evident that my parents were pressing hard and groaning for a true visitation of God. They would be in prayer individually and together at set times. Retiring late at night to bed after doing my school homework, I would hear them interceding in prayer.
The year of our stay in
Now these were quiet years for us children, when we went to a prep school close by, which was run by a very efficient Scots Principal, a Miss E.M. Bain. But for our parents, these were years of wrestling with God and learning the faith to lean on Him for every requirement and need for the running of the home for the unemployed, as well as our family. There were no private or public appeals for funds made. “Father, give us this day our daily bread,” was a real prayer which my parents prayed on our behalf. To operate without investments, salaries or funds to fall back upon, was a new experience to my parents.
On the other front, there was the continuing heart-cry to see and set forth First Century Christianity. “God no longer works today as in Bible days,” was the staple Christian diet of those days and this hyper-dispensational dogma had poisoned the thinking of many and had induced the sleep of death in most Christian quarters and churches. Of course, the Scripture’s definitive answer to this false theology is, “Jesus the same yesterday, and today, and forever.” (Heb. 13:8)
Later even at fourteen, being still an unconverted boy, I was no participant or help in the severe battles of faith which my parents were having to fight. But a new dawn was breaking upon the desolate spiritual scene.
The War had given rise to numerous job openings and the home for the unemployed soon was empty. Our boys had found suitable jobs. When my dad asked the Lord, whether his work in Madras had come to an end and if he should trace his footsteps back to his teaching, the Lord spoke and told him definitely, “If ye will still abide in this land, then will I build you, and not pull you down, and I will plant you, and not pluck you up.” (Jer. 42:10) In order to further emphasize this promise, God said to him, “I have much people in this city.” (Acts 18:10)
Synchronising with this grim situation when everything appeared to have come to a standstill, there came a call to hold revival meetings for the staff and students of his former high school. The Lord granted the first shower of revival blessing upon this effort. Several key teachers and students were converted. God began to speak clearly to people and even hypocrites who had managed to hide their sins for years, were broken and confessed their true condition.
Unlike the usual pattern when the excitement and fervour dies down after a couple of weeks, this movement began to spread and God began His transforming work in many hearts. Now these reports of revival made me uncomfortable and there were stirrings in my soul. Resisting the truth had greatly hardened my heart, but the reports of the striking incidents and God’s mighty works began to soften my hard heart.
Knowing that the stalemate in our own family simply could not continue while the revival was gathering swing around us, my parents fasted and prayed for the conversion of their children. Though no meetings were taking place around us at that time, revival broke out in our family! Both my sisters and I came under powerful conviction of sin and repented before God. Now this was my first experience of God speaking to me when He assured me that my sins were all forgiven. I was then fifteen and the Holy Spirit began to teach me how to pray. Soon after, I became an active participant in the revival. In the beginning, mine was a silent ministry in the closet. It was the ministry of prayer.
When my parents took me to revival meetings, I witnessed scenes which deeply stirred my heart. Gradually and carefully Dad exposed me to the platform, as I advanced into my late teens. I was still young in years and experience and had to continue with my education. It was clear to me, however, that my years at the university were chiefly meant for me to grow in the Lord and to win souls for Christ.
Whereas many students after their conversion become outstanding in their studies, I merely got by. Quite a sizeable part of my time was taken up with helping souls who were either in great distress or somehow got to the end of their tether. Yes, some of them were on the brink of suicide. Thus my time away from books was well spent.
3. A New Movement amongst Students
My dad was an expert at gripping and holding the attention of young people. What had begun as a small Sunday School for students evolved into a Sunday service for students. Acquaintances and friends of mine began to experience a glorious transformation. Now this spread to others. A few girls too began to evince a hunger for righteousness and were converted.
These young converted boys took the Word of God to their home districts and to their places of work. The blessing which began then has continued to spread, down these many years and decades. Today numerous children’s camps and students’ meetings and retreats are held in various places in numerous countries.
During my second year at
college, the Lord showed me that a students’ camp should be held. We had hardly
any facilities or wide area to receive the students or accommodate them. The
forty or fifty odd students who attended the first students’ camp were accommodated
in small tents, while the girls stayed in the guest room of the Fellowship. Now
we were still in rented premises at 7, Harley’s Road, Kilpauk,
Many years ago, at a
Our youth camps need to spread to more countries and new
university centres. Our youth camps and one-day retreats are drawing a variety of
students even in the
Out of the ranks of these students, God is raising workers who take the Good News to distant regions where the Word of God is scarcely known.
In spite of a very heavy schedule of meetings, year after
year, for several years, I managed to give a whole weekend to our students’
Now the Word of
God is being declared to young intellectuals and students even in regions
around the borders of
4. Literature Ministry
When revival spread over a region encompassing a huge
tract of land almost a 1000 miles from north to south, i.e., from almost the
southern boundary of Orissa to the southernmost district of the Indian
peninsula, tens of thousands who were awakened or converted and had turned from
their sins, needed to be fed with the Word of God. Even some of the leaders
amongst the Episcopalian (Anglican) and other churches put aside their dead
theology and repented of their sins. Sadly, being born again of the Spirit was
a new thing to many of them. Some theological diehards objected that it was
contrary to their doctrine. This essential truth which Jesus pointedly gave to
Nicodemus, a master and teacher of the Jews, as recorded in the third chapter
of the Gospel according to
Now some of these leaders were earnest and hardworking men who were themselves deeply disappointed at the sad state of the church. They had suffered from revolts, rejection and even lawlessness in their churches.
To cite a case, one of the most learned Bishops in the
One of the English missionaries from
Many of these young converts did not know anything of the lives of the great men of God of the past who had lived close to the Lord. It was therefore necessary for us to fill this great vacuum in their minds.
Now, is it not so easy to fall short of the benchmarks of faith and love and yet feel so smug and self-satisfied? Yes, ignorance of the great exploits of men of faith, can result in spiritual dwarfs imagining that they are great saints!
Moreover, as the number of converted men and women began to grow, there was a great demand for good and inexpensive literature. Many of them, however, were quite poor and could not afford the expensive books from the good publishers abroad.
The Lord laid it on my heart to produce the lives of
great men of God, who were used in revival and offer these books and booklets
to the people at a pittance. Tens of thousands read for the first time the
stirring accounts of the great revivals under Wesley, Finney and Goforth of
China. They also read the life of Ann Preston, the illiterate Irish maid who
walked and talked with God. This book was greatly treasured by my parents,
together with the life of St. Francis of
Many people began reading and applying the truths which had energized these great men of God. Thus literature ministry only increased the spread of revival and generated a lot of individual prayer for a true walk with God.
This effort was never intended to be a money-making device. My dad was very firm in his conviction that no commercialisation should be mingled with the passion and burden for revival. When some preachers began to make money through the printing and sale of songbooks in one area, my dad came heavily down on their mixed motives. “Money and revival never go together,” is what we have always taught. But this seems to be a very hard lesson for the modern mind to absorb. People seem to leap to the false conclusion that God’s work can be only done with a lot of money. Of course, the Bible makes it clear that “the love of money is the root of all evil.” (I Tim. 6:10) Faith and money are definitely in inverse proportion. Hence when money, acquisitiveness or emphasis on expensive embellishments increase, then revival recedes and often ceases.
Hence, my dad would never allow even the leaders or churches to take advantage of the new willingness in repentant souls, to raise funds for any need. We ourselves never charged any church for our services, though we would labour for long periods. Some committees were almost unwilling to give even the bare travel expenses. Their minds were not geared to look upon revival as an essential commodity to themselves, their own families or churches. After we had left the scene, it was found by church after church that their offerings had either doubled or even quadrupled.
Now with the advent and profusion of electronic gadgets to record and reproduce all kinds of music which go under the broad Gospel banner today, we still continue to forbid and warn our people to weed out all attempts to use the Fellowship for monetary advantage by seeking to make the Fellowship a market-place to privately sell their wares. We believe that God-given talents should be used exclusively for Jesus’ glory.
Now I am not saying that some godly professional musicians who live by their music are wrong. In the case of dedicated professionals, we love to encourage Spirit-filled singers who assist in revival and promote the glory of God.
Concerning books authored by me or any member of the Daniel family, the same rule applies. We seek to plough back into books any little gain that is obtained by the sale of our books. Currently, we publish in 27 languages, including Burmese and Bahasaz, spoken by Malays and Indonesians. My book, “Victory over Demons and Fear” is being got ready in Yiddish, being the latest addition to our publications.
The Indian edition of “Christ is Victor” is being so well
received that continually the readership in various languages is on the
increase. “Christ is Victor” in the Burmese language is being snatched up by
enthusiastic readers in
With the number of publications ever on the increase as well as the new languages which are being covered and the endless reprints which are required as our books get sold out, new demands are being placed upon us constantly. More warehouses need to be built and the capacity of our press has to be greatly increased.
We expect the active participation of our readers in the dissemination of truth. Half-hearted efforts and a slow and calculating step-motherly touch is hardly what is called for. The hour is late. We should put our shoulders to the task so that “the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.” (Hab. 2:14)
“The Way of Holiness” and “The Soul-winner’s Secret” by Samuel Logan Brengle and “The Path to Perfection” by me are some of our recent publications.
This is proving to be such a fruitful effort to reach the public. It takes a large team of our young men together with much planning and precise logistics to convey the books to the right location at the appropriate time, etc., etc. For these book-fairs, strategic centres of population are first chosen. Then our young men hire some suitable public facility or hall and run the book-fair for a few days.
It is amazing how strangers come in, evince a great deal of interest and even excitement in some cases, and buy Bibles and books. The members of the public see rightaway that this is no commercial gimmick, when they find that the pricing of the books is reasonable and even low. And when they see the content and the quality of our books, they immediately realise that we are really interested in their well being and the well being of their families. They even begin to share their problems with our team and reveal the desperate need which exists in their regions.
No less than 32 book-fairs
were organized in seven different states of
As for our bookstalls, we try to place them where Bibles
and Christian books are simply not available. Hence our bookstall at
Running a Christian bookstall requires much grace and patience. Generally the cash flow is very slow or in some cases nonexistent. Yet, books have got to be bought from good publishers and the bills paid. The rent and overheads greatly increase our expenses. But we expect the operation to run on faith principles without appealing to anyone for a penny. We have, however, discovered that not all our men have the discipline and the discernment, not to display books wherein pet doctrines are blown out of proportion and overemphasised. To be able to introduce people to a book or books which would specially help them is an art—a soul-winning art.
Any young man or family which we post to these literature outposts, needs to be a person of great vision and passion for souls. Otherwise, it is an extremely humdrum and solitary life.
While there is an ocean of need in
A Grave Crisis in Publishing
A grave crisis has arisen which is more pronounced in
advanced countries. Even newspapers there with a hoary past are caving in and
ceasing publication due to the fast decrease in readership. Electronic retrieval systems have hit the
book trade very badly. Although this wave is unlikely to hit
As for us, this problem of depleted readership has not affected us anywhere. As we preach repentance towards God during and after the revival campaigns, the stirrings and conviction of sin which the Holy Spirit creates in the hearts of many, produces a new body of readers who almost ‘mob’ our book-tables. Hence frequently we run out of the whole stock of Bibles that we take with us, at several of our campaigns. True revival generates new readership and new literates with a love for God’s Word.
Our Bookstall in
Our small crew here consisting of Regina Weidenmuller and her husband, Johannes Weidenmuller and Maria Schmidt work so hard that often we are concerned for both their safety and their health. Oft-times, they have to contend with thieves too. One thief even displayed the dagger concealed in his jacket, when caught stealing. Hence even Bibles are stolen in Brixton! One can only trust that some light and deliverance will be granted to even such thieves by the Word of God.
“CHRIST IS VICTOR”— Our Magazine
The International version of our magazine “Christ is
Victor” is published in
One of our young
men, who is kept extremely busy at his place of work, spends some of his
weekends travelling to distant universities in
The magazines are left in a pouch on notice boards, from which interested people pick them up. The janitors, who keep clearing the noticeboards constantly, trashing much of the material displayed there, reveal a distinct respect for our magazine and leave it alone. While we hardly know how the readers are being impacted, yet we believe that as we back this magazine distribution with much prayer, great fruit will arise from the lives of people who even randomly pick them up.
May God forgive us for doing so little, to rebut and refute the tall and empty claims of men who vainly seek to obliterate the Ten Commandments and the knowledge of Jesus Christ, the Saviour of the world.
The Indian version of “Christ is Victor” which is a more comprehensive magazine, is being published in seven Indian languages. There is a steady and constant increase in the circulation of these magazines. All this of course involves a great deal of work. Furthermore, “Christ is Victor” in the more widely spoken of these languages is recognized in the Indian Government’s list of newspapers and periodicals.
5. Establishing New
and Worship Centres
When my dad went Home on the 18th of December, 1963, this work of God appeared to be still in its infancy. He had lived a life of sacrifice and maintained a simple lifestyle to the last. But most importantly, he obtained promises from God both for the work and for the family. Now these precious promises amongst whom Isaiah 44:3 is one, are our real treasure and bank deposit. “For I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground: I will pour my spirit upon thy seed, and my blessing upon thine offspring.” We continually lean heavily on this promise and the accompanying promise which God gave him in Isaiah 45:2 & 3, “I will go before thee, and make the crooked places straight: I will break in pieces the gates of brass, and cut in sunder the bars of iron: And I will give thee the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places, that thou mayest know that I, the LORD, which call thee by thy name, am the God of Israel.” The unravelling of the hidden depths of these promises sustain and strengthen us.
It was never my dad’s way to
put heavy burdens on me. He grieved much in his heart when his pilgrimage on
earth was drawing to its close, that I was having to bear stressful situations
alone, even before his Home-going. He was very weak. When I was leaving for a
long campaign in the
As was my wont, I expected to pray through for Dad so that he would recover fully. But that was not to be. When he could scarcely talk, my mother sat by him and helped him to utter the words, “Christ is Victor!”
After Dad’s Home-going, mother stood by me and was a great source of strength through her prayer life. Now we had to brace ourselves to meet a housing crisis of huge proportions, which had developed due to the change of ownership of our rented premises.
The new landlord, who was a wealthy bus-line owner, seemed to have a strong dislike for us and was determined to throw us out. Not only did he want us out of our strategic location in the heart of the city, but even said with a measure of scorn that we should find our place in village parts. Despite numerous attempts to bring him into a conciliatory frame of mind, he went right ahead and obtained a court injunction against us. The High Court order required our vacating the premises within sixty days. Now, where were we to go?
There were many operations going on in our large compound. There was the little press and our bookstall; then there was the Bible school and the Bible students too who occupied small dwellings. There were a few evangelists who were housed in a separate building. Then there was yet another outhouse where the girls met for prayer, and a self-contained apartment where Bro. Whitson and Kamala, my sister, resided. Then there was my tiny cottage besides the big house where dad and mother lived with my younger brother, Francis. In front of the main house was a large apron which we had converted into a thatched shed, where our meetings and services were held. Now humanly speaking, relocating all these operations in one place and that in a central place in the heart of the city was too big a problem for us to solve. But, did not our dear Lord promise that He would send His angel before us to prepare the way for us? Now He did exactly what He said!!
Nungambakkam, where we had been for over ten years, was considered to be prime real estate and was a very expensive part of the city. It was abundantly clear to us that we had no money to afford suitable premises.
When the huge house of the British General Manager of Beardsell Company was suddenly put up for sale, hardly 250 metres away, as the crow flies, I was the first person to present myself in the head office of this well-known company, to parley with the Director who was in charge of the sale. Seeing my youth, the Director, who was a seasoned businessman, was both amused and his curiosity sufficiently roused to come to the headquarters of the Fellowship and see for himself what kind of people we were.
Seeing that we did not have the money to purchase the property and that we owned practically nothing and had no collateral to set against this purchase, he said, “I know you will pay us. Though no businessman will give you vacant possession without sufficient guarantees, yet I will do so.” We straightaway made an agreement to pay them in full in twelve months.
It was a very short exodus for us from 112, Kodambakkam High Road to what was then 4, Nungambakkam High Road, i.e., our present premises, whose number has since been changed to 9-B, Nungambakkam High Road. Our little press was put in the spacious garage of the new premises and started functioning. Our staff and Bible school students occupied the outhouses. My mother and my small family, which then consisted of just two small children, moved into the upstairs of the building. The whole downstairs portion was given to reception and prayer rooms, storage for our books and the quarters of Bro. Whitson and his wife, my sister.
Now this was the first great crisis through which the Lord taught me to trust Him and to prove Him by faith. We did not reveal to anyone how month after month we had to pay a huge sum according to our agreement and a sizeable interest on what was still owing. While a small inner circle knew that there was a monthly payment to be made, they did not know any of the details. It was chiefly my mother and I who had to bear this burden in secret prayer. The Lord helped us to complete our payments in full, in a little over twelve months.
Dad came to Madras as a pilgrim, lived in rented premises all through his life and finished his course after seeing great outpourings of God’s revival power and visitations, and obtaining precious promises for the continuance and establishing of His own handiwork, the Fellowship.
The spiritually hungry had to be fed. The few revival
conventions which were being held annually in three locations, in
The students’ camps went on and the challenges were always present. The expected deliverances always came in the last moment. There was a continual accession of souls as men and women repented and turned to Jesus, overcoming every kind of opposition and persecution.
It is a great misconception to think that imposing buildings or expensive equipment are the real marks of a great or true work of God. I have found that when our own work was in simple sheds, with few fittings and accoutrements, the presence of God was strong and very real. Those were the notable early days when we struggled even to put up an inexpensive bamboo and palm-leaf structure for the campaigns or a bamboo shed for the regular services. They were great times of proving God. Such are the great days of a movement. How foolish to think that outward embellishments, pomp and show signify the smile of God!
It goes without saying that any true seeker after God will have to brave at some point the ridicule of his family and friends. Now such were the people who came and sat humbly in our meetings under even badly leaking thatch, even in the height of the monsoons. Now it is clear that such worshippers are there to worship the Living God and not to hobnob with their wealthy or influential friends. Yes, neither my dad nor I ever minded rickety or poor structures. We were happy and thrilled when God poured out of His mighty Spirit on simple congregations.
Sometimes we were put to the necessity of standing under the welcome shade of roadside trees and preaching to folks who would not be distracted even by the vehicles that passed by on the road right in front of them.
During the sixties, seventies and eighties, the small regional teams, which accompanied me when I pioneered in new places, had to work hard as I laboured without respite, night and day. In some of these places, people threatened to beat us up, especially when I took a firm stand against worshipping the mere handiwork of workmen. By this I mean idols. God said it—that it is an abomination; and I cannot help but seek to draw people out of that kind of dismal darkness.
Soon a string of Fellowship centres were set up. Each convert had a singular story of his own. In fact, behind practically every soul who was added to the Lord, there was some significant intervention of God or noteworthy victory over intense persecution or some amazing miracle. We never sought to gather adherents or camp followers. There were no gimmicks to attract the curious at our meetings. Let everyone who imagines that money or inducements of other sorts are the prime means by which Christians gather new converts, know that they are fooling themselves. Christ transforms sinners and gives them peace which no philosophy on earth can give. There was never anything like handouts or free gifts at our meetings.
The accuser of the brethren, Satan, his henchmen and friends are ever active with their incessant slanders. Thus the souls whom Jesus touched at our meetings had to learn to swim against the tide from the beginning of their new life in Christ. Our detractors and critics had little grist for their mill. I had no stomach for slandering or running down others. It was always my desire to reach out to strangers, atheists, communists, non-Christians, felons, bribe-takers and such like. All I did and needed to do was to lift up the incomparable Saviour and Lord, Jesus Christ.
We made it a point to go where no one else wanted to go. Tough places teach true faith and produce disciples who neither wilt nor wither. We had no special axe to grind and no glowing reports to send to generous benefactors. Money and bigness never attracted or tempted me from my youth up. To be like Jesus became my total absorption more than anything else and hence we had no time whatever for petty gains or goals.
6. OUR GOSPEL CLINICS
The first missionary challenge of a peculiar nature was presented to us even when my dad was alive. Old Western missions which had done great service to the poor and neglected jungle people, found that they could not replace their doctors and other technical staff and had no option but to shut down their operations. This they did most reluctantly.
After the revival meetings in
the Queen of Hill Stations, Ooty, I remained behind as the guest of our old
friends, the Darashahs. Rev. Darashah was then occupying the pulpit of the
Union Church, Ooty, where once the famous international cricket star, Charles
Studd, had been a pastor. Living in the manse, I heard Mrs. Darashah say with
pain and frustration, “If doctors from
I carried this challenge in my
heart and mentioned the need to the small prayer group which met every day with
me in prayer. God spoke to Dr. Samraj, who was just about to finish his
housemanship at the
Now after Dad had prayed for him, he was all set to go to this remote place and ‘fill the gap.’ As for me, it was not easy to let an earnest student worker like Dr. Samraj go from the Headquarters but I knew that this challenge should be taken up and was thrilled that our missionary thrust into a region, where no one had as yet turned to Christ down through history, from amongst the local inhabitants, was going to begin. This was the field where the Nilgiri Medical Mission had laboured with great courage and dedication.
Young, city-bred Samraj hardly knew the people of rural and country parts. Velliankadu, which was the station to which he was sent, had nothing but empty, rocky fields, which stretch into the elephant jungle, a few miles away. Here in the excellent solitude which this place offered, he exercised himself in prayer. Mr. Pitchai, who had been in the Nilgiri Medical Mission for several years, was a man of great motor energy and carried Bibles to needy people, setting out early in the morning. Now at the revival meetings, which my dad addressed in Kotagiri in the mountains, God spoke to Mr. Pitchai and he was soundly converted.
When I saw the pathetic condition of the small, poorly constructed buildings of this erstwhile Nilgiri Medical Mission, I felt that most of them required major repairs and the small chapel under a huge tamarind tree needed to be extended. Moreover, the buildings leaked profusely from their tiled roofs. However, Dr. Samraj took up the work and the clinic commenced its operations and the poor were ministered to with love.
Now these were days, when the Fellowship operated on a shoe string. Money for repairs etc., was scarce. On top of this, to my great amazement, I heard that the mission only had a leasehold on the land and the landlord was making needless demands and stipulations.
I could not brook any interference in God’s work, from even the owner of the land. Hence quickly, we settled on a price acceptable to him, paid it in full and quickly freed the work of the Lord from his and the other undesirable demands of the locals, who hated to see the spread of the Gospel.
Then Dr. Jesudas was received into the work and was positioned in Mettupalayam at the start. He took over the Velliankadu Gospel Clinic, which is about 15 miles (20 km) from Mettupalayam.
Dr. Samraj moved to the educational and industrial centre
of Periyanayakanpalayam, and opened a Gospel Clinic there. Our ministry in
Following the campaign which was held in Ooty, there was the need for Dr. Samraj to strengthen the young converts in the Nilgiris. Hence he was moved to Mettupalayam which is the gateway to the mountains. From here, he commuted extensively and travelled to the preaching points and the Gospel clinics.
In the mean time, Dr. Samraj’s wife, Sundara, started a kindergarten school in our small Fellowship centre in Mettu-palayam, which was in a narrow rented house.
Although we had near-empty pockets, those were days of unbounded zeal and vision. I called for a campaign to make Christ known and preached in a leaf-and-bamboo pandal, placed on the very ground where the Central Bus Stand of Mettupalayam is now situated. This was at the hub of a much-travelled area and many heard the Word of God, as Christ was set before them uncompromisingly, over the loudspeakers.
When Christy Franklin, who was a qualified teacher, came
on the scene after she married Dr. Franklin, we upgraded and moved the school
to a more suitable rented quarters. In process of time, the Lord gave us a
piece of land on which first a primary and a middle school section could be
housed. Barely a hundred yards away, a wider piece of land was acquired and
suitable buildings were built and the school was upgraded to be a
In the pioneer area of Velliankadu, too, a small primary and middle school which was started several years ago, has now nearly 700 children on its rolls. While some of our schools are progressing in their academics, we are deeply concerned that our children should learn Christian character and how to stand up for the truth.
After his conversion, Dr. Jayasingh, who was doing very well in his profession as a general surgeon, caught a heavenly vision which made him give up his lucrative practice and commence a new type of medical practice where the Gospel also was made known to the patients, besides the medical treatment which was given. My dad encouraged Dr. Jayasingh and supported him with much prayer. His amazing example of what a dedicated Christian doctor ought to be doing, inspired many young doctors to put aside the love of money, even as Dr. Jayasingh did. He would give away practically all that he had to those who came to him in desperate need.
As both my dad and mother had been teachers, training
children in the ways of God had always been an important part of their thinking
and working practices. When Dr. M.D. Paul returned to take up a key post in the
Department of Education of the Government of Madras, after obtaining a
Doctorate in Education from
Soon after, when Dr. M.D. Paul met the dear Lord Jesus and was wholly transformed, his new life in Jesus began to impact many in the teaching profession, besides men in other professions. Many officials thus heard of the love and the transforming power of Jesus.
Now both these men, Dr. Jayasingh and Dr. M.D. Paul, who were outstanding in their respective professions, were a great example to many, through their lives of obedience to the Word of God.
After a special season of prayer which I had with four
young graduates of which three were medical graduates, the Gospel Clinic in
Gummidipoondi, 25 miles (40 km) to the north of
In Gummidipundi too, a small school of ours has been recently upgraded when more classrooms and facilities were built. Nearly 300 village children chiefly from the surrounding villages are learning the things of Christ at our school, besides receiving good elementary education.
In Bansi, Uttar Pradesh, which is situated roughly 50 km
We are being forced yet again to build and enlarge the accommodation in our classrooms. Replacing lean-to classrooms with sound and well-ventilated buildings and rooms is not easy.
Our thirty-one students who were sent up to the government exams this year all obtained first-class passes. The hard work put in by our converted teachers must be commended. There is always room, however, for improvement both in the spiritual quality of our school and the discipline which we maintain amongst the widely disparate student body. Nearly all of our students come from Hindu and Moslem families.
Two others of our schools must find mention.
The transition in Ponneri, after the many years during which Moses Charles and his wife, Chandra, were in charge, has not been easy. As is well known, both of them had put in hard and faithful work. The fact that I did not put into operation my strong desire to take away the school responsibility entirely from Moses Charles, the local preacher, has not enhanced the spiritual effectiveness of our work. The Lord in His mercy should raise men of outstanding administrative ability and faith to take over the daily running of our schools, which are now scattered through widely spread and distant places.
As is well known, I give myself wholly to the preaching of the Word of God and the extending of the frontiers of His Kingdom. We cannot have the Headquarters encumbered with the problems of our several schools. Our schools are meant to produce girls and boys of sterling character, who will carry the missionary vision far and wide. If we move away from this vision, we will do well to shut down our schools.
From the standpoint of educational excellence, to
maintain the needful infrastructure is not easy. When the Headquarters took
over the running of the
Dental Clinic in
Our dental Clinic in Cavan, Eire (
Some of our most precious helpers and Bible teachers have been visiting us from this part of the world and these lovely people are very close to my heart. Rev. Norman Duncan and his wife, Joan, who taught and helped in our Bible school so faithfully for several years, are battling against poor health and their activities are severely curtailed by their physical condition. We need to hold them up before the Lord with much thanksgiving.
The very first meetings which are planned for our 76th year of our ministry are to be in
Our Medical Work in Anantnag,
President Clinton described
Notwithstanding the other factors that imperil them, Dr. Sarah and our nurses, barely made known the fact that they were braving a roof and walls that could fall on them and kill them. Without a lot of balahoo and hoo-haa-ing, Dr. Sarah went ahead and attended to the reconstruction of the badly damaged buildings.
It heartened me greatly that at the height of the state-wide agitation and the paroxysm of violence, when religious fanaticism came to a boil, and the crowds yelled, “Either become Moslems, or get out of Kashmir” and hurled stones at the hospital, our whole crew decided without the exception of even one person that they would not quit or leave their posts of duty.
Thus the work goes on in our hospital night and day. But
we have much more to learn. Our prayer for
This ungovernable state so close to the bad lands of
7. Our Television Ministry
It is a mystery which baffles me how this sub-continent
As is well known to many, for long years, I have been an enemy of the popular television shows. Many of these shows based on movies that propagate sexual promiscuity have done immense harm to many lives. As such I was quite a vocal opponent of this kind of low, supposed entertainment which was corrupting the nations and sullying the minds of the young people.
When a letter was received from a listener whose interest was sufficiently roused, saying that this message should be received by many in several nations, I just set that letter aside. After some months, when I decided to reply this letter, a correspondence and friendship arose by which eventually our television work began.
After two of our boys, Caleb Daniel and Daniel
Prasannakumar, had received some thorough but crash training, under the able
and severe discipline of Mr. Peter Cunningham, who had volunteered to help
train our crew, near
The Lord enabled us to purchase some second-hand equipment which has now served us for about eight years. Recently, however, the need to upgrade and to digitize our productions became critical. As usual, after looking to the Lord for the supply of these expensive pieces of equipment, we went ahead, placed the requisite orders and now the state-of-the-art studio has commenced doing its greatly improved work.
Let no one speculate about who our new rich friend or friends are. It is just one person—the great I AM. Our ever-able Jehovah-Jireh carries forward His own work, even as He promised to do.
Our first telecast in Tamil was called, “The Lord’s Examination Table,” which commenced airing from April 4th of 2002 over the popular TV channel, Raj TV . Subsequently, for the sake of uniformity and easy recognition worldwide, we reverted to our old title, “The Lord’s Challenge.” This first half-hour programme on a popular channel was followed by another one-hour programme on Sunday afternoons in Tamil.
A few months after the first Tamil telecast was aired, we obtained a slot in another popular channel telecasting in Telugu. This was again followed much later by an hour’s programme on Sunday over a Christian television network, Subhavartha TV, and then we went on to telecast in the major languages of India—Hindi, Malayalam, Kannada, Bengali, Marathi, Oriya, Punjabi, Assamese and Gujarati.
Now all these telecasts are aired through expensive popular channels. We must needs reach the stranger, the cinema-buff, the political activist and the revolutionary-cum-mindless murderer who wants to bomb innocent people in markets, derail passenger trains and spread slaughter and mayhem. Jesus came to seek and to save sinners, and not an exclusive coterie of comfortable Christians, whose supreme religious activity is to warm the plush, comfortable seats on Sunday mornings.
Now with deep gratitude to our Living Saviour and Supplier of every good and perfect gift, the Lord Jesus, we record that there has been no default in any of our payments to these television stations and channels. No appeals for funds are made in our telecasts.
Over Cable TV in
Our prayer and expectation is that even as people listen to the Word of God, their hearts will be turned away from sin to Christ and thus their spirits, souls and bodies be made whole. We dare not expect anything less than what the Word of God says: “He sent his word, and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions.” (Psalm 107:20)
Our Telecasts and Radio Broadcasts around the World
I must say that to discount the effectiveness of the
radio broadcast is totally wrong; for oft-times what is heard over the radio
sets people thinking. Hence we continue our radio broadcasts in the
Our telecasts reaching the whole of the British Isles
from London over the popular Reality TV on Sunday mornings , from 7.30 to 8.00
am, and over the religious channel, Revelation TV, have yet to gatecrash into
British hearts, which appear locked and shuttered with rusty latches, with the
keys thrown away. I lament my own spiritual dwarfdom and cry for the opening of
hearts which were once renowned for
plain British honesty and fair play. To sully and debase the noble law books of
Our telecasts from
However, many of our former friends have no use at all
for this effort to reach the outsiders. What a grief they are to me, as they
have hindered so much of the missionary work which was just beginning in and
Don’t we sing,
“Rescue the perishing,
Care for the dying,
Jesus is merciful,
Jesus will save”?
What we sing, we must needs fulfil in meaningful action and lift individuals, families and nations.
8. One Single Internet Voice
With the advent of the Internet and its extensive use, we are aware of the subtle danger of unauthorised persons seeking to promote their own importance and setting up their own little websites and purporting to speak for the Fellowship. Further, there is the real danger of people advertising their own CDs and generally regarding the Fellowship as a market place. A little platform artistry often gains the confidence of many in the audience. Now with so many Fellowship centres, it is very important that we should discern who is seeking to promote himself and who is actually living and labouring only to exalt Jesus.
Now that people converted in our meetings are to be found in many parts of the globe, if the pushful and forward begin to feel that whatever they say on their website or Facebook represents what the Fellowship stands for, then the signal which people receive will be garbled and one that will mislead many. Hence we want our friends and co-labourers to know that www.lefi.org is exclusively the Fellowship’s website and that it is carefully maintained and updated from time to time by competent brothers who carry out my instructions or those of my son, John.
We have not tried to make the Fellowship’s website a grandiose or flashy project. Whatever I say with regard to the ongoing work is carefully edited or tailored to be an understatement rather than an exaggeration. We that fear God and are accountable to Him, ought never to say anything which makes men look at us as though we are some great persons. Let everything that comes out of us point to Jesus. He only is “the Author and Finisher of our faith.”
The messages delivered at our little church on
Also after ironing out some of the technical glitches, the live webcasts of the morning and evening sessions of the Annual Retreat and of the International Students’ Camp, are being received by an increasing number of people. If people are blessed around the world and become winners of souls, we ought to rejoice and give all the glory to God. Hence on many hands, our unseen congregation is increasing all the time.
It came as a surprise to us that the authorities of the
Chinese Government were choosing to jam our live webcast, but we were informed
that some viewers in
It is when the blessed thirst for God’s Word is no longer there, the knell begins to sound.
The last twenty-one years are a special gift to me personally from the Lord. It was in December 1988, that I had my heart-attack. How horrible it would have been for me to appear before God and say, “I have failed to do what You gavest me to do,” whereas our Lord was able to say, “I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do”! (John 17:4)
Yes, our breath is in our nostrils and God can call us at any moment. Moreover, none of us knows how close we are to the return of Jesus Christ. How diligent we need to be to redeem the time and not waste our days in any known or wilful disobedience!
Now this is my chief concern. Many of us have been exposed to much truth. Here is where we need to be strict with ourselves. How much of the truth we know, are we implementing in our daily walk and practice? Doctors tell me that a part of my heart muscle has been seriously weakened by the heart-attack which I had suffered. Spiritually speaking, I can see now how truth when not applied, results in severe damage to one’s personality. Who wants to truncate or curtail his potential or performance? No one—at least no thinking person!
The Lord has set before us an open door and yet it is becoming very clear that some are running after the mirages, shows and the rotten apples which are all that the world offers.
To stray from a heart which is fixed in Jesus is a most dreadful thing. I often tell God that I deserve to be chastised and even dismissed from His service. God gave me so much light from my early years of youth and I grieve that I have done so little for my Lord. God granted to so many of you to taste and share with others the precious truths of revival. Shall we stop in midstream and not complete the mission which God has given us? Or, shall we go on into a doubling and quadrupling of God’s power and works amongst us and around us?
We live in the times of the assembly-line product and of automation in many fields. Hence our danger is to fall into a mechanical mould in the performance of our many duties. God’s Spirit works in unique ways and His programme or manner of working never gets humdrum or stereotyped. “The meek will he guide in judgement: and the meek will he teach his way,” says the Word of God. (Ps. 25:9) Let us return to true childlikeness and meekness of spirit. Then our Almighty Saviour’s unique works will be manifest all around us and through us.
A BRIEF SKETCH OF THE 75TH YEAR OF MINISTRY
I. NEW CENTRES AND ADVANCES
Finding suitable accommodation for our regular services
After much prayer, we were able to enter into an agreement with the owner of a small plot, not too far from a metro-station. Here in this quiet neighbourhood of a busy city, the Lord must help us to erect a place of worship wherein a sizeable congregation can find adequate room and needed facilities.
The New Telecasts in
We thank God for the commencement of our telecast from
It is quite evident to us that the needs of this unseen congregation are not being properly addressed and prayer being made adequately for really deep blessing in the hearts of the viewers.
We must amend and improve the quality of our ministrations. Yet some of you may never know what hard work is put in currently into producing one TV episode of half an hour. So you need to pray for us.
News is coming to us, as we go to press, that in
The New Telecast for
The New Telecast for
Our earlier telecast in Gujarati roused so many to
mindless opposition that the television station was unable to continue our
programme. Though it is the home state of the great protagonist of
non-violence, Mohandas Gandhi,
Heathen societies know nothing of freedom of speech. Only money, muscle and the sword speak to them! We do not believe in buckling before these bullies.
Hence we went on trying to get other stations who will accept our straight-speaking telecast. Now at long last, we are once again on the air. The Lord of the Harvest should touch hearts and save them from age-old prejudices and the pride which makes them reject the love of God and the peace which Jesus brings to troubled and stormy hearts.
Kuching is the capital of Eastern Malaysia which occupies
the north-western corner of
Someone had written a short article in the newspaper about Bro. Joe’s forthcoming visit in January. This article roused the authorities. Strangely, although several countries are signatories to the ‘freedom of religion’ clause of the United Nation’s charter, they do not have any scruples about suppressing or severely restricting the religious activities of the minorities.
Now when Bro. Joe and Sister Lily deplaned at Kuching,
they were kept waiting in the immigration hall for a very long time, while the
immigration officers deliberated or held discussions with their superiors. In
any case, they finally cleared them and issued the required endorsements to
When the meetings began, two police officers were deputed to carefully record the proceedings. They certainly heard of the righteousness which Jesus gives and of freedom from bribery, kickbacks and all corrupt practices in government and elsewhere.
Now both the pastors and the people drank in the Word with great earnestness. The strange diseases, fears and afflictions that are common here, can only be dealt with through the preaching of God’s Word and by the Blood of the Lamb of God, Jesus. Wherever Islam is practised, there appears to be a great deal of such occult suffering amongst the people. Many sudden deaths from mysterious reasons were reported to us.
The husband and wife team of Eison and Bliss badly need our prayer support. They are fighting a lone battle in the schools where they are teaching.
Recently when Eison attempted to correct a girl in his class, he found that the young girl retaliated almost violently by spewing vile abuse at her teacher, in the open class.
While the Dalai Lama openly says that ‘good dogs’ and not the ever-barking and yelping ones will go to heaven, it goes without saying he is referring to a very strange kind of heaven. Few moral qualities, if any, are required for entry there. People who seek the Buddhist ‘nirvana’ including some of our theologians, live with a perverted sense of moral values.
Buddha never claimed to be God, but they worship him in
Next door, in
Our Own Centre in
Delhi, which is the diamond that most of the renowned
conquerors of history sought to embed in their crown, has been a city poorly
attended to by those who say that their Captain commanded them to “disciple all
nations.” Much moral squalor is swept under the rug in
Few there are who grieve that righteousness has no voice
The small piece of land for which we have negotiated is not yet fully in our possession. More than for real estate, our hearts cry for depth. Christ-like men with true spiritual depth are required to fit the bill here. There is a great temptation for men who call themselves Christians, just to follow the crowd. It takes character not to have your head turned by a big job or other marks of official favour. Yes, dead fish go with the current.
A yearning after spiritual quality brings one to the heart-cry of Moses when he cried with deep humility, “Who am I … ?”(Ex. 3:11)
Bro. Theophilus has been working amongst students and advancing in a small way steadily, in spite of the unspeakably hard attitude of his close family, who ought to have been supporting him with all their strength. God is raising strangers, as he sows the Word with patience.
Our own centre is soon to be opened. The Lord has given us a special unit in an apartment building where the builder, under our instructions, built a medium-sized room for our meetings.
The New Centre in Aruppukottai, Tamil Nadu
Mr. Daniel and Mrs. Daniel (senior) saw great blessing at the revival meetings in Aruppukottai, Ramnad District. Their son, Joshua, who was still very young, did join them in one campaign there.
After his dad’s Home-call, Bro. Joe, as Joshua Daniel is sometimes called, addressed several meetings, at which many people from the adjoining towns and villages were touched and blessed. However, the only spot which our brothers were able to find for our worship was right in the midst of pigs and pigsties. Of course, this is not the best location. However, it does show how our small faith and little minds respond to the great commission, “Go ye into all the world and preach the Good News.” “No money, no money” is the excuse which is heard everywhere. Bro. Joe says, “We should be crying, No faith… we have no faith.”
At long last, a sturdy prayer shed now stands in a central place which the Lord in His mercy helped us to acquire.
The New Prayer Hall in Ashok Nagar,
Five kilometres from the Headquarters, to serve the need of three sections of the city, Ekkaduthangal, Saligram and Ashok Nagar, a place of worship had to be built, as three separate meetings were being held for these three areas in unsuitable rented premises. Bro. Joe kept looking out for premises where a sizeable crowd could meet for prayer and worship. After several years of seeking and waiting, the Lord has provided a narrow place, very close to the new metro-line which is being constructed right in front of us. This, of course, means that a lot more people can easily travel to this location. The new hall with accommodation on three floors for a large crowd has been built.
Early in May, at the four days of revival meetings, the new hall overflowed, though Bro. Joe requested our Headquarters crowd to stay away from the meetings, so as to give room to strangers.
We are having to insist and teach that the halls or the meeting places of the Fellowship, should at least be five kilometres from each other. Many who became useful in the work of the Lord have been people who travel long distances to reach the place of worship. The stalwarts in the Fellowship have generally been people who travelled long distances for the Word of God. People who said, “Let us go to a nice, neighbouring place of worship,” and sought convenience and ease more than the message, never were really a part of this Fellowship. Through drenching rain, carrying their children and even braving floods and despite the shutdown of bus services, people had always come and filled our places of worship.
Lack of discipline, contriteness of heart and obedience to the written Word of God are rocks on which many are getting shipwrecked today. A few young men led by one disobedient young man in Ekkaduthangal, are giving us much grief of heart.
Jesus said, “Take up your cross daily and follow me” (Luke 9:23), and we want people who gladly carry the Cross. We believe that only such people will build God’s kingdom.
The New Centre in Tanjore, Tamil Nadu
After much prayer, the Lord gave us a small open ground in Tanjore, which was overgrown with thorny bushes. A small team was sent barely twelve days before the meetings to get everything ready and to erect a temporary hall with the requisite lighting, etc.
This city known for its ancient idolatry is renowned as a seat of Tamil culture. But we scarcely expected such strong resistance to the truth. As the powers of darkness were greatly disturbed, reports against us went to many government and civic officials, who tried to even stop the meetings and threatened to tear down our temporary structure. First, these were private grounds. It has become a habit with petty officials to try to bully any weak and vulnerable person. Often, this is no more than a device by which they get illegal gratification. Of course, we do not give bribes.
Notwithstanding all the hullabaloo and outcry, the meetings went on and the Word of God was given with power. Many needy people came in and heard God’s Word.
Where the great missionary, Fredrick Schwartz, once laboured to turn the heart of the King of Tanjore to Jesus, there exists now the squeaky voice of a church which has not demonstrated the Living Christ or shown the moral strength which transforms society. There must be a number of people in this city who have tried vainly to receive relief and peace from their numerous gods and goddesses. Having seen the futility of feeding on the ashes of mere mythology, they are now ready for the Saviour’s wonderful salvation. We have a long way to go to demonstrate the Risen Christ here.
The New Centre in Cuddalore, Tamil Nadu
Cuddalore, which is scacrely 200 km south of
A few of our people have been worshipping in the open air with no protection whatever or roof over their heads. Now the small strip of land which we have acquired, was filled to overflowing at the recent campaign in May.
Bro. Johnston and a few members of the team had been visiting and preaching to a few people here over the last few years. We thank God for their faithful work.
Now after a pretty commodious prayer shed was put up, although no flooring was laid, the people sat and heard the Word of God. We need to continue to draw in eternal souls.
Our medical crew in Kashmir were utilising the services
of carpenters and masons from the
Gurdaspur is pretty close to
A non-Christian was brought to the meetings from
The police called for our young preacher and asked him
how the meetings could be so orderly that they were never called upon for any
reason, to come and help restore order. They said that such meetings had never
been held in their city. However, much remains to be done and it is quite
evident that what we are currently doing is so small, considering the need in
II. Our Worldwide Labours
The retreat was held as usual in the Quinta Hall. The
medium-sized meeting hall appeared to be full even for the first meeting. Some
were there for the very first time. Our team is so small in
John helped Bro. Joe at the meetings and was listened to,
with rapt attention. The two seasons of prayer were all too brief but those who
gathered prayed with great burden for
December, being the fiftieth anniversary of their wedding, Bro. Joe started for
the Winter Retreat in
His first day at the Retreat was an extra long day, being the last day of the year. The dear Lord gave him strength to preach at the three services of the day. Being the eve of the New Year, they waited upon the Lord in the closing hours of 2009 and entered with thanksgiving into the first hour of 2010. The watchnight service was greatly blessed. On New Year’s Day, they had the closing services of the Winter Retreat both in the morning and in the afternoon.
The Retreat in
Due to the cancellation of their flight from
The dear Lord stood with us and granted a good season of
prayer. This work in the north of
At the Retreat in the Hartz,
The Retreat in
The dear Lord caused His Word to go forth with power and we were all searched deeply and cleansed by the “washing of the Word”. The two extended prayer seasons that we had were blessed to many hearts. Most of the people present were young and how they poured out their hearts to the Lord!
John did his part ministering the Word, together with taking care of the many duties which have to be carefully looked into while running a retreat of six days.
Easter Retreat at Novi,
All the time the national debt is soaring to unacceptable levels. But all the time strident voices advocate profligacy and the ‘virtue’ of abandoning all moral restraints. These are the culprits who are seeking to strip the nation of its history of noble Christian beginnings.
We had a small homely gathering consisting chiefly of people who desired the Word of God. The Cross which spells death to the old life was lifted up. By departing from the Word of God this nation has become a nation which is hardly able to pay its bills.
Our meetings in the second floor chapel of a
From the very next day of Bro. Joe’s arrival in
Sister Lily’s few words of personal testimony
and especially what she has to say about the family and upbringing of
children speak to the hearts of many in the audience. Three days were all too
few. Yet the Lord began to bring in souls. Our team labours in this
The next three days were given to the University and the
locality around it. John, who was visiting
Our team, with the dedicated work which it puts in at the
University is being quietly recognized. ‘Lifting
The lack of a proper place for our meetings is a serious
impediment to the growth of the work in
Dr. Rajadorai being a very busy doctor, needs our prayer, while he seeks to labour together with our small team there.
III. Youth and Children’s Camps
The International Students’ Camp
It was a treat to view the bright faces of a sea of young
people in our conference hall at
Despite the numbers, there was an earnest seeking after the Lord. The discussion groups reported intense participation. The Lord used John Daniel to pinpoint and analyse some of the recent fads which are sweeping over the young and engaging them in wasteful activity. There are many preying upon young adults, acquiring their personal details over the computer, etc. Chat rooms and secret texting which is sometimes called ‘sexting’ are being employed to entangle young people in salacious and suggestive talk, which are resulting in the loss of their souls.
The Lord greatly strengthened and sustained Bro. Joe as he preached with all his heart, pouring a flood of Truth upon young hearts. It is good for people who fear that their advancing years have cut them off from the wavelength on which young people communicate with each other, to know that it is not the age factor that keeps them from being winsome but the lack of a true walk with God. A very big majority at our meetings are young people.
It thrills us that all the time new regions, tribes and
people’s groups are being reached. There were more young people from the border
Children are the ones that suffer most severely in modern society. The barbarity to which some children are being exposed today is simply unimaginable. Our Saviour still says, “Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matt. 19:14)
At some of our urban centres, children are being specially helped at the special meetings which are arranged for them during their vacations.
IV. Big Campaigns in Andhra Pradesh
The Big Convention at Stuartpuram
After Bro. Whitson and Rev. Eric Stewart had commenced the meetings, Bro. Joe joined in on the second evening. Bro. David Campbell and his wife joined the team and Bro. David ministered to the trainees and evangelists also.
For around two months special prayer had been going up for this large convention. Though the huge hall was extended on all sides by the addition of temporary structures, the crowd which kept swelling all the time, spilled over.
As for the spirit of prayer and the conviction of sin produced by the Holy Spirit, we were visited by signal outpourings of God’s power which broke and melted the hearts of thousands. As for the healing of the body, people continue to report many amazing deliverances and healings. But our concern and burden, however, is for depth and quality in heart-obedience, love and holy living.
That God should have turned a vile and notorious criminal encampment into a centre which radiates the Word of God, is truly a marvellous thing, which speaks to the hearts of many who evince no interest in Jesus.
In this crowded city which is a busy commercial hub, our grounds, which occupy 6000 square yards right in the centre of the city, are simply proving to be too small.
Brothers Eric Stewart and David Campbell helped Bro. Joe at these meetings. Many that are awakened need to be helped to pray through. Then they have to be taught and built up in faith so that they become soul-winners in turn.
Bro. Joe had deliberately asked that our meetings be moved from the public grounds, where they usually take place, to our own campus, in order to get closer to the people whom we minister to, on a weekly basis.
Of course, our own campus was filled and in the two days of meetings, intense work had to be done. Dr. Samraj was able to take the follow-up meetings.
Our hall which now occupies a sizeable part of our compound here is very hard to extend further. The gallery was full and the area occupied by the overflow who shared in the meeting through TV monitors, extended almost to the road. Once again we found it to be a very difficult matter to accommodate all the people. Now the dear Lord alone must build His church according to His own Word in this city, so filled with glitter, glamour, sin and vanity of every sort.
Now each one of these precious people has spiritual
needs. A passing shower never produces a rich harvest. Bro. Joe says, “I cannot
help feeling that considering the great need in
Soon after the meetings in
The meetings in
After his second and last address, Bro. Joe had to rush
to Kavali, 60 km away, to address a crowd which sat in the field adjacent to our
small plot. The audience completely overflowed the new hall which was just
erected in this place, where an earlier worker had proved to be unfaithful. The
meeting went on till almost 10 pm with hardly anyone leaving. The next day,
after preaching the first message of the evening at
Meetings in Smaller Centres of Andhra Pradesh
During February, March and April, revival meetings have taken place in about 150 to 200 places in Andhra Pradesh alone. “Some of the names of these places,” Bro. Joe says, “I am rather ashamed to admit, I do not even know.” Now at these places, teams of our preachers went and laboured. So many are God’s interventions and works in these country places that it would fill a book to record them.
The report from one area tells us of such intense visitations of God’s power and presence, that people broke down and humbled themselves in much repentance before God. The intensity of God’s workings were greater than any experienced in this district hitherto.
In the selfish times that we live in today, we bless God that the poor have the Gospel preached to them.
V. Labours in
Far-Flung Regions of
In the Sundarbans,
There is a great temptation today to do eye-catching work which can be flashed abroad as some great achievement. Much discernment and watchfulness is necessary in us as Christian workers, to keep such self-serving, news-grabbing practices far away. For this reason, we refrain from reporting certain moves and advances in sensitive areas. We must however mention with fear and trembling the small work which is beginning in the much-neglected Sundarbans, the delta area of the great rivers, Ganges and Brahmaputra, just below Calcutta.
notorious for its infestations with crocodiles and man-eating tigers. In this
area, there are many widows, whose husbands were snatched away by tigers or
crocodiles. The people are poor and neglected. Though this region is relatively
A team of our brothers and sisters have been reaching out to one or two villages of the Sundarbans. Our ladies take some helpful classes for the children, teaching them the Word of God and the medical crew minister to the sick. A small shed was also erected which was nearly blown down by a recent cyclone. Anyone who faces the hazards and dangers while reaching the downtrodden in such a place, should be possessed of true Christian spiritual stamina, to be consistent and faithful in his labours.
Work amongst Street Children in
One small addition to our work in
Some of the children just drink in the Word of God and expect Jesus to do for them exactly what He did for the sinful and the sick, when He walked on earth. We see God answering their prayers raised in simple faith, in miraculous ways.
Fanatic men who hate the Gospel have sought repeatedly to stop our meetings amongst these street children. They even hurled stones at one of our workers recently, injuring her. The Lord however saved her from what could have been far more serious injury. We are asking the Lord for greater grace to do more solid work amongst these neglected children who are preyed upon by the wicked.
They need a shelter where they are safe from the flesh trade so rampant today—a home where they experience true love for the first time in their young lives.
Medical Camps for the Poor
Inasmuch as the poorest are attended to and helped medically at several of our Gospel clinics, we have not majored in medical camps as such.
In recent times, however, we have come to see the
importance of this form of outreach. Hence some of our doctors and nurses have
got together and reached out to the poor and sick through medical camps in
eight small villages around
The two evening meetings in the big school auditorium of
The school auditorium was not available to us on the last day and thus we moved to our own hall built on rented grounds. Many had to sit outside the hall and listen to God’s Word. We expect a continuing harvest in this place.
Pune, which is about 160 km south of
The three days which were selected for these meetings, October 16, 17 and 18, while they happened to be holidays, were days filled with high-decibel noise and pollution of every sort. Fabulous sums of money are spent on crackers, illuminations and deafening detonations. Alas, what blindness of heart has overtaken this nation which carries this celebration which is not based on facts or truth, even into the White House!
Preaching amidst such a dark atmosphere requires great grace and power from on High. The saving Truth was not withheld from the people. In the evenings, the Nehru Memorial Hall in the heart of the city was filled with attentive hearers! The Name of the Lord Jesus and His atoning death for all mankind were declared without compromise.
During the day, the meetings were held in our own grounds, amidst the quiet fields, far from the madding crowd and other distractions of the city.
Our work in the western coast is not what anyone can
describe as powerful or widespread. It has been slow-going. In the three days
of meetings which were given to
The Lord is helping Bro. Abraham and his wife in this
difficult work in
Although there has been a certain dip in
During the meetings in Bangalore from Feb. 7 to 9, Bro.
Joe laboured with all his heart and the Word of God went forth with great
power. But the glitter and glamour of
We have to go a long way before any dent can be made in the super armour which many seem to wear, which keeps them from being pierced by any dart of Truth.
Trichy, Tamil Nadu
Trichy has always been a big seat of learning and good Christian schools have functioned quite effectively there, for 150 to 200 years.
Our work in this city, however, has remained quite small. We need a real wave of revival to transform men and women in Trichy.
The single meeting which Bro. Joe addressed only helped to show him how much more there needs to be done. Dr. Jesu continued the meetings and closed with the last meeting on Sunday.
Bro. Peter Iqbal, who now helps with the
The three meetings, which were held out in the open grounds of a prominent Catholic school in February, were in a section of the city where a preponderance of the population were Moslem.
When the message went forth over the loudspeakers and reverberated through the buildings around the grounds which we occupied, several non-Christians including Moslems began to attend the meetings. A Moslem preacher too arrived in his traditional garb and heard God’s Word. All opposing forces were controlled by the Lord.
One of our brothers, who has been sent to the borders of
Now the Lord of the Harvest should raise and send forth workers to love and lift the people of these vast neglected areas. Bro. Joe was loathe to leave the people here.
Gujarat with a population of over 55 million people,
being the westernmost state of
VI. The Annual Retreat
Many people look forward to this Retreat with
anticipation. About 10,000 people attended the Retreat or part of it this year.
Now most of the people lived in
Midstream, we were hit by a violent cyclonic storm, but even this did not disrupt our programme and the meetings went on undisturbed. Many regions around us were badly flooded and communications including train travel were badly disrupted due to breaches. Even the serious electric outage did not affect us, as the Lord had provided us with our own generators.
Physically it was the Lord’s energizing grace alone that kept Bro. Joe during these heavy days, when much counselling also had to be done chiefly to position and strengthen our missionaries. Many in the crowd were people who closely study their Bibles daily for their own edification and also to preach at the numerous mission stations and centres which they represented. Hence it was not like dishing out a few lollypops to spiritual babes. The cleansing, sanctifying Word of God should continue to do a deep work in the hearts of those who are now scattered in several parts of the globe after the Retreat. Conserving the truth and getting to implement it in daily living is the big test. The seasons of prayer were greatly blessed and when the Spirit swept over us, both the people and the preachers were deeply broken and humbled before the Lord.
God used Bro. John Branch who feels very much a part of the Fellowship family. It was quite surprising to hear that he has managed to be with us at the Annual Retreat for the last ten years.
The DVDs and CDs of the Retreat carry the blessing to many who could not attend. Also over the broadband Internet, in spite of the vast range of time zones in which our people are and the pretty inconvenient timings for those who are on the other side of the globe, many hits were received, showing us that there was a growing unseen congregation of viewers and listeners in various parts of the globe.
Finney, the great revival preacher, said that he could not do God’s work without the spirit of prayer. Yes, indeed, with so many people talking about prayers of all sorts, the modern mind is cluttered up and prayer is thought of as some ritualistic warbling of some set phrases. No! When we walk in unbroken intimacy with God, there is in us an undercurrent of prayer, which we take away from those special private seasons of prayer.
It is amazing how in so many scattered and distant places, God has built an infrastructure such that the basic spiritual needs of people are being met in various language areas. Small, sporadic, pioneer efforts have now become a continuing stream of blessing. Did not Jesus say, “He that believeth on me, … out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water”? (John 7:38)
We dare not be content until there is a continuing outflow of deep blessing from our lives, individually and as a body of disciples of Jesus.