“A Little One Shall be ...”
‘Little Men’ with Great Obedient Hearts,
— Shepherded 76 years —
little one shall become a thousand, and a small one a strong nation:
I the LORD will hasten it in his time. Isaiah 60:22
“When you were little in your own sight, were you not made the head of the tribes of Israel, and the Lord anointed you king …?” (I Sam. 15:17)
During the course of my long life, I have seen many ‘little men’ lifted by God and given great power. But most of these men found it very hard to remain ‘little’ in their own eyes. Idol worship and worship of humans has plagued mankind down the centuries. Somehow it does not even strike the otherwise thoughtful men that this is wrong and a great sin against God, “the giver of every good and perfect gift.” The net result of all this perverted tendency and worship is that we ourselves together with all those who engage in the blatant worship of gods formed, moulded and chiselled by man’s own hands, become blind moral dwarfs.
Why can’t we be small in our own eyes? It is quite obvious that there are practically millions of mortals around, who easily beat us to third and fourth positions by their intelligence and talents. But small men easily exalt themselves into thinking that they are the greatest and the latest. Now this normally happens out in the world. But those of us who know the Cross of Jesus and acknowledge that the Greatest and the Highest humbled Himself even unto the shameful death on the Cross, simply have no reason whatever to grow proud due to small achievements or become weary in well-doing. For us, to race on down the track until we breast the glorious tape is our plain duty. We shall humbly run the race so, as long as God gives us breath.
Now it is somewhat amusing that both nationally and internationally people in high positions are calling for openness, honesty and accountability. Of course, these are foreign qualities to the fallen nature of man. It has become trendy for even irresponsible people and politicians to call for clean and uncorrupt administration and governance. In fact, the biggest wolves are now crying, “Wolf, Wolf,” possibly to turn us off their scent! These big wolves, who point their fingers at others, must first be brought to book.
Notwithstanding all the present hullaballoo, this outcry for just and moral governments is an exercise in futility. Having said this, the inescapable question before us is, “How are we responding and reacting to untruth, greed and immorality deluging and inundating the nations?” Now this is the weighty matter which humbles me greatly, “How little we are doing presently to lift high the Saviour of all mankind!” When men turn from their wicked ways and trust in Jesus, they automatically renounce the evil, which has pursued and filled their lives all through their days. They make restitution for their evil doings and learn to do well. In any circle, country or realm, without Christ you will not have truthful and trustworthy men. Well-intentioned and noble-hearted men have often proved to have the tragic character flaw of being inconsistent and display a great propensity to waver and fall from their once-held integrity.
Why am I saying all this? While the world is facing a great moral crisis, it is for us to produce men and women who are wholly transformed and possess such Christ-like demeanour and conduct that they will take truth, righteousness and justice to the hearts of nations and peoples. The prophets of old sometimes appeared in their shabby attire at the gates and in the courts of kings to warn them in the Name of the Lord God of Heaven and Earth. Christian preachers have lost this exalted role and have chosen instead to sit before their televisions and computers and even pornographic sites. Cursed be such irresponsible men and women who think that “gain is godliness” and comfort and affluence is the summit!
We need to repent that we are not a people after God’s own heart. Celebrations and anniversaries come and go! But what is needed is the work of the Spirit in our lives, families and in all our interactions with the people around us.
King Saul, the first king of Israel, began very humbly and even hid in the haystack when messengers came to seek him for his coronation. But alas, he lost that broken spirit and brought destruction to his own family and enslavement to the nation! I see too many people like this. When God exalts us, should we glory in our attainments and promote ourselves? We are nobodies and my resolve is to be a nobody in the Hands of God, all the days of my life.
On all our platforms and in all the avenues in which we serve, it is only ‘nobodies’ we want. Let Christ be present and be central, while we adopt every measure and strain every nerve to be as men who are down in the dust at the Feet of Christ, the Saviour of the world.
WHAT IS THE ROLE WHICH YOU CHOOSE? WOULD YOU BE AN IMPLEMENT IN THE HANDS OF JESUS, OR AN ANTIQUATED ANACHRONISM DESTINED FOR THE DUSTHEAP OF HISTORY?
NEW CENTRES AND ADVANCES
Anyone who has built anything knows how even building a single room requires thought, planning, supplies to meet every aspect of the construction and diligent and steady brick-upon-brick work. Hence we do not expect our readers to look upon the listing of all the new centres, projects and enterprises which had been put on stream this year, in a light-hearted manner.
When the Scripture records that “the Lord added to the church DAILY such as should be saved” (Acts 2:47), it sets the standard high for us to seek such new rebirth and transformation in the hearts of men and women, who are reached or impacted by these new moves.
When we speak of advances it should never be thought of as new brick and mortar structures;instead it should be taken as a reference to new souls being reached and transformed.
Our work has been small and patchy in Nepal during the last twenty years and regrettably does not speak of any great dedication on our part to the huge task of lifting the ancient nation. Actually Bro. Joe himself preached in Nepal almost fifty-five years ago as a young man, during a brief visit to survey the land. But workers could not be found who could bear the huge buffetings and the privation which this work entailed.
During the last twelve years or so, Dr. Karunakaran and his wife had done some steady and faithful work, chiefly among the young churches where souls cry–and often cry in vain–to be fed with the Word of God. Some of our teachers also have been labouring faithfully, despite all the hostility that there is against the non-Nepalese. Our people win hearts by their hard work, consistent testimony and self-effacing labours.
Naveen Prabhu, who was once the manager of a mill, felt called of God to labour in some of the neglected villages of Nepal. He, with his wife and little children, has been learning to overcome all adversaries and hindrances.
Just a few months ago, Bro. Joe gave the go-ahead for starting an Elementary School. For collecting the children from those scattered rural locations, a bus was essential. The Lord in His mercy gave us the much-needed bus to transport our school children.
As for the teachers, in whom we expect a high level of godliness and love for the people, the young woman who is the first to join the team there is a recent bride-widow, the groom having died in an African country while their first child was expected. Unfortunately this young woman lost her pregnancy too, probably through the overwhelming shock. Bro. Joe, hearing of this tragic sequence, was greatly concerned about rehabilitating this young woman, fresh from her grievous loss. The dear Lord knows how to build her life and use her. The headquarters, however, was wholly kept in the dark about this marriage and the tragic sequence, by our local evangelists. Our hope and prayer is that through her faith and sacrifice, many will be blessed in those rural parts and that her life would symbolize the overcoming grace which is in Christ.
While all that the newspapers report about Nepal is painfully negative concerning the turmoil, Maoist uprising and the unsettled conditions prevailing currently, it came as a pleasant surprise to us that the commandant of the neighbouring Maoist encampment has chosen to send the children in his camp to our school. Yes, people must see that there is love and sacrifice in us and that we are not driven by the thought of monetary gain.
At Portadown, Northern Ireland
During the centenary year of the Irish Revival in 1959, when Bro. Joe was invited to preach at a Presbyterian Church at Ahoghill in Northern Ireland, he saw a movement of God’s Spirit and several revival stirrings at the meetings. Moreover, there was then an ardent spirit of expectancy and a willing heart. Thus when his meetings were thrown open for prayer, the decorous stillness which is expected in the Presbyterian Church was broken by the tears, cries and confessions of people. He always felt that he had left a part of his heart in Ireland.
The current meetings in Portadown in Rev. Barry Mander’s independent Methodist Church, were sandwiched into Bro. Joe’s tight schedule of meetings. Interacting with Bro. Barry, he felt so challenged but could do so little during the short time that was devoted to the meetings here.
Tammu in Myanmar (Burma) and the Bordering Moreh in Manipur
The journey to Burma across the mountain ranges is always exhausting. Certain stretches of the road are very bad too.
From the bordering town of Moreh to the church where Bro. Joe preached in Tammu in Burma on the 20th of June, was hardly a 20-minute drive. It was a well-filled church with some seated outside. The people drank in the Word of God.
Sister Lily testified before Bro. Joe spoke. It grieved Bro Joe much that he could not pray individually for people who came a long way seeking for prayer for their sickness. “He sent His Word and healed them and delivered them from their destructions,” is what Bro. Joe is emphasizing more and more. According to His Word in Psalm 107:20, God must heal and glorify Himself.
At Moreh, Bro. Joe could only give a brief word. It is amazing that already we have outgrown our new centre. The Lord must help us to move out to a wider land.
Jaigoan, West Bengal (Near Bhutan)
Many of our readers have certainly heard of the Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan. From the standpoint of the internal laws governing this country, it is still illegal to preach the Gospel there. The Bhutanese are Buddhists. We love them and want the liberating truth of Christ to come to them notwithstanding all the impediments. False cults and communism are waiting in the wings to throw the people into a state of greater darkness.
One of our young men, together with his wife, who is a veterinary surgeon, is now placed in one of the important entry points of Bhutan. Bhutanese come in to Jaigoan for their purchases etc. We have a small bookstall here and slowly people are beginning to come in for books and Bibles in this place.
The Lord must plant His Church which pulsates with His life and power that men may see Jesus.
Let us pray that God will touch the heart of the young King of Bhutan, even though his years of university education in the West would have scrambled up his religious convictions concerning Jesus.
A new work has begun in this northern region of Karnataka. While we are currently catering mostly to a few students, we believe that the good Lord will draw many souls unto Himself in this area.
Peter Salve and his wife, who is a cardiac nurse, have been sent to proclaim God’s Word here.
Goa, which is on the tourist map of the world, has still not obtained a place on the prayer map of many of us.
Our worker in Goa, Bro. Theophilus, despite many disabilities, is hanging in there and always displays a buoyant spirit. The small meeting of dedication, which was attended by several leaders of this area, which Bro. Joe addressed, was owned by the Lord. One of the pastors present told Bro. Joe that his congregation did not want a searching message but the permissive type of preaching. He could see how differently Bro. Joe applied the Word to the heart and to today’s problems.
In this erstwhile Portuguese colony, the decadence, drunkenness and superficiality of Europe’s unreformed church is very evident. In the face of all this, what we are doing is so small and insignificant that God in His mercy should forgive our want of fruitfulness.
Our two-room chapel—in a flat—is all that we could afford in this expensive city.
A Needful Boost to Our Television Ministry
The recordings for our numerous weekly telecasts in eleven languages in India alone, have been done in difficult rural parts where even steady electric supply is impossible to count upon and clouds of dust spell death to everything electronic.
Our television crew has been travelling in an open truck with a canvas top, with sensitive equipment inside exposed to all kinds of weather, dangerous roads and adverse conditions.
To replace our old goods-truck with a more suitable vehicle has not been easy. The good Lord, seeing our great need, is providing us with a custom-built bus which is getting ready to be commissioned, within which the television team can both record and edit the programmes. As we traverse areas populated by lawless elements seething with unreasonable hatred and ill-will towards all things Christian, the team would need, as always, angelic protection.
Numerous additions to our television coverage have also taken place this year. Let it be noted that every soul is precious in the sight of the Lord and with every advance in coverage, multitudes are being reached, some of whom have never even heard the Name of Jesus.
In Australia, “The Lord’s Challenge” is now going out over a television station in Perth, the capital city of Western Australia.
In the country of Surinam, which is adjacent to Guyana, in South America, our telecast is going out in English with Dutch translation.
In Jamaica, in the Caribbean, our telecast has just begun to reach people in this needy nation. A great deal of work needs to be done here, to give the right counselling to people who respond to our telecasts. It is interesting to note that the TV station managers here found it hard to imagine that people would listen to such a no-nonsense message, the populace being chronically addicted to a kind of light-hearted and frivolous preaching, punctuated by endless shouting.
Amazingly, Doordarshan, the Indian National Television, is also sending forth the message of God’s love in one area in a mountainous state of India. Many here are responding to the truth which we proclaim uncompromisingly.
The above work, together with our existing telecasts, badly needs a suitable back-up of burdened prayer. Let it be remembered that it is this kind of prayer backing which energizes us and makes us sharp.
In Britain, our two telecasts out of London are just beginning to break into the ancient somnolence of the people. But the trumpet needs to be sounded out with greater clarity.
The recent hour-long interview which Bro. Joe recorded at Revelation TV, in London, is expected to further stir the hearts of the hearers. This was recorded on his way to the Annual Retreat in India, during his stop-over in London. The earlier interview of several months ago produced an enormous response from a widely scattered group of viewers in Europe.
The old British lion needs to be awakened. The country is currently choked and smothered by militant Islamists who even demand Sharia law to be introduced into Britain. No one with common sense would want Sharia law in Britain today, as it is quite evident by the level of pilferage and shoplifting, nearly half the nation would have their hands chopped off! While Christ is transforming thieving hands into giving hands in numerous places in the world today; as if to emphasize the absence of such redemptive power, Islam insists in maiming and dismembering transgressors! Such strident and irrelevant voices are met in the UK today by approving and nodding jellyfish-like bishops and smooth-talking politicians, ever intent on bending over backwards to appease and please. Thus the most murderous and violent surge of mindless slaughter known to history now menaces Britain.
Who is to blame? We that have done so little for Britain, though her moral decline was proclaimed by every morning’s paper. Some of those who were converted as young students in our midst, continue in their nonchalance and pursue their professions or pleasures, with adamant calm and refuse to be disturbed.
Bro. Joe is greatly pained by his own feeble preaching, having begun as a young man to preach in this nation, with many tears.
The New Car Park at the Headquarters
There used to be a small row of old bicycles at the Fellowship meetings. Nowadays people are struggling for room to park their cars and in some cases, one or two report that the petrol (gas) is being stolen while they are in the meeting, when they park on the street.
Land prices have become so high that it costs a fortune to buy land in any central location. Our headquarters is located right in the heart of the city and no land is available anywhere close by. Not having room for a long ramp, for a car to enter the upper parking floors seemed to be an insurmountable barrier, but one of the Daniel boys suggested an elevator or lift. Our wonderful God made that possible.
How can we thank God enough that in the small place available, the Lord has provided parking for 60 to 80 vehicles possible! We have learnt to take things almost for granted, these days. Let us humbly learn rather to praise God for each one of His mercies. The cars are now sent up by a lift to the upper floors.
Enlarging Our Small Printing Operation in Beulah Gardens
What began as a small printing operation, with a one-foot square Adana hand-press, has now become a ministry where books need to be printed in almost 25 languages.
All our presses have constantly needed to be repaired as they are pretty old machines and were also badly managed by the frequently changing crew, drawn from our Bible students in Beulah Gardens.
With thousands of our books in various languages being sold at our campaigns, it is amazing that these poorly trained boys have worked hard and supplied the man-power in our ever-increasing operation.
At long last, by the sheer mercy of God, a slightly larger second-hand Heidelberg press has been acquired and installed. Now this greatly helps as we seek to keep up with the reprints and the expanding demand.
The New Bookstall in our Premises in Bombay
From Goa, Bro. Joe flew directly to Bombay and there a goodly crowd was present for the opening of the new bookstall in our compound. Bro. Joe preached in our well-filled temporary hall and then followed the ribbon-cutting which he greatly dislikes. He insists that every such occasion should be made a time for prayer and praise.
The bookstall itself is situated in a fair-sized room which is well-appointed and made attractive and customer-friendly.
Our centre stands amidst huge, renowned computer companies. Let us pray that the bright young people who constantly walk past our gates may drop in and buy Bibles and books which will truly enlighten them.
Book Fairs in Remote Towns and Cities of India
Our team of young bookstall boys, augmented by other earnest men who took leave from their places of work, literally carried tons of books and Bibles in one of our trucks and in hired vehicles and made good Christian books and Bibles available to the public, even in places where no such event as a Christian book fair had ever taken place. The costs incurred by these efforts to reach the public are huge.
Reading through the list of places which they covered, Bro. Joe says that he is ashamed that he did not even know that such places existed. Did not our Master command us to go into the highways and byways and compel needy men to come in to the feast of the Lord? We shall do so. Sadly, many there are who concentrate upon places where they have an assured income.
Certainly, a desire to know and an openness to the truth exists only in small pockets or in individual hearts, in this sub-continent. Many there are who are determined not to know! Such people get quite upset when they see Christian books or Bibles displayed and people walking in to purchase them and read them. The freedom to learn or to know the truth is withheld from many in India and a lot of other places, by sheer prejudice and its twin—pride.
Some of our people who sit like dolls, week after week at our meetings and display little love for the truth will have to stand in judgment before God one day.
The New Prayer Hall in Nagari, Andhra Pradesh
Suddenly one night, the name of a particular town came to the heart of Bro. Joe. He had never been there, nor had he heard anything particularly arresting about that place.
When he enquired about that place, he found that a Fellowship outpost was there and some work was being done by a government servant who claimed to have received some blessing from the Fellowship. This man, being indisciplined and untrained, seemed only to have selfish intentions. When he saw that the Fellowship was going to bring order and discipline to this work, he came out in his true colours.
Many seem not to know that to do the work of God deceitfully is an exceedingly cursed thing. Does not the Scripture say, “Cursed be he that doeth the work of the LORD deceitfully …” ? (Jer. 48:10) There should not be selfish intentions or desire for self-gain in whatever we do for God.
We had to start afresh here. The Lord gave us a central piece of ground, barely 40 km from another place of Hindu pilgrimage called Tirupati. Now this whole area appears to be engulfed in great spiritual darkness.
The short campaign which we had, drew many people from neighbouring areas but we were barely scratching the surface. A great deal of persevering prayer needs to be put in to see any significant breakthrough which will cover the needs of the whole area, where gross darkness has reigned for ages.
The Upgraded Clinic and School in Gummidipundi
It is hard to imagine that a small work which began as a Gospel clinic in a crowded bazaar, has now grown into a work through which many are coming to know of the marvellous love of Jesus.
It has been several years since we acquired our own prime piece of land on the main road, put up a thatched leaf structure for our meetings and moved our small clinic to a corner of our somewhat narrow grounds.
The prayer hall having been reconstructed last year to contain many people, it was the turn of the clinic to have a complete make-over, with the provision of an extra room for a small dentistry. God uses Dr. Jayanth Samuel and a team of our nurses. Now one of our dentists also has begun to minister to the dental needs of people.
Our Nursery and Primary School here, where the accommodation has been augmented by the additional rooms which were recently built, has to take care of the educational needs of more than 400 children. It is becoming increasingly clear that it is only those who have faith and sacrifice who will stay the distance in the work of God!
Our small crew here has had to face many battles and are fighting on with faith.
Our New Centre in Gudalur, Nilgiris
On the first Sunday of June 2011, Bro. Joe addressed a small service at our new centre in Gudalur, though he was severely restricted due to a bad cough and an inflamed larynx.
We have just managed to erect our compound wall and a little Sunday school room in a beautiful valley of this mountain resort.
One of our young men trained in our Bible school is now posted here. Being a veterinarian, he is beginning to use his expertise to help a growing number of clientele. It is our business, through every means possible, to reach souls for Christ.
Building this new centre in Gudalur, in the Blue Mountains of South India, has eluded us for a long time. Let us ask the Lord for His touch upon the lives of all kinds of people, who are resident here.
Arupukottai, Ramnad District, Tamil Nadu
This small place, which has now grown into a sizeable town, saw a movement of God’s Spirit under late Bro. Daniel’s ministry. There has been a continuing work down these years, when Bro. Joe laboured at revival meetings here.
To Bro. Joe’s grief and consternation, it turned out that the small hall that was built proved to be the favoured area for the foul-smelling pigpens and pigsties of the town. Now to find a new and more commodious place proved to be hard, inasmuch as Bro. Joe desires central locations for our prayer halls. The Lord graciously gave us one at a very nice location which is both quiet and central. We were able to put up on this very expensive plot a suitable hall where nearly 600 people can be accommodated.
There are very needy areas around this town that need a great deal of development, and spiritually they appear as deserts and idol-ridden. Pray that there will be a vital and growing work that will reach out to many outlying areas.
In spite of the efforts to globalize everything and paint all nations with one brush, it must be noted that each country is so different from its neighbours and every nation of Europe has its distinct needs and pressing societal problems.
Our Retreats in the UK
There are those who value our retreats and make the time to be present. As the word gets around, we expect more people to come in, overcoming their own ‘comfort zone’ and the hindrances which Satan puts in the way.
While a nice group of young people and students are present, we want them to be on fire for the Lord. The prayer sessions always prove to be seasons of great blessing.
While the people of the world are all the time opening new branches of their operations, should we who talk about faith, be found wanting in both vision and faith? It pains us that several Christian bookstalls are closing down in several places. The lack of revival produces worldliness and short-sightedness in people so that the things of eternity appear quite indistinct and dim to them. But our constant experience in the Fellowship has been that God creates the hunger in people and thus Christian readership increases continually. Until the heart is touched, people don’t pull out their wallets to buy Christian books.
We are looking to the Lord to open a new centre and along with it another literature outlet.
Our Retreats in Germany
Though the days given to the retreats in North Germany are fewer, yet they are intense and new people keep coming in. The Word of God is ever fresh when Jesus is present. Hence we make sure that our Risen Lord is at the centre of everything.
The Lukas family in Germany were so inspired by the life of late Bro. Daniel (senior) that they requested Bro. Joe to permit them to translate the book, “Another Daniel” into German. We expect this book to be in print shortly. Undoubtedly God will use this book greatly.
In Paris, France
It is amazing that sympathetic priests have been renting their Catholic halls for our use all these years. The time has now come when we must exercise faith for a suitable place of worship where a goodly number can gather for prayer and the ministry of the Word.
The Lord gave us a small plot of ground, some eight to ten minutes from a metro station, where a suitable place of worship has to go up in due time.
The days that Bro. Joe is able to give to our work in Paris have been few and inadequate. But the Lord in His mercy is drawing in new souls.
The people present at our meetings are generally quite poor. Some of them make their living by working in eating places or in vegetable stalls, many of them being refugees. It is proving to be a truly uphill task to teach these people who lack the deep foundations of repentance, to stay away from the decadent thought pattern of Parisian culture. For young people it is a struggle. With the lack of space in the highly-priced rental quarters in Paris, these people find little space for privacy or prayer. This is a serious hindrance.
We have not had the freedom to hold French services as such, as the priests look upon such efforts as an unfriendly act to draw away people from their churches. We love to welcome the outsiders who have no church affiliation. The Lord must touch the native French people.
In the US
After getting used to our big Retreats, those who do not know the American situation may find it somewhat puzzling that there are relatively small numbers of people present at our Retreats in the US.
Bro. Joe always says that it is the ‘little one’ and the “small ones” who prove to be a truly dedicated praying people. Such people turn the tide and produce revival fires which truly spread and endure. We continue to labour for that level of prayer and brokenness which it takes to meet the overwhelming and apparently insurmountable problems which many are facing in America today.
More people are gradually being impacted by our radio ministry and through the internet. Such people who are there at the Retreats are those who have taken some pains to obtain leave and travel long distances to the Retreats.
It is a great pity that Bro. Joe’s schedule has become so tight that he is unable to address too many meetings in America itself. Further, as time rolls on, those who were regular at our Retreats are no longer alive, having been called Home to glory.
Many do not want to face the naked truth. They have gotten so used to the gloss and glow of the American scene that they have sunk into an unpardonable apathy. To refuse to see that the nation is sinking and to boast and brag with opinion polls in view, is a highly hypocritical act which can only be palmed off in the political arena. Sycophants and cheap camp-followers standing around applauding with smiling servile faces, is often front-page news. These pestilent men who are enemies of the truth only seem to lack the kind of violin which Nero fiddled upon, while Rome was burning!
Those of us, who have been richly blessed by the selfless lives of the mighty men of God who were raised by God during the short span of American history, must needs hang our heads in shame that we are failing to do what those mighty men of God did for mankind. Some of them saved the nation by their moral strength. During the Revolutionary War, Abraham Lincoln called for no less than sixteen days of national prayer and fasting.
How far modern America is from the sentiments of William Penn, the founder of Pennsylvania who wrote, “Every step in a dance is a step towards hell!” Sadly today the dance goes on, while America drowns in deep debt! Where are the blessed ones, of whom Jesus spoke on the Mount, who mourn, pray through and reverse the tide?
In the midst of Bro. Joe’s deep concern and sorrow for the state of America, when he sees people who are happy enough with the jingle of dollars in their pockets, his heart is quite broken. This Fellowship has no right to produce such charlatans and pretenders and people of the same breed as the greedy money-lenders of India.
Yes, there is a great deal of real suffering in the lives of many in America today. As the Scripture says, “... Woe unto their soul! for they have rewarded evil unto themselves.” (Isaiah 3:9) The figure of the jobless continues to be stubbornly high. The administration in Washington is staging a silly jig, while the national debt has soared so high that it greatly imperils the nation.
There are some who are sounding the trumpet, but our voice appears like a mere squeak in the wilderness!
In South-East Asia
This year the meetings took place in Sitiawan. In this place, John Sung, the famous Chinese preacher, saw great revival. The people here received the Word of God with great earnestness.
It is becoming a constant struggle for Bro. Joe to make people lift up their eyes and look on the fields. Church people everywhere appear to have a very localised view. The innate selfishness in the heart of man, when uncrucified at the Cross, manifests itself strongly. Instead of casting the nets widely and launching into the depths, people keep tinkering with little things.
We were greatly disappointed that not one person from this church made the time in their heavy schedules to join us, sitting at the Feet of the Master at the May Retreat. It is for us all to learn and to learn quickly that we can spend all our time mending our nets in the family circles.
As of old, the Master calls us to higher duties, as he did James and John. How did they respond? “And straightway he called them: and they left their father Zebedee in the ship with the hired servants, and went after him.” (Mark 1:20) Yes, we can spend all our lives just mending and improving this and that around our ancient churches.
We are looking forward to seeing Bro. Ong complete his Biblical studies and become active in the Lord’s vineyard. At the present, Bro. James Bong and his wife, Amber, are barely able to cope with the literature ministry alone.
We are praying for the early commencement of the Sunday morning service in Singapore. Being a busy medical doctor, it will require a supreme effort on the part of Dr. Rajadorai to feed the needy souls that come to our meetings, at the Sunday morning services. Everyone has to stir himself and we must throw ourselves into our Saviour’s Everlasting Arms.
A suitable location too is needed for this new effort. We are also looking forward to seeing John Samuel Rajadorai, who is a Captain in the Singapore forces, being used of God. He gladly labours for the Lord, during his off-duty hours.
At the meetings here, the people always express great interest and earnestness. But this must not be a mere convention-time ardour.
In Guyana, South America
After the heavy commitments in India, Bro. Joe was not physically fit for the heavy demands of the work in South America. A small operation under local anaesthesia was required.
John Daniel managed to undertake this difficult assignment in November 2010. His straight and simple preaching was blessed of the Lord.
The team here works quite hard, conducting one-day retreats for students. But where deep heathen roots and traits are merely daubed with Christian paint, it takes more than Christian meetings to dislodge the devil and his works.
Hence we must all rise to a higher league in selfless service and prayer.
Youth and Children’s Camps
The International Students’ Camp
We scarcely knew how many would be turning up at this short camp of four days. Unlike the Annual Retreat, where only those who have had the experience of spiritual birth or conversion are present, at the Students’ Camp, a wide open invitation is given to all young people. It takes quite an effort for these young people to pay for the huge train fares and make such long journeys to this camp. Some of them literally travelled for three or more days, in order to get to the Camp at Beulah Gardens, Chennai. A few from abroad were also present.
This year we had 6750 people at the camp. It was a joy to see their young, glowing and intelligent faces. The dear Lord supplied the needful Word. Both John Branch and John Daniel were used of God.
Every year we see a few hundred of these young people desiring baptism. Of course, it is required that they are soundly converted and are majors, in terms of their age. These young people are sent away with the Word of God, back to their universities.
The dear Lord alone must raise great missionaries from this strategic group of people.
Youth Camp in Imphal, Manipur
The storm was raging so fiercely over Calcutta that many flights could not land and were diverted to other airports. The flight that carried Bro. Joe and Sister Lily managed to land in Calcutta despite very poor visibility and heavy winds. After many hours of waiting, they were told that the flights to Imphal, Manipur, were all cancelled.
Our brothers managed to put them up in a quiet hotel for the night. And on Saturday morning, June 18th, they were put on an early flight to Imphal. Within a short time after reaching our centre, Bro. Joe spoke to a packed hall before they could conclude their morning session.
The few meetings here were blessed of the Lord and many young people were found crying to the Lord and seeking Him in prayer.
Our hall which was once deemed a huge place has now become one that is too small for our meetings! The Lord is drawing in the souls.
The Children’s Camps always draw a number of children and their parents and it is quite amazing that these parents, who oft-times are strangers to the Gospel, get converted at the Children’s Camps.
Now unless we see the Lord Himself working and changing hearts, our whole programme and operations become powerless and sterile. Hence we greatly rejoice when the Lord Himself speaks to the children too.
But it is noticeable that whereas in the revival which broke out amongst us earlier, children and young people were not only converted but began to prophesy and be winners of souls, we dare not slip from Scriptural standards and get overly excited about mere humanly-engineered enthusiasm and proceedings. We must see God at work in every one of our undertakings.
The places where hundreds of children gathered for our children’s camps are too many to list here; yet each one of these efforts is very precious before God.
The Big Campaigns in Andhra Pradesh, India
Inasmuch as some of the early revivals broke out in the circars, which were then the northern districts of the old Madras Presidency, our earliest conventions also took place there. As thousands of people converge upon the meetings in what is now called Andhra Pradesh, somehow they figure prominently in our schedule of meetings.
Where great things once took place, seven devils worse than the first are always seeking to re-enter and ruin the revival and bring spiritual decline and declension. Spiritual watch-people, who stand in the watch tower and defeat the devices of the devil, are hard to find.
In early January, year after year, huge unspecified numbers of people gather in this small village which was once notorious as a settlement of criminals. Our present campus of approximately eight or nine acres, is proving to be totally inadequate for the multitudes who gather there for six days of meetings.
There is quite a cross section of society at these meetings. It is no longer just the poor farmhands and labourers; there is a great gathering of students also and people from many parts of India. The earnestness, zeal and willingness to camp out for days under rough conditions almost defy description. But the fact is, it is nearly impossible to find adequate shelter and accommodation for a hundred thousand people. But the people adjust themselves most wonderfully. This year a large additional dormitory was put up to accommodate women and girls.
Supplying water for this whole multitude for their several needs is a huge undertaking. The Lord alone does it from adequate supplies of ground water which needs to be pumped to the various facilities.
Year after year, the blessing seems to increase. It is only the good Lord that makes these mammoth meetings possible. But the fall-out from these meetings cannot be evaluated. The people go away after they have seen and partaken in the waves of God’s power and Spirit flowing over the crying and weeping multitudes. Repentance towards God has become a very rare event in many quarters today. But wherever God is at work, there will be repentance. Oft-times when there is no brokenness in the preacher, he himself becomes the biggest roadblock to revival.
What sad days we are passing through! We need to cleanse our platforms. Those who think that preaching is a profession and a window for display of knowledge or pomposity, should be thrown out of the platform. Our only qualification to step into a pulpit should be a Word from the Lord.
In the same college where senior Mr. Daniel once studied for two years, Bro. Joe was able to preach and proclaim God’s Word to many people who had gathered.
Many rural parts around this city were affected by the revivals that had broken out during the first wave of blessing in the 40s of the last century.
This city which is throbbing with industry and a shipyard is more than a match for our tiny work here. Two short days are really neither here nor there.
The Lord in His mercy must work amidst people who still worship their monkey-gods, elephant-gods and a variety of deities, and have not yet been shaken out of their deep-seated prejudice against Christianity.
Our premises in Hyderabad, though centrally placed, is no longer capable of holding all the people who desire to be at the meetings. We are literally spilling over into the road in front of us.
Historically Hyderabad was synonymous with wealth and pomp. Now this itself should ring alarm bells when anyone attempts to build a work for God in a modern Sodom.
There is a world of difference between what we build and what the Lord builds. As Bro. Joe says, his expertise, when it comes to the Church of God, is more in the line of a demolition contractor rather than a builder of the Church. He plainly and emphatically affirms that the Saviour who said, “... I will build my Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it,” is the only One who can build the true Church.
Although our work was built with many tears and much prayer, it has not escaped some of the failings of Sodom. Such knowledge should keep us very humble. When anyone advertises himself as an able church-builder, he is, without any doubt, a misfit for God’s work. Unfortunately, we too are producing a few such misfits!
The love of prominence and pre-eminence is quite a satanic quality. Oh, to be a little David or a rural fruit-gatherer as Amos, or a mere fisherman like Peter !!!
One of the dread diseases which ails the Fellowship today is big degrees. Add to this, the love of huge salaries and we have quite a lethal mix! Now these are the trends we are fighting against. Are we going to keep the focus on the simplicity of Jesus and be like Him? Or, will He become the despised Galilean to us also? We must learn to pray with understanding for our humble labours in the growing metropolises like Hyderabad and Bangalore and steel our hearts against sub-standards.
Notwithstanding the fact that our centrally-placed grounds here are bigger than a football ground, we can hardly find room for the people who pour in through our gates.
A wedding hall and its grounds, which is directly placed some 25 metres behind our platform, seats those of our regulars who give up their seats in our grounds to strangers and other visitors.
Vijayawada is quite a turbulent area where political feuds result in much violence and many murders. The Word of God goes out however uncompromisingly. Though many nominal Christians from the ancient missions scarcely bother about being an example to anyone, many Hindus and Muslims, knowing the power which is evidently at work in converted people, are drawn to the meetings. Thus many are turning to Christ by the touch and intervention of God in their lives.
When a crippled child, who was blind, was brought for prayer, Bro. Joe did what he always does—placed the child before the Lord and prayed for His touch upon her. The child appeared to be totally unaffected by the prayer. But the dear Lord did His wondrous work and the badly crippled girl was made whole and she was also healed of her blindness.
It is very unfortunate that amidst the masses in our meetings, many works of God almost go unnoticed and go unrecorded.
While we hate overstressing physical healing, we know that it is wrong not to acknowledge and magnify the Name of Jesus, who still works amongst us in spite of our poor faith.
In North-East India
Itanagar, Arunachal Pradesh
Getting to Itanagar, the capital of Arunachal Pradesh, itself takes a long and hazardous journey, to the northernmost regions of India, close to China. As the helicopter flew between sheer rugged cliffs and mountains and narrow ravines, in murky weather, one knew that it is the good Hand of God alone that can really keep one safe in such flights. In fact, two helicopters were lost on this route in the space of two months since Bro. Joe and Sister Lily made this trip and sadly many precious lives were lost, including the life of the Chief Minister of this State.
The meeting was arranged in the open grounds of an industrial institute. To find any level area in the mountainous hillsides is in itself a very difficult thing. Further, in the inclement weather, to conceive of an open-air meeting is nothing but an act of faith.
The Lord graciously held off the rain and many heard the Word of God. The population here being largely spirit-worshippers and worshippers of ancestors etc., to receive the light of the Sun of Righteousness, the Lord Jesus, is a most glorious thing. Surely, “the people that sat in darkness saw great light.” (Matt. 4:16)
A further task awaited Bro. Joe here. He had to study the topography of the valley, skirted by a mountain stream, where on the rather steep mountainside, our prayer hall has to go up. We must pray that tens of thousands will be transformed through what has begun as “a tiny mustard seed.”
Our bookstall, “Beautiful Books” in Itanagar has quite an extensive range of Bibles and good books.
Upon his insistence, a small meeting was hurriedly convened in historic Tezpur, where Bro. Joe stayed overnight. It was here that the invading Chinese forces stopped in 1962 and thereafter they withdrew their forces back to China. It was evident that when President Kennedy put the American forces on alert, the Chinese reacted pretty fast, in giving up most of their ill-gotten claims. Many Indian soldiers armed with antiquated muskets were butchered here by the invading armies.
Our Sunday service takes place in a small rented premises here. Whenever Bro. Joe sees wide open places with desperate needs, the Scripture hits him hard, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” (Prov. 29:18) Our slowness in reaching people with the transforming Gospel is in itself a big crime.
It was such a joy for Bro. Joe to address this single meeting in our beautiful hall in Dimapur. In this place where much blood flows, due to the incessant fights between underground outfits and other criminals, God should build a strong work, whereby even chronic murderers and greedy drug-peddlers are transformed.
A lovely display of good books and Bibles greets strangers in our ‘Beautiful Books’ at the entrance to our premises.
It is a great pity that we hear so little of the sacrifices and exploits of the mighty missionaries, who planted the Seed of God’s Word among the warring Naga tribes and head-hunters. We that follow these great men and women in these far easier and often luxurious days, should be very conscious that our love for souls is scarcely on par with that of these men and women, who have sacrificed their lives for these precious souls.
We are still strangers in Nagaland and our message is far from palatable to many. The atmosphere of antagonism, hatred, extortion and bone-laziness has to give place to fervent love, diligent service and the washing of one another’s feet. The preaching of the Gospel alone must work these wonders. The people of Nagaland can be raised to such a spiritual level that few can match them in the world!
Our labours regrettably are still feeble and few. Now this bottleneck between profession and practice can only be broken by the kind of preaching that produces true selfless soldiers and not chocolate soldiers.
Our meetings, which were held in the big government hall here, drew many hungry people. Folks from the Bible College of Nagaland wholeheartedly co-operated with us. Their choir also sang meaningful songs at the meetings.
Seeing that we were in the midst of the monsoon, with rains lashing down, it was indeed amazing that our meeting went on undisturbed in Churachandpur on the 21st of June. There were many seated outside the medium-sized church building under an improvised tent.
When one meets with a number of sicknesses, the dear Lord alone can heal; and despite the strenuous work of these days, Bro. Joe took the time to pray for them.
Widespread Labours in India
Our meetings that take place almost on the outskirts of the city, still draw many people from several areas. Many sit under the shade of trees and listen, when our meeting place overflows.
Bro. Chinthu Srisundar, with his quiet and steady manner, has left a beautiful example for others to follow. Joan, his wife, continues to serve in spite of her physical weakness. Bro. Diwakar Pardhe’s zeal in scattering the Word must be imbibed by many of our young people here.
Now it is all big degrees and the draw of big jobs which have a tremendous appeal to many of our young people. Notwithstanding, God will raise faithful disciples, when we set a Christlike example before them.
Although Bangalore is widely known as the ‘Silicon Valley’ of India, with a wide range of computer companies operating from here, one wonders how men at the helm would want the logjam and mess of Bangalore, with its wide-ranging corruption, clogged roads, high pollution and poor infrastructure. Crooked men and corrupt administrators appear to be locked in an affectionate and bear-like embrace!
Though our meetings appear to be at a very remote location, it is amazing that people seek out our place and come there. Yet it is a battle all the way in Bangalore. There are several earnest people here and steady work is going forward.
We do not know all that Bro. Francis Daniel tried to pre-empt when he insisted on people coming on time to the prayer meetings, but quite evidently Bangalore is a birthplace of backsliders and other grumblers. Whenever Bro. Joe preaches in Bangalore, he does so with a broken heart which is wholly cast upon the Lord. Our revival meetings here drew many new people to hear God’s Word.
Our crew in Kashmir were subjected to what can be described almost as a siege. During the uprising against the government, the mobs hurled abuses and threats at the gates of our hospital in Anantnag, Kashmir. Rocks too were thrown, and in their mad fury, the crowds demanded that our people should either become Muslims or leave Kashmir. Yet, none of our people wanted to move away to a secure or safer place. Much prayer went up from there and in spite of the curfew which was in force, they continued their work.
However, we must acknowledge that our dedication, discipline, love and prayer are coming woefully short and we are far from those who are mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds.
It is noticeable that in the Early Church they did not need highly advertised meetings. Daily souls were added to the Lord. Steadily the Word of God is being proclaimed week after week to small groups in numerous places . The dear Lord must give us fruit and abiding blessing.
At the moment, the work is still very small and Bro. Whitson says that apart from the special occasions like our Anniversary Thanksgiving services and our Carol services, there are few large meetings. It would be a great contribution to the work of God, if between them, Whitson and Kamala can leave behind a faithful example which others in this area can follow. One does not know how long they can continue to serve in Gujarat.
Many followed Mr. Gandhi in his home state, Gujarat. Surely Christlikeness is far higher than anything that Gandhism can speak of. Is the Fellowship truly going to show forth Jesus, such that men will turn to Him?
The Internet and Magazine Ministry
Unknown to us, some people have put Bro. Joe’s messages on ‘You Tube’.
Our own website receives many hits as people from all kinds of places and various countries seek to hear the Word of God.
The messages recorded in our little church in Novi, near Detroit, can be heard live on our website over the internet and such people as cannot turn to the internet on Sunday itself, can do so by going to our website at any time they choose to. John Daniel continues to search diligently for new avenues through which souls can be reached.
Every other month, our four-page CHRIST IS VICTOR is printed and quite a number of our young people help to distribute it. Mike and Melody even travel to some universities and put the magazines on the notice boards in pouches from which people pick them up.
Some of the janitors whose job it is to clear and clean the notice boards do not throw our Christ is Victor magazines into the garbage, as they do with the other material displayed.
The Literature Ministry
In the literature wing of our work, there has been some restructuring and improved productivity.
Bro. N. Daniel’s life in Hindi has come out and we want it to be widely distributed. Over the years, wherever his life was read, there has been great blessing.
A commodious book depository has to be put up, as more and more books are being printed in many languages.
Our Ponneri school has seen quite some changes since the sudden departure of Moses Charles and Chandra. We have always been grateful for the hard work which they had put in. Hereafter, when one is transferred to another place, or is retiring or relinquishing one’s position of leadership, Christian grace and normal discipline should be strictly observed. The one who is taking over should be initiated lovingly and trouble spots or areas of the work which require immediate attention should be pointed out in detail to him. Now this takes place normally in any place of business or in government transfers. In our case, however, there should be Christian love added to these situations. Also it is important that the outgoing person should not leave a mess behind for a younger brother to inherit. Christians generally are notorious for their display of small-mindedness and their old nature, when it comes to grooming or handing over to a younger person.
Bro. Joe was appalled at the state of the computer room and other working conditions, when the changeover took place in Ponneri. Immediately, at great expense, the computer room was completely redone. As not even one computer was working, Bro. Joe had the whole place revamped and re-equipped. The second thing to note is the morale and the character of the staff; it should be such that the work will go on without any interruption. We that preach righteousness should never run a school or any institution in a manner unworthy of the Gospel.
This year, the results in the 12th grade or Plus 2 class were disappointing as a few students failed in their Maths exam.
In our schools, giving the children sound character, we deem to be our foremost responsibility than high scores in exams. We then expect our children to put in hard and honest work and secure creditable passes at the state exams.
All our other high schools in Mettupalayam, Salem and Bansi in Uttar Pradesh secured centum results and first classes for nearly all the students who sat for the exams.
The Annual Retreat
We always approach our Annual Retreat with fear and trembling. We simply don’t want it to be just another event on our calendar.
The registrations at this year’s Retreat crossed the 10,000 mark. There were in fact 10,300 at the Retreat. A few thousand more were visitors that joined us at the evening meetings.
The Word of the Lord was blessed to our hearts. We want this Retreat to be a Peniel, a place where double-minded Jacobs are transformed into single-minded Israels, who prevail with God in prayer. Imagine the power that is released into the world, when the thousands who are present truly begin to live the life of those who are dead to self! We do expect great things to happen in many quarters as a sequel to this Retreat.
All the continents were represented at the Retreat and prayer went up for the whole world.
It is amazing how nearly everything which has to do with a genuine work of God takes place silently and yet produces such long-term effects! Did not God say, “The kingdom of God is like a leaven which leaventh the whole lump”? Does leaven make big sounding noises? No. It does its work thoroughly and silently. Then again, God’s Word says, “Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord.” (Exodus 14:13) We must confess that we find it very hard indeed to stand still, because we imagine that we are the kingpins and the most important people and nothing can be done without our jumping up and down. No! We are nobodies.
Now the temptation before us is to be a big organisation and make some boastful noises, or to be just willing instruments in God’s Hands. Let us be like little David with his sling and smooth stones.
If we have any spirituality at all, we would say, “Lord, set me aside, and You take the field. There is little I can do except to produce some empty noises. Lord, Yours is the battle and if You are with us, that is enough! Have all the glory, for You are the Builder of this work.”