Miracles In India
In November I received an unexpected request from India to come and hold a three-day training seminar for pastors.
Some months before I had accepted a face book friend request from a man in India that I discovered was a pastor. I did not know much about him at all but thought the chance to get to know someone in India might be a pleasant culture experience. After many months of occasional chatting, our conversation became deeper and longer. I learned that Pastor Paul was the President of a non-denominational ministerial association. He told me that in this association there were more than 670 pastors who have left their various denominations in an effort to find a deeper and closer walk in the light of God’s truth. Their congregations had joined them—about 45 people per congregation. All of the pastors had at least two congregations—some had more.
The unexpected request for me to come to India and hold a training seminar for the pastors took me by surprise, but after some thought and prayer, I accepted and had a great sense of peace for two days. Then God began to impress me with the thought that I should not go alone. The apostles went two by two, and so should I. I felt strongly impressed to share this opportunity with my fellow missionary Mike Avaylon, who immediately shared his burden to return to India to continue work he had begun there years earlier.
In India we were met by a delegation of lovely Christian people at the airport. Although we had never seen them before, we sensed instant fellowship through the Spirit of God. We discovered quickly that none of the people understood English well enough to serve as a capable translator for the seminar, and this caused us both a lot of distress. The morning of our first presentation, a young man appeared who spoke nearly flawless English and provided the Telagu translation needed to convey the depths of the truths we had come to share.
I shared messages of what it means to be a true minister, how to really feed and nurture the sheep and yet not become so busy that you lose your own connection with Christ. Then Mike gave an in-depth study on the beauty of symbolism and functions of the earthly and heavenly Sanctuaries. Next, he shared an introduction to Bible prophecy. I finished up with a health study and a very important presentation on total victory over sin. We were able to share many of our precious Biblical doctrines in these studies. While we seriously expected that we would receive much opposition to the messages, it was amazing to find that these pastors were simply hungry for truth and being led by the Holy Spirit to accept what we share with them.
After the seminar was over, we had an opportunity to fellowship even more with some of these lovely Christians. Mike and I preached in Pastor Paul’s main church on Sunday morning. And Mike finished his message by sharing the truth of the Biblical Sabbath. I was really praying as he spoke. It was totally amazing to hear Pastor Paul saying, “That’s right; it’s the truth,” as Mike preached.
That afternoon we traveled for three hours by van to a leper colony and ministered one more time to hungry souls. What a blessing heaven will be for these people who have lost fingers, toes, and even legs to disease!
On our way back, we talked with pastor Paul and some of the pastors who accompanied us about what they believed. We were totally amazed to discover that they had come to a correct understanding of what happens to us when we die—that we are asleep in Jesus waiting for the resurrection, not the pagan belief that we go immediately to heaven or hell. They also understood baptism by immersion, like the apostles taught and practiced. Mike asked them who taught them these truths, and they answered, “Pastor Mike, it’s in the Bible!” Surely God’s Spirit is working in ways we do not comprehend.
Two weeks ago I received a report from Pastor Paul that he and 34 of his fellow pastors have begun keeping the seventh-day Sabbath along with their congregations. That means more than 2,000 people are rejoicing in truth and expressing their love for Christ in a more complete way. I cannot begin to tell you what joy this brings to our hearts!
After our visit with pastor Paul and his pastors, we traveled to the city of Chennai where Mike’s friends had prepared the way for evangelistic meetings. They had decided to try an experiment and see if people would come to meetings in the day time as well as in the evening. It was quite surprising to see large crowds come and spend all day listening to the messages we came to share with them.
Most of the people were Hindu, so we had to adapt our presentation so that they could understand the loveliness of accepting and serving Christ. There were also some Christians of various faith attending. After each presentation, dozens of people would come forward pleading for prayers for blessings and healing. Some would kneel down and hold onto our feet, which at first confused us, but soon we realized they were attempting to worship us. We lifted them up and prayed with and for them. This experience reminded us of the verse, “How beautiful upon the mountain are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation….” Isaiah 52:7. Unlike so many in America, the poorer people of the world are hungrily seeking for truth and freedom from sin.
While we expected the Hindu people to be wearing the Hindu jewelry, it made us sad to see that many of our own members were reverting and wearing it also. Mike preached a strong message to help everyone understand the issue at stake with this practice. Paganism has such a stronghold on pagans and Christians alike.
Several times we were called upon to cast demons out of people who came to the meetings. This was a spiritual challenge to me personally for two reasons: first, I have encountered a lot of the falsely so-called “deliverance ministry” here in America. Some people think that every cold, flu, ache, pain, and negative attitude is caused by demonic possession. Satan gets a lot of mileage from false views such as these. Second, my mind went back to the Bible story where the disciples tried to cast out a demon with unprepared hearts. Was my own life so connected that God could use me? The Lord helped me to answer these questions through our experiences. The demons predictably were unhappy during these sessions and were very vulgar in their final torments upon the victims. You cannot imagine the peace and joy that enters a heart when a demon is replaced by the Holy Spirit!
One case was very heart wrenching. We were asked to join a group of pastors and Bible workers who were praying for a young church member who had been tormented with a demon for more than three years. The demon was strangling her, and she was choking, spewing up water and crying. We did pray for her, but I was impressed that there was a work that needed to be done before she could be released. She was wearing earrings even though she knew better than to do so. I believe that is why numerous attempts by various pastors had been made with no success. She was wearing the symbols of ancient pagan worship. We went to her house the next morning and met with her and her husband, who was not a member. We shared with them both the importance of preparing the heart and the home for victory and that total surrender was needed before God could employ His full power in her behalf. Everything that was related to any ungodly practice was put out of the house. The husband took the earrings away and sold them. We then laid our hands on her and prayed earnestly for her deliverance. Then in the name of Jesus we commanded the demon to leave. After torturing her briefly one last time, he left, and for the first time in years she was allowed to pray and praise God without interference from the devil. We in America have much to learn from this experience. Our own members are deeply involved in very many aspects of idol worship television. movies, adornments, music, and love of money are disconnecting us from the power we need so desperately in these final days of soul preparation.
If you, my brother, lose heaven, you lose everything. You cannot afford to fail of receiving the heavenly treasures which are to be given only to those who love God supremely and their neighbor as themselves. Treasures of immortal value will be given only to the self-denying and the pure in heart. Stand before God with a heart cleansed from every idol, a conscience void of offense, and you are prepared for anything. Life or death, trials or sufferings, will not uproot your faith, but make you strong to do and to suffer.
Many have a knowledge of the truth, but it is of no saving value to them unless they practice the truth. It is the ruin of thousands that they are pleased to have close connection with those who have no love for God and for the truth. Uniting with them, binding up with them by secret cords which God and heaven have never devised, will, in the place of making one Christlike and humble, holy, pure, and undefiled, make him, after a time, of the same mind and spirit as his associates. 20MR 285, 286