Church of the Lutheran Confession, Nidubrolu

Written by | September, 2011
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At the CLCI Bible Institute I taught to the seminary students and the pastors at once.  A half dozen had to sit in the entry way.  The overhead projector was used and needed so everyone could see the pictures and teaching method list.  This group asked a lot of questions at the end.  Pastor Jyothi interpreted for me and explained the answers for me.  A couple questions were about the Samaritan woman at the well and her status as a dalit or untouchable.

The pictures show the hospitality and the Bible Institute building which has a chapel class room, seminary classroom, housing for the families of Pastor V S Benjamin and his son Pastor Jyothi Benjamin, the orphanage and the court yard for large assemblies and space for a couple seminary students.

1a7I preached at the village churches on Friday night, Saturday night, Sunday noon and Sunday night.  The night services were scheduled late because the workers don’t come out of the fields (this is women too) until dark.  They needed to get home, have a bite to eat and get to church.  This was a great opportunity to meet the pastors and their families.  The service was begun (8:30 or so) with hymns amplified over out door speakers which is like a long ringing of church bells calling the congregation.  At the end of the service, someone translated the prayer requests and I prayed for them.  Then dinner was served.  We usually got back to the hotel around mid-night.  By the way my sermon is 10 to 15 minutes, but then translated.

The first congregation is at the village of K B Pallem where Pastor Samuel is Pastor.  It is especially difficult for the children to stay awake after a long day and in a hot, humid church.  The prayers in the farming villages are frequently about physical ailments.

There is usually tea or soda and a snack of cake and cookies when we come.  The pastor, Jyothi and I often talk about the needs of the congregation in the time before service.  At the dinner after the service, we are more rushed to get on the road.

The second congregation was at Dandamudi with Pastor Jeevan Kumar.  Pastor Jyothi had back pain which made standing and translating difficult.  Pastor Kumar came along and translated part of the sermon and all the prayer requests.  Here there were many requests for children and family members.  One grandmother brought a boy who did not want to study very much.

On Sunday I was up at 5:45 to try to Skype with my daughter Lara’s family, but the power kept going out and shutting down the wireless service at the motel. We had no success.  I ate a second, late breakfast or early lunch before I left which was foolish of me.  When we arrived at the Bible Institute, I had to have a little snack.

Then we traveled to the village of Mannava with Pastor Isaiah.  He translated much of the sermon for me, but I tangled him up in pronouns and dependent clauses.  Pastor Jyothi finished the sermon and Pastor Isaiah translated the prayer requests.  Here there were more prayers for marriage and children.  After the service we had time for lunch and to look at a proposed addition to the church.

We returned to the Bible institute for rest and a snack.  Pastor Jyothi and I traded pictures.  (For the rest of the day one of the pastoral students took pictures for me.)  Children came for a youth Bible class this afternoon; we could hear them singing.  Pastor Jyothi talked to the teachers and we went up to see the conclusion and to greet the students.  It was joyful experience.  I thanked the students, telling them how my plans to see and talk with my grandson failed, but they had brightened my day with their songs and dances.

The pictures should have sound:  drums and things, laughter and excited talk, practicing English on the teacher from the US and many thank you’s.

We had time for a snack before we left for the last church, and time for a snack when we got there.  They were cooking the curry and rice for the dinner after the service.

The service was at the village of Machavaram; the church building and property were funded by John Rohrbach and his friends.  The compound contains a garden and platform exterior of the church for CLCI meetings.  The pastor is Prem Kumar and the seminary student Barnabas lives here with his family.  This service was a little later and the weather a little hotter.  I shortened the sermon and Pastor Barnabas did a very smooth translation to keep things moving.  Here there were many prayer requests for newly married women to have children and males, God willing.


Beautiful Background

In this last picture, taken at 11:08 pm after I had eaten for the last time, look at the beautiful mural on the church wall.

I had to take Pepto Bismol for indigestion during the short night; we got up at 5 am to get on the road to Chennai.  I was thankful for the blessing of a 3 hour nap in the car.

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