CLCI

Written by | July, 2012
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Monday July 23

We arrived at the CLCI Seminary in Nidubrolu today. Joythi met us at our entry into the area. How great to see him once again. He remembered many details about when he was attending ILC – shared memories in a shared faith. He asked about many, many of you individually. His Father was feeling strong enough to greet us. Pray that he be strengthened, according to God’s will, for his surgery. We were welcomed with flowers, photos and love. What a privilege to be among these brethren in Christ, of whom we have heard so much for years.

The hotel we are staying at has a complimentary breakfast, your choice of either poori, dosa, or idly and vada. So I tried one each day. I started with the poori, pretty good, maybe like a fried crepe. Next I had the dosa. Apparently most people here would eat it with a spicy potato hash mixture or other spicy toppings. But for me it was plain. So it was like a pancake, just one made out of rice and with nothing on it. So that brought up the idly and vada today. Matt warned me the vada is a donut with onions and peppers in it. I like onions and peppers so I tried it. A small bite first though just to see, I almost jumped out of my seat. Spicy hot! Small wonder that we were told this area produces the most chilli peppers of any area in the world. The idly, a rice cake, by contrast, was so bland it was like eating paste. The people here of course are putting those spicy toppings on it. De gustibus non disputatem est. Well, I never had any illusions that I was coming here for the cuisine. I did give it a try but I am not much of an adventurer in that realm.

By contrast the Benjamin’s have been serving us a delicious chicken fried rice at noon. And undoubtedly aware that we may not be used to their spices, they have not made it real spicy and serve pop and ice cream with it to further aid us. Delicious.

We taught at their Pastoral Conference for two days. The mixing of law and gospel destroys the comfort of the gospel. Many teach Jesus as just an example for our life, others that since God is love he will not require of anyone more than they can do, others that Jesus died for our sins but we must now add our own qualifications to be saved. We may wish God had said, “Do the best you can.” but He did not, He said, “Be perfect, holy, in attitude as well as action.” And that pins me to the wall. Only when we see that the law always damns us are we turned by the Holy Spirit to rely on the grace of Christ alone. He is our Substitute, perfectly obeying the law for our righteousness and completely paying the debt for all our sins.

Wondanalu! Praise the Lord!

So Wednesday evening the orphans and Sunday school children put on a program for us. There were about 120 children there. The power was out so everything was in the dark but for the lanterns and flashlights. But group after group of children came forward with smiling faces to sing their praise of Christ, some were in action songs. They had even learned a few in English like Shine, Jesus, Shine. The Sunday School teachers were also leading them to learn other songs singing them responsively. They then shared a gift packet with each child. They asked me to distribute these. That was quite a privilege. However, there we so many children in the courtyard it became very difficult to carry out the distribution in an orderly way.

We were supposed to have supper there after the program and then go on to one of the congregations for a worship service. However, because of the power outage they could not fix supper and everything was also delayed because they had been waiting for the power to return. So we went on to another village, Machuvalem. The prayer was that the power would be on there. However, it wasn’t, which meant they could not start up the loudspeakers to invite everyone in the village to come and worship. We got there about 7:30 PM. We waited praying and talking until the power came on about 9 PM. The pastor there then used a loudspeaker system to invite the village to come for worship. He and various congregation members prayed and sang songs over the loudspeakers for the next hour while members gathered. So at 10 PM the service began. Songs, prayer, liturgy, teaching the word all done over the loudspeakers so others could also hear and believe. Then we had individual prayers for each member. For example the pastor there and his wife have been unable to conceive a child. After seven years the Lord answered their prayers and it is now the 6th month with her who was barren. So we joined in a prayer of thanks and requested the Lord’s blessings on the rest of the pregnancy, birth and life in the Lord. So now it was 11:15 PM. But the hosts wanted to show their love for their Lord by still serving us a meal. So about 11:45 we set out for the hotel and got there about 12:45, rather tired but filled with rejoicing in the work of the Lord.

The next day we visited two congregations with similar gatherings in word and Spirit.

Wondanalu! Praise the Lord!

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