Thursday Day 5
by Christian Zebley

This morning we make a visit to a nearby village with a church connected to Pastor VJ’s hub church.

We joined worship in a small, steamy church and I gave a message to the folks based on the free gift of salvation and the Rich Young Man -reminding us to depend on God and not let anything separate us from the amazing free gift of God’s love in Jesus Christ received by faith. I asked who would like to receive this free gift and about 20 people raised their hands and we closed in prayer. For many it was probably re-dedication in this village of Christian people.

When then made a gift to the pastor to support the widows in this rural village who have no form of support other than donations. We also gave the pastor Audibible and Alpha material.

Then, we returned back to Pastor VJ’s house in Mallepadu Village next to the hub church led by his father for many years. The church is Baptist and independent going back for almost 100 years. Pastor VJs father passed away two years ago and his father rebuilt the current church building in 2001. His father was a highly respected, unselfish leader and most of the pastors came to the GAT event, over 100 in attendance because their respect for his father’s legacy in Christian work in this area of Andrah Pradesh. Pastor VJ and I met providentially when I was attending the 100 anniversary of the 1910 Edinburgh Missionary Conference that was celebrated in Tokyo in May, 2010. I was there on Alpha business as the Nat. Dir. of Multicultural Alpha at the time. We had to delay my coming to India three times but finally the door opened this November! I sense God delay the trip for the perfect timing of being here in the so-called “cool” season no pun intended and also I am much free to develop collaborations under the umbrella of GLD. To make a long story short – God connected me to the right person to work here in Tenali in this region of Andrah Pradesh because so many respect Pastor VJ and his father before him.

Wednesday evening we held the first revival meeting in the school yard of the local gov. sponsored elementary school. In the afternoon I played ball catch with the local boys while the men set up the platform and the sound system. When we came back for the revival about 8pm the musician was playing and I was surprised to hardly see anyone there but by 9pm the school yard had filled up with about 60 people. A local evangelist named Parishuda Rao who is a great guy and very warm and charismatic preached first to warm up the crowd and draw in the people from the surrounding houses. The sound system projects the preaching for about 2km around the school yard.

Most gathered are women in sarees and carrying Bibles. The pastor has described them as nominal Christians who struggle with staying faithful to Christianity. As we preach the follow along in their Bibles with the verses we reference. On Wednesday night, I spoke on “Why Did Jesus Die” with the problem of sin and Jesus as the solution. I shared an illustration of God as a loving and just judge. I borrowed some teaching from Alpha and the crowd will sometimes cry out “Hallelujah” when you make a point that connects. At the end I invited folks forward but they did not really know what to do as a group society so we closed in prayer and they everyone surrounded me and I prayed a blessings on almost every person and some requested prayers
for healing. It is a revival in the true sense of praying for the church to be revived and renew its faith in Jesus. More on this in the update on Friday night which was a very powerful evening.