Day 6 Friday morning
by Christian Zebley
We got up early and drove over an hour an Ambassador Taxi which looks like a car from the1960s for us but is a luxury here and drove through rice fields along the irrigation canals to another preaching point church connected to Pastor VJs hub church known as the American Baptist Church but no connection to American Baptist Churches.
On this day we visited a vibrant, spirit-filled church led by a beautiful couple name Issac and Prishanti which means peace. They were obviously spirit-filled and the worship was on fire with drums and tribal sounds. We were in a small hut in this church about 1pm in the afternoon with no air conditioning. They had to move the pulpit so I would not hit my head on the ceiling fan. God gave me a word from Romans 5 verses 1-5 about God pouring love into our hearts through the Holy Spirit He has given us. I talked about endurance and widening our hearts as a temple of the Holy Spirit so more and more people will come to know the Lord through the rivers of living water of God’s love and His Spirit flowing to people around us. This message resounded well with them and I received several Hallelujah’s throughout the message. This church has experienced several miracles in healing and we had lunch afterward at a local Hindu couples home after the husband was healed on his deathbed from a stomach disease. They became Christians and have joined the church. They beamed with smiles as they served us lunch. I presented the pastor with AudioBibles in the local Telegu language as well as Alpha material.
We then started our long journey back to Mallepadu village for the second revival evening. At this point I was exhausted from the heat and my digestive system was on fire from the lunch curries as I was crammed into the back of the cab on the long bumpy road back to Mallepadu in Tenali. In my mind I was questioning VJ’s decision for such a long outing before the revival since I wanted time to rest, pray and prepare and wanted to give the revival my best shot on Friday night!!
The Lord had different plans that caused me to pray intensely in the back of the cab in the Spirit beseeching Him to help me with weakness from the heat, my burning stomach – can you imagine eating curry three times a day for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I have not gotten sick Praise God and thank you Jesus that you prompted me to bring so much Pepto Bismol. On the way home, I trip got even longer since Pastor VJ decided he wanted to bless me and our family with some Indian clothes. At this point, I am thinking -this guy does not know how to prepare for a revival – we need to be on our faces in prayer. But I followed him through the garment district where we had me sized by several disbelieving tailors as I could barely fit in their tailor shops but I was blessed with a new hand-sewn cotton dress shirt and silk dress pants. A beautiful saree was chosen for my wife and three dresses for my girls and a cute outfit for Isaiah Thomas. I was also told to pick out a nice ballpoint pen that every man should carry!
Finally, we made it home and I was given hot water to take a bath and get ready for the revival! In the process, God broke me down and gave me a message based on my personal testimony of receiving a call to mission at age 12 and then walking away from God until by rebirth at 21 and then my own struggles with doubt and compromise until being filled with the Holy Spirit at 35. I spoke on our relationship to Jesus Christ as one of being married to Christ as His bride the Church based on Rev. 19:7. I closed with thoughts about doubting Thomas from John 20 and the Holy Spirit gave me insight as I spoke about how much it must hurt a husband’s heart when his wife doubts him about provision and whether he loves her.
Most of those in attendance were older married women. The concept here as that we are all the bride of Christ and need to rededicate ourselves in love to our Lord as the Bridegroom, especially has he prepares to come again. I was led to close the evening with having everyone stand and rededicate themselves to the Lord and the infilling of the Holy Spirit as I had been informed that the major issued here was compromise and nominal faith. The people said the prayer wholeheartedly and the were 100 or so in attendance. As I led the prayer standing next to Pastor VJ on the stand who was translating into Telegu – I sensed the Lord was doing a very special thing for this church here in Tenali which has had many troubles. Afterwards, I came of the stage and blessed and prayed for many people including prayers for healing. This was truly a revival and re-dedication of the hearts of faith community to Jesus Christ.
One young guy who is a local MBA student heard my nice English and followed it to the revival by bicycle. He earnestly wanted to talk with me and he is not a believer but a very intense young man who believes Jesus is an angel of God. I spoke and witnessed to him and gave him a tract that I picked up from Billy Graham’s office in Montreat and we exchanged emails. Please pray that Suhal comes to the know the truth and gives his life to Christ. When I reflected on the fact that we were broadcasting the preaching throughout this portion of the city, it is pretty amazing that God would call Suhal to the revival by hearing English.
We came home and had a late dinner and went to bed very satisfied by God’s presence and work in our midst.
On Saturday, I will baptize several people who have made the decision to be baptized and have the last evening of the revival.
More to come!! I have got to run as I prepare for the baptism on Saturday afternoon. Please pray God will protect and bless us in our last three days here.