Immediately upon entering Tenali we began our meetings in a nearby village. The pastor had organized things in advance and the crowds came to listen. Each night the crowds increased till we had over 2,000 sitting on the ground before us in that first village.
Daily we prayed as we went to speak to a group size of about 1,500 in a village 30 minutes outside of Tenali. The children gathered quickly knowing their part was first. They welcomed us as soon as we arrived by taxi. Their warm hand shakes and broken English welcomes were full of an unrestrained Indian love. I treasured this touching. I loved the children and they all knew it. Though men would come and beat them and demand they not escort us, they continued this courteous, excited welcome and kept offering to lighten our loads. They so tenderly carried our bags. It reminded me of the dear loving children in all the other countries, especially Russia. Their faith is so pure. They so quickly grasp the truths and believe. They are so fast on quiz questions and love getting prizes. If they are in the wrong section for the question, they would run across the crowd to where they might get called on. They tried so hard to stay awake through the adult presentations but most fell asleep.
Kyle and Jenny took turns in sharing a story each evening with power point pictures Kyle had drawn. Each evening it was a new story to illustrate another of the 10 commandments. By the close of the 10 days of meetings each of the commandments had been illustrated and the commandments reviewed. There also was a little health talk and a message on a doctrine essential to salvation. Many adults would listen to all sections including the parts just for the kids.
The program that followed was for adults and begun with the Mathew DVD and proceeded thereafter with health talk and an evening message on a doctrine essential to salvation. The main theme was to prepare for the judgment day is upon us. Soon our Jesus will come. By the last of the 10 days there was a crowd size that had increased to at least 3000.
The meeting began late due to failure of the taxi to pick us up till 2 hours after the start of the meeting. I prayed daily for God to give me boldness and strength for each challenge. There had been a mistake made by the electrician in connecting to the local power even when I had rented a generator for each evening. I had given all the funds to the local pastor to pay for fuel and such and when funds ran out, there was a considerable amount of stress. The taking of electricity was noticed, reported and there was a threatened imprisonment by authorities. It was the first I knew of the problem. They tried to shut down the meetings but decided to go ahead in faith. Right in the middle of a program, we dropped to our knees and prayed then continued on with the story. The pastor was able to get the authorities to leave. They were to appear in the headquarters office the next day and pay a fine.
By the 8th night, an Adventist teacher came to listen. He knew I was going to visit their church the next day and he wondered what I was doing. When he was introduced to me, I asked if he would translate because the local pastor was real busy elsewhere and I needed to begin. He did such a great job of a delicate topic.
I was so pleased that he returned the next night. It was an answer to my prayers for he seemed to understand my accent better than others and at quiz time it seemed the answers were quicker and better. To all we could see, the translation was a great one.
Those last 3 nights he translated so nicely. There was a crowd increase till it was over 3,000. As I finished preaching and prayed, I had completed my efforts in that village. Yet each one headed up for special prayer. It was the largest group asking for individual prayer that I had ever seen. I was very hungry and tired but did not even sense these needs during this event. I wanted to be careful to ask for special favors from heaven on each soul individually standing there and touch each one. With my hands on their heads I asked God to help them find more light and to grant the desires of their hearts that they could not express to me due to language barriers. I asked that He would do all He could to help them be in heaven.
Several times during my praying I would hear a loud command to stop praying. I would look up and see the face of the local pastor contorted with wild anger peering through the back drop curtain. It gave me shivers that he had such emotion. The crowd pressed in on me requesting prayers anyway so I kept on this ministry to the left of the stage on the ground out under the stars.
The crowd knew it was their last chance and all waited somewhat impatiently shoving and pressing in on me. The translator had told me to rest in knowledge of the comfort that I had completed successfully a whole series of meetings. He saw the looks of anger on the face of the pastor. I had no time to think for I had a large task ahead of me but God had appointed His friends to watch out for me.
Finally the job was completed and we waited for a taxi under a tree till about 3AM. I was very tired, thirsty and hungry. Most meetings last about 3to 4 hours. We had not had any food or water supplies because the man who usually provided these had to leave town for his mother was dying. God gave us incredible strength that did not come from food, juice, or water. He sustained us with energy from heaven. It was all so sudden I did not know why there was no food provided until a note was passed to me over the heads of the people standing waiting for prayer.
As we arrived back at our apartment at 3:30 in the morning I was ready for sleep but the pastor coordinating everything had one thing on his mind. He wanted money. I had nothing yet he seemed to think it was around somewhere. Because God had moved on the heart of a man to provide us with food, this pastor thought somehow money had been provided for that. He wanted to know if I could support them or if all the backdrops should be returned to the shops and future meetings cancelled. I needed to sleep before giving any answer. I begged him to let me sleep first. Finally I demanded he leave the apartment.
I had clues of this crisis over the past 5 days. Innuendos and lack of courtesy and anger when I spoke with brother M. There were delays in taking me to speaking appointments. Sometimes a wait of 2 and a half hours past the start of meetings. I had no telephone and no way to tell my husband and family of our desperate situation. I was so thankful brother M. brought us things to eat. When brother M. brought food, I sent floppy disks out inside of dishes to avoid the anger episodes from Pastor J. that came on over my wanting to email home. I sent out notes describing our food needs but had to tuck these inside of dishes to avoid causing an anger I did not understand.
As soon as pastor J. left at 3:30AM, I headed to join my sleeping children. As I started to climb into bed a strong urging jolted me awake. I was instructed to pack up quickly. I obeyed God's voice and had just finished when there was an urgent knocking on the locked apartment door.
Next chapter: Valley of the Shadow of Death