BLA BLA BLA Mob Action
May 2 Friday
We traveled by train two hours to a place within about 6 Kilometers of Chirala and the ocean again. The name of the village was said so quickly it sounded like BLA BLA BLA. (Bapitla)
The cost was only 11 rupees each. So for a little more than a dollar we moved to the next village for work. The auto rickshaw took us to the pastorís home and the meeting site 5 KM from there. On the train we sat near a nice lady with a bright red dot in the middle of her forehead. When Jenny gave her a card with our Bible web site on it, she smiled and said she loved Jesus very much. She wanted me to always pray for her son who was an engineer student in Malaysia. She has relatives in America. She wanted us to always pray for her also. As the train swayed back and forth the kids swayed with it and made it a fun trip for all the Indian ladies facing us. They had entertainment. They watched Jenny and Kyle eat peanuts just as someone would enjoy watching monkeys in the zoo. Who knows all that they were saying in Telegu. They threw their peanut shells on the floor but Jenny and Kyle threw them at me. Actually they were aimed for the window but the wind brought them onto me.
The nightís meeting was complicated by electrical challenges but was under way with people gathering on both sides of the large sheet screen tied to a palm tree and a bamboo pole. We had a nice size crowd and finished by 11:30 pm because of all our delays.
In the morning while checking out our new surroundings, we discovered a weaver birdís nest. A mango tree was nearby and so was an almond and mimosa tree. On top the roof, we read our Bibles and prayed together over our planned evangelistic efforts. This one morning on the roof top ďterraceĒ we had a nice prayer session. I noticed in the tree a beautiful black and white bird with red on itís neck and a pointed hat like the cardinal and blue jay have. It sure looked elegant. There was a little chip monk like animal that jumped from the tree to the roof top and came right over to my feet not much afraid. Geckos run about on the walls gobbling up flies. Some geckos here are real chubby. They peer over the edges of the wardrobes and just stare at us like all the Indians do. I wish the gecko would come and gobble the fly that insists on sitting on my hand while I typed this story.
In the evening meeting a big black one inch Rhinoceros beetle waited under the shrub I preached by. At the end of the meeting as we awakened Kyle, Jenny spotted the beetle and shocked everyone that she was delighted and picked it up. Kyle was delighted that it ate part of a banana. The lady of the house was not so delighted and by morning, it was no where to be found. The container was there but the ďpetĒ beetle was gone with no explanations.
The SDA pastorís name T. Subhamani And the village is called Bapatla. After the third meeting of people getting up and rudely rushing out during the meeting, he was so embarrassed how they were treating his guest. He let his feelings flow which started a quarrel among the people at the meeting. The wild mob noises had me concerned. We gathered in the back and prayed for safety and for the meetings to continue. We finished packing up and needed a way home. It was very late and no auto could be found . Finally there was an auto rickshaw. I wondered about the loud angry shouts. What was happening. There was no one willing to translate it to us. I wondered why. What did it all mean? Would they be ready to do us in when we came back the next evening? What was going to be the outcome of our work?
The next night the uproar started as soon as we arrived. The dear Adventist pastor was so distressed. People were barricaded from coming to meeting even to help set up. They prevented us from having power.
Finally a man stepped through the barracade and provided power from his own residence. He brought 10 children risking danger from the mob. He was such a brave man. HE brought his keyboard and provided music. His courage was admirable. He has to live with those wild men after we leave. His courage could cost his life.
The helpers he brought helped put up the screen by climbing the palm trees and tying up the ropes. They carried tables and put out the mats in faith. At the gate, angry men were grabbing and shoving anyone trying to come to meeting. Two little boys were jerked out of the enclosure. Anyone who came in was dragged off. It was not a pretty site. We were praying and setting up in faith that God was about to show His muscles.
When all was set up I was suddenly given impression from heaven to change all the meeting plans and go to the last of the Mathew DVD. I was projecting the mob scenes of those who beat on Christ. There was a sudden hush on the mob at the gate. Eyes were peering over the wall. I could not see much of the audience but their eyes peering over the wall and all was blackness. The silencing of the mob was amazing. I wondered if they were getting lessons on how to beat on us from what they saw on Jesus. I had to quickly banish those thought and hope that Jesus was working on them with His powerful WORD. He promised if we lift Him up, He would draw all men to Himself. The direct words from the Telegu Mathew 27 were being read.
Suddenly the power went out in the city. The concern we had was for the hot 500 dollar light bulb of the projector. In 120 degree weather and now no fan for this hot machine we expected it to break as the manual says it will. When power came back on there was no working bulb. While God kept the laptop going on battery and the translator kept going with the Mathew 27 in Telegu, the kids, Lennin and I gathered about the projector, put our hands on it and asked God to fix the bulb. Immediately it turned on and projected up the Mathew material.
We reminded each other of the miracle of the exploded eggs that God had put the yokes back into when a little boy prayed and we said the light bulb repair would not give Him any greater of a challenge. We have a powerful God. It seemed if I leaned any, I would rest on Him. He was right there for us during the mob telling us how to control that wild mob.
As the Mathew DVD concluded, I was urged to share my testimony of how God told me to go to India against my will. He reminded me of Jonah and then provided funds so amazingly in those last 20 minutes to get tickets even after war declarations. I told them of how God had provided food for my children when my husband was out of work because I was in a partnership with God. He has never let me down.
The last miracle I shared was their own private one of the light bulb for that very hour of time with them. I told them of heavenís great love for them. It was so great that Jesus died for them and even did special things for them that night.
I then asked if I was right to believe that they would want more meetings about this kind of a God who loved them. The elegant lady on the right hand side of the mats urged us to continue. She wanted to hear more. She was attentive and answered quiz questions. The rest fell asleep or rudely again left before I was through speaking.
I spoke about the importance of keeping the commandments. I told how we all need passports in different countries and how much it cost us. I mentioned that heavenís country also requires passports. It is not expensive. It just takes partnership. This partnership is expressed in obedience to the commandments. I told many stories of how God provided in desperate times because an obedient person was crying out for help.
Many got up and rushed out of meeting. I tried to stay on track with my thoughts. I prayed for heavenís wisdom. Quiz time made me think I was a total failure. Only about 5 were able to even come up with answers at quiz time. One bright attentive girl always sat at the front and had a stack of quiz prizes from each meeting for she alone would answer.
I was happy the elegant lady had braved the storm and had come in to the school court yard to listen. Maybe she was just curious. I wondered how much she had gained. We had one more meeting to do before leaving town. What would happen then? After that we were scheduled back in Sekuripalem. There was no transport home that night. I wondered if the mob threats discouraged all drivers. Were they afraid? They had to live with these people after we left. It took real courage to show any friendliness to us.
We thought about walking the 5 miles with heavy equipment and sleeping children at midnight. I told Jesus, My Captian I was tired and needed help getting home with my team. I kept looking at the stars and knowing He was near and would do something. We started walking and suddenly there was an option available to us.
Soon this strong man came with his bicycle rickshaw. It had a board about 3 foot by 3 foot on which we perched our equipment, ourselves and leaned the sleeping children against us. Large semiís rushed past our unlighted precious cargo at midnight as our kind benefactor pedaled and we gazed at the stars and trusted in God for protection. It took about 45 minutes. The leg muscles of these rickshaw peddlers are real strong. I could never even move those things over those rough roads.
I am so thankful for Lenin's help. He is always seeing things that need doing and does them quickly without even saying anything. It really made life easier for me. God provided this young pastor in training to come help us. He looked out for Kyle like a fond brother would. His strong arms held projector and steadied sleeping Kyle from falling off the board. In his twenties, he is already doing great work for God in so many ways.
As we journeyed home from meeting pulled on a cart powered by a bicycle, I wondered how much good had been done. The shouting was ended but not many were coming. Maybe it was a blessing we did not understand Telegu. What did it all mean? Would they be ready to do us in when we came back the next evening? What was going to be the outcome of our work? This man who took us home spoke a few words of English. He said he had the passport. I hoped he meant that he intended to keep the commandments and thus have heavenís passport and promised pledge of partnership in all financial and spiritual difficulties. When we arrived at the residence of the pastor, he refused pay. Lenin urged it onto him many times till he finally accepted. His refusal came as a great surprise. No driver has ever done this. They always ask for more. In his eyes I saw the joy of heaven. I was encouraged more than I could ever express. I had only seen the seeds falling on a hard path. Yet, here was this rickshaw driver giving evidence of the Holy Spirit love and wanting to be supporting the gospelís spread in the only way that he could.
They labor all day for a total of 5 dollars if they are busy and 1 dollar otherwise. Here he had a chance to demand a lot from Americans and he refused pay. He did this for us at midnight when he could demand more because every one else was asleep. I was shocked at his love for Jesus. I had never seen him listening in the crowd. I wonder if he was outside the wall sitting on his rickshaw. This evidence of the Spirit super charged my discouraged heart.
The pastor informed me this man never comes to church services. The final night he loaded all equipment on his bicycle rickshaw and another one carried us on his. He pedaled along behind the bicycle rickshaw asking questions about how in the world brother Rao ever discovered us. He asked for us to return and give more meetings. Others expressed the same.
The elegant lady came that last night with Indiaís highest honors. She decorated with flower garlands and put a shawl about me then gave me food and a kiss. The rest of the team were also honored. There is evidence the gospel was appreciated by a few. I am satisfied that the weeping and grief and challenges here were worth the efforts.
Bapatla (Nallamothuvaripalem) and Brindavanam were not in our plans until we had to post pone the village next to Angulukuduru (Sekuruvaripalem). But they were in Godís plan. Jesus had many one person audiences where great things were accomplished for the kingdom of heaven. We leave in His care the results. We completed 5 days of work there and Jenny learned to make Indian Bondas from the pastorís wife. She also made chapatees.