(Update delayed due to lack of internet access)
Saturday Viji and I left Madurai and drove down to a town called Kovilpatti. We spent the night there and I preached at one church in the morning in Kovilpatti and then one in the evening in Llaiyarsanendhal (don’t even ask me how to pronounce these names). When we arrived we were met by the young pastor of the first church who helped us with our bags to our rooms and then drove ahead of us on a motorcycle. As you will see the first church has just a small doorway into a concrete building that used to be a match factory. The construction inside reminds me of some of the construction in Haiti. There was a small group of people, ranging from Christians to Hindus. When I preach here I always begin with my testimony about my alcoholism and drug abuse, and how the Lord restored my family. I do this to give them hope, and also to let them know that I was not always a Christian. Then I talked about the characteristics of Christ, love and forgiveness. Afterward many people asked me to pray for them. This can take up to an hour. Many think, as do people all over the world, that they can make a deal with God. Some would say, if God will make my husband quit drinking or if He will heal me, I will come to the Lord. Of course we tell them that God is not in the deal-making business – that they need to come to Jesus themselves, and by their faith in Jesus they can be healed, but they have to believe in Jesus and have faith first. We had one young Hindi man who told us that he feared death every day and asked us to pray for him. I told him, as we told so many others, that he first had to put his faith in Jesus – when you do this He will take away the fear of death. I told him what the Bible says in 1 Timothy 1:7, that God does not give us the spirit of fear, but of power and love and a sound mind; also Hebrews 2:15 says that Jesus died to destroy the power of death, that is the devil, and deliver those who were in bondage to the fear of death. I prayed over him that he would study God’s word with the young pastor and accept Christ.
When we finished at the church we were invited to the pastor’s house, where they prepared a meal for us. Unfortunately I was unable to eat; the day before I had eaten something at the church in Duraisawamypuram (how do you like that name?) that disagreed with me, and I knew that if I would just not eat for a while I would be okay.
After the first church we went back to the little hotel around 2 p.m. We were both pretty tired. I was extremely hot; I believe it was much hotter today than yesterday, if that is possible. It is amazing how the heat can take away your energy. I went to sleep until about 5 p.m., and then Viji and I left to go by Pastor Gnanaselvam’s house for tea before church. I had met this pastor many times before. His wife offered some light snacks with our tea. One was like French toast, and another was like a soft roll filled with a sweet coconut. This was the first food I had eaten since yesterday; it was really good. I love the tea here; it is about half tea and half cream with sugar – it can be addicting.
After tea we went to a church in Llaiyarsanendhal, which was about half an hour away. Pastor Jothiraj met us there; he has a small church inside, but tonight we had the service on top of the building. It definitely was much cooler. Again I gave my testimony, and this time I preached on fear and how satan uses it to immobilize us. I took each fear that you could have and had them read the scripture that addressed that fear. The people here love to read scripture; they all have their bibles, and when you give them a verse they literally race to it and start reading – it is like a contest to see who can get there first. I think it is great, because they become part of the sermon. Then I explained to them that the spirit of fear does not come from God, but from satan. Afterward many came for prayer again. Viji explained to them that I could not heal them, that only God has healing power, but their faith could heal them.
Someone brought us a girl they said was filled with demons. She was a little girl, I would say around 13, and she would just fall down and moan and grind her teeth. I prayed over her and rebuked the demons to flee from her in the name of Jesus, and she would just moan and grind her teeth more. Afterward she got up and came over to me and sat on my lap. I could tell she was in pain, and I asked Viji to ask her if she has headaches. She said she had been having terrible headaches for a long time, then she just fell limp on my lap. We asked the parents if they had taken her to the hospital; they said no, but they had taken her to the Hindu temple, and now to a Christian church. (They are Christians, but they are trying everything.) I told Viji she could have a tumor, that I believed she needed to go to the hospital as soon as possible, and that TEM would pay the expenses if the pastor would take her. I know this ministry can’t take care of everyone’s needs, but if you saw this precious, beautiful little girl you would want to help. It breaks my heart to see children in pain. This will make the fourth child that TEM has sent to a hospital and taken care of all their expenses (2 boys in Haiti, 1 little girl in Pakistan, and now one in India) this year. If the Lord puts it on your heart to help this little girl, please let me know. I know you will be blessed – you know how much Jesus loves His little children.
After church we went back to Pastor Gnanaselvam’s house for tea and a meal. All I ate was some homemade bread that was great. My stomach was feeling good, and I didn’t want to take any chances. I apologized several times because I didn’t eat. I didn’t want to hurt their feelings; this is their way of showing how much they appreciate my being here. We went back to the hotel around 11 p.m. and it was time to go back to bed. We have another church to go to Sunday morning.