Thank you for your sustained prayers for the labors here. I apologize for my silence over the last few days. I experienced a couple days of rough health, some of which I probably made worse, but I will spare you the details. Mercifully, it did not prohibit my ability to teach and preach on Saturday and Sabbath. I felt much better yesterday morning (Mon.) and increasingly so throughout the day, for which I thank the Lord! Today I am perfectly peachy. The days are full and exhausting, though the labor is delightful. We leave around 8 a.m. and return around 6:30 p.m. I spend the brief evening gearing up and going over the material for the next day. Unlike at home, I am usually asleep by 9:15 p.m. I am up around 5:00 a.m. with breakfast at 7:15 a.m. and back at it again. I will do my best to keep the posts coming for the remainder of the week.
The Lord continues to provide help and grace in all of the classes: physically, mentally and spiritually. During one of the classes yesterday the Lord gave an extra measure of spiritual unction in teaching, so that I was nearly oblivious of the interruptions of translation. I actually thought at the time about the fact that the Sabbath had passed back in the U.S. and that prayers had been offered for this very blessing. The men are serious and studious. Given the long hours of instruction, you would be impressed by their sustained attentiveness. They are obviously hungry. The task before them in conquering India for Christ is daunting and the opposition is fierce. I consider it a profound privilege to serve them, to “wash their feet” and to strengthen their hands. They are on the front line in ways that we cannot comprehend in the U.S.
The tentacles of Hinduism penetrate every nook and cranny of Indian society. One of the countless festivals ends today and the government provides free transportation by bus and train to return everyone home. As you drive through the streets you are bombarded by people engaging in religious rituals and acts of superstition on every side. I probably could not count fast enough to tally the number of shrines and temples we a pass to reach our destination every morning. On the tiny side street in front of this building you find four shrines in about 100 yards. While it is easy to note, I find it challenging to comprehend the extent of delusion and bankruptcy.
Only 2.5% of the populace claim to be Christian, half of which are papists. Of the remaining half, many are either theologically liberal or mere nominalists. In other words, biblical Christianity constitutes only a drop in the Indian bucket.
Now hold in your mind both the inky darkness and the scarcity of gospel light — and let me transport you back to the pages of the New Testament. Picture this: “Now while Paul waited for them at Athens, his spirit was stirred in him, when he saw the city wholly given to idolatry . . . Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars’ hill, and said, Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious. For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, to the unknown God. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you.” (Acts 17:16, 22, 23) Two millennia later, we behold the same herculean task, and we proclaim the same glorious gospel, and cling to the same resolute promises. “I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession.” (Ps. 2:8)
I ended my Sabbath as you began yours. So I did my level best to attend the 10 a.m. service at GPC via the live webcast, though unsuccessfully due to technical difficulties with the Internet. Even the one second bursts every sixty seconds were enough to increase my homesickness. You remain much in my thoughts and prayers.
It is lunchtime on Tuesday here, which means most of you are dead asleep in the middle of the night. We are 9 1/2 hours ahead of you. May the Keeper of Israel continue to be you portion.
With all Christian affection,
Pastor Rob McCurley