Oct 12

Dengue danger and other distractions

In Chennai there has been an outbreak of dengue (which I learned is actually pronounce dengoo, not dengay) fever, which is a mosquito-borne viral illness. Since January there have been 80 reported deaths. Across the state there have been 11,500-12,500 cases so far this year.

Tuesday I did a training for the pastors here in Chennai. Less than half the usual number came because many were suffering from dengue fever. Please keep them and all the people who have been infected in your prayers.

Yesterday I was meeting with pastors in another district and loud music started playing from next door just as we were about to start. Fortunately after 10-15 minutes the music stopped and we were able to continue our meeting without further interference.

Knee Update

Last month surgeon decided to treat my knee with calcium and chondroitin supplements for three months to see if the damage will heal itself. He also gave me some joint pain medication. I continue to do physical therapy exercises at home. My knee seems to be bothering me less, but it is difficult to tell if it is getting better or if it is just the pain medication. I pray it is the former but I am glad to have the latter as well.

In any case, I have resumed my travels and trainings, which do not involve much walking (just standing), so my knee has time to recover. I pray that someday I’ll be able to navigate stairs normally and be able to freely walk and exercise.


Aug 21

A Famine on the Land

This past week I taught for two days at the CLCI seminary. I gave an overview of the life of Paul and four of his letters: 1 & 2 Thessalonians and 1 & 2 Corinthians.

In addition to the 48 students, 32 pastors came on Tuesday and 42 on Wednesday. The news of our teaching had spread and these pastors came of their own accord. 5 of them were independent (i.e., not affiliated with the CLCI).

I am told that these independent were very impressed with our teaching and were even interested in joining the CLCI seminary for additional training. They had not received such in-depth teaching before. Pray that the Lord will provide the funds needed to allow these pastors to join as new students.

Last month we had a similar seminar in Ongole while the mission helpers were here. 13 of the 23 pastors were not affiliated with the CLCI. These too were impressed with the depth of our teaching, and the head of the CLCI has received several queries about becoming affiliated with the CLCI for additional training in God’s word. Pray that the Lord will provide the funds to allow the CLCI to conduct additional seminars like this one.

The Lord says through the prophet Amos:

“Behold, the days are coming,” declares the Lord GOD,
“when I will send a famine on the land—
not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water,
but of hearing the words of the LORD.” – Amos 8:11 (ESV)

There truly is a famine in this land of hearing the words of the Lord. These pastors show how much solid, Biblical teaching is needed here.

That isn’t the end of the Lord’s message through Amos, however. He continues:

“They shall wander from sea to sea,
and from north to east;
they shall run to and fro, to seek the word of the LORD,
but they shall not find it.” – Amos 8:12 (ESV)

We praise the Lord that this verse is not yet true; we still have the word of the Lord to share with people. It can still be found in our seminaries, schools and churches. Pray that the Lord will enable us by His grace to continue to faithfully teach and preach His word, especially the message that Jesus has taken away the sins of everyone in the world by His death and resurrection. To Him alone be the glory, amen.

Apr 19

But we have this treasure in jars of clay – P. Moses (Updated)

The Apostle Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 4:7 that we carry “in jars of clay” the treasure of the good news that Jesus has paid for all of our sins and the sins of the whole world, reconciled us to God, and earned us a home in heaven. This fact was sadly illustrated this past Friday at the BELC district chairmen’s meeting where I learned that one of the chairmen, P. Moses, has been hospitalized and has has 3 stents and hearts valves replaced via laparoscopic surgery. He is now discharged and recuperating at home for the next 2-3 months.

In addition to serving his congregation, Moses is the chairman of 3 districts where he teaches and encourages the work of over 115 pastors. He also conducts evangelism meetings and continually invites pastors from other church bodies to come and hear the pure teaching of God’s word.

I have had the privilege of working with Moses during the Mission Helper trips I have been a part of and for past three and half months that I have been stationed here. The end of May I was in Bengaluru to teach the 30+ pastors in that district about the Means of Grace and Baptism. I was scheduled to go back the end of April and continue discussing Baptism, but due to Moses’ health problems that trip has been cancelled.

Please pray for a speedy recovery for Moses, as that Lord wills, and that God would comfort his family and many friends and coworkers.

But also pray for the other BELC chairman: Bhaskar, D. Paul, Deepak, Rajamani, Sampath, and Victor. Together with Moses they train and encourage over 700 pastors to faithfully preach the good news of salvation through Jesus’ death and resurrection in a land where most sit in darkness of open idolatry, whose only exposure to “Christianity” is likely to a religion that does not look very different, with statues of Mary, Joseph, and Jesus – a “Christianity” that wrongly teaches that one must do good works to pay (at least in part) for one’s sins. Into this darkness the truth that we are saved by grace alone through faith alone in Jesus’ payment for our sins on the cross shines like a great light.

And pray for Jyothi, the other leaders, and the over 320 pastors in the CLCI as they shine the light of the Gospel in the villages were they live and preach.

We do indeed have this treasure in “jars of clay” – bodies subject to illness, weakness, and sin:

7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. 8 We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; 9 persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; 10 always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. 2 Corinthians 4:7-10 (ESV)

Do not loose heart, even though our outward self is wasting away; by God’s grace our inner self is renewed day by day (2 Corinthians 4:16). May God continue to work in and through all of us with His surpassing power. Amen.

UPDATE (April 19) – Pastor Moses has been discharged from the hospital and will need to rest and recuperate at home for the next two or three months.

UPDATE: (May 15) – Pastor Moses is doing much better.  He still at home resting and recovering. I have also learned (and updated the above information) that he had 3 stents put in, not angioplasty, in addition to the valves.

Mar 20

To Bengaluru and Back



At the end of March I went to Bengaluru (Bangalore) for a two-day training with some 26 new pastors. Missionary Matthew Ude flew into Bengaluru the evening after the first day, returning from his furlough in the States, and taught the second day of the meeting.

IMG_1245These pastors have been gathering in Bengaluru each month for several months now to see if they agree with what we and the Bible teach so that they can join the Berea Evangelical Lutheran Church (BELC) in fellowship. We have been going through My Church and Others byJohn Theodore Mueller.

As we drove back to Chennai (our home base), we stopped and taught in three other districts along the way:


IMG_1257Here 44 pastors attended. This is an “older” district and these pastors are part of the BELC. It was an honor to encourage them with God’s word.

After teaching we drove to the next district, Ambur. The hotel at which we would have stayed was under renovation, so we tried IMG_1259to get rooms at another hotel in Ambur. That hotel was all booked up (probably because the other hotel was under renovation). We could have gone back to the first hotel, but their restaurant was closed due to the renovations and there was no other nearby restaurant (at least not one that was proven “safe” for us foreigners), so we decided to drive the hour or so and stay in the next district, Vellore. We would have to drive back to Ambur in the morning for the meeting there, but better safe than hungry (or sick).


IMG_1278IMG_1277Amur is also a new district. We are using Luther’s Small Catechism as a framework to go through the teachings of the Bible to determine if we are in doctrinal agreement. We meet in a room in the top of a hotel lined with 4 cots. The room was full with the 15 men who attended.

IMG_1276Missionary Matthew Ude told me that on a previous visit he was sitting outside the room on the flat roof (deck) while the other missionary (I don’t know if it was Ed Starkey or David Koenig) was teaching.  He had put the sealed bottle of Coca Cola that the men in Ambur had given him down on the cement next to his chair. After a bit, a monkey ran up, stole the bottle, and then proceeded to chewed off the top to get to the Coke! Hopefully the caffeine didn’t keep the monkey up too late that night (or make him too rowdy)!


IMG_1295Vellore is also a new district where the 35 pastors are coming to hear what we and the Bible teach to see if they agree and can join the BELC in fellowship. I taught a lesson justification, focusing on how God has declared the whole world “not guilty” because of Jesus’ death and resurrection (2 Corinthians 5:19Romans 5:18-19Romans 3:23-25). This declaration was accomplished almost 2000 years ago and is freely given to you through faith in Jesus.

What a blessing and honor it was to meet with and share God’s word with these 120 pastors! Please pray for them as they minister and spread the Gospel here in India.