Marshall’s Report on India Ministry, 2005

Look on the fields, they are white to harvest

Dear Friends,

While this letter may seem a bit late, the simple truth is that the story of our India mission trip has yet to end! God is still very much at work, but more on that later. Right up until the day I left for Florida to join the rest of our team (14 people total), I thought I would be taking Pastor Truman’s place teaching at a pastors conference and preaching at the crusade one night. However by the grace of God, at the last minute, Truman was able to go. This would allow me to preach in the villages, which turned out to be a real blessing, as I was able to meet and see the people not at a venue, but where and how they lived.

Pastor Truman Herring preaching at crusade

We were about 6-7 hours (by bus) south of Hyderabad, in the southeastern part of India. We had 4 teams that would preach, share testimonies, sing and do a dental presentation for the people in the villages. To go to the villages was to go back in time 2000 years and see the New Testament lived out in real time. You see lepers, the lame, the blind. Often no electricity, contaminated drinking water and many different diseases. The people are very poor, but kind, gracious and beautiful. Their religion has them living a very fatalistic, hopeless life and God is doing a mighty work there.

Taking the gospel to a typical village

I was able to preach 14 times in 10 different villages: 11 times evangelistically, twice on baptism, once on the ‘body of life’, the church. Additionally I baptized new converts on 3 separate occasions, once in an outdoor baptistry and twice in local rivers. I dedicated a new church building and actually placed & mortared the first 6 bricks for the corner stone. Often when you baptize new converts they ask you to give them a Biblical name which they will use for the rest of their lives. Occasionally as you preach in the villages a mother will ask you to name and pray for her baby. It is all such a blessing. It was one of the greatest joys of my life, on the last night of the crusade, to preach the gospel thru my testimony with Pastor Truman following with a message on “THE LOVE OF CHRIST.” How wonderful it was for God to put us together on the biggest stage of our lives as we shared with 15,700 precious souls! The response that night paralleled the early church accounts in the book of ACTS as more than 4500 souls were added to The Kingdom! They did not leave until they filled out their ‘decision cards’, still there at 1:00AM!

Baptizing new converts

In my diary the next morning as I wrote down the date, I realized Truman and I had this incredible platform 23 years to the day since I was saved! I sincerely believe God leaves telltale signs in our lives to remind and encourage us that He is intimately involved in our lives no matter how we may feel. I also believe that if we’re available to God, the very best days of our Christian life is always ahead of us! The very next day was a great example: My last assignment was to go to another village. Along with me was a local pastor, my interpreter John Mark, Barbara Green, and Pastor Rob Taylor, the leader of the US side of our group. On the way to the village I offered to let Rob preach, but he wanted me to, although he did share his testimony. When we got to the village a group of 58 people were already waiting for us. As the Indian pastor began to sing I noticed that not one person knew any of the words and my heart began to race. I found out that the gospel had never been preached here and I was very excited to be the one to bring the good news! I preached from Genesis to The Cross and God moved mightily. At least 50 of those people raised their hands to receive Christ! I heard the pastor gasp and say ”this is a brand new work!” While we were rejoicing, the village elder asked if he could speak. With tears running down his checks he began telling his story: Twenty years ago he was a murderer. He and his band of thugs would raid villages just like the one we were in, taking whatever they wanted. Whomever resisted was shot! At one time the Indian government had 364 separate counts against him. One night the police cornered the gang in a back alley. There would be no trial, the authorities opened fIre. In the hail storm of bullets, he called out to God, “God if you are real, let me live and I will serve you the rest of my life.” His 3 friends were killed, and he was badly wounded. He was sentenced to prison where over a span of 18 years everyone around him, 70,000 prisoners died, from terrible conditions and rampant disease. One night as he lay on his bed he realized he would never get out alive. He remembered the alley experience and again called out to God “if you are real, spare my life and I will live the rest of my days for you.” Not long after, he was released and ended up elder of the village we visited. He said that when the representatives of the society who arranged our schedules asked if they could bring a missionary to his village, he knew he had to say YES! He declared it a ‘no work’ day so all people under his authority could listen. “No man, only God could have kept me alive” and with tears in his eyes he said “today I have heard and received The God I called out to. He is Jesus.” Twenty years in the making, on another continent, a divine appointment! I will never forget the power of God as it fell on that gathering place and many souls were won to Jesus.

Pator Rob and Lori Taylor (Florida) who opened the door to India for many of us

Our team saw several hundred decisions in our village meetings. Several of the converts were baptized within the week. Together the 4 evangelistic teams visited 40 villages. The conference was attended by 250 pastors where Truman and Rob taught and all were very encouraged. The crusade grew from 4000 people the first night, to 8000 the second, ending with 15,700 on the last night!! All together approximately 9000 people gave their hearts to Jesus! This estimate was made by the representatives of Samraksha Society, who organized the village visits, the conference, and the crusade. They are very dedicated servants of God, whose heart was to maximize our time and results. In addition they assist the pastor’s year-round, and run a boys and girls orphanage.

I started this letter by writing that the story of the India mission trip did not end when I returned. As I shared with those at home about not only the needs but also the opportunities, peoples hearts were touched. Ten of the orphan boys were losing their sponsorship. It only costs $180.00 to sponsor a boy for a year. He will receive food, housing, and a Christian education. For $500.00 one can drill a community well, affecting up to 70 families. This completely changes their lives. When possible the wells are placed near the local church, so that the people realize Jehovah God provided that well with it’s clean, healthy water to use. $600.00 annually supports a local pastor. I met many of them. They work very hard and often take care of 3-4 churches. A complete church building, simple but efficient, can be constructed for $4500.00.

To date enough $$ has been collected to sponsor all the boys for one year, install 8 wells in 8 communities, support several pastors and families, build one church building or finance next year’s crusade. Additionally I am told more pledges are coming!! AMAZING!! My goal for next November is to train and bring my own team from Oregon to join with the Florida teams of Pastors Truman and Rob. Words on paper, even pictures, cannot express my gratitude for those who sponsored my trip and your generosity has born much eternal fruit. Likewise it would be difficult to overstate the mighty, powerful, supernatural work that God is doing in India. I am looking forward (Lord willing) to going back again next year. If God has put it on your heart to get involved, please let me know.

Your Brother in Christ,