Report of India Mission Trip
August 22nd to September 16th, 2002
The blessings of this mission trip far exceeded my expectations. I was keenly aware that many were praying for me each day. Thank you so very much for your financial support and especially for your prayers.
Here is a summary of what happened:
I arrived in Bombay, India, Friday night, August 23rd, at 11:05 p.m. Dr. P. R. Sane ("Sahney") and his son, Solomon, picked me up in their van. Dr. Sane was a medical doctor when he was saved after reading a Gideon Bible in a hotel room. God called him out of medical practice to preach the gospel. Solomon is 23 years old and is also called to preach. They took me to Pune, about three hours Southeast of Bombay, population about two million. We arrived there about 3:40 a.m. checking into a local Y. M. C. A. About 9:30 a.m., Saturday, we had breakfast in the YMCA dining room. Some Christian friends of Dr. Sane joined us to discuss plans and pray together.
Saturday evening, August 24th, we met in a home in Pune, with 15 people for worship and I brought a Bible message with opportunities for questions. I had brought two laminated poster boards with dry erase color pens. The Sanes had prepared me a piece of ply board 2 X 4, on which I clipped the poster boards and used to teach on Salvation and Assurance. These were for the most part dear Christians and they made me welcome. Afterwards we had dinner at the Blue Nile Restaurant. I had my first experience with the hot food of India.
Sunday morning, August 25th, at 9:00 a.m., I preached in St. Marys Anglican Church of Pune. My subject: "The Rapture of the Church." Attendance was estimated at 200. There was great interest with many questions after the serviced. Sunday afternoon we went to several villages East of Pune. In the village of Daund I preached in a Presbyterian church with about 100 present. We stopped to visit some friends of Dr. Sane in another village and they placed wreaths of flowers around our necks and served us refreshments, but I did not preach there. Then we went to the Mukti Mission, a Christian orphanage and school for girls and women. I was invited to preach there, and for the first time this trip, a staff member interpreted. We estimated about 135 in the service. I preached on "Getting Through the Storms" (Matthew 14), Jesus and Peter walking on the water. Then we drove back to the Y.M.C.A. in Pune for Sunday night.
Monday morning, August 26th, we drove south to Panchgani, a beautiful resort area up in the mountains and much cooler. We went to the Cambridge High School, which is a private boys boarding school. Mr. and Mrs. Potham, the administrators, are Christians, but it is not a Christian school as such. We arrived there a little before noon. After checking into the local hotel we had lunch in the school dining room. Then they brought all the students from about 5th grade and up with the faculty, about 100 to the dining room for me to teach the rest of the afternoon. The Pothams said all but three were Hindu. We studied the Ten Commandments and why we need a Savior. We had dinner with the Pothams and rested the evening. I taught that same group all day Tuesday, with breaks and lunch. Several times I had opportunity to apply Scripture with directed prayer times for decisions. I think many of these students accepted Christ but I do not have any numbers. Two boys said they also wanted to preach Jesus. They turned in more than thirty written questions, which we discussed. Amazingly, spiritual needs are the same everywhere.
Wednesday morning, August 28th, we had one more teaching session at CHS. The five student captains drafted a nice thank you letter, which they signed. The Pothams want me to come back next year and spend a week there. I hope to do that. Before noon we left for Dr. Sanes home in Kolhapur, arriving there about 5:00 p.m. The population of Kolhapur is about 500,000. It is a beautiful city. Dr. Sane has a lovely home but no a/c or screens. I met Dr. Sanes wife, Meenu and their daughter, Dolly, age 19. I enjoyed their guest room with private bath and their wonderful hospitality.
Thursday afternoon, August 29th, we drove to Uplavi, a village about two hours East of Kolhapur. Dr. Sane has been preaching and teaching there for several years. They had an outdoor platform with a colorful tent over it. Four men led the singing with a guitar and three small tunable kettledrums. A group of children did a special song with some motions. We estimated about 90 present. I preached about 45 minutes on the Cross and they hung on every word. Dr. Sane interpreted for me. I called on them to receive Jesus Christ as their only Lord and Savior and had directed prayer times to receive Christ. Again, I think many could have made decisions but have no numbers. After the service they brought a red carnation to me, then to Dr. Sane, then to the men who led the singing and to the singing children, even the drummer. They have lots of flowers there and love to share them.
On Friday night, August 30th, we went back East to another village called Soni. The service there was in a church building that had been closed. There were about 70 people there that night. Again we had singing with a guitar and the three kettledrums. Dr. Sane is starting a new church there so I preached on "The Church," with Dr. Sane interpreting for me. I had hardly gotten into my sermon when the electricity went off. Dr. Sane asked if I could continue and I did, with Gods help. The single candle they added did not give much light. If you preach at night in India, be ready to preach without notes because electricity often goes off. On the way home Dr. Sane said there were some men there who did not want me to preach but didnt interrupt the service.
On Saturday morning, August 31st, we drove to a larger city in that area, Miraj, population about 200,000, where we did a seminar in a Presbyterian church. My subject was "Security Under Authority" with Dr. Sane interpreting for me. We had an hour before noon tea break and an hour after noon. The pastor asked me to stay and preach Sunday but we could not.
On Sunday morning, September 1st, we drove to Goa, on the Southwest India coast where the Luther Rice Bible Institute classes were held, -another six to seven hours South of Kolhapur. We checked into the Majestic Hotel there. It was very nice, even air-conditioning which we enjoyed because Goa is hot and humid. We met the local host pastor named Jaison Job (pronounced Jobe).
Classes began Monday morning September 2nd, at 8:30 a.m. with 54 national pastors and dedicated laymen and a few women. The class was in another hotel, which was not air-conditioned except with ceiling fans. I taught all day every day to 5:30 p.m. (with breaks) until Friday, Sept. 6th. They also had many challenging questions but they had a great spirit and were encouraging. The first week I taught a Bible College manual, "Preparing Bible Messages & Pastoral Ministries."
On Saturday morning, September 7th, Pastor Job showed us many local historic sites. Goa was a Portuguese colony thru the 1800s & until 1952. We saw a large Roman Catholic Church and a Museum. I was also able to do some shopping.
Saturday evening we had a service in Pastor Jobs home. There were about 30 people present. Pastor Job and his wife Melunah have a two-year-old son named Oswin. They opened this new church in Goa about one year ago. They also started an orphanage with seven boys, between ages six and 10. They sang special music for us. Again we had guitars and singing. I preached on "Blind Bartimaeus" (Mark 10). Jaison & Dr. Sane shared interpreting duties. There were several Hindu ladies there and a Muslim lady. After the service the Muslim lady named Praveen came forward for prayer. Her husband died of AIDS about six months ago. She was afraid she had it too (not confirmed). I urged her to receive Jesus as her personal Savior and she said she did. We prayed for her and her four-year-old son, named Fazal. Pray for them.
On Sunday morning, September 8th, the people of Jaisons church came to the hotel for our worship service with the students. Several of the pastors had to be in their churches, so the class number was down. Again, I preached on "Getting Through the Storm" (Matthew 14), -demonstrating "Expository Preaching" which I had taught the first week. Two of the Hindu ladies who had been in the Saturday night service were there Sunday morning and came forward for prayer. They said they were trusting Jesus as their Savior.
The class was back on Monday morning, September 9th, for our second week. That week we taught the Bible College manual, "Survey of the New Testament." It was a special blessing to me to hit the mountaintops of the New Testament, from Matthew to Revelation. They had heard that I specialized in Revelation and wanted me to skip to Revelation. I didnt skip but asked them to come 15 minutes earlier each morning and also cut their lunch break 15 minutes. I was able to finished Jude by the morning break Thursday and took the rest of Thursday and Friday on Revelation. We had an exciting time in the word. During a closing testimony time they gave me gifts and we took group pictures. Friday afternoon, September 13th, we left for Kolhapur with R & R at the Sanes and another opportunity for shopping on Saturday.
Then Sunday, September 15th, they took me to the Bombay International Airport, about nine hours North of Kolhapur. On the way we went back by Panchgani and the Cambridge High School for lunch and a brief meeting and prayer. They had some gifts for us. We flew out of Bombay late Sunday night, actually early Monday morning, a twenty-four hour trip, arriving in Norfolk Monday afternoon, September 16th and home. Theres no place like home!
I am already planning to return to India next year. This year we were there three full weeks. Next year we are planning for at least a month and possibly more. We are looking at August 2003 as our next India Mission Trip. Luther Rice Seminary has also invited me to preach a church crusade in Jamaica in February of 2003. I almost have the $1100 for the Jamaica Mission Trip. Please continue to remember us in prayer.
Again, I want to thank all who gave and prayed for me on this mission trip to India. You are partners with us in any fruit God gives in these other countries.
We are now receiving support for our 2003 mission trips. Anyone desiring to help us may use the form below. We plan to get another letter out nearer the times with more specific information on the missions and our support need. May God bless you for your faithfulness.
Yours in Christ,
If you feel led to support any of my future mission trips, Please make checks to Bethel Baptist Church, c/o D. B. Martin Mission Trips. 1832 Elbow Rd., Chesapeake, VA 23320.