PO Box 3425
November/December Issue 2010 - Volume 29 Number 6
Church of Christ - Hyderabad, India
Karthikeyanager Church of Christ - Hyderabad, India
then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how shall
they believe in him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear
without a preacher?”
In May 1973 I
went around the world with Foy Mitchell, Kevin Keele and Mark Littlejohn.
Kevin, Mark and I were just young men; I was 21 at the time. Foy was a
seasoned traveler and had been to India and other places. Foy worked in
Germany in the 1950’s and Germany was our first stop on our trip around
the world. German was my minor in college and I’ll have to admit that I
probably learned more German over the 10 days we spent in Germany that
year than in a couple of semesters of college work. It took me a few days
to pick up the dialect of the local language, but once I had my ear tuned
in I was able to make some headway. I actually preached a sermon in
German. We stayed with Brother and Sister Weiss in Heidenheim, Germany.
The congregation met in their home and consisted of just a few families
and a few widows. There were 12 to 15 in all.
Germany and flew to Israel. We didn’t have any contacts in Israel and we
spent most of the time in Tel Aviv. We
did travel down to Jerusalem one day and visited a few sites. We met some
people and attempted to set up some Bible studies but nothing
materialized. On the day we were flying out of Israel we had some of our
best discussions with some of the ground personnel with TWA Airlines. In
fact, we had lunch with them and left a couple of Bibles with them. I had
obtained an address of one of the people but nothing ever came from the
We spent most
of the month of June 1973 in India. This was an eye opening experience for
three young men from the United States. I remember the drive from the
airport in the early morning hours. We had a taxi and there was a light
rain falling. The windshield wipers didn’t work on the taxi and our taxi
driver had his window down. Every once in a while he would reach out of
the window with a dirty handkerchief and take a swipe at his windshield.
The assault on all of the senses was stimulating, the pungent aroma in the
hot, sticky air, the people sleeping on the side of the roads and the
unkempt room in the Heritage Hotel. Mark and I were given a room that was
a shambles; in fact, they finally took us to another room. There was a
little order to it and we retired at about 4:45 a.m. that morning to
conjure some sleep. We were able to rest a little and at noon that day we
went to the hotel restaurant to have lunch with Joe Madison, Dr. Astamkar
and Vandanam Madison.
Foy had asked
me to teach a singing school in Bombay. I was naïve and inexperienced and
just bold enough to try it. We had singing sessions off and on throughout
the month of June, when the monsoons would allow travel. Some of my
students that year were Samar Madison, S. Nazeer, Prabhakara Rao and the
Boaz brothers, Luke & Yesudas. I knew absolutely nothing about Indian
music, but I made a gallant effort to teach the do, re, mi’s to my
Indian students. I’m sure that some of them wondered what kind of
strange things I was trying to tell them. Hopefully their exposure to the
rudiments of music by way of Southern Gospel, shape note music didn’t
set them back too far.
& Mark went with Vandanam to Secunderabad in Andhra Pradesh to preach
in the bush. They visited various villages. Foy and I stayed in Bombay and
visited churches in Byculla and Kurla. The brethren in Germany sent some
funds with us to be used in India. With some of those funds we purchased a
plot of ground in an area called Chembur and built the first church
building on that site. A thriving congregation still meets in Chembur, and
the building has been renovated several times over the years.
On all of my
travels over the years I have kept journals. I want to quote a passage
from my 1973 journal that reveals how the work in the mission field
sometimes goes. Foy and I had both been fighting with dysentery and not
resting really well. A young man named Stanly who was fighting alcoholism
came and spent the night with us one night:
Last night Stanly spent the night with us here at the hotel. Stanly had a
bad cut on his big toe. Foy got some water to wash the toe and Stanly
didn’t want him to wash it. I couldn’t help but think about Christ
washing the Apostles’ feet. Stanly was mostly afraid that Foy would hurt
the foot I believe. We bandaged the toe for him.
finally went to bed, Stanly wanted me to sing some songs. Foy joined in
with me and finally Stanly joined in some. I felt sorry for Foy. He had
been up all night and really wanted to get some sleep.
attempting to purchase some property out in a northern suburb of Bombay
called Malwani. There was also a landowner named Ida Patel who promised to
donate part of the land and we were to
purchase some of the rest of the plot. We worked with lawyers and
others that year.
Later in the
trip Baxter Loe and Tim Hutton came to Bombay. That was the first time I
had ever met either of these men. About the time Baxter and Tim arrived,
Mark and Kevin returned from the “bush” where they reported 68
baptisms on their various tours. Foy, Mark, Kevin and I decided to move
from the Heritage Hotel in the Byculla area to the Fariyas Hotel in what
we would call downtown Bombay. This is where Baxter and Tim were staying
and it was a better hotel than we had been in for that first two weeks.
Tim and I
worked on hammering out some bylaws so that we could register a society
for the land we wanted to purchase at Malwani. In this process of
purchasing the land we were visiting with a lawyer. We learned that the
man who was selling the land in Malwani didn’t actually own it. In fact,
he was trying to purchase the land himself and then sell it to us at a
higher price; at least, that is what the lawyer told us. I had this note
in my journal for June 26, 1973:
Foy and Baxter
saw the lawyer today and things are looking bad for the property that was
to be donated to us. They sent Joe Madison out to talk with the real
owners of the property to try to get around the middle man.
To make a long
story short on this property at Malwani, the brethren who originally began
working on the property deal finally gave up when they were told by the
lawyers that Americans could not own property in India. At some meetings
later in the United States the decision was made to give up the attempt to
purchase the land. In October 1973 Brother Prabhakara Rao began the New
Testament Church of Christ School at Malwani. He started out meeting under
a shed on the property of Ida Patel in Malwani. Over the years Prabhakar
attempted to purchase some land and everything finally landed in court
where the case drug on for years. It was in the 1980’s when Ida Patel
finally reached an out of court settlement on the case with the NTCC
Society. The current NTCC Kindergarten, Primary School, High School and
Junior College now occupy the property gained in that settlement.
Prabhakar’s oldest daughter, Soni, and her husband, Jeevan Maddewad,
have guided the school with much success. The Malwani Church of Christ
meets in one of the rooms at the school on Sundays and Wednesdays and
Brother P. R. George is currently the preacher who serves the
Charles Combs and his daughter, Charlene, arrived in Bombay just a couple
of days before Foy, Kevin, Mark and I left for Saigon, South Viet Nam. I
made this note in my journal on June 30, 1973:
sitting in the Santa Cruz Airport in Bombay waiting for our flight to
depart. It was supposed to have left at 4:55 a.m. Needless to say it is
late. There were several who came to see us off this morning. Baxter, Tim,
Nelson, Ruth, Vandanam, Manjula, Sammy, this widow lady from Secunderabad,
Prem, Yesudas and Prabhakar were all with us at the hotel until about
I’m not sure
how much longer Baxter, Tim, Charles and Charlene remained in Bombay, but
it wasn’t too much longer. Our next stop was Saigon where we stayed for
about a week. In Saigon we stayed with an American named Mac LeDeaux and
his family. Mac was a helicopter pilot and had trained Vietnamese pilots
in the United States. He and his family were doing missionary work in
Saigon. It was nice to visit the air base with Mac’s son and we enjoyed
hamburgers and hotdogs at the base on July 4, 1973. We also met a
Vietnamese Brother Duc and his family. In fact, we had a meal in their
home. I remember that Brother Duc had a very large library of American
paperback books. Later, when Saigon fell, Brother Duc and his family fled
to the United States, but I have never seen him again since our visit with
him in 1973.
We left Saigon
on July 7, 1973 and flew to Pusan, South Korea. A Brother Pak met us at
the airport. We visited a couple of congregations in Seoul and met a
missionary by the name of Sid Allen and his family. Sid was connected with
Korean Christian College and we checked out of our hotel and spent our
last night in Seoul with Sid and family. Then we spent a night in Taegu on
our journey back down to Pusan. We also visited a school in Waegwon where
we held a worship service and then visited a family in Kyoung Ju. There
were 10 baptisms at Waegwon.
On the day
before we left to fly home, we visited a prison in Pusan. Here is just a
part of my journal entry for July 14, 1973:
We had a good
service at the prison yesterday. Three came forward for baptism. It really
took a lot of courage for them to do it. Many of the prisoners were
scoffing and laughing at them. I trust God will strengthen and encourage
We flew from
Pusan to Tokyo, Japan and then from Tokyo to Honolulu, Hawaii where we
went through customs. We arrived in Los Angeles, CA on Saturday evening
July 14, 1973. We had crossed the International Dateline on this journey
so it was weird to arrive in Los Angeles just about the same time we had
left Pusan. We left Pusan on Saturday evening and arrived in Los Angeles
on the same Saturday evening.
In Los Angeles
I spent the night with Ron and Judy Collins who had not been married for
long at that time. This was the first time that I met Ron and Judy, but
since then they have become very close friends. They have been like a
mother and father to our oldest daughter, Lindsay, who moved to the Los
Angeles area several years ago. Now they have the privilege of seeing our
granddaughter, Lily Malony, more often than we do.
Sunday, July 15, 1973, I noted in my journal that Foy had preached on
excuse making from Luke 14. I also noted: “There were 9 responses: 7 for
prayer and 2 for baptism.”
wonder why I am writing an article like this one. What is the point? I
certainly do not want to blow my own horn or talk about my
accomplishments. That is not the point at all. The fact is that there is a
dearth of young men who aspire to preach the gospel today.
I hope that one of them will read this and be inspired to preach. I
went around the world in 1973. It was quite an adventure for a
21-year-old. I am not saying that it was all sunshine and roses.
There are a lot of entries in my journal about dysentery and some
hardships that I have not highlighted here. I know that I left Bombay in
1973 thinking to myself that I didn’t ever want to return to India.
However, India has been one of the main places that I have ministered over
the past thirty-seven years. I still return to India along with other
brethren every few years. In my own ministry I have witnessed more growth
of the churches in India than I have of churches in the United States.
I hope that
some young man will read this issue and be convinced that he wants to
preach the gospel. And so if you are reading this and want to preach,
please contact me. I will be happy to assist and encourage you. How will
we raise up young men who aspire to preach the gospel both in the United
States and throughout the world? We must be encouraging our young men that
this is a vocation worthy of their attention. It may not pay big salaries
and there is not a nice package of earthly benefits. However, the
retirement package when this life is done is unequaled, and the
satisfaction of seeing souls brought to the Lord is a great blessing. Is
the Lord calling you to the ministry of preaching? How shall they hear
without a preacher?
“And Jesus, walking by the Sea of Galilee, saw two
brothers, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into
the sea; for they were fishermen. Then he said to them, ‘Follow me, and
I will make you fishers of men.’ They immediately left their nets and
WILL ARRIVE - JOY
late father Joe Vandanam Madison wrote a letter to the American Brethren
sometime in December 1967 stating that he had three worthless sons and
sought the assistance of the Churches of Christ in America to revive the
Lord's work which his father Madi Vandanam had begun in the 1920 in India.
In those days the fastest mode of communication was the telegram and
Brother Foy telegraphed from Route No. 1 Rudy, Arkansas to my father about
his arrival; however, the contents of the telegram read: LORD WILL ARRIVE
ON ____ - JOY. My
father was startled a little but he knew that someone would bring love,
joy and peace of Christ to India. Actually the telegram ought to have read
like this: LORD WILLING ARRIVING ON ____ - FOY
Foy was a simple man but he dressed immaculately. His Nunn Bush Shoe
an enviable shine. Foy stayed with us in 12 Nalla Mansion which was a one
room tenement. Whatever he did was visible to all. He made himself at home
and kept busy by reading the Holy Bible. He lost no time in convincing us
that Jesus Christ was the son of the living God. One day, he cleansed the
whole staircase of our building and showed everyone how to live in a clean
environment. On December 25, 1967 five souls were baptized in the Arabian
Sea and this marked the revival of the Lord’s work in India. Brother Foy
visited India periodically. In one of his visits he washed my father’s
feet and set an example of humility
Foy was kind and benevolent, nourished in the words of the faith. He was a
good teachera wonderful speaker. He was comfortable in the company of the
poor as well as the rich. He presented the Holy Bible to the Chief
Minister of Maharastra. When the world was moving fast, he stuck to the
old fashioned ways. He went to Nizamabad, and set his heart on repairing
the house my grandfather had built. The house was repaired and later sold.
He never moved with the times. He began well but it was not his forte to
complete what he began. He struggled against depression for several years
and yet he never gave up. “The Lord will provide” was his favorite
quote. He was eager to save the lost. He baptized all the children and
grandchildren of my late father Joe V. Madison. In his penultimate visit
to India in 2004, he spoke of being moved to tears for no reason at all.
He knew that someday the gravy train would drop dead. Despite all his
shortcomings, Robert Foy Mitchell was a godly man and will get his reward,
the crown of righteousness.
- A Scenario
A man was sleeping one night in his cabin when suddenly his room filled with light, and God appeared. The Lord told the man he had work for him to do, and showed him a large rock in front of his cabin. The Lord explained that the man was to push against the rock with all his might.
So, this the man did, day after day. For many years he toiled from sunup to sundown, his shoulders set squarely against the cold, massive surface of the unmoving rock, pushing with all his might! Each night the man returned to his cabin sore and worn out, feeling that his whole day had been spent in vain. Since the man was showing discouragement, the Adversary (Satan) decided to enter the picture by placing thoughts into the weary mind: (He will do it every time)!
He said, "You have been pushing against that rock for a long time and it hasn't moved." Thus, he gave the man the impression that the task was impossible and that he was a failure. These thoughts discouraged and disheartened the man.
Satan said, "Why kill yourself over this? Just put in your time, giving just the minimum effort; and that will be good enough." That's what the weary man planned to do, but decided to make it a matter of prayer and to take his troubled thoughts to the Lord. He prayed, "Lord, I have labored long and hard in Your Service, putting all my strength to do that which you have asked. Yet, after all this time, I have not even budged that rock by half a millimeter. What is wrong? Why am I failing?"
The Lord responded compassionately, "My friend, when I asked you to serve Me and you accepted, I told you that your task was to push against the rock with all of your strength, which you have done. Never once did I mention to you that I expected you to move it. Your task was to push. And now you come to Me with your strength spent, thinking that you have failed. But, is that really so? Look at yourself. Your arms are strong and muscled, you're back shiny and brown; your hands are callused from constant pressure, your legs have become massive and hard. Through opposition you have grown much, and your abilities now surpass that which you used to have. True, you haven't moved the rock. But your calling was to be obedient and to push and to exercise your Faith and trust in My Wisdom. That you have done. Now I, my friend, will move the rock."
At times, when we hear a word from God, we tend to use our own intellect to decipher what He wants, when actually what God wants is just simple obedience and faith in Him. By all means, exercise the Faith that moves mountains, but know that it is still God Who Moves The Mountains!
When everything seems to go wrong........ Just P.U.S.H.
When the job gets you down...................... Just P.U.S.H.
When people don't do as you think they should............Just P.U.S.H.
When your money is "gone" and the bills are due........ Just P.U.S.H.
When people just don't understand you........................ Just P.U.S.H.
P = Pray
U = Until
S = Something
H = Happens
“Now he that ministereth seed to the sower both minister
bread for your food, and multiply your seed sown, and increase the fruits
of your righteousness” 2 Cor.9:10.
“I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the
increase” 1Cor. 3:6.
List - 3/4/2007
- Number 6 -
Nov/Dec 2010 BC
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