Greetings from Guntur,
Guntur is the closest big town to the CLCI seminary and orphanage. We arrived yesterday afternoon after a long drive. The past week has been spent in an off the beaten path part of India. Although, not much of India is not on an American's typical path. But Kadapa (or Cuddapah as it is sometimes written) is near the middle of India. Folks with light skin color just aren't seen here much. The owner of the hotel we stayed at recognized me right away from my stay two years ago. We also had a young man stop us while in the shopping Bazzar to ask where we are from. He said: "we are not used to seeing foreigners here, in Hyderbad or Bangalore yes but not here in Kadapa...why are you here when it is so hot?" Our trip was a bit hampered by an overheated car. The small Fiat that we are renting began to overheat and so that meant no more air conditioning for the rest of the trip. We also took it very slow. The temperature outside was around 110 degrees. But, like everyone here...we survived. We got to the edge of Guntur and there was Jyothi and his two nephews to greet us. As soon as Kumar (our driver) turned off the engine steam and smoke began to roll out from under the hood. We waited for awhile and then rode with Jyothi to the hotel. A mechanic wired the fan to bypass the thermostat and we will try to make the 8 hour trip back to Chennai on Saturday. Please pray for a successful journey back.
From Kadapa we traveled 1.5 to 2 hours one way each day to visit and train pastors in three other districts of the BELC. Pastor Victor is the chairman of the Kadapa, Rayachotti, Rajampeta, and Kurnool/Allagaddla districts. He is quite a go-getter. He is an older man in his late 60's but has more energy than I do. He drives his motorcycle over some of the worse roads imaginable to find men from village with little or no Christian witness to train to be pastors. He has approx. 60 pastors/evangelists under his tutelage. Thank the Lord for dedicated men like Pastor Victor.
Today is a bit slow since Jyothi and the other are busy getting ready for the graduation tonight. It begins at 7:00 pm and will last well into the night. I don't expect to get back to the hotel until after midnight. It should be quite an event. This will be the 10th anniversary graduation of the CLCI seminary with 14 men graduating! Pastor Ude and I have the privilege of distributing the diplomas tonight and giving a brief sermon and words of advice to the graduates. I will give you the details tomorrow.
Please pray for Beth and the kids. Beth has four little ones at home with the stomach flu.