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Lowell Brueckner

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Report on Trip to India


(click on any photo to enlarge)

India, 2013

Daniela & Paul on trip to Orissa
There was plenty of room in the Airbus 330 as it lifted off the runway in Barcelona and turned southeast to cross Eastern Africa, heading for Doha, Qatar. The night before I shared what has been on my heart from 2 Peter 1:1-4 at the RETO Center and I continued to text the leaders, who promised to pray for my journey.  The eight seats in my row were nearly empty and I moved from my seat in the middle section to a window seat. We were approaching the Nile River and the sky was cloudless. Soon we crossed the Red Sea on dry air (as I mentioned in the next text message) and then we were over the arid Sinai Peninsula. The route offered much food for meditation.

From Qatar, a new Boeing 787 took me to Delhi, and then an Air India plane landed me in Patna, where Paul was waiting. Paul came to the Lord in a camp in Romania, when I was speaker years ago and I also know his bride from camps and meetings in Bucharest. I spoke at their wedding earlier this year. They were my hosts, who planned the trip and accompanied me throughout.


I was very pleased to see two advances in God’s church in Patna. Over the years, Northern India has seen much less evangelical success than in the south. Knowing the effectiveness of Christian literature in my own experience and ministry, I was happy to see that a nice bookstore opened with the wife of a local pastor in charge. It was nothing more than a garage, but the believers went to work and fixed it into a pleasant little shop. There was an excellent selection of books for sale, both in English and Hindi, including those by my favorite author, A. W. Tozer, as well as especially good biographies. I have offered to supply them with all our books and there was talk of translating them into Hindi.The couple have three nice little sons. On two evenings we had very good meetings in the church in their home, one with the regular members and another with church leaders from around town. They will soon have to find a bigger locale, as they are becoming quite crowded.   

Meeting place in a market with
many young people attending
 Another encouraging factor was to meet a middle-aged Romanian couple, who has started a private school, as well as a church. Both evenings, in which I spoke in their meeting place, just off a market, where their singing can be clearly heard, the place was filled with young people. They are setting such a fine example that parents, who have watched their teen-aged children praying and studying their Bibles, are coming also to the meetings. On one night, when we were there, one father came and to the other, four mothers attended. The pastor asked them all to come to the front for prayer. He, his wife and daughter have come from South India to take on the responsibilities of that church.

In a short-term Bible school, I was asked to teach on the person and work of the Holy Spirit, speaking to young people, who had come to Patna from various points in India. They are given three months of Bible study, followed by three months of practical evangelism. Lavin and Esther join Paul and Daniela in that ministry and Esther is also the translator.

Gopalpur on Sea

Amit, Bhavana and their staff hold a similar school, which had just finished its term, in the state of Orissa. Paul, Daniela and I traveled overnight by sleeper train to Calcutta (I think they spell it Kolkata these days.) From there, we caught a plane to Bhubaneshwar, principal city of Orissa. Amit picked us up, and he and his wife, Bhavana, were our kind hosts in Gopalpur on the Bay of Bengal. I talked to the students one day in their home and the next day the graduation was held. We also had services in a local church in the nearby city of Brahmapur. 
Amit & Bhavana wading through
flooded streets after cyclone.

You may have read in the news about the cyclone that struck India a few months ago, particularly in the Orissa area. Fishermen’s shacks near the Bay were totally destroyed and multitudes were left homeless. Amit and Bhavana were involved in supplying basic food for many. Power lines went down, then floods inundated streets and fields. Mud filled Amit and Bhavana’s well, a new one had to be dug and new water pipes were installed. When we arrived, the neighbors were still helping them daily with many gallons of water.  On the last day of our visit, the new pipes were connected and once again potable water flowed. I went out one afternoon to photograph what was left of the devastation and Amit gave me earlier photos, which were more graphic.  

Land of persecution

Week-end pastors' conference
Amit next drove us to visit Bhavana’s father, B. K. and her mother, who live several hours inland, in a town located within a genuine Indian jungle. B. K. evangelizes and ministers to tribal animists in the mountainous forest, traveling on foot for many miles. God has blessed his labors and there is an ever-growing flock of believers. B. K. baptized 323 this past year and all told there are about 5,000 people that have joined the ranks of the redeemed.

I was there to speak at a week-end pastors’ conference and many of those pastors represented the tribal people. When I visited two years ago, about 70 pastors attended, but this time the number had more than doubled. An immense sense of unworthiness should grip anyone given such a task, as well as a great responsibility. I can only trust that I gave them something from the Lord to take back to their villages.

A very nice family, relatives of Bhavana and D. K., take care of children in a care center in the same town, their own children involved, as well, although, Joyce, one of the daughters helps Amit and Bhavana in the short-term Bible schools. A number of the children in the home have lost one or both parents through the riotous movement a few years ago. In that home lives B.K.’s 83-year-old mother, now almost totally immobilized by a fall. She has prayed her family into the kingdom.

Houses leveled to the ground by
Hindu extremists
 This is the area that was hit so hard by persecution from Hindu extremists in 2008, when Christian people lost their lives and many others were beaten and houses were destroyed. Amit’s mother  was one, whose house was burned. It has been restored now, but still bears some of the signs of destruction. We visited her village to pray God’s blessing upon the rebuilt structure. This woman fled into the jungle as a band of 2,000 went systematically through villages killing, burning, beating and raping. She has lost her Christian neighbors, who have all moved to other parts. Four or five of their houses were leveled to the ground. Two churches in the town were also destroyed and now the believers meet in a bamboo structure.

The fanatical extremists are not done yet; they only are developing another strategy. A Hindu outside one meeting was invited to enter. He refused, boldly asserted that he was only recording the names of people who attended. This keeps some of the more fearful away. Amit has learned that they are planning on targeting leaders and therefore doesn’t wander out-of-doors in the night hours, when he is in the area.

An entertaining evening of storytelling

On the final night of our visit, B. K. provided us with some more entertaining stories, relating to us experiences with the wild creatures of the jungle. One time, in a simple tribal home, he could hear banana plants in the yard outside being shaken. His hosts told him to be very quiet and after a while the rustling noise stopped. „It’s just elephants,” the locals informed, as if this was an every-day occurence.

House devasted by cyclone

On another occasion, he walked for over 20 kilometers, in the company of a number of area leaders. Because of the heat, he spent the night outside in a hammock, a few others lying in a row on blankets placed on the ground. While all slept, D.K. was awakened by a chorus of village dogs, out to attack something in the bushes within his field of vision. Suddenly a dog separated from the pack and made a beeline towards the sleeping pastors, scrambling over them with a leopard in hot pursuit. The leopard cleared the pastors in one leap and caught up with the dog after a few more bounds, quickly bringing its life to an end. People have to be very watchful, when someone dies, as leopards, and on one occasion, a tiger, are attracted to the smell of dead flesh. I read an article in the plane about an area south of Kalkata, where not a few lose their lives in rivers to tigers and crocodiles.

Finally, we listened to a story about a night spent in another simple home. Here, the undulating tin roof gave enough room for pigeons to build their nests on top of the walls. Suddenly in the darkness, there was a wild fluttering of wings and a bird fell to the floor near where D.K. lay. A few minutes later another pigeon fell and, when the man of the house lit a kerosene lantern, a huge cobra was visible atop the wall. By the time he fetched a stick to kill it, it had disappeared.

Return to Spain

Christian meeting place is at the other
end of this colorful market.
The following morning, we arose at 4 a.m. and Amit took us to Bhubaneshwar to catch a plane to Kolkata and from there back to Patna. The next afternoon at 4:50 p.m., I flew to Dehli, where I spent a very uncomfortable night (nine hours) in the airport, before catching a Qatar Airways plane at 4:35 a.m. to Doha and from there on to Barcelona, Madrid, and finally to Vigo, arriving at 9 p.m. after a five-plane return trip (seven, actually, if you count the two from Bhubaneshwar to Patna).

A big „thank you” to all who prayed; God was very kind to me throughout those days in India and so were His people. I held a firm conviction from start to finish that important things were being done towards the glory of Christ and the eternal well-being of His bride. People try to express these things in words, which never really suffice. The best evidence, however, was the rapt attention of the listeners everywhere, as they ingested the Word of life.


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