Gil sent this update from Northern India Sunday evening:
Esron,one of Deepak’s (our lead missions partner in the Punjab) close associates, and I just returned from visiting two churches. I preached at the first one (can’t remember the churches name) and was told it was well received. I also baptized 22 in a mild current flowing river. The preacher asked me to pray for him and his ministry. The church has been planted during the past 2 years and is growing. They have about 125 members now.
One woman’s had an answered prayer and she brought bananas and sweets to share with the congregation. I thought that was very nice. The service was over 2 hours. After baptism, we went back to church and had vegetable lunch. It was good for me because it wasn’t spicy.
The second church is St Paul Church in Kerali, about an hour and a half drive from where I’m staying. I had been there previously, before it was completed. (Wesley Bell of International Bible School came with me then,a couple of years ago.) This church was funded and built by the members.
The members were former cobra catchers, who sold the venom to pharmaceutical companies. Now they are honey breeders or honey harvesters produced in the forest. An elder of the church brought 7 baskets, 5 containing cobras and 2 from similar species but moves very swiftly and very poisonous. He asked me to come closer and even pat the cobras’ heads. Since snakes are not my favorite reptiles, I passed the opportunity. I simply sat on my chair about 6 feet away and took pictures and videos. However, I did walked and stood behind him so Erson can take my pictures with the snakes. Esron came close to the cobras and even tried to play with them. That was fun, sort of. The church can sit over 400 people (on the floor mats). We got home by 7:30 PM.
Tomorrow is a holiday for the pastors so there won’t be medical clinics. Hopefully it will be a break for me too.
Gil sent a flash drive with photos and videos of the Southern India leg of the trip home with his co-worker for Christ, Candice, who was only able to join Gil on the first part of the trip. We’ll be getting some of that footage up over the next few days as I have a chance to edit it.
In another phone call, Gil passed on that due to some unexpected visa difficulties, he will not be able to get into Pakistan on this journey and will be returning to the United States later this week.