Village #1: We met on the porch of a woman who, along with her husband, were recently threatened to stop following Jesus. The attackers were armed, and cut her face with a knife, as well as her husband’s arms. They also threatened to return and kill them, but a neighbor called the police and were able to intervene before the attackers could return. A police case was filed, and is now under investigation. The process has actually caused other people in the village to be alerted to the claims of Jesus as they have been amazed at her tenacity and the strength that her faith affords her, and even a few of the initial attackers have come, asked for forgiveness, and begun exploring what it means to follow Jesus. In addition, I also looked over one of Pastor Samuel’s helper’s shoulders and recognized that the content of the Bible study material being used is actually the translated version of the 101 CORE class. When I asked Raj about it, he confirmed that each of the people who were present were proceeding through the 101 CORE class materials and were proceeding toward membership. Here in India, they divide the CORE class materials into 10 – 1 hour lessons rather than doing 1 4 or 5 hour class like we do at GCC.
Village #2: In village #2, we gathered into the hut of a nurse named Susi who also helps Pastor Samuel. She works at a local hospital by day, and helps Samuel at night by conducting Bible studies and…yes, again…CORE class materials in the local village contexts. Two cool things that happened in this village were that Jodi cracked everyone up as she learned to say some Tamil phrases. Believe it or not, she’s surprisingly good at it, and amazed everyone at her intonation and pronunciation with just a few times hearing a phrase. In addition, toward the end of the meeting, several men joined the group, looking a little inquisitive, but rather sheepish, and there was a sudden ripple through the group of mostly women. We learned on the back end that the men who joined us had never been to a Bible study before, and that they were largely comprised of the women in the group’s drunken husbands. Whether the husbands came to see the “odd white people” or just were curious doesn’t really matter. It was a cool moment of “potential” when the women saw their men come in, and the men seemed to feel pretty comfortable as well.