Gujarat - 6th to 11th November, 2018 - NEW!!!

About two years ago, my cousin Shiny, who was working in Mumbai at the time, had seen a dream.

In her dream, I am standing at the front of a gathering and preaching the Word, and to her surprise she sees Prime Minister Modi, and a few other politicians, seated at the back listening to my message.

Well, after we had all had a good laugh about it, the dream faded into forgetfulness until Bro. James Chacko, from Mumbai suddenly called and told me that he had suggested my name to be one of the speakers at a conference in Gujarat. 

Now, I had been praying for Gujarat for some time, and this came as a pleasant surprise. I had already been planning a trip to Andhra Pradesh, Punjab, and then Pune, and this call to Gujarat came on short notice. My wife told me she had been seeing Bro. James in a dream over the past three days, and since the dream was recurring, we felt that the Lord was trying to tell us something.

I asked Bro. James to give me some time to pray about this and seek the will of God. While in prayer I was reminded of my sister’s dream. I had first thought the significance of the dream was to tell us that our ministry would not be impeded, that sharing our prophetic vision with the masses under the current government would not be hindered. Little had I known, that the Lord had also planned to take me to the land of PM Modi in time.

We recognized the Lord’s hand in this call to Gujarat and called Bro. James asking him to confirm the dates. He asked me to get in touch with Bishop Jaiprakash in Gujarat for further details. 

The program was set from the 7th to 11th, November, 2018.

6th November

We left Coimbatore on the 6th by flight to Ahmedabad via Chennai at around 11:00 am.

My co-speaker, Evg. Sherry Benjamin, would board from Chennai. (Coincidentally we were on the same flight.) He had asked for a seat next to us, and we had some good fellowship in the air,  before touching down in Sardar Vallabhai Patel International Airport, Ahmedabad.


With Evg. Sherry Benjamin @ Ahmedabad Airport



Bishop Jaiprakash came to receive us and drove us to our lodgings in Mahemdavad, 40 kms outside the state capital. We were put up in Hotel Bhagyoday with a view of the rising mount of the Siddhi Vinayak Temple across the road.

 

Mahemdavad's Siddhi Vinayak Temple which draws scores of pilgrims each year.
Bishop Jaiprakash told us about the Lord’s work in Gujarat, his call to the ministry, and the difficulties he has had to surmount down through the years, along the way.
Bishop Jaiprakash was born in Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh, and hails from a military background. As such, he has travelled all around the country, and told us he knew a bit of rusty Tamil as well. He has been ministering in and around Ahmedabad, Godhra, Surat, and Baroda since the 1980s, when he first entered the Lord’s service, besides laboring in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. He began Faith Church, his independent ministry in 1985.

He lives in Ahmedabad with his son Chrioni.

The conference we were to speak at was one among the three conferences organized by Faith Church each year.

We met Pastor Vijay Stanley, at our lodgings - a native Gujarati, who had migrated to the US, and was a regular attendee at the conference in Gujarat around this time.

With Pastor Vijay Stanley
We spent the evening visiting the conference center and meeting up with some of the believers who had arrived. 

Jamming with the boys pre-conf.

We were served dinner on the premises in a little cottage set aside for the purpose. Bro. Gabriel’s wife Sis. Delin, his sister Sis. Christina, and Bro. Piderson attended to us there.

The conference center was in Mahemdavad itself, about 4 kms from our hotel - a series of buildings which served as dormitories, and cottages constructed around a green lawn space - a regular Faith Church meeting place. The conference hall was on the 1st floor.

There were around 200 to 250 people expected, from all over Gujarat, and also a few believers from Pune.

Pastor Gabriel who pastored the churches in Baroda, Surat and Halol, Gujarat, would serve as interpreter.

Bishop Jaiprakash and Pastor Gabriel took turns leading the worship, with Pastor Gabriel on guitar, Bro. Chrioni on the octapad, and Bro. Joshua on the congo.

Pastor Gabriel on guitar

Brothers Joshua and Chrioni on percussions

The praise and worship at the conference was a rousing celebration. Gujaratis are known for their dancing culture, and the praise sessions were vibrant, filled with the joy of the Lord, and absent of all inhibition. It was quite literally the fruit of thanksgiving being poured out in overflowing from the hearts of the creation to their Creator.




Click here to see the Faith Church Conference Praise and Worship sessions : Praise & Worship in Gujarat

Pastor Vijay, who we later learned was almost 70, jumped for joy, higher and higher with each chorus, shaming all those around him for stamina, and oblivious to everything else except his love for the Lord.

The meetings were divided into 4 sessions – 2 each for Evg. Sherry and myself. We opted for two continuous sessions each so as to not disturb the continuity of the messages being preached.

With Pastor Vijay, Bishop Jaiprakash, and Evg. Sherry Benjamin
The 1st session began at about 9:30 am and went on till 11:00 am with a break for tea. The congregation convened again at 11:30 am with the 2nd session winding up by 1:00 – 1:30 pm. The 3rd session began at 4:00 pm, went on till 6:00 pm, with another tea break until 6:30 pm, and then continued till 8:30 pm, after which we usually broke for dinner.

7th November

On Day 1, Evg. Sherry preached the first two sessions. His subject for Session 1 was – A relationship with Christ, and how the believer needed to grow deeper in his/her relationship with the Lord, after the initial salvation experience.

Evg. Sherry Benjamin preaches
In the second session, Evg. Sherry shared certain personal testimonies - his initial experience of being born again, his call to the ministry, and the message of deliverance that the Lord had committed to him.


Evg. Sherry with his lively anecdotes and one-to-one preaching style won the crowd and held the attention of the congregation as he delved into one life experience after another teaching especially the youth in the gathering the importance of a closer walk with the Lord.


I was handed the pulpit at around 4:30 pm – the most challenging session – preaching to a congregation with full stomachs with an afternoon doze coming on. After a brief introduction of my ministry, I began with a warning from Revelation chapters 1 and 22, and went on to expound on I Peter 3 – The Elements shall melt…”, emphasizing on the imminent coming of our Saviour, and the judgement to follow.

Pastor Gabriel interprets the message

In the 4th session, I preached the message “Changed into His Glory” from The Beginning of Creation – The LOGOS of God, and The Creation of Man both spiritual and physical, to The Transformation of the Believer’s Life from Glory to Glory, the emphasis of my message being Getting Ready for the Bridegroom.


8th November

Evg. Sherry’s subject for the day was “God is my help” – the One Stop Source for all the believer’s needs both material and spiritual, to be used for His glory.



My message for the latter 2 sessions was The 10 Virgins. I stressed on how the believer needs to be in a state of readiness for the coming of Christ, The Priviledge of Sonship, and The Difference between the Spiritual Christian and the Worldy Christian.

 

9th November 

On the 9th, the preaching was to be divided into 5 sessions, with the evening sessions stretching upto 9:30 pm or 10:00 pm if the need arose.  

In Session 1, Evg. Sherry preached the message: God in the Center – The Vineyard of God, and in Session 2: The Acts of the Apostles: The Power of Christ in Action.


The 3rd session was handed over to Pastor Vijay Stanley who shared his personal testimony with the congregation.

Pastor Vijay Stanley
Born in an affluent Gujarati family, he had gone to the US for higher studies, become a chemical engineer, and had grown very successful in life. After accomplishing all his goals, he was still left with an incomplete life, until he found the saving grace of the Lord Jesus Christ.

He served as an usher in Life Church, Southern California in the US, for a period of 25 years, before beginning his personal ministry of evangelization sharing the love of Jesus Christ to all he came across.

As a rule, Pastor Vijay rises at 4:00 am each morning and patrols his neighbourhood of Mission Viejo, clad in jeans and a T-shirt that says ‘Jesus Loves You’, praising the Lord, his arms outstretched. On impulse, people who are initially stunned, stop him to ask the reason for all the fuss, which gives him a chance to minister to them the Message of Salvation.

Over the years he has become somewhat a celebrity in the area, the local paper having run a piece on his unusual evangelizing technique, and his being interviewed on the Holy Spirit Broadcasting Network.

Pastor Vijay Stanley now serves as an Asst. Pastor at Life Church, California, US. He is also the author of "Cracking the Spiritual Code", available on request in English, Hindi, and Gujarati.

He confessed as to how his heart had been filled with a burden for his home state of Gujarat, and the people of India, and that this was why he made it a point to come to the Gujarat Conference every year.

While in Gujarat, Pastor Vijay would rise at 4:00 am every morning to make the run around Kakaria Lake, evangelizing among the people who came there each day.

His message to the congregation for the day was: Intimacy with Christ.


This gentle soul with his booming laugh, smiling eyes, and a heart full of zeal for the Lord, soon won and warmed our hearts. We aspire to jump in tandem with him in the days to come.

I was handed the pulpit at 6:45 pm, and a had a lot of material to cover with the usual constraints of time.

It was my heart’s burden to share with the people of Gujarat what the Lord had called me to deliver – The Warning Against Ecumenism – The Beast of Revelation 17. And I did my best, using all the tools at my disposal.


I continued with The 10 Virgins, where I had left off the day before, and then appealed to the congregation to Make Haste and Get Ready for the Bridegroom.


I showed through images, videos, and news articles – the tremendous growth of Ecumenism in our country and the rest of the world, and how this was indeed the The Beast mentioned in Revelation 13.

I drew on parallels from history and presented to the congregation – The Gross Darkness as mentioned in Isaiah 60, The Two Most Important End Time Prophecies - The Falling Away and the Man of Sin being revealed, The Collapse of the Current World System, The Ushering in of the New World Order, and The Two Horns of the Lamb of Revelation 13. 

I ended at 10:00 pm with a warning of coming judgment on the ungodly and the world system.


The emphasis of all 5 sessions that day had been on the “The Seriousness of Christian Life.”

10th November

The next day, Evg. Sherry used the 1st session to preach on The Ministry of Deliverance.


The 2nd session was a Deliverance Session, dedicated for praying over those who needed healing in areas of their life, and those who were afflicted with evil spirits.


Evg. Sherry Benjamin’s ministry is named The Christ Ministries, India (TCMI).  He at first was a marketing manager in a prestigious firm in the Gulf. It was at this time that he felt the Lord pulling him onto the mission field. Following his pastor’s advice, he had had a long wait before the Lord confirmed his ministry and led him to work for the people of Punjab.

Based in Chennai, Evg. Sherry has established several churches, as an evangelist, in Chennai, Kerala, Punjab, Mumbai, and also in Bahrain, preaching the Word of Deliverance and demonstrating the power of God among the masses, drawing them to salvation through Christ, and building up their lives in the faith.

Bishop Jaiprakash took over the 3rd session, in which he preached on Ordination – Set Apart for the Lord’s Work and instructed the congregation in matters relating to church discipline.

Bishop Jaiprakash addresses the congregation
He had already informed us that he would be ordaining two pastors for the work of the Lord in their respective states.

Pastor Senapathi from Orissa, and Pastor Rajesh John of Uttar Pradesh, who had already been serving the Lord for some time, came forward to be ordained as ministers of Christ and take the Word of God forward as part of the Faith Church family.

Ordination Service

Next, Bishop Jaiprakash recounted the early days of his ministry and witnessed as to how the Lord had shaken Gujarat with mighty works of the Spirit so many years ago. He prayed for this anointing to rest upon the congregation so that they may demonstrate the works and life of Christ wherever they went.

Anointing Service
After the session ended, there was a scraping of chairs and a tangible excitement in the air, and I was wondering what was going on. A majority of those in the audience were forming a giant circle and Bishop Jaiprakash began a village melody based on the Samaritan woman’s conversation with Jesus at the well. In tandem the whole congregation began the traditional Gujarati folk dance ‘Garba’, which resembles the Jewish circular dance at weddings.

GARBA


Click here to see the Garba video: Garba in Gujarat

Now, I have preached in many churches and seen the charismatic form of ‘praise dancing’ which is in more ways worldly than godly, but here were a few simple folk really enjoying their time with the Lord, forgetting themselves, their problems and inhibitions and just celebrating the joy of the Lord with each other.

I think it was a smart move on Bishop Jaiprakash’s part to get the crowd on their feet all energized so that they wouldn’t doze off during the last session. :-) 

Well, I was handed the pulpit at 7:00 pm, and I delved into The First Resurrection – covering Christ’s Descent into Hades, His resurrection with the Old Testament Saints, The Resurrection of those Asleep in Christ, The Transformation of the Bride, and a glimpse of the coming Millenial Reign of Christ on Earth.




As the Pastor had earlier prayed over the congregation, I had felt the Lord’s Spirit wanting to deal especially with certain members, and with the Pastor’s permission, confirmed the Word to them.


We broke by 9:30 pm for dinner.

I had been asked to take the Sunday service the next morning and Evg. Sherry – the farewell service.

1th November

The service began at 10:00 am the next morning and wound up by 1:00 pm.

My message for that Sunday was “Teach us to Pray - The Lord’s Prayer”.




After lunch, that afternoon, we had some time before we came together for the last service. It gave us a chance to fraternize with the brethren. Many of those who had been touched came forward for prayer and to clear certain doubts.

We had some good fellowship in our little cottage with Pastor Gabriel’s family too, and then it was time for the last session.

After the Vote of Thanks by Bishop Jaiprakash, each of the guest speakers were garlanded, and we too decided to return the favour.

It was then time for Evg. Sherry’s message - "The Importance of Deliverance - Deliverance for the believer"

The meeting ended by 5:30 pm, and after all the farewells were made, we trundled off to our hotel room to freshen up before we left. 

With Bishop Jaiprakash

Left to Right: Pastor Gabriel, Myself, Evg. Sherry, and Bishop Jaiprakash
With the Saints of Faith Church, Gujarat


With Bro. Chetan's family

With Sis. Christina
We would be staying with one of my wife’s close friends in Ahmedabad for the night. Our flight to Coimbatore via Hyderabad would leave by 4:00 pm the next day.

Pastor Gabriel left for Baroda where he would conduct the weekly Tuesday fellowship.

Bishop Jaiprakash drove us all into Ahmedabad where we made a brief stop at Pastor Gabriel’s home to wish his folks well and to collect a few of the young brothers who had helped in organizing the meeting. We would all be having one last dinner together sampling Gujarat’s street fare at a local outdoor cafĂ©.

After a sumptuous dinner, we parted ways with Evg. Sherry, who had become a dear friend to us over the past couple of days, and Bishop Jaiprakash drove the distance to Sis. Benita’s friend’s place.

It had been a rejuvenating 5 days in Gujarat.

We would like to thank:

Bro. James Chacko for introducing us to Gujarat,

Bishop Jaiprakash for giving us the opportunity to come and be a part of the conference, as well as for making us feel so comfortable and seeing to all our needs while we were there; we now know we have family in Gujarat.

Pastor Vijay for his infectious enthusiasm and for his wonderful testimony which warmed out hearts,

Pastor Gabriel for his record breaking multi-tasking – organizing, interpreting for 4 sessions , and leading the worship, all with a smile on his face.

Bro. Kenny – the conference director for ensuring the order of the meetings,

Sis. Stella – for all those wonderful cups of Gujarati chai

Sis. Delin, Sis. Christina, and Bro. Piderson for making sure we were all fed to the brim

And to Gujarat – May the Spirit of Prophecy sweep through it and pave the way for the coming of Christ.

1 comment:

  1. Praise the Lord. Please pray our church. Pastr sadrk ka mo.nombr send kare

    ReplyDelete