India 2012

SCROLL TO BOTTOM FOR LATEST UPDATES, Jan 5 2013 latest update



Hyderabad (Listeni/ˈhdərəbæd/) is the capital and largest city of the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. It occupies 650 square kilometres (250 sq mi) on the banks of the Musi River on the Deccan Plateau in southern India. The population of the city is 6.8 million and that of its metropolitan area is 7.75 million, making it India’s fourth most populous city and sixth most populous urban agglomeration. The Hyderabad Municipal Corporation was expanded in 2007 to form the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation. As a growing metropolitan city in a developing country, Hyderabad experiences substantial pollution and other logistical and socio-economic problems. – Wikipedia

Charminar, Muslim Mosque, built 1591

Walked this street yesterday. It was packed with people and vehicles.

DECEMBER 27 2012
Dear friends, It’s been 3 days since I left the states and we are doing well in India. I have much to say but the tiny phone keyboard doesn’t make it conducive. Only now am I able to connect with you all. all of the food is different. the pictures below give you a good sample of the food, the conditions, people and even the idolatry of this beautiful place. the people are so very friendly that I wish I had taken time to learn the language. pictured below is brother b. isaac and he’s with us all of the time(sitting across from me at the moment in this hotel lobby). he’s a faithful preacher and a very good help. bro. donald underwood is very encouraging even positive about my snoring like a lion. last night we preached to a small congregation and there were members of denominations present. all of the people are able to communicate great kindness and affection even with the language barrier. 



I preached for 20 and bro. don preached for 20 and bro isaac translated. he’s tireless. we go everywhere with hired taxi driver who stays close by all day. yesterday we had GARI and we fed him lunch, the local favorite BARYANI. I have eaten all that was put in front of me and have not been sick. I’m being very careful though. tomorrow we meet brother Manny in Nandigama. and we begin teaching at 11am and may be teaching several times even until late in the night. I’m very excited for the chance to serve, to encourage others, and to do some planting and watering. dan

Update:  Don’t drink the local water and don’t let it get in your eyes or nose. Everything but bathing is done with bottled water. Parasites are nasty things. So far I’m healthy and no sickness from the food. Last night we went a second time to the home of non-Christians and taught them about the urgency of obeying the Gospel from the examples in the book of Acts. Donald Underwood taught on the conversions at Ephesus and I taught on the Eunuch, Lydia, and the Philippian Jailer. We had more attending the night before but some function kept them away last night. Bro. B. Isaac told me more than once that these others did not attend because of a “bodily function” and I thought that must be serious. I asked him again and he spelled it: “NO, no, B-I-R-T-H-D-A-Y function”.  How Birthday and Bodily comes out sounding the same I will never know. He laughed very hard when he heard what I thought he was saying. 


DECEMBER 30 2012

Greetings to you all. Especially to my wonderful wife and children. Thanks for keeping me in your prayers. It’s been a busy few days now. We are teaching morning, afternoon and evenings in the villages. There is no way to prepare for all of the lessons we are being called on to give so it’s scramble time for coming up with lessons. I try to study late at night or in the morning to prepare lessons ahead on what I would like to teach. Like today, I was glad to have a sermon on the ready on the Righteousness of God as I was spur of the moment asked if I would like to preach. What do you think I said? Ha, I can’t turn down the privilege. 
(Bro Don Underwood is leading the Lord’s Supper at Nandigama church of Christ, 12/30/12)
I’m staying in the nicest motel in town and the picture below shows you what the conditions can be. Standing water in the bathroom and those little “worm” things growing on the marble – very scary so I got moved to a different room. Electricity regularly goes out here as it did this morning for a couple of hours. I think the motel people purposely shut everything down just to save energy. Please understand that I’m not complaining, but the reality is the reality and I wish for you to know what it’s like. It’s pretty nice right now as I type and the air conditioner is blowing just fine. 

I didn’t sleep past midnight last night. I woke up thinking something was biting my toes. They were numb and a but was on the top of my foot. Freaked me out! But I’m OK. I have eaten next to nothing for more than 2 days as I got an intestinal bug. I’m doing the Immodium and just avoiding foot and drinking lots of water. I feel good though. 

I’m in Nandigama a city of 100,000 living in the worst poverty you can imagine. There doesn’t seem to be a poor side or rich side of town. It’s pretty much all the same. See the picture. I’m glad to have my food bars and toilet paper. Of course the people are kind and no problem to us.
(Saturday Preacher Forum at Nandigama, About 40 from the church attended, 12/29/12)

On Friday we preached to a large group of Denominational preachers and on Saturday we preached, likewise, to about 40 church of Christ preachers. This was both morning and afternoon both days. In the evenings we preached at two small village congregations. Last night there were maybe 70 present. It was very encouraging.
I’m sure I could say more but I’m just out of time. I have only a few minutes on this mobile broadband someone loaned me to connect with. Next week we head to Cumbum, a farming community. This town we are in looks like a big city metroplex compared to where we will be then. 
(Village of Thotacherla, evening meeting. Men sit in the back and women in the front. 
A very strong tradition here)
I love you all. Thank you for keeping up and for keeping me in the prayers. I need my stomach to get better. My energy level is still good and there’s no fever. But I need to get better. God bless you.
Dan Mayfield

December 30 2012 Evening

(Bro. B.  Isaac and part of the group of non-Christians we preached to on our first and
second night in India. Both Bro. Don and I preached a lesson both nights.)
Today we worshipped in Nandigama and I preached on Delighting in the Righteousness of God. Brother Don and I preached at the city of Tapipudi this evening. It was a pretty good drive to get there. But the congregation was waiting and singing when we arrived. I preached on Matthew 10:24-37 and losing our life to be a disciple of Jesus and Bro. Don preached the Story of Jesus. It was a good night. We pretty much go everywhere during this week with Bro. Mani, his brother Nani, his dad Devasahayam, his uncle Pmrao and the technician who carries recording equipment everywhere. Tomorrow we start early and I will tape a lesson for the television station. We go to a village tomorrow afternoon and to another village tomorrow night. We will be busy and I love it. God bless you. Thanks for your prayers. I’m sure my tummy will be better very soon.

January 1 2013
Happy New Year’s Day….We heard the loud popping outside on the streets last night as Indians welcomes in the New Year. A young wife responded to the Gospel today. She has been worshipping in Nandigama for a while but she finally responded this morning and started off her year as a brand new Christian. We went down to the river where the young girls are washing laundry, where tractors and ambulances are washing off, and where water buffalo wade by. Praise the Lord for the salvation in Jesus Christ. Her husband helped to baptize her in the river as it took three people to hold the young woman down due to the strong current. Mani Pagidipalli baptized the woman and is the good preacher where she attends.

Yesterday we taped two lessons for the local Christian program that’s promoted by the Nandigama church of Christ. In the afternoon we visited a village called Cheruvumadhavaram. After preaching, an elderly couple with no ties to the church who are former Catholics were baptized in the local river there. See photo.

I ate fried eggs and a bowl of cereal with hot milk just moments ago. I hope it stays down. The milk has to be boiled as it is unpasteurized over here. So far I feel good. I just hope it stays down. Mani said the milk will actually help to slow things down inside – if you know what I mean.

(Former Catholics, no family in the church, this couple just put on Christ in baptism,
12/31/12 . Cheruvumadhavaram, India)

We had two baptisms yesterday. The elderly Catholic couple (pictured above) and a young married woman today finally obeyed after she’s been encouraged to for quite some time by Bro Mani. He was so glad to see her finally obeyed. Her husband isn’t a Christian but is very supportive.

We got up early this morning as the churches over here always do a special service of preaching and praying on New Years. Many people were in the building. Don and I both preached this morning. Then we had to find water at a river down the road (doesn’t always have water) where girls were bringing laundry for washing, where workers were bringing their tractors to wash, where water buffaloes were walking through. Quite a busy place is anyplace with water.

(Church of Christ we preached to last night, Ananatagiri Village. They all wish us a Happy New Year)

This afternoon Bro Mani is taking us somewhere but he’s not telling us where. Tonight we preach in a village. Tomorrow we leave for Cumbum and that is about 6 hours away by car. It’s next to the Cumbum Forest Range in Andra Pradesh. It’s higher altitude and very rural. No the big city like Nandigama. We have some exciting times ahead of us there.

Us Americans are very odd to the people over here. Not many come through here. So if we stand around for very long, people will come up to us and shake our hands and want a picture.  I have a video I took minutes ago. I heard loud drums in the street and I dashed out of the door and went down to the street with my camera. I started videotaping this parade of sorts with loud drums which was accompanied by many young people. Well, me standing there by the road, across the street, caused them all to stop from their path and cross the street. The entire group swarmed me with outstretched hands. I momentarily had a fear my wallet was about to disappear but actually there was no worry. Some of them wanted a picture and they really played their drums for me. It was fun.

Keep praying for me. Send me an email. I might be able to read it. Or send a message to Facebook if you can. I like knowing you are reading the reports. God bless you all. Dan

January 1 2013 Update 
I NEVER thought I would do it but I blessed a motorcycle today. Well, let me preface. In India, no matter your religion, the people bring their new auto or motorbike to their religious leaders and community to have it blessed. In the church, obviously that is a different thing. A brother had just purchased a brand new Honda 150cc (huge in this area) motorcycle and brought it by the building today. He asked that it be blessed. What it means is that the riding of the bike be blessed. We prayed for him to be safe and for the bike to be used to God’s glory. Pretty awesome.
The motorcycle (pictured above is not the new one)  is India is like the horse in the Wild West. 20 years ago there were bikes and walking. Today the motorcycle has liberated and given many people mobility that did not have it before. Motorcycles might outnumber cars on the road from what I can tell.

January 1 2013 Baptism

I didn’t know Mani before coming to India. Discovered he is a fellow Bear Valley guy out doing the Lord’s work in his home town. The Lord brought the increase today for the hard labor of this fine congregation in Nandigama. It was exciting to witness. 
First I heard them from my hotel room. Loud banging drums. I grabbed the camera and dashed down to the street (I probably shouldn’t have). So they are across the street, traveling from left to right in my view. Then they see me, this strange dude with a camera. Uh-oh. Next thing I know I’m surrounded with handshakes and loud banging drums. Only one person I can see who looks like he might be dangerous. But everyone leaves and it’s cool. I don’t think Mani thought it was cool that I went down there as he knows things I don’t. I will resist the temptation next time. 
Water
Water is vital to life but we in America take it for granted and forget how hard the world has to work to get it. In most of the town of a 100,000 people, there’s no running water in the home. The women and girls must take large stainless steel “jars” which they carry to a community spigot to fill and carry on their shoulder back to their home. At the river where the baptism was the girls and women carry large stainless steel bowls fill with dirty laundry to it and wash their clothes in it with soap.  I had some laundry done a couple days ago and this is where my clothes would have been washed – according to Donald. My clothes were dried and ironed and brought back to me. The white t-shirts didn’t look as white as I recall but everything is wearable and the dark clothes are fine. In the same water that girls were washing laundry, men were washing their tractors and one man was washing an ambulance, and the water buffaloes were streaming into it doing their business as well….and one sweet soul was baptized and God took her sins away by the blood of Christ.
January 3, 2013
As we preached tonight in the open air, with loud speakers blaring throughout the village, there was a drunk man across the street hitting his wife and hollering at us. Otherwise, everyone was extremely cordial. 
 

Here’s some sights from the last day. Bro. B. Isaac is a great guy, working hard establishing congregations and taking on lots of personal sacrifice to do so. He left behind his law degree to preach. Purchased the building and house behind it with his own money. When he came to Cumbum in 2005, there were no Christians here. Now there are 7 total congregations in the area. He’s worked so hard to invite many people to the meetings we have been having. Pray for Bro. B Isaac and his wife Hulda. 

Want to let you know that I began my antibiotic. 3 pills, 3 days. The stomach churning continues. Otherwise, no slowing me down.

Don and I preached tonight at a local village and we preached today at the Cumbum (COME BUM) to an audience of church of Christ preachers and denominational ones. 18 in the morning and 16 in the afternoon. 

Have you heard of “India Time”? We had an evening meeting at 7pm and at 8:30 we still had not left the house. So funny. It’s just the way it is here. 


December 4 2013
Hi Everyone, It’s Friday late afternoon and we preached today to a large gathering of preachers, both from the church and denominational. Don taught in the morning and I in the afternoon. We taught them how to rightly divide the Word of God and to distinguish between the Old Law and the New Testament. See the photo below. 

This is Sister, Hulda, Isaac’s wife. I followed her around this morning learning how to make her ea and Indian coffee.Very tasty. She’s a principal at a small Primary school in Cumbum which we visited today.

Since houses don’t usually have running water as the costs are so high, concrete barrels are in the house and kept full. This is what bathing is done with and water for flushing the toilet is taken from this.

Brother B. Isaac is preacher at the congregation he established in 2005. He established 6 more in the area and he converted the men who are now preaching in them. Bro. Isaac is trained as a Lawyer but he left that behind for what he loved more, preaching Christ. He’s very protective of Don and me to make sure we are safe at all times.

Here we see the group of preachers who attended yesterday and today’s A.M. and P.M. meetings. These brothers don’t drive. Some don’t even have bicycles. One came 70km to be here. We taught yesterday on 3 Dispensations of the Bible  and today we taught the difference between the Old Testament and the New Testament. The men were all very cordial. And there were several pictures taken. 

Don doesn’t know Telegu. He thinks everything has to do with kisses. 

These are primary school children. Beautiful little ones who each stepped forward to show us their English skills. One of the little girls said, “God is good, God is great,….” but in America kids couldn’t learn such heresy. 

 Can you spot the decoration of idols?

As you drive across the country, here the typical town. Most businesses are smaller than garages. Each one beside the next. Everyone is busy and trying to feed their family. Do you see the idol hanging from the rearview mirror? 

Sister Hulda’s school. We met all of the staff and then we drove to the school administration office and met the equivalent to a school board President. He chatted with us for a while and then had pictures taken. The newspaper reporter was present and took our photos with him. He showed us pictures of great Indians in history who helped shape the country by fighting the British, writing the Constitution, and such. It was very interesting. They served us coffee and then we left. We may be in the paper. 🙂

Thank you all for continuing to pray for me. I am feeling a little better this evening. It’s about breakfast time for you and we are getting ready for evening preaching at another local village. I’m preaching on Uncommon Discipleship.  Don will preach something complimentary to this lesson. He needs no notes. He just preaches. I am about to take my second pill and pray that all will be well tomorrow. Thanks for you who have sent messages. Those are especially encouraging. Love you all. Dan Mayfield
December 5 2013
I’m feeling so much better. Thank you all who have been praying. This morning I had some dry cereal and for lunch I had vegetable fried rice and chicken curry. I didn’t eat half of the order, but it was so good. 
Yesterday we visited Hulda’s school and also went by for a visit to what I would call the District offices. We got a tour of the facility and some history of important figures in Indian independence, or “freedom fighters”. It was lots of fun. The news was there to snap some photos of our visit which were posted on the front page of the paper. We were doing what tourist do, learning about the local school system. 6 days a week for school. Year around, no 3 month holidays. Children learn Telagu and English. It’s a big job for this town of 20,000 to administer over 40 plus schools. 
Since I cut hair at the local jail, I thought I would stop by and pay the local hair stylist a visit. This is where Bro. Isaac goes. They call it the “Salon”.  
We preached again for a third day in Cumbum and 29 or so preachers were present as Bro. Don and I explained what the Scriptures say about the authority of the Scriptures and the importance of not adding to it. I focused on the office of Overseers and all that the Scriptures say on that topic, with special attention given to the proper meaning of a “pastor”. Of course we met many nice young and old brothers and there were also denominational men present as well. Pictured below is a member of the church who wanted a picture. These people are very sweet and the Brethren are dedicated to walking with Christ. It’s harder to be a Christian here, than it is in a western country. I admire them all for their faith. 
Thank you all for your prayers because they have been answered. I feel turbocharged and ready for more preaching. Between Bro. Don and myself, we have preached right at 40 lessons in the last 10 days. Many of these we had to prepare very quickly as Bro. Isaac had to decide what we would preach based on the audience. It’s been challenging and lots of fun. God gave me the best job in the world. I love you all. Dan Mayfield
December 5 2013 more that I forgot to add earlier.
If you need salt, don’t fear because he’s coming by in the morning. And there’s competition because more than one comes by. The salt is more like sea salt, large pieces. Sister Hulda bought an huge bowl of salt just for the benefit of me getting a photo.
 
In America we have people knocking our doors, but it’s not usually these guys. These guys go out in groups seeking donations of money and they will put a nice red dot on your head if you do. I had to be adamant that I was Christian to which he was glad to show me that they believe in a type of Jesus – along with 3 million more gods. 
Now there’s a lot of trash piled up around the city but there is garbage pickup. The garbage truck came by this more and I was sure to get a picture just to give Andy something to smile about. 
Last night we preached at Village Bondalapadu and here is the preacher and song leader. They are very nice people. Preacher’s name is P. Solomon. The church there meets on Sunday at 10-1pm and in the evening they meet from 7-10pm!  Americans can’t concentrate for five minutes and these brethren sit for six hours.
The reason I write these things and take the pictures is to give all of my Christian friends and supporters and real sense of what a Christian lives like in this country of India. For example, the chalk art, called “Muggu”, that is on nearly every front door step is new each day. The Christians walk past these things often. The Hindu mother, daughter, or grandmother will draw these things, each time unique and different, for religious reasons. Bro. B. Isaac informed me that this is the custom of the Hindu’s and that Christians do not do this.
Dec 5 2013 update

I was asked about the weather and the communication issues. The weather is very comfortable at night, very refreshing. In the daytime, the temps have been high 80’s and low 90’s. I’ve been sweaty and a little sticky by the end of the day but it’s really something I’ve learned to work with without fretting. Now if the temps were, say, in the 100’s, then I would be ducking for shade all of the time. But it’s been agreeable to me. About the communication issues. Most Indians do not speak English. For sure, the children are learning English, but the adults do not. Our two translators, Bro. Mani and Bro. B. Isaac, do very well keeping up with us. For preaching, we have to measure our words so as to pause and give the translator time to do his part. He really has the tough job. Because as Bro. Don speaks and then I follow, we may speak for a period of 30 minutes. The translator is speaking double what each of us are. And he has to work very carefully to convey the message we are preaching. It’s amazing how it works. Tonight was fun. Don spoke on the new birth and I spoke on God’s appeal for men to be saved. By the way, I’ve been 24 hours without an upset stomach. The antibiotic is working. The prayers are working.

Dec 6 2013 The Lord’s Day
Today there was a baptism of a widow lady from Cumbum. I’ll have a video to post later. It was interesting what lengths they must go to to fill up the baptistry. 

After worship and lunch, we took the short trip to the Cumbum Reservoir. It was built 400 or so years ago by a King and his wife, she having the idea to store water this way. We enjoyed the outing and saw a Hindu temple and a ant hill turned into a Cobra den. No snakes came out to greet us. That would have been very exciting.

Dan Mayfield, Cumbum, Andhra Pradesh, India, 2013

The railroad crossing watchman let me take a picture. We couldn’t share the same language but he was kind. The crossing rams are lowered by hand crank which you see behind him. We had to wait for the train to come for five minutes or so.

Check this out. The man was working for hours at this location. I gather that many who live on the street are bringing their clothes to him and so he worked in this location for some time. And look, no electric cords to mess with. The white bad under the cart is filled with charcoal which goes inside the iron. Stays hot and very effective.

The Markapur village congregation you see below is fairly new, one of the 7 that Bro. B. Isaac established in the area. The preacher is supporting his parents, his wife’s parents, his children and on very little money. Sometimes he does Masonry work.

The gathering you see below is in the village Donakonda where a husband and wife are the only Christians. But they invited people to come and we counted about 90 men, women, and children. We preached evangelistic sermons to teach these how to be New Testament Christians. Br. B. Isaac is driving to this village about 3 times a month to study with and encourage the couple and to teach the ones coming to his study. Pray this becomes a congregation in the new future.

Here is another photo (below) of the Donakonda village that showed up for the preaching. Many more entered after I snapped this photo. The families entire courtyard was filled. We even had a dog and a chicken join us.That boy in the middle needed some discipline as he was quite disruptive. I had to personally stop preaching and hold my finger to my mouth, looking at the boys, and held it until things quieted down. Bro. Isaac thought it went very well.Another railroad crossing that I thought was too good to not share.

I had to preach most of my lesson at Donakonda village without lights as the electricity went out. Preaching in the dark is interesting. And I wish that was my excuse, but my lesson was supposed to be 30 minutes but I went 60! Good grief. All I can say is I was in a zone.
 
We preached in two villages in the evening. This photo was taken in low light. I thought it looked interesting. In this village of Pusalapadu, there are 15 Christians and about 55 non-Christians came. They don’t have a building so they meet outside on the ground. I kept my lesson to 30 minutes this time. Donald did a very strong lesson on Hebrews 8:1,2.

I have other things to post at a later time. I may post some tomorrow. But we are finished preaching in Cumbum and the surrounding district. Tomorrow we head back to Hyderabad. We will have a long drive and the next day may do a bit of shopping for a scarf or two. I heard from Don there’s a place to buy nice button up shirts for $5. I’ll check that out. I hope you have enjoyed the trip as much as I have. Thanks for all of your prayers and encouragement. It’s been a rewarding trip. Bro. Don and the Ministers in India have kept up a busy schedule for us so that we have preached a combined 47 lessons as of this evening. We witnessed four baptisms. We preached to many non-Christians including denominational pastors (one was present at the last meeting tonight.

Pray for us to have a safe flight on Wednesday. I love you all. Dan Mayfield

Additional Photos….
If it has a motor, it’s going to be driven….

From the village Pusalapadu, about 13 Christians worship. This night there were 70 or so present along with a denominational preacher. After the meeting, the denominational preacher was asking that a collection be taken. The three faithful preachers of the church said no. The following day, 2 women from this village who have been studying responded to the Gospel call and were baptized into Christ. Acts 22:16 shows what they did and what God did.

The two men here are Christians. I am sorry that I don’t remember the brother’s name on the left, but he’s very helpful to Mani in the Nandigama church of Christ. He’s the television guy. The smiling man on the left is Nani, brother to Mani Pagidipalli. Nani is the best driver I’ve ever known. He can drive down the wrong side of the road and miss everything come at him. 🙂  Super nice young man.

In India, the motorcycle is the modern equivalent to the horse. They outnumber cars I’m sure. And this four passenger motorcycle is quite a gas saver. Yes, there’s a child squeezed between mommy and daddy! And see how the women ride? Motorcycles are fitted with a side footrest.

This is Mani Pagidipalli. He quit lucrative secular work so he could preach the Gospel…as his father does. And he just so happens to have graduated from Bear Valley Bible Institute of Denver which makes him extra special to me! Say a prayer for his work and for his needs.

Bro B Isaac and Hulda are building a house. This is the first level and two more to be built. You can see the living quarters room near front, the middle is the kitchen, the rear is the bath area. The second and third floors will be entered from outside stairs. The second level he will rent out. The third level he will have for when visitors come to stay and help him . Bro. B Isaac is a strong spiritual leader. Trained as a Lawyer and registered with the Bar in Andhra Pradesh, he only does volunteer free work because he’s committed to spreading the Gospel. He’s established 8 congregations in his area, including the one he preaches for. The other congregations in surrounding villages (which I’ve been posting photos of) have preachers who he taught the Gospel to. He has started a 2 year Bible School with ten students. Nine of the students are preachers. He’s ensuring they are grounded in the faith. After two years he will enroll more students. He wants his former students to rise to be teachers in the school. He inspired me. Pictured below is Sister Hulda as she is spraying the newly layed bricks down. Apparently the mortar or cement requires 15 days of keeping wet, perhaps to keep it from cracking during the curing.

Here is the view from our Hotel lobby where we are staying until our departure for home tomorrow morning. The silhouetted figure is Bro. Isaac.

When you go to McDonald’s, what do you expect to get? A burger, right? Well there are no hamburgers at this McDonald’s. Closest items to what you would find back home are the fries and the McChicken. It was very good.

Ox carts are popular here. This model is common to see. The man paused for a minute that I might get a picture. The people are so very friendly here.

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