14 Our Service in India

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The Lord gave us a word at the time of our marriage. It was 2 Corinthians 4:5-7: “For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.” This was how we felt and how we expressed ourselves among them, not as masters but as servants. Our life together in Madras began in those terms.

It was easy for me, but it was tough for Meg because all was new to her. She was a bit disillusioned actually when she came to India to find things as they were. But she was a brick; she was so faithful and so true. We literally did live with the people, for although in the beginning we were in a little flat at the entrance to the property that was being used for the meetings, afterwards we were almost always living with the people who were responsible in the various local churches. We didn’t have a home, we were just pilgrims moving with the church and living with the church. My wife didn’t have to do Indian cooking, but she enjoyed the Indian food. Nevertheless, life in India was difficult for her. She had the hard and tough part, whereas I had all the glamour and the joy and reward of preaching, going to different places; Meg didn’t have that pleasure.

Having no home meant more to Meg than it did to me. We had prayed for children, but we never had children; we were living with other people all the time, so her ‘home-making-instinct’ wasn’t satisfied. In that way it was tough for her. The work grew and as a result, I was on the move all the time. For the next fifteen years after our wedding day in most cases I travelled alone for the ministry in India, Meg only accompanying me to several places like Guntur, Bangalore, Vellore and Hyderabad. Usually I was away from her for one or two weeks, speaking with great liberty twice a day, everywhere. We did travel together as far as we could, but not as much as the Golsworthys did; I think they took the proper line—they never separated. We did separate frequently and that may have been a fault on my part. Meg wasn’t seeking ministry like preaching or teaching, but she did take sisters’ meetings. She did do that in the Philippines and she enjoyed the work with young people, children and elderly ladies.

Meg and I were asked to go to Vellore and in a sense we were responsible for the beginnings in that city. We were there together for nearly one year. There were some believers already meeting through Bakht Singh’s ministry. When we went in they rented a building right on the main road between the college and the hospital and they had a nice big Bible text outside the building. We had good opportunities both in the Christian Medical College and Hospital. There was a keen brother in the college who opened the door for me to go and to speak to the students occasionally. The work grew up because of the hospital students. By the time we left Vellore there were around 40 believers in the assembly. One of the leading men at Vellore was Caleb Antipas. Antipas’ father was an evangelist who spent quite a long time in Ceylon, as Sri Lanka was called then. He was asked to take over the work in Vellore.

Vellore is a very strategic centre. It was one of those places which came about through a visit of Bakht Singh—the visit bearing some fruit and the work was followed up. I figured that Bakht Singh and his co-workers were responsible for starting around five centres in Tamil Nadu in those early years. Mostly however other pioneers would go before; young men who were evangelists.

Dr. Paul Brand was in Vellore at that time. The son of missionary parents, his father was a medical doctor, Paul Brand spent his early years in the mountains near Vellore. At age nine, he went to London in 1923, for his education and later completed medical school at London University. Together with his wife Margaret, whom he met at medical school, Paul Brand returned to India in 1946 to teach surgery at the Christian Medical College and Hospital in Vellore.

His mother was still hovering around quite a bit. She was a real warrior for the Lord. She had irons on both her legs and walked with crutches, but she was untameable and a real testimony. She had a great burden for the hills. She and her husband worked on a hill near Coonbiture in the Nilgiri Hills. Even after the death of her husband, she had a great burden for the village people in the hills and continued to work among them. She spent the rest of her life in the hills and always wanted others to go there as well to evangelize. It was a tough assignment and eventually a young man, who was with us, wanted to go there and help her. We had a little doubt if he was the right person for that ministry, but he served very acceptably. He was an example of a man whom we may not have considered suitable, but the Lord had chosen him and made him a vessel meet for His use. He worked along side Mrs. Brand quite well.

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