Madurai, in south India, was the venue for a series of Bible teaching meetings, arranged by the Assembly in Colombo, and held during January, 2009. Though there are many companies of believers in the greater Madurai area, most, if not all, are not functioning according to the Scriptural principles of how assemblies should gather.
Brother Kandasamy from Batticoloa in Sri Lanka has been visiting Madurai District and his ancestral village, Kulapatham in Ramnad District of Tamil Nadu, for many years. He has a great burden for the people there to be saved, and also to teach them New Testament principles. Brother Kandasamy travelled in advance of us and arranged the conference and gospel meetings. He had invited his friends, relatives, and other believers that he knew for the meetings.
The conference was held in the village of Vilangudi. There were participants from many parts of the Madurai District at the conference. We had four sessions of study over each of the days we met. Each session was for ninety minutes and we taught concerning the "features" of the New Testament assemblies.
Brother Gerard Manoharan and myself from the assembly that meets in Bethesda Gospel Hall in Colombo shared the ministry of the Word. At the end of each of the sessions there were questions raised which gave us the opportunity to clarify various points and we were able to appreciate the extent to which the teaching was received. Many confessed that the meetings were an eye opener for them and some said that they would make the necessary adjustments and follow the pattern as laid out in the Scriptures in future.
Towards the end of our stay we visited the village of Kulapatham at the southern tip of India, where we conducted open air gospel meetings for a few days. We hired a tent which we pitched in a strategic location between three villages and a refugee camp. Brother Kandasamy had arranged a sound system and even distributed handbills in advance to announce the meetings to the villagers. There was very good interest shown by the people to the preaching of the gospel. Approximately one hundred souls attended each gospel meeting with several returning on more than one occasion.
Many of those attending were refugees who have fled the war in Sri Lanka. They had risked their lives to make the treacherous crossing from Sri Lanka to India across the Palk Straits. They were now living in refugee camps having lost all their possessions. Some had lost limbs, some had lost immediate family members, and they were now facing an uncertain future. They had many questions about the plight that they are currently in, and some of them were very receptive to the gospel. Please pray that the seed sown will take effect in due course. During the evenings we spoke at ministry meetings that were arranged by the few believers in that area.
Gospel leaflets and books, translated and printed in the Tamil language by our assembly, were distributed among the participants at all the meetings. These include A G Clarkes New Testament Church Principles, as well as the Focus On and Family series booklets. Please pray that this literature would have an effect on the lives of the people that we met.