"I'm back in the saddle again...out where a friend is a friend.” What a great song by Gene Autry. Following a long year of sickness, those wonderful lyrics, by the singing cowboy, are the music of our hearts. By the grace of God Juanita and I are fully back! She is cancer free, and arthritis surgery has greatly relieved much of the pain in my right hand. Thanks to so many of our readers who have supported us by means of prayers, cards, and emails.
Even though we could not correspond with everyone as we wanted to do, you never quit sending the needed funds for the work in India! We are so grateful. By the grace of God we are able to sing, not only the great hymns of faith, but the joyful words of the cowboy: "Ridin' the range once more... Whoopi-ty-aye-oh...Back in the saddle again. “Our appointments in August and September will be in Maryland, North Carolina, West Virginia, Tennessee, and Alabama. In October we hope to visit brethren in Arkansas, Oklahoma and Texas. The month of November, the Lord willing, will find us in Georgia, Mississippi, Indiana and Kentucky. During December we plan to be in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Maryland. Shortly after the New Year, 2011, begins we plan to return to the white harvest fields of India.
Though Juanita and I both have had a long siege of illness we have not been idle. Much has been accomplished. Hundreds of emails, telephone calls, and cards have been sent to our Indian brethren. Funds have been forwarded to India on average every two months. We have sent between $8,000 and $12,000 dollars each time funds were wired. The funds have provided salaries for some thirty native preachers, printing of 10,000 song books, construction work on six church buildings, various kinds of benevolence for our poorest, destitute brethren, plus numerous evangelistic campaigns have been funded and conducted by our Indian brethren. We also were able to return to India the last week of February 2010 and worked until the middle of April. The weather was extremely hot, but the joy of the work was more than compensating. In short, though we have been slowed down personally, the work has its own momentum. We give God the glory for all that has been done.
The Manassas church webmaster, Brother John Murphy has created and updates regularly our Manassas India Missions Website. Here you will find a synopsis of our work in India. There are videos, archives of several past newsletters, a summary slide presentation of past mission trips by the Bullards, and a complete special mission worship service in which the Manassas Elders honored me for 25 years (July 1, 1985—July 1, 2010) of mission work under their oversight. Come spend an hour online with us.
THE WORK CONTINUES—GOD GIVES THE INCREASE-2010 CAMPAIGN RESULTS—AS OF AUGUST 2nd
MEETINGS CONDUCTED BAPTISMS NEW CONGREGATIONS
66,252 108,046 616
"WILL ALL THOSE BAPTIZED REMAIN FAITHFUL?”
Let me tell you a story.
Our story begins at the train station in Hyderabd where hundreds of trains move in and out daily. Most people ride a night train to their destination using it as a hotel room. Juanita and I often choose to take a day-train since there are fewer passengers and we like to view the countryside as we travel. On a Thursday morning about 9:30 a.m. we boarded a train bound for Vijayawada.
A young lady, about 20- 23 years old I guessed, Linda Lopa Ashok as we would soon learn her name, was seated two rows in front of us. Being an outgoing person and wanting to visit with a couple who appeared to her to be from America she came down the aisle to see us. We immediately learned she had been in Hyderabad seeking a job which she happily obtained with Bank of America. Linda was on this particular train because, like us, she liked to travel during the daytime. She had come to Hyderabad from Calcutta and was returning home to prepare for her move to her new job.
Linda was vivacious and because she spoke flawless English, we were able to enjoy a wonderful, chatty conversation. She soon inquired as to what we were doing in India. We told her we were missionaries. She asked, "What church are you with?” I answered, "We are with the Church of Christ.” "Oh, I'm a member of the Church of Christ,” she responded without any hesitation and with much excitement in her voice. Thinking to confirm this I asked her for names of brethren whom we might mutually know in Calcutta and for the name of her home congregation. She responded, "My home place is a suburb of Calcutta [Are you ready for this?] called Dum Dum. ““Dum Dum, " I said excitedly, "I know where Dum Dum is!" To my utter surprise she mentioned two preachers Peter Mondal and Swami Doss (though Swami lives actually in another location), both of whom I know and have worked with in long years gone by.
As Paul Harvey liked to say, "Here's the rest of the story." In 1980, at the encouragement of brother Charles Scott, I found myself working in Dum Dum which is, as noted, a suburb of Calcutta. A young, newly married couple, who had attended several meetings which my Indian interpreter Peter Mondal and I had conducted, responded to the Lord's invitation and was baptized. With this couple's baptism, by the grace of God, we had started the church in Dum Dum. In time they were blessed with two children, one of whom was our new friend and sister-in Christ, Linda.
Linda explained that over a period of time several congregations were developed by her father and other Indian brethren. Her father's work caused the family to move from Dum Dum to Defense Colony, near the airport in Calcutta. It was there that brother Swami Doss had begun a new congregation and was operating a school of preaching. Additional congregations were planted from Swami Doss' work. The church was growing—indigenously. That is, only a few missionaries had visited the work in Calcutta yet the local Indian brethren were evangelizing one of the largest cities in the world.
I have not worked in Calcutta since that time in 1980. I no longer remember Linda's parents (except that they were baptized). I have not seen Peter Mondal or Swami Doss since about 1982 when I spoke, only once, at Swami Doss' congregation.
Now it is 2010. Linda is riding on the same train, in the same car, with us. She had actually thought to take a more direct train to Calcutta, but suddenly she had obtained a ticket for the same day and train on which we met. We had thought to go by car to Vijayawada, but here on this train and on this day we were talking to Linda. Providential? I will let you ponder that question. My answer to the question is, "Yes."
Linda revealed to us that she was very concerned to worship with faithful brethren in Hyderabad. She also needed to meet with brethren who spoke English since her native, Calcutta language was Bengali and the local language in Hyderabad is Telegu. It was our good pleasure to tell her about one of our missionary team members, Kyle Clayton and his Indian wife, Sonia, who lives in Hyderabad within a mile of her new job at Bank of America. More than that, Kyle conducts worship services in English with an English speaking Indian congregation!
We have shared this story with you in order that you might understand that many—and we think most—of those who are baptized remain faithful. They grow in Christ. They evangelize. The church spreads. This is because it is God's work...not man's...God knows His own, and He is their Shepherd.
Brethren please allow me a moment to express my joy concerning this story. It represents everything for which a missionary could hope: We go to a foreign land, and there preach the Gospel with all the energy God gives one. Some respond and become members of the body of Christ...the lost are found. They grow in Christ, new congregations are begun, and a new generation carries on the traditions of Christ and His apostles. As the beloved Apostle John wrote, "No greater joy can I have than this, to hear that my children follow the truth” (3 John 4).
AN OFFER OF MATCHING FUNDS
Your dollars go farther in India than in most any other place. Now you can make your money go even further and double your gifts by designating it (or, a portion of it) for construction of a second floor on our church building in Kurnool. The Central Church where B. Isaac Prabakar preaches is growing and "busting at the seams." We have needed to expand this building for over two years. Now a generous family and long-time supporter of the India work will offer us "a two for one challenge" up to five thousand dollars. Your gift of $25.00 will become $50.00...a gift of $100.00 will become $200.00, and $1,000.00 will become $2,000.00. Please consider this need and the generous opportunity to help the church in Kurnool grow. Once the new addition is completed, the next step will be to begin a new school of preaching there. We will then have the expanded church building which may easily accommodate, in addition to the regular use by the congregation, eight to ten student preachers during the day. Experienced Bible teachers, who are already being supported in local work, are readily available and excited about the possibilities of this opportunity which has been in the "dream" phase for nearly thirty years. Let's join hands and make it happen for the glory of God and the lifting up of the Lord Jesus (John 12:32).
THANKS AND AN APPEAL FOR HELP
As a result of our country's continuing economic depression we have lost over $900.00 dollars per month during 2010 in contributions. This is a significant loss especially since we actually need additional gifts just to keep pace with the growth of the church in India. We recognize that this is God's work, and, as our Indian brethren would say, we trust that He will provide the "needy". Please remember the needs of the poor brethren in India, and especially help us to be able to reach the lost in the field that is white unto harvest. Thanks for your prayers and gifts. We are "Back in the saddle again.” Grace and Peace, Jerris Bullard, Missionary
IN MEMORY—PSALMS 116:15
M. Devender, Elder and Preacher Jeanette Feenstra
Hyderabad, India Dickson, Tennessee
Bessie Bradley Jo Marshall Martha Thornburg
Burns, Tennessee Manassas, Virginia Manassas, Virgina