Written by Alistair Angus
As a church we have had connections with India for over ten years principally through Raymond & Abhilasha Massey in Gurgaon, Delhi and Paul & Eunice Singh in Bangalore. Quite a few of us have visited one or both of them and they have been to visit us.
Shortly after Clive got back from India in December 2015 he got a phone call from Tony Anthony who is the Senior Bishop of Assembly of Believers Churches (ABC) in India. Raymond & Abhilasha’s church is part of the ABC network and we have known Tony for many years and visited him several times in Lucknow. Tony invited Clive to attend a meeting in Coventry with a view to Father’s House partnering with ABC in the launch of an ABC church in that city. Clive felt a witness and attended the meeting just before Christmas.
Early in the New Year Caroline Watkins and I became involved as the designated pastor of the church, Deepak Robinson, and his wife, Venesa, wanted some practical advice and help. I subsequently visited Deepak and Venesa in Coventry and felt a real joining to them as we talked and prayed.
In early March they stayed with Clive and Sue and a week later, with Clive on an Encounter Weekend, Heidi and I went to Coventry for the ordination, by Tony Anthony, of Deepak as Pastor of the first ABC in the UK. Raymond was also present as the ABC overseer of the new church. After the service Tony took Raymond, Heidi and me out to dinner and said that he wanted to set up a charitable trust for ABC in the UK with Deepak, Raymond and myself as the initial trustees. I agreed as a representative of Father’s House.
Two days later, on 14th March, I left for India with Clive and Dave Lock together with Raymond who was returning home. After an overnight flight and being greeted by some of our friends we rested for a few hours before setting out, by car and train, for Pauri which we reached around Wednesday lunchtime. Pauri is in the Himalayan foothills, at about 6000 feet, and there is a church there led by Rajiv Maxton. We had been travelling, off and on, for 36 hours. As you can see from the picture below it is in a stunning location. It was also quite cold; we all wore sweaters and had heaters in our rooms.
There were three meetings organised in the church which were all well attended. Clive spoke on moving from Orphan to Sonship and the Healed Heart and we prayed for all who wanted it. Beautiful time with very open people. We discovered that some people had travelled for six to seven hours to be present by, in the main, bus. The map below shows the area. We are aware that they had come from Kotdwara, Srinagar, and Rudraprayag as well as Pauri.
On Friday 18th we retraced our steps down to the railway head at Kotdwara where we went to the new ABC in the town. Time was limited so Clive spoke briefly and then we prayed. Of particular significance, we felt, was praying for a Pastor and his wife where pain was lifted off them. Much weeping. Then we caught a train back to Delhi arriving at our hotel after midnight before an early morning flight to Lucknow where we were met by another old friend, another Rajiv. We rested that morning and then, in the early afternoon, were taken to see Tony Anthony at his house in the town (where there is also the principal ABC Bible & Pastors College). We had a beautiful time with him. He confirmed the details that he had discussed with me about the UK end of ABC and prayed for Clive.
We also visited a site where Rajiv is building a new church. That evening we attended a meeting at which Clive spoke on the Healed Heart before dining with Rajiv and his family. We had a lovely time with them and in praying for an orphan girl who is part of their household. There was an instant change in her.
On the Sunday morning Raymond flew back to Gurgaon to be with his family and the church and we went to Rajiv’s church. Clive and I had both been there before and from the start people were very open. Clive spoke on the Orphaned Heart and then we prayed. For about two hours. So much weeping as God touched hearts and brought His healing. After a late lunch and a, very brief, rest we set off, driven by Rajiv, for Kanpur picking up, en-route,
Raymond. In Kanpur we were met by our friends, and Pastors of the church, Anthony and Neelam Chandler. Anthony and Neelam were first, majorly, impacted by the Father’s embrace on the December 2014 visit that we had made and I was delighted to see them again.
At the meetings on Sunday evening, Monday morning and evening there was a real openness to the Holy Spirit and to the Embrace of a loving Father. The people were hungry to be prayed for and desperate for more of His love. At each meeting we prayed for about an hour and a half to two hours.
We left Kanpur late on the Monday evening with a driver. After about half an hour Raymond noticed that the driver was falling asleep! Thank God he did! Raymond drove the rest of the way back to Lucknow which we reached in the early hours of the Tuesday. Tuesday morning we flew back to Delhi and were taken to a hotel to rest for a short while before being taken out to lunch by a young man who Paul White had led to the Lord in December 2014. The lunch was by way of a thank you to us (although Paul wasn’t there) and to Raymond and the church.
We had meetings in the church in Gurgaon on both Tuesday and Wednesday evening. Both were thick with the presence of the Lord as we worshipped and Clive spoke on the Orphan Heart and the Glory of the Lord. At both meetings it was a joy to see friends, old and new, receive healing of the heart and the Embrace of their Father. Clive has been to Gurgaon many times and Raymond and Abhilasha have tended the ground well so it is very fertile.
We returned to the UK on Thursday 24th March after what, I think we would all say, was a very successful trip.
Some may ask ‘Why do you go?’ There are many reasons. First of all we are invited! In Gurgaon, Pauri, Lucknow and Kanpur we were welcomed with open arms. Secondly every time we go we hear testimonies as to how God has moved since our last visit. And thirdly, and most importantly, we feel the draw and calling of the Holy Spirit.
There is no doubt in me that God has joined us to our brothers and sisters in India. I am excited about the opening in Coventry and the partnership between Father’s House and ABC. Please pray with me that we listen and are obedient to the Lord’s promptings.