Ralph Martin wrote the following report from India, where he recently spent three weeks, speaking extensively and serving with his wife, Anne, Deacon Dan and Dolly Foley, Fr. Chas Canoy, John and Michelle Kazanjian, and Erin Campbell. This is the last in a three-part series about the mission. The first two can be found here and here. Anne Martin already has provided two reports about the mission, which can be found here and here.
We arrived late Monday night and had a pretty good night’s sleep. We are working to overcome the ten-and-one-half hour time difference! It’s great to be home!
Anne mentioned to me this morning that, despite the fatigue of the long trip home, we would go back in a minute, since the people we met in each city are truly wonderful. Christians now in India are wary of increasing hostility from the new aggressively Hindu government and may have to face persecution in coming days—some have already been killed by fanatics, and government “regulations” are making it harder to conduct Church services. We will keep them all in our prayers and hearts.
The welcome we received by all four bishops of the dioceses in which we served, and their main collaborators, couldn’t have been warmer. I also want to say a special thanks to Romeo Fernando, who interpreted for us in Vasai and helped us in Pune. He did so much to organize what we did in Vasai, along with his community. I met Romeo twenty years ago on my last trip to India; he has visited us in Ann Arbor since then and has become a very dear and valued brother in the Lord.
Picking up from where I left off in my last report, we made the nearly two-hour flight to Pune for our last events. One of the great blessings of our final week in Pune was that John and Michelle Kazanjian joined our team. Each afternoon, they taught the priests how basic Gospel truths—like repentance, forgiveness, and renunciation of the devil—can be applied in a practical way to a person’s life in order to bring freedom in areas of people’s lives that are afflicted or in bondage. This is known as the Unbound method. We all helped them form teams to pray for priests individually, and many experienced wonderful freedom and deliverance. Deacon Dan and Fr. Chas preached at all of the daily Masses, and our team worked beautifully together. I helped as a prayer warrior for a number of these sessions; one night the demand from priests led me to do my first “solo” prayer session, and it went well.
Romeo Fernando spent most of the week with us in Pune and was a big help to the priests, many of whom asked him to return to teach them how to lead Life in the Spirit Seminars and help their people experience greater life in the Spirit. In fact, since our return, we already received an email from the Catholic Charismatic Renewal Service Team in Pune, saying “We have received many requests now to put on the Life in the Spirit Seminars in parishes here, thanks to your team!”
One ongoing difficulty we dealt with for several months was getting books and booklets delivered to each of the four cities we visited, even though we sent them in plenty of time through reliable delivery services. Most of the books and booklets got through in time, but some didn’t. Here in Pune, an Indian edition of The Fulfillment of All Desire, which was supposed to be one of the easiest to deliver since it was coming from within India, didn’t arrive until today. Finally, at one point, when Anne was experiencing a certain difficulty, she offered it up for the safe arrival of the books, and they arrived that day!
For our last weekend in India, we moved back to town to stay at the bishop’s house while we gave eight talks to a general conference of mostly of Charismatic Renewal Catholics. And then, we made a five-hour drive to Mumbai to get our plane home!
Before I end, I should mention a few of the small things that figured significantly in the trip. Unfortunately, most municipal water systems in India still are not able to provide water safe to drink. In almost every place we went, they had special taps for water that was filtered or boiled. We take for granted the general safety of our municipal water supplies here in North America.
Something else we take for granted is hot showers with actual shower stalls or bathtubs with shower curtains. Every bathroom we had in India was quite adequate, but very different from what we expect in the US. Most had showers coming out from the wall, but some didn’t, in which case buckets were provided for sponge baths. Also, there weren’t any shower curtains, so the water sprayed over the entire bathroom and had to be squeegeed up after showering. Throughout the entire three-week trip, we only had hot water for showers once, on our last day. Because of the schedule, we could take showers only in the morning; since the water was heated by solar power, the water was still cold. Had we showered in the afternoon, the sun would have had time to heat it up.
I have been invited to return to India to do a retreat for all fifty-one bishops of Kerala and then all the priests and nuns. We will see how this unfolds! I know that Deacon Dan, John and Michelle, and Anne and I all feel that doors have opened in India that we should continue to walk through, for the glory of God and the salvation of souls.
Thank you so much for your prayers, financial support, and other sacrifices that allow this and all other missions to take place.
Your brother in Jesus, our Lord,
Below are some additional photos from the mission: