AVAILING air-raid sirens, total blackouts by night, and the general tension of a full war-time emergency in New Delhi forced a postponement of two weeks in the opening "guns" to be fired by the Delhi evangelistic "squad" on the forces of spiritual darkness. Yet it was with great thankfulness and relief at the lifting of low-hanging war clouds that the combined membership of the English and Hindi churches in Delhi were able to swing into their positions and move forward.
October the seventeenth, instead of the third, was not too long a delay. All plans had been made so that within 24 hours of the green light, a large pandal (Indian-type tent) was erected adjacent to the office building at 27 Barakhamba Road, and was made ready, complete with large screen, grand piano, public-address system, and colored spotlights, to accommodate more than 1,000 people. The stage setting was lush with palms, flowers, and attractive greenery.
During the six-month period of ground work preceding this, some 1,200 Voice of Prophecy students of the Delhi area had been carefully contacted and prepared for this occasion. The writer, together with the Bible instructor, Miss H. Khan, home missionary leader Jerry Miles, and many other members of both churches, had visited a large number of residences. As a further preparatory factor, the war situation seemed overruled by God to prepare hearts for His message of prophetic truth. Handbill invitations were sent to every name available, and distributed in a wide circle around the mission area. Pastor Del Chand of Moradabad church, on loan for the campaign, led out in this work, and is doing full-time visitation during these weeks. One disappointment was that only one of Delhi's major newspapers would accept advertising for the lecture series due to recent policy changes toward religious propaganda.
The pandal was full to overflowing on Sunday night, October 17, as the Delhi choral group, under the direction of Mrs. Myrn Corban sang "Lift Up the Trumpet," while Pastor G. W. Maywald, guest speaker for the night's VOP rally, gave a welcome. Following a message on "The Greatest Love Story," more than fifty graduates of the correspondence school proudly marched forward to receive their diplomas. The film The Word Is in the Air concluded a successful opening night for a decidedly Voiceof-Prophecy-slanted lecture series.
During the week the attendance dropped somewhat but at this writing, after three weeks, the attendance has remained at capacity for the Sunday nights. From this a most encouraging nucleus of some two hundred people has emerged and each one is showing a keen interest.
This nucleus is made up of an educated class of people from all walks of life. A number of nurses from some of Delhi's leading hospitals are coming. The matron of one of these hospitals is one of the most enthusiastic interests of all. Not having missed a meeting, she makes special arrangement for those nurses from her staff who wish to attend with her. A number of doctors are in regular attendance also. A lady doctor, a Hindu, who is head of her department in a medical college, has attended every lecture. Often on the way out she says, "You have taught me so many things tonight. Such a burden is being lifted from my heart. I have lived in Delhi all my life. Why didn't I hear these things before now?"
A retired judge and his wife who attended evangelistic meetings conducted by Pastor Steven Vitrano when he was here are in regular attendance now. The good seed sown then could well bear its saving harvest now, as the way is finally clear for the judge's acceptance of the message. A well-dressed Sikh gentleman and his comely wife are among those who come regularly. One night after the appeal song by Mrs. Corban this gentleman was seen to be weeping freely. It is felt by the writer that more of the Holy Spirit's moving is in evidence at these meetings than before.
Following is the experience of a middle-aged Hindu gentleman, a B.A. graduate, as he became convinced that God was leading him to these meetings:
In the middle of 1964, I had the misfortune of being swindled of my life's savings, to the tune of Rs. 14,000/, As a result, I was reduced to the position of a literal pauper............................... Months passed by but there was no solution or way out of my troubled, hopeless situation.
One night in November, 1964, in a dream I heard most beautiful words spoken to me by a majestic Being whom I took to be the Lord Jesus Christ. "Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest," He said.
But where was I to go? It suddenly struck me that the Lord wished to meet with me in the Christian church. A large Catholic church is right across from my house near Kashmir gate. I got ready in my best clothes, and walked to the church. As I sat on the bench, I picked up the Holy Bible. Turning its pages, my eye caught the words that had been spoken in my dream. "Come unto me ... , and I will give you rest." This doubled my desire to know more about Christianity.
After several more visits to this church, I approached the vicar after mass for some guidance. To my amazement, he chided me somewhat for sitting among the baptized, but told me to wait until he should come back later. He didn't return. In despair I left, and did not go to that church again.
When the time came for John G. Corban's Voice of Prophecy lectures to begin, someone drew my attention to this, and suggested that I should go. I went and heard Mr. Corban speak on the dream of Daniel, and the final destiny of the nations. That night as I slept, the Lord Jesus Christ again appeared to me in a dream. These are the only two dreams I ever remember clearly in my life, as I am not a man given to having dreams. I dreamed I was again in the pandal, and Mr. Corban's lecture had just ended. All the people had gone out ahead of me and I was alone. Suddenly Jesus Christ was there standing before me, on a chariot which was being moved by some unseen force. Both His hands were stretched forth to me in blessing, but He spoke not a word.
At first opportunity I went to Mr. Corban and related to him what I had seen. A great conviction is resting upon me that there in the pandal, at 27 Barakhamba Road, is the place where I am now to meet my Lord and Saviour in the meetings that are to follow, and am presently to learn the way that He would have me to go.
Adjacent to the pandal is the residence of some of the editorial staff of Tass News Agency, fronted by an imposing display of photos and other materials by the well-known magazine Soviet Land. A friendly man from here has been attending the meetings frequently. Although he enters late and departs before closing time, he has shown a definite interest, and has taken all the literature and materials offered to him. Significantly enough, a few days ago the new theme of the large display window out in front, replete with photographs was, "Religious Freedom in the U.S.S.R. Today," showing various Buddhist and Tibetan groups at worship without restriction within the Soviet Union.
A word must be said in appreciation of the wholehearted, hard-working support being given by the members of the Delhi church in these meetings. Each one has his part somewhere in the team and is going all-out in making his contribution. Special musical items have been provided each night.
As the time begins to draw on when the testing truths will be introduced, earnest prayer is solicited from each reader of this account, that from this campaign God will add to the fellowship in due season "such as should be saved."