Survey work in Assam, NE India

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Dear Prayer friends,

Thank you so much for praying for Ganga and I during our tour in Assam.

We have returned now to Siliguri and to our old routines in the office.

We had a fruitful trip to Assam. We made good contacts for new languages and met several church pastors and leaders. We surveyed the state and looked into possibilities for GRN's future ministry, distributed around 350 tapes and other visual materials in churches along the way.

Mostly we stayed in churches and had fellowship with believers, encouraging them in the Lord. We observed a great need for evangelism and teaching in the churches. We hope to return soon with a team to help in local evangelism There are also needs for Bibles, gospel literature and other tools.

Our hand wind TapeTalk 2 player was the main attraction for many. They loved it. We have around 75 in stock in Guwahati which we will distribute along with tapes in the local languages sometimes early next year. The players will be useful in rural areas of Assam where there is a poor supply of electricity.

We made contacts in three most important languages where there are only handful or no Christians at all. They are mostly Buddhists and there has been much persecution among them- especially among the S and L/T people.

It must have been the result of your prayers that we had a smooth journey. We were not stopped by police, or by Hindu fundamentalists (which is common in the area) or by anybody else. On the contrary, we met people God had prepared for us; for translation helpers, language teachers and village head-men.

On one particular day there was a strike and only trains was available for transportation. We took the train and after a 4 and a half hour journey, got off at our destination at about 10am. It was very humid and all shops were closed. We only had the address of our contact person who we had never met! The address was a long way from the station and we had no choice other than to hire a bicycle rickshaw. We inquired about 'our contact' along the way but no-one knew him. Finally we found a small teashop, which was open and we stopped for tea and biscuits as our rickshaw puller had been panting so badly from pulling two people with heavy bags.

Out of nowhere, a person came in on a motorbike and stared at us. For a moment I thought he was either an 'underground', or a police man (the strike was called by the 'undergrounds' of the area). He asked us lot of questions. While we drank tea together, I spoke cautiously with him and told him that we were doing language research and we wanted to visit some L villages for our work.

Later we discovered that he worked for the government and was involved in the preservation of L/T culture and language and ran the L/T language institute. We were still not sure who he actually was. Anyway we wrote down his address left.

After some time we finally reached the L/T village and found the address we had been looking for. I went inside the house and inquired about 'our contact'. It was the right house but we were very discouraged when we learnt from the daughter that the whole family had returned to their old religion.

They were the first ever L/T to have known and accepted the Lord. But within a short time they encountered severe persecution and the fundamentalists threatened to kill them if they did not renounce their faith immediately. As there was no one to be with them during this trying time, they had no choice but to return.

The contact person whom we had come all the way to meet was lying in the floor with high blood pressure and could not sit up. I offered to pray for him but they were terrified in case somebody saw them with us. Ganga indicated that we should leave soon.

Now we did not have any other contacts in the village and no way to return to the train station as our rickshaw had already left and there were no vehicles on the road.

The only person we knew in the whole village was the man we met in the teashop so we went to his place, not certain what we would do next. To our delight and amazement he turned out to be a very hospitable and kind person. We explained to him that we were doing Christian work and we needed his help. Without hesitation he agreed to help and we became good friends. We believe that this is the man the Lord will use to bring light to this community.

We did not have any token of friendship except for some seeds that the Flagstaff Team had brought from the US. We offered them to him and we could tell they were much appreciated.

He said, "I will help you by any means in your project and will make sure it is finished as soon as possible".

He went around his neighbours looking for a vehicle to take us to the train station to catch the night train to our next destination and came with us to the station and asked us to come back to the village in November to do the recording. He even promised to arrange for a good place to do the recording. Praise the Lord.

In the same way the Lord guided us all the way until we returned to Siliguri.

During the trip we also made contacts in another 5 dialects of Garo and Hajong languages.

We would like to thank you for your prayers and great support for the work in NE India. We know it is all Lord's doing. Praise be unto HIM.

Ganga and Lok

Maghanap pa