Jail Time for UCG Minister!
August 4, 2011
Visiting Tour of India and Sri Lanka
Travel Notes from Ken Murray and Prakash Mandora
I flew out from Brisbane, Australia, on Thursday, July 28, to meet with our UCG brethren in India. Prakash flew from Pune to Kolkata, India, in readiness to meet up with me for our visiting tour of the far North Eastern part of India.
Upon flying in to Chennai, India, at about 11a.m. I received quite a shock when they turned me away from entry through customs—and locked me up in the clink. I thought I had a multi-entry visa, but the Indian Consulate in Australia had previously issued me with only a “double entry” visa.
So, because I have already travelled on 2 visiting tours in India this year, they rejected my entry for a third time. This stunned me, but I paid them for a plane ticket to take me to Colombo, Sri Lanka, at 6.30p.m. that same day.
What happened next was also totally unexpected. A gun-toting soldier took me to their lock-up gaol in the airport. So, I took my video camera out of me carrying bag and recorded them while they were putting me in their airport gaol.
Seeking inspiration I used the Apostle Paul’s question: “Why are you locking me up in jail, when there is no criminal charge laid against me, and I have broken none of your India laws? I wish to appeal to the Australian Consulate here in Chennai.”
While I was in their gaol they picked the padlock on my suitcase and stole all of my India and Srilankan currency I had in a money belt under the lid of my padlocked suitcase (about $US500). Over an hour later another young soldier came to my cell and had pity upon me being held in captivity with no toilet facilities or food, so he opened the padlock on the gaol cell and let me out. Then he sat beside me on a bench seat in an open room alongside the cell area, as an armed guard.
Now I understand how Paul felt to some degree, being thrown in gaol for no legal charge.
All Things Work Together
Five and a half hours later I flew out of India to Colombo, Sri Lanka, where I am now staying at the Ramada Hotel. But, it wasn’t until I was in my hotel room and opened my padlocked bag that I found my empty money belt hanging from its net pocket inside the lid of my bag. They must have picked the lock, stole the money and then reclosed the padlock on my suitcase.
But, “all things work together for those who love God and are called according to His purpose.” On Sabbath I was able to meet with 17 of our Colombo, Sri Lankan, brethren and have since been busy visiting with our brethren here as well as traveling around the countryside meeting new prospective members—and will be visiting more new people over the next few days.
We now have a new meeting room at the Sasakawa Hall in Colombo for our brethren to meet in, thanks to a few of our brethren here seeking out this new facility. So, my time here has been used profitably in helping them to arrange that facility and secure future Sabbath meeting bookings.
I guess if I hadn’t been rejected from India, then I would not have been able to do these things here in Colombo.
Public Bible Seminars
We are holding two “Good News Meetings” on Monday, August 8, and Tuesday August 9, and over 150 Good News readers have told us by e-mail and SMS messages already that they are coming to our meetings.
India Still Being Served
What happened to Prakash, awaiting me in Kolkata, India, you may wonder? Well, meantime, my faithful member traveling friend, Prakash Mandora (who has accompanied me on 2 previous trips), had to travel on alone up into Northeast India to carry on our visiting tour, but without me.
God really lifted him through His Spirit and being “strong and of good courage” Prakash soldiered on without me and did a wonderfully inspired job of speaking to over 60 Sabbath-keeping brethren at Kolasib and also talking to leaders in a Sabbath-keeping church there in Aizawl—which has over 2,000 members who keep the Sabbath and Holy Days.
Prakash also visited brethren there in their individual homes day-after-day until past midnight and then up at the crack of dawn the next day—visiting and praying for people and for those who were sick. These people have three services on a Sabbath day and are very keen to learn God’s truth more thoroughly—like the “noble Bereans” searching the scriptures to prove these things are so.
He was invited to speak in their congregation of over 60 attendees about the “Plan of God,” “How God Answers Prayer” and “Why did God give us the blessing of the Sabbath?”
Prakash then flew on to New Delhi, but sadly, as he was getting out of his Tuk Tuk transport at the hotel, someone stole his laptop computer, passport and train and airline tickets that he had in a bag. He reported the snatch-and-run to the police and now has a temporary passport.
Very early the next morning (6 a.m.), he continued with our visiting tour plans by taking the train to Agra so he could speak to our 18 UCG brethren there this coming Sabbath before flying home to Pune, India.
Meantime, here in Colombo, I have been receiving a stream of visiting requests from readers of our Good News magazine. So, I have been travelling to places such as Kandy, Kalutura, Negombo and Mannar visiting and encouraging and anointing the sick.
Thank you for all of your prayers for us. Please especially pray for Prakash’s safe journey home to Pune and please pray for the success of our “Good News Meetings” here in Colombo, to be held next Monday and Tuesday evenings.
Ken Murray—UCG Minister—Australia, India, Sri Lanka