I would like to share my experience with the local churches. I was born into a Christian family in India in 1973. When I was ten years old, my father came to the United States to work at Oklahoma University. Because of visa and financial situations, the rest of us (my mother, my two sisters, and I) remained in India.
After a year had passed, we received word that Dad had suffered a heart attack. This was a big shock to our family, especially to my mother. Our family devotional times became more regular and specific, as we asked the Lord to release the visas and financial means we would need in order to join Dad in America.
Then, in 1985, we were able to come to this country and joined Dad in Norman, Oklahoma. We were very happy to find out that he was meeting with a group of Christians who took care of him during the time he was recovering. Not only so, but the church in Norman also took care of us after our arrival. We did not have a car or many other necessities, but the church members would give us a ride wherever we needed to go as well as supply us with many material needs. When we moved to Manhattan, Kansas so that Dad could take a job at Kansas State University, a church family drove there with us, using their car to help transport our belongings. Their wonderful loving care was typical of the care we received from the church in Norman.
What was even more beneficial to us was the spiritual care we received. While attending the children’s meetings in Norman, I heard for the first time that I had a human spirit and that God as the Spirit indwells the believer’s spirit. I remember singing a song that said, “Drop by drop the Lord will get inside of you.” This was a revolutionary concept to me, even at such a young age. Later in 1985, along with others my age, I was baptized during a young people’s conference in Oklahoma City. What I really enjoyed about the church meetings was the singing. I had never before heard believers sing with such strong spirits. Meeting after meeting was a joyful experience to me. I was sad when we moved to Manhattan because there was no local church meeting there. We attended denominational meetings, but the experience did not match what we had had in Norman.
But by the Lord’s sovereignty and through the prayers of our brothers and sisters in Christ in Oklahoma, God sent a family to Manhattan who was used to meeting in the same way that we had in Oklahoma. This was the Lord’s mercy and His continual care for us through the prayers of His church. We began to meet with this family regularly, getting into the truths of the Bible and staying in the fellowship. Even though our number was small compared to Oklahoma, and even though we hardly knew this family, we felt at home because we were all members of the Body of Christ meeting according to the revelation of the Bible. In our meetings we enjoyed the ministry of Watchman Nee and Witness Lee. Their writings caused me to have a deeper experience of the Lord, and my love toward Him increased as never before.
After another period of time our family moved once again, this time to Ruston, Louisiana. As in Manhattan, there was no local church meeting in Ruston, but there was one not too far away, in Shreveport. The fellowship and shepherding we received from them was the same as we had experienced in the other local churches. After graduating from Louisiana Tech with a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering, I went to Anaheim, California to attend a two-year Bible training carried out by Living Stream Ministry. After completing that training, I began to serve the Lord with my full time in Fullerton, California. I praise the Lord for His mercy and grace that have kept me in the fellowship of His one Body, no matter where I have been.
– R. P.