Going to India with my friend Krish Dhanam (he is Hindu and who converted to Christianity and attends my church) will be an experience of a lifetime. We left Dallas today and after a night in Los Angeles we will head for Hong Kong tomorrow.
Krish is a corporate evangelist and trainer and heads up a non-profit known as Mala Ministries.
In the afternoon we walked down near Manhattan Beach and had a little fish dinner at a great little seafood restaurant before returning to our hotel near LAX.
On Thursday we went to LAX for an early afternoon departure in Cathay Airlines to Hong Kong, a 15 hour flight. The layover will be three hours followed by a 5 hour flight to Chennai, India. Hanging out in the Cathay Airlines Lounge at LAX was very relaxing and the food was great featuring a tomato garlic vegetable soup.
After a very long trip flight to Hong Kong with a three hour layover we caught the Cathay Airlines flight to Chennai and Krish got us upgraded which was a real treat. We arrived in Chennai around 2:30 am on Saturday morning, checked into the Marriott Courtyard and then crashed for a few hours.
On Saturday morning, after a nice five-hour nap, we went downstairs for breakfast and then our driver came and took us to Mount Thomas, about 1/2 hour from our Hotel where we learned more about St. Thomas, one of Jesus’s desciples (doubting Thomas), and his works in India from 52 AD until his murder in 72AD. We also visited the Bengal Sea before returning to our hotel.
On Sunday Krish delivered two different and inspiring sermons to thousands of people at the Assembly of God Church (largest in India with 40,000 members). Afterwards, we went to lunch with the pastorial staff and RZIM personnel and we then flew to New Delhi on a full, jamb-packed flight arriving late evening. It was an incredible day.
It took about 5 hours to get to Agra (from Delhi) where the Taj Mahal is located and the journey by car was full of exciting road experiences but the visit to the Seventh Wonder of the World was well worth the travel along crowded roads.
We left Monday morning around 7 am and returned to our Delhi Hotel at 6 PM so it was a full day with plenty of conversation and learning on my part about India. It was a surprise to see wild monkeys roaming the roadways along with the cattle and the drivers here have to be the most skilled in the world.
I saw Bentley’s and BMW’s among the very modern vehicles on the highways and surprisingly saw just one accident location all day.
It amazes me to see so many motorcycles (all females sit cross saddle) with 2-4 riders and it was not unusual to see a family of four on the same motorbike.
On Tuesday morning we got up at 4:00 am and caught a connecting flight to Vizag, Krish’s home town, where we were met at the airport by Tikicus Polepaka, the Regional Rep for Ravi Zacharias Ministries.
We had lunch at our beautiful hotel overlooking the Bay of Bengal with Madhav Bellamkonda, the COO of The Varun Group; and then Krish addressed 80 employees on Leadership.
We then went to visit Krish’s parents and they took us to their tailor who measured me for an Indian Safari Suit which we will pickup on Thursday.
In the evening we travelled to Calvary Baptist Church where Krish delivered a leadership message to the leaders of the church.
It was a fascinating day of travel and learning and meeting people and We were exhausted by the time we returned to the Hotel.
On Wednesday we drove to Gitam University (Ghandi Institute of Technology and Management) in Vizog; a modern, seaside private college with 14,000 students and after a tour of the engineering and english departments Krish presented basic philosophy to the faculty department of the Chemical Engineering School. They opened the training session with a Hindu prayer so Krish finished with a Christian prayer message. Something prompted Krish to ask me to pray before the session and it became obvious why that happened.
We then drove (that was an experience with multiple close calls on the highway) to the Vizog Steel Plant (employs 17,000 people) where Krish presented Leadership Training to a group of Christians from different departments at the Plant.
They treated us to lunch and we returned to Vizog to meet Krish’s parents for dinner at their Club; a very established and large social club where his Dad has, in the past, served as President.
Krish and I then met one of his oldest friends, Ravi S, at his beautiful home near our hotel and we spent the evening being entertained.
On Thursday Krish and I conducted an ethics training session for the business students and faculty of CMT, a local private Business School. With about 30 students in the audience I felt pretty honored when they presented us with beautiful plaques. It was also the first recognized BOE training session in India and that was outlined in my plaque.
Krish’s friend Ravi then took us to pickup my new Indian Safari and after a short rest at the Novatel Hotel we went to the airport and flew to Chennai.
On Friday Krish conducted three straight classes for about 30 students at the RZIM Center for Christian Apologetics. The students are one week into three weeks of classes and several are practicing church pastors.
In the evening Krish presented to 110 people at an event sponsored by Influencers India, a Christian based organization of mostly business people who facilitate the introduction of Christianity to others.
It was attended by many married couples and the topic was Creating a Winning Momentum, Live fully, Love Deeply, Laugh Loudly. Their were some very interesting questions from the audience that Krish handled well.
On Saturday Krish had a board meeting at RZIM while I caught up on some work. In the evening we went to the RZIM recording studio and Krish recorded a series of four sessions, each 10 minutes long, to be radio broadcast in the near future.
Afterwards we met Reuben SD (CEO India) and Sarah Davis (Executive Director Atlanta) with RZIM for dinner.
Our last day (Sunday) started at Emmanuel Methodist Church where the congregation of about 600 flowed out the doors where they listened intently to Krish’s sermon.
Other than the heat and shoe removal at the communion alter, the service, including music, was little different from one at our home church, Trietsch Memorial United Methodist Church in Flower Mound, Texas.
We returned to our hotel where we prepared for the 30 hour trip home. Our flight for Hong Kong left at 3:00 pm. We slept most of the way, held over in Hong Kong for 2-3 hours and then took a 14 hour flight to LA. After a 3 hour layover we flew to Dallas arriving early Monday evening.
It was quite an adventure traveling to India and the most fun that anyone should be allowed to experience.
The most amazing thing is what Krish accomplished in 11 days. In addition to 12 separate and unique messages he delivered to 12 audiences, we travelled from North, East and South India; finding time to visit the Taj Mahal, Krish’s parents, and many of his friends. How he does it is a miracle and the world is a better place because of his Ministry. His friendship is a real blessing.