First Southern Baptist Church in India

Originally published in 1967

The first church related to Southern Baptist mission work in India is composed of Telugu people at Bangalore. “Membership now numbers 53—not including the Bethea family of eight!” wrote Lizette (Mrs. Ralph C.) Bethea in mid-April.

Early in the church’s existence—it was organized last December—nine converts were baptized. On the first Sunday of April the group again borrowed the baptismal pool of another Christian church and 12 more persons were baptized.

“Excitement ran high,” commented Mrs. Bethea. “Enthusiasm was evident among the handful of church members. Prayer groups had sprung up among them, and they were concerned for their lost friends and neighbors. Each night some met and prayed with and for the lost. We missionaries wondered how long they could keep going at such a pace.

“‘You don’t have to have church meetings every night,’ we advised. But there was no slowing down their zeal.”

The week before Easter the Bethea family was invited to dinner by the new Christians. After dinner the newly baptized members presented a trial performance of their Easter drama.

“It was not acting that brought tears to their eyes as they sang, ‘They crucified my Lord,’” wrote Mrs. Bethea. “It was the realization of what Jesus Christ had suffered for them. The presentation was excellent.”

Originally published in The Commission, June 1967, p. 29.