After a delay here is a ninth encounter story, prepared for our post-Vellore reflection meeting.
Read Acts 9:1-9 - Jesus, the light of the world, appeared in the spectacular form of a (quite literally) blinding light to Saul who, at that point, spent most of his time persecuting the Christians. It all happened because had a different plan for Saul, and this was the first faltering step on the round (being led by the hand because of his temporary blindness) for the guy who became Paul, the great missionary apostle.
My linked story is of Stanley, the young pastor of the two churches I visited on our first Sunday that we were in Vellore. He is responsible for ten churches and, like many in Vellore, usually gets round on his motorcycle. He indicated for me the commitment of so many involved in ministry in that context. Clearly there are the big churches in the large urban conurbations, but there is a big and challenging ministry in sustaining the church in the many villages - and how exciting to hear stories of growing churches and see the Sunday congregations over-flowing from the buildings.
Here is an important reminder that our experience of church is not the only one there is and, on the global level, is not even typical.