Mighty Campaigns and Memorable Camp Meetings
Mighty Campaigns and Memorable Camp Meetings
Narayana Consciousness
God has come down to earth in Humble Human Form. This is for real. His original name is Shri. Lahari Krishna commonly called as Sreeman Narayana or Allah or Christ Jesus.
OM NAMO NARAYANA (Glory to God) !!
The Great Man Shri. Lahari
When Ayyah returned from this first world tour on July 25, 1960, he was very much dejected. Wherever he went, people talked as if he must have amassed large sums of money because he returned from 'America.' This is not unusual, as Indian preachers who join the foreign denomination benefit greatly monetarily. People even tried to borrow from him thousands of rupees, which he did not have. Reaching home he had on him just 10 rupees (about one dollar) and when he met his wife, he had to ask her for another 10 rupees to pay for the taxi. Even his wife could not understand when he said he had no money to pay for the taxi.

After a couple of weeks Ayyah went to Madras to collect the luggage that he previously shipped before leaving America. He had to spend many days there, as he was told by the shipping agents that it would be yet a month before his luggage could arrive. During his stay in that city, Ayyah was asked to preach in a church one evening. That first meeting was held at Saint Thomas Church, Mylapore, Madras, and God did wonders. He was then invited to preach in other churches also. The crowds quickly swelled to thousands during those days, and the churches were not large enough to hold them.

Finally the meetings were held in the open field of the Madras S.I.A.A. grounds, near Moor Market, to accommodate the large crowds. The whole city itself was ablaze with talk of these powerful meetings. In a matter of few months the spirit of revival spread throughout Madras like a forest fire and the whole city was aflame. The miracles that took place at these meetings are too numerous to be nar­rated. More than that, thousands of people emptied their hearts to God and His Spirit filled them. This excerpt from an editorial that appeared in ‘The Christian Focus’ gives tribute as well as witness to these meetings:

"To a generation distracted between the intense need of believing and the difficulty of belief, God sends evangelists according to His good pleasure, of whom Paulaseer Lawrie, we believe is one. He burst upon Madras some months ago without any intention on his part, he had only come here and was waiting for his luggage arriving by ship from America, when the Lord called him. If he had not been called or sent, how can we explain the four month long major campaigns, sustained without flagging? And what is that attraction that would keep thousands rooted to their places even in pouring rain, as it happened on the first day of the Aminjikarai Campaign (19.7.61)? Or, what was that power that kept 40,000 people of the most mixed sort on their best behaviour and singing when the lights went out on the last day of that campaign (30.7.61)? There was complete darkness for 15 minutes. The evangelist has little Hebrew and less Greek, but he was able to attract even the sophisticated, while the common people heard him gladly, even though he came crashing down sometimes on superstitious religion and idolatry. And when in the course of the breathless hurry of his talk, there were gleams of references to God's dealing with him now and in the past. 20,000 necks would crane forward in enthralled attention. One of the heart-warming parts of these meetings, was the ministry of witness by those who were healed or had found salvation, and the very appealing witness given through singing, by Mrs. Lawrie and the three children. It was obvious that the evangelist was only interested in exposing the multitudes, (especially the non-Christians), to the challenge of the gospel and Christ. Only the sick and the burdened that have found relief at these meetings can testify to his healing power; the rest can only reason. Though people had an excited feeling about him, and would seek after him, the evangelist insisted on their seeing no man, save Jesus. The finances of the campaigns were God's department and He never let down his trusting servant. Some people ask, how long will all this last? No answer is necessary, because Lawrie's Master, and ours, would urge us saying: Walk in the light while you have the light."

The demand for Ayyah's meetings continued. The Lawries held a few days' meetings at ‘Kuppa Medu’, followed by the meetings at Perambur, where the people overflowed the capacity of the ground. In April that year they had a convention at Trichy, organized by Mr. Joe Daniel, supported by Dr. A. Mathuram. In April itself, the grounds of St. Ebbas Girls’ High School was booked for two weeks and then the Thyagaraja College grounds for a month. This was the type of itinerary they had. The healing ministry was so powerful that the sick had to wait even up to 2:30 A.M. To expedite the growing lines of people that came for prayer, one of the evenings had to be dedicated just for the healing ministry, without a preaching service.

Conventions and meetings were held at Vellore, Kancheepuram, and other places in Tamil Nadu. Wherever such meetings were held, the Lawries established prayer groups with the help of full time or part time workers. These Campaigns were not held with a lot of human effort or with a lot of previous preparation or collection of funds. As they were led by the Holy Spirit large open grounds were booked and bamboo stages erected. As the time of meeting drew near, each day vast crowds from all walks of life would begin to pour in and in a short time the grounds would be jammed. It is unusual, for such a large gathering, to find that no police help of any kind was needed to control the crowds. As Ayyah would come to the platform and begin to deliver his messages, there would be pin-drop silence and even the small babies were quiet. A supernatural power would fall on the people and keep them attentive and responsive as Ayyah gave the message. As the power would fall, men and women bound by evil spirits would stir out from their places in the crowd and come running to the platform. As they approached the platform, the Holy Spirit took control of them not allowing the meeting to be disturbed. At the end of the meetings, the demon possessed people were delivered by God through the mass prayers or through individual prayers offered by Ayyah.

Scoffers of this age readily think that nothing like demons and evil spirits exist. But at the sight of people once bound by such spirits getting deliverance and being controlled in the name and power of Jesus, of such power in action even a critic or an unbeliever has to take notice. During these meetings, men, women, and youngsters, in thousands, were led to the feet of Jesus by Ayyah.

Another fact to be mentioned: Often critics of healing meetings say that these are just money-making attempts. Ayyah, true to his calling, never asked anyone for money or took any collections in his meetings. Even stalls were not rented out at the campaign grounds. All the expenses were paid through the Lawrie team, from donations given by believers, who wanted to partake in Ayyah's ministry.

Still adversity arose and some were spreading rumours that Ayyah's ministry was supported by foreign denomination or by secret funds. But nothing can be farther from the truth. People close to the ministry know that money for all expenses in the ministry comes from God by many unexpected ways. Individuals led by God would send support. When the support came, it would always be the correct amount and come right as a need arose. Day by day the needs were met.

Ayyah in 1962 held meetings extensively in the Andhra State and then expanded to the Kerala State in the West, then further North to Meerut beyond Delhi. The ministry was growing by leaps and bounds. However it was not always smooth sailing. Everywhere they went they had resistance, generally from the local churchmen who did not want competition. Some of them printed hand bills to be distrib­uted among the public, painting gloomy pictures of Ayyah as the Anti-Christ. Others wrote abusing and threatening letters to Ayyah warning him, not to preach his 'Devil’s message.' One gentleman was so against the power that was manifested in the meetings, he called it as nothing but the time worn 'Super Normal Power’ not ‘Supernatural.’ He even published a book against Ayyah called False Teachers and Prophets.

The Hindu zealots also resisted in many places. At Salem, when non-Christians came in the hundreds, after witnessing the powerful ministry, some of the Hindu leaders threatened Ayyah to bear the consequences if he did not quit the scene immediately. Many notices were published against the meetings.

One notice published in Tamil Nadu bore this threat: "If the Christian preacher (meaning Ayyah) will not quit the place on reading this notice, the Bible that he worships and propagates will be burnt in public. The Hindu Society is hereby requested to extend their full cooperation." Following this threat with action, a large crowd of about 2,000 men converged to the meeting place, threatening to kill Ayyah and his wife, shouting that they would take his Bible first and tear it up and burn it. Suddenly their leader became very ill and was taken to the hospital. Then a ferocious looking man brandishing two big knives and accompanied by another man with a knife, forced Ayyah and Sister Lawrie into a van and drove them off. Sister Lawrie said, "Oh, they are taking us to some place to kill us!" After they had driven for a while, the big man said, "Don't be afraid Brother Lawrie, we are your friends; we know all the plans of those people. They wanted to waylay you on the road to Madras, so we are going to take you by a different route." So they arrived in Madras safely. The opposition to the ministry was manifest in many ways. But every time God's power was victorious.

Even before leaving for full time ministry, while Ayyah was working in the Christian Medical College Hospital at Vellore doing gospel work part-time, he had many experiences of God's protection. He used to go out on the streets of Vellore as early as four in the morning with his family and friends, singing and shouting Bible verses. This annoyed non-Christians in general, and their champion, 'Tiger' in particular. This 'Tiger' had a bad character and was a dangerous man to confront. This man sent a warn­ing to Ayyah that he must not disturb him by shouting in the early morning. This threat did not stop the gospel workers and the angry 'Mr. Tiger' came out screaming with the intent to kill. He suddenly stopped and ran back into his house. It was through his son that they later learned, that 'Tiger' went mad on that day and was to be taken to the Mental Hospital in Kilpauk, Madras. The son seeing what happened to his father when he came against God accepted Jesus and was baptized by Ayyah.

At another place near Sister Lawrie's village, the opposition came from the Roman Catholics. Ayyah was preaching in the street that salvation is through Jesus and not through the mother of Jesus. The Catholics got very angry and surrounded Ayyah and his group, threatening to beat them. As the situation looked like they would be beaten, there suddenly came a great downpour of rain that caused the entire crowd to disperse. The rain was very unusual, since it was during the dry season when rain does not fall. It was later found that it rained only at the spot where the argument with the Catholic crowd was taking place and nowhere else.

At many places the crowd would be split, some for, and some against Ayyah. At one such place in Tirunelveli, someone from the 'against' party threw a stone aiming at Ayyah's head, as he stood in front delivering his message. Instead of hitting his head, there was an invisible barrier in front of Ayyah, and the stone stopped dead and rolled on to the table harmlessly. The 'againsters' seeing this, marvelled and repented of their evil deed. There was a great blessing to the town and many were converted. Meetings and campaigns continued to progress. A Mr. and Mrs. Otto Buess from Switzerland visited South India during those days; they were with the Lawries and worked with them for a while.

The heavy burdens and the stress of the ministry took their toll on Ayyah. On February 10, 1964, he had a heart attack. It happened this way: Ayyah was called at midnight to pray for a sick woman. On his return Ayyah collapsed at his doorstep, exhausted. He was unconscious for over an hour. Dr. (Miss) Oliver attended on him and ordered complete rest in bed for some weeks. But there was a Camp Meeting the next day at Nagercoil, a distance of nearly 80 miles. Ayyah refused any medicine and insisted that they travel to Nagercoil the next day. He was perfectly all right after the prayers. This so baffled Dr. Oliver that she took a vow not to interfere with God's ways of working, and she thus left medical practice and joined Ayyah's ministry.

When meetings were held in the industrial centre Bhilai, a place having a large communist cell, Ayyah was assaulted. The communists wanted to liquidate him, since the preaching of Jesus weakened their hold on the masses. They hired a man to board the train in which Ayyah was booked, with a plan to assassinate him during the night. In another compartment, an American, Dr. Miller, his wife, and their small daughter were travelling. An army major, Mukundan, was also booked in the same compartment with the Miller family. That night the little daughter wouldn't sleep, as she was frightened of the major. The major volunteered to go to some other compartment and walked into the cabin where Ayyah was sleeping alone. At that moment he saw the hired kilier who had just seconds before entered the compart­ment with a long knife; he was poised and ready to strike at Ayyah. The major pounced on him and overpowered him before he could strike. Again Ayyah's life was saved.

In October 1964, Ayyah had an invitation to attend a convention at Ahmedabad in Gujarat. Just before this trip North, Sister Lawrie undertook a fast for 21 days. At this time they received a letter from a Sister Goebel, a famous missionary who ran an orphanage in Bangalore. She was asking the Lawries to take over this orphanage, but they declined, as they felt it was not the direction God was leading them in.

Again the call came from northern parts of India and Ayyah and Sister Lawrie had meetings in such places as Naidupettai, Nellore, and Bitragunda. At Naidupettai a devil possessed man went rushing up to the platform. When he could not reach Ayyah, he hit the ground with such force that his entire fist went into the ground. At Nellore, more than 50,000 people attended every day during the 30 days meet­ings held there.

Many times there were dangers when travelling throughout India. In 1967 when they went North to Jamshedpur they were caught in the midst of a political agitation, taking place in that area. The train they were travelling in was held up at a wayside station and stoned; but God marvellously protected the group and no harm came to them.

So, true to the promise, after Ayyah returned in 1960 from his first world tour, God blessed his ministry mightily. In the Seven years after, He took him to so many places, covering over three-fourths of India.
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