BELIEVERS FROM ABROAD
After the Moon-landing in July 21, 1969, the Moon-landing messages were sent all over the world to those who knew about the ministry of Bro. Lawrie including the followers of Bro. William Branham. Brother Lawrie started giving out the end-time messages which were compiled and printed as books and despatched all over the world. Moon-landing messages were also mimeographed and distributed by Bro. Dale and his daughter Sis. Susie Baker in U.S.A., Canada and other Western countries.
Suddenly there was a sudden surge of people from many countries arriving in India responding to the spiritual call of the new message and move. There were hundreds of foreigners from USA, Canada, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Malaysia, Burma and etc. They were touched by the message of God coming down to take His Bride and wanted to meet Bro. Lawrie and hear the deep Truths and Revelations given by Bro. Lawrie.
Not one of them was invited by Bro. Lawrie nor had he suggested to any of his friends in America or elsewhere that they come here. They were drawn by the Spirit of God, through Visions, Dreams, and Voice of God and so on. By reading the messages and being convinced that they are true that they had taken this bold step, leaving all their earthly possessions and life of luxury behind, submitting their body, soul and spirit to obtain the “Pearl of Great Price”.
Many amongst them never knew Bro. Lawrie before, but they saw visions of Jesus in the form of Bro. Lawrie. Most of them were well to do and had literally forsaken all to follow the unseen move of the Spirit of God and came to India. They were moved in their hearts by the Spirit of God to uproot themselves to come and stay with Bro. Lawrie.
Now, when these people were going to India, there was much excitement all over. To the unbeliever, it is of course a mad act. People were asking: “Will these mad people die of hunger there? Have they come into the hands of a vagabond or a deceiver, who will rob them of their money?” Many other questions too came up.
As a result of that, police and reporters came to examine and investigate, sometimes more than once a week. Even highly placed personalities of the respective Consulates of Switzerland, Germany, Austria, U.S.A. and Canada as well as many Indian Government officials were checking thoroughly, but could not find out any deceiver’s motive. Reporters, policemen and embassy officials were speechless when they saw how these people from the West could adapt to this tropical climate in this wonderful way.
It was like in the days when Jesus Christ was born, when the wise men left the East and shepherds the fields and by strange spiritual leadings which were pointing to the birth and the native place of the promised Messiah. Many left their all and followed Jesus Christ in those days of His ministry when they knew what He was.
SOME FAMILIES FROM ABROAD
One Bro. Lloyd Enoch Williams heard a voice speaking to him which led him to come to India. Bro. Dale had sent 13 year old Robert Lee Owens son of Sister Maryanne to be trained in India. He was received at Mumbai Airport by Bro. Deva-Evu Lawrie. Later Bro. Dale and Sis. Susie came to India in the fall of 1971, and many other Americans. Bro. Manley Dobbins and family and a few elderly sisters such as Trina Van Haaften, Alice Hollander, Rosalee Gaylor came with them too. There was also an American brother called Keith Weldon Boyd.
Bro. Manfred Mengel did the same in West Germany. As he propagated these messages, people of his country started persecuting Bro. Mengel. Finally, in response to the Word of God, he came over to India with his family carrying his youngest child in an open, portable and basketlike cradle. They were followed by other Germans.
Some of the other prominent Germans were the Günthers, Wierhakes, Lauffs, Jahns, Bro. Herbert Tadday, Bro. Gustav Scheming a German of Russian origin, and elderly sisters such as Anna Korn, Amalie Gottheit, Anna Plieninger, Elsa Heinz, Elfriede Geyer, Hilde Kittel, Hilde Würth and etc. There was an Austrian couple Anton & Anna Lindenthaler.
Bro. Ralph D. White and Bro. Gordon Doan both from Canada who had come to visit Bro. Lawrie, returned to Canada and brought back with them their wives and children and also the family of Bro. James McKay and Sister Laura Anderson of Canada. The Beer family arrived from Switzerland.
There was also the black American family of Bro. Samuel Haywood Sr. He brought his big family of sons, daughters and grandchildren with him. His son Bro. William Haywood who had a deep spiritual experience with God later married a daughter of India. There were also the ones from Malaysia such as Bro. Paul Murugesu & family, Bro. M.D. Samuel, Bro. Paul Veerapathiran and Bro. Barnabas Pachamuthu and etc. There were also a two families from Myamma (Burma).
Initially, the foreigners, mainly from U.S.A., West Germany, Canada, Switzerland, Austria, Malaysia and Burma, were housed at Gandhinagar, at the city of Tirunelveli about 11 miles (18 Kilometres) away from the Ashram where the Indian believers were stationed. But later they all felt that the wilderness atmosphere of the Ashram would be conducive to meditation and spiritual well-being that they requested to be moved to the Ashram. Until then all foreigners were put up in different houses in Gandhinagar.
They did not have, what their friends and relatives back home would call, the earthly comforts of life. But they considered themselves to be blessed to have the spiritual life which they enjoyed. They had voluntarily chosen this life for their physical and spiritual uplift. There were several other foreigners who came into the ministry later such as Bro.Thomas Guttmann and Iris, Brothers Wirth Christian, John Steven III, Henry Nathaniel, Ronald Taylor and several others.
EXODUS OF INDIANS
At the same time Indians too started flocking to the Ashram. They were from all walks of life from all over India speaking different languages. Almost all of them had renounced everything worldly, anxious to know the new message and come into a closer walk with God. The inflow was so great that the Ashram strained hard to cope with their accommodation.
More rooms were prepared. Temporary sheds were constructed which were later replaced by semi-permanent structures. When still more people came, a branch of the Ashram had to be opened at the port town of Tuticorin about 50 miles away from Tirunelveli. Ever since, Bro. Lawrie and Sister Lawrie had confined their activities in and about the Ashram and the branches. Messages that were preached had been sent all over the world by Sister Lawrie.
Community living has been adopted all along as the way of life in the Ashram in fulfillment of Psalm 133. It takes away all self-life. Contrary to what some of the busybodies who go about maligning the administration of the Ashram, and the press that have given adverse reports, the Ashramites love it here. More people meant more problems. Troubles erupted when wives came away without the consent of their husbands, and minors their parents. The Lord changed the situations to solve the problems.
A certain group of people conniving with the police, cornered Bro. Lawrie and his son, Bro. Deva Evu in a building, with the intent of either to assault them or fleece some huge amount of money from them over one such case. Bro. Lawrie’s demeanor overawed them and they let them go without any trouble. Even the cab drivers waiting outside the building, and who had been hand and glove with these thugs, were surprised when Bro. Lawrie and Deva Evu came out unscathed.
FAMILY OF BRO. PAULASEER LAWRIE
Bro. Lawrie was a happily married man with his wife, children and grand-children, all living with him. They are a family dedicated to the Lord’s work. All of them perfectly adapt themselves to their apportioned duties in the Ministry and in the administration of the Ashram and taking care of the inmates.
The eldest son Deva Evu Manujothi Lawrie left his university studies right in the middle to join the ministry in 1966. He married Anandha Joy in September 1968. His daughter, Laura Paulina, is the first grand-child of Bro. Lawrie. Deva Evu’s second child, a son, is Bezaleel Jeevajothi Ophir Raja. His third child, a daughter is Edna Myrtle. All are married.
Bro. Lawrie’s second son, Devaseer was called up for the ministry when he was just two months short of a Veterinary Doctor’s degree in 1970. Geeta Ranjithavalli is the name of his wife, and daughter Kanuga Catherina. He has also two sons Paul Uphaz Navaraja and Leo.
The third son of Bro. Lawrie is Devadayavu. He came into the full time ministry in 1970. His wife Johanna is daughter of Bro. Hermann Beer of Switzerland. They have four children Rahel Paulmathi, Rebekka, Ruth Rajathi and a son Paul Hermann David.
PREACHING AND TEACHING MINISTRIES
Previously Bro. Lawrie had conducted great public campaigns and healing meetings in a massive scale which were attended by hundreds of thousands of people at each gathering. Then he was preaching Gospel messages in public. Now he remained mostly with the believers in the Ashram teaching deep messages and revelations from the Bible.
The ministry could be described as a quiet teaching ministry and not like the former days, which was a public display of God’s power. These years exhibited the moving of the Spirit of God without much outward show. In fact many times he would take the believers to the doctors when they became sick. People who had seen the Power Ministry of Bro. Lawrie now accused that he had lost his power, because there was not much open display.
Elijah stopped the rain, brought fire from heaven and also wrought other miracles in Israel openly. But when he was with the widow of Zarephath it was a miracle in secret everyday when the barrel of meal and cruse of oil did not go empty all those days. He even raised the dead child which no one outside knew. When running away from Jezebel, the Lord met him and revealed the secrets which no one outside knew and told him what to do. There was no open display of power (I King 17: 10-24, 19: 5-18).
Through Apostle Paul, God wrought unusual miracles (Acts. 19: 11). But during the two years in Rome, it was a quiet sort of ministry in which he was preaching and teaching the kingdom of God in a rented house without an open display of power (Acts 28: 30-31). When the end of his ministry came he had no cloak. He could not resist the evil Alexander. He left Trophimus a sick person at Miletum without healing him. Therefore Demas thought Paul had lost his power and departed from him (II Timothy 4: 10, 13, 14, 20).
Similarly it was a different kind of ministry for Bro. Lawrie. It was aimed at raising the faith of the people from the seeing-and-believing level to the believing-and-seeing level. Therefore signs, wonders and other manifestations were not given much importance. Even though there were healings and miracles, it was all without public show.
THE PROBLEMS CAUSED
The arrival of the foreigners triggered a spate of problems for the Ashram with the Government officials. It being an unprecedented influx of foreigners, mostly Westerners, officials of the departments of Excise, Income-Tax, Revenue and Intelligence Bureau converged at the Manujothi Ashram Headquarters with their querulous assistants cackling over nuances of the Government rules and regulations. They, in their turn, created many more problems.
Over and above, the rowdy elements of the political parties, who had their influence over the Government officials, stood in the way of getting their visas endorsed. God wonderfully opened up ways to help cross all these hurdles, and the difficulties vanished as they came up. This was followed up by frantic queries of the countries from which these foreigners had come.
In its wake news-reporters, Indian and foreign, poured in almost everyday. Invariably they filed unfavourable reports to their papers, radio networks and televisions that they all screamed of the difficulties, factual or imaginative, that these hapless foreigners have been lured into.
This caused the Embassies to press the Government of India to repatriate all nationals back to their homeland. The Indian Government, however, refused to take any action as requested by these Embassies, as they had no adverse report about the Manujothi Ashram or on Bro. Lawrie.
The Westerners stayed in India for five years after which the Government of India refused to extend their visas still further. During the five years period when the Westerners, along with the Indian believers, were gathered in the Ashram Bro. Lawrie’s ministry took a different form.
The emphasis of the ministry was not on believing God by seeing signs and miracles, but to recognize Him through His Word. It is what Bro. Lawrie called, believing first and then seeing, rather than seeing signs and wonders and then believing. This ‘believing God without seeing’ is the faith that pleases Him. Formerly in his ministry Bro. Lawrie had gathered hundreds of thousands who were drawn because of the great miracles.
Miracles draw people without great faith. God wanted to gather a people who can believe Him from His Word. The ministry after July 1969 was, to take the people to faith level, and away from seeing and believing. It was the reason for the quiet teaching ministry, building the faith through the teaching of God’s Word. This was a joyous time for those gathered there, daily studying the Bible, taking part in chain praises, serving in the night long praises, and sitting under the great teaching lessons and revelations.
Bro. Paulaseer Lawrie had a deep conviction in the process of Discipleship by leaving everything and practicing Faith Life depending upon God fully. Jesus Christ had the message to call the people to leave everything and follow Him. But John the Baptist did not have the message to call people to leave everything. As a forerunner, William Branham too did not have the message to call the people to leave everything.
Bro. Lawrie had the message to call the people to leave everything and follow God fully. God had trained him in Faith Life the hard way and he could narrate hundreds of incidents involving his faith life. This strengthened and increased the faith of thousands of believers. They came forward with divine calling and unction of the Holy Spirit to depend upon God totally leaving their all and serve God fully. When people tend to see and believe looking for signs, wonders and miracles, Bro. Paulaseer Lawrie was stressing the need for believing and seeing the Glory of God.
Bro. Lawrie always stressed the need and importance of leaving everything and following God fully. According to him, The Life That Pleases God is the life that Glorifies God through voluntary dependence upon Him totally (Song of Solomon 8: 5). He would rather starve than to ask any man for his needs. He had never appealed for money in any of his meetings. The needs were always met by God miraculously.
In Discipleship, the Characteristics of the Master (Guru) are instilled into the students or disciples by being with the master for a certain period of time. Bro. Lawrie was a hard trainer and by being with him many had faith life instilled in them for the ministry (Acts 4: 13). He taught the people to rise from the seeing and believing level to the believing and seeing level.
There were Supernatural Vindications such as Clouds, Rainbows, Lightnings and
Thunders even on clear days witnessed by the believers. Rainbows around the sun and the moon were seen often. Nightly lightning flashed over the compound from evening till morning when there were no thunders, rain or clouds but brilliant light flashed, illuminating the sky.
When a great revelation was being preached, an answer from heaven via a loud clap of thunder would startle the people there. This was a regular phenomenon. When talking about Job, Brother Branham has this to say in the message titled, “I Have Heard, But Now I See” where he talks about Cloud rolling around, flashing of the lightning and Thunders even on clear days.
I.HAVE.HEARD.BUT.NOW.I.SEE_ SHREVEPORT.LA V-7 N-3 SATURDAY_ 65-1127E
99 Now, we wonder if we could see God. Is there a way that we could see Him? Now, it was the only way God had trying Job out. He said, "I have heard of Thee with the hearing of the ear, but now I see Thee. But now I see Thee, with my eyes." The vision of the invisible had been made plain. He seen the cloud rolling around; he heard the flashing of the lightning, or saw it, and seen the roaring of the thunder, maybe on a clear day, and he seen God was in that cloud and in that lightning. He could see God with his natural eye (See?), because the invisible was made visible. The visible vision of others was then vindicated, clear, to the natural eye.
Sometimes when the believers observed a strange cloud in their villages or towns they would guess Bro. Lawrie was around somewhere which would be later confirmed Bro. Lawrie’s presence. Even otherwise when this message was preached or discussed by others, the strange cloud would appear as vindication and has been observed many times. When explaining to his followers the meaning of the cloud and lightning seen almost daily, Bro. Lawrie said it was there for heavenly protection, guarding to see that no harm should come from any evil power (Isaiah 4: 5-6).
The foreigners are thankful to God for this opportunity to live with and near the Bro. Lawrie. One grateful woman from Germany wrote the following letter to the Lawries that expresses the heartfelt gratitude of those who came from western countries and tells of the kindness and care of the Lawries during their stay there:
“Dear Brother and Sister Lawrie,
For a long time I have had the urge to express my love and thankfulness to you for the love bestowed upon us everyday by your entire household. Tears often come to my eyes because of the great sacrifice that your family has made for us. May the Lord richly and mightily reward your family for the sacrifices that you have made. I am sorry that I cannot express my thanks to you in a personal way. (As she spoke only German) So as best I can, I express my thanks to you through this letter.
I never believed or imagined that in India I would be so well cared for. I had thought we would live in poor straw huts. Nevertheless, it was with an irresistible power I was pulled here. I was greatly surprised that I, together with the others, could live as a nice family in a house. Daily I give thanks unto the Lord that I can now be in the Ashram. Also the community life here is a pleasure. For the shelter that you erected in front of our rooms to be a shade in the hot sun, Brother Lawrie, I give my thanks to you.
Surely you have thought of everything to make it as comfortable as possible for us. I often feel sorry for the way you were so ill treated in the Western countries. That you now care and show your love for the Western brothers and sisters in such a royal manner, my heartwarming thanks to you! I will close with the portion of I Kings 10:6-9 ‘The half was not told me.’
Yours in love,
Friedel Zachmann, Germany.” (Translated from German to English.)
A Brother from Germany writes:
“Glory be to my beloved Lord and Saviour who has chosen me before the foundation of the world and was leading and keeping me marvelously during my lifetime. Along with two of my daughters I became acquainted with Brother Tadday, through whom we later came to know the Branham message and as it’s continuation, the message of God’s coming down on the first moon-landing day, July 21, 1969.
When the time had come for us to leave for India where the gathering of the Bride was taking place, we crept secretly just like thieves out of our home in the middle of the night, to the end not to be held back by some people. Because we got the message about God’s coming down only very late, and because it is not very easy for a 78 year old man, to leave his country, his home and all properties, I did not have any thought at first, to take this step. In silence I only asked my God for His counsel. The Holy Spirit gave me no rest until 1 agreed to go to India. Then only peace and quietness returned into my heart.
During the flight we noticed a wonderful rainbow following us for sometime just under the plane. Seeing this first obvious confirmation, we were filled with great joy in our hearts. While staying in India, many other vindications were given to us by God, such as rainbows around the sun and moon, lightning and particular clouds.
The greatest vindication, of course, was the opening of the Word, and the interpretation of the scripture by the Voice of God, in a way that it could be understood even by a layman as I am.
Further, the Lord allowed me three times to have a sight of the unseen world. Once he showed me the golden city of God, another time, a crowd of thousands and thousands of angels like a great host. At last about six months ago I was allowed to see himself, Brother Lawrie as our King and Lord God, as He would stand amidst the sun with his head and his chest wreathed with garlands of myrtle.
It is a real pleasure to me, to serve in the place of my beloved Lord and Saviour day and night, by praising and singing and praying. By His grace we were brought step by step closer to God, whereby the Love of Our Lord Jesus Christ became more and more real and important to us. We know that the Word of God is true and we are sure that every Word of God will be fulfilled in His time.
Karl Guenther, Germany” (Translated from German to English.)
Then in June 1976, during the state of emergency that was declared by the then Prime Minister Mrs. Indira Gandhi, the Westerners were issued an order that they must leave India immediately. Even though efforts were made to extend the visas to allow them to stay, the order was so adamant that they must leave India forthwith or stay back on pain of prosecution with a term in prison.
Some members from USA and Switzerland were even arrested, spending a night in the jail and then placed under house arrest until arrangements could be made for them to return to their own countries. It was a very great shock to everyone, as it was the desire of the Westerners to stay on with Bro. Lawrie throughout.
What seemed right to human eyes is not always God’s ways. God had a different plan because the ministry was to take a different shape. The believers from the various countries went back not in defeat, but to proclaim the message of God coming down. Some grew discouraged after a few years, because they thought time should be up, and left following. Many were true believers and stayed in the ministry through the years. This was a very difficult time, since the sending back of the Westerners made it look like a defeat in the ministry. Again the scoffers began to tell that the ministry of Bro. Lawrie was gone.
FURTHER TRAVELS - WEST
After Bro. Lawrie’s third western tour that culminated in the Moon-landing God Coming Down event in 1969, Bro. Lawrie traveled to the United States and European countries four more times. In 1973, he took a two weeks journey to Germany, visiting people who had not been able to come to India when the Westerners came.
Then again in 1979, Bro. Lawrie along with his devoted wife Sister Ebenezer Lawrie traveled throughout the United States, Canada, and Europe visiting the believers who were in the Ashram for the five years between 1971 and 1976, but had to return to their respective countries by the government order.
LIFE TABERNACLE BURNED DOWN
In 1979, during Bro. Lawrie’s first trip back to Chicago since the 1969 Moon-landing day, he wanted to visit the Life Tabernacle, the Tabernacle where he was preaching when the God Coming Down experience took place. To everyone’s surprise, it was learned that the tabernacle had burned down shortly after the 1969 event and the space where it stood had been turned into a parking lot.
In 1982, Bro. Lawrie and his wife again traveled to USA and other western countries. This time their eldest son Deva Evu accompanied them up to Europe and left for Germany. This trip of the Lawries lasted for six months. The ministry in India had grown so much and crowds of people were coming every day wanting a personal talk with Bro. Lawrie. This 1982 overseas trip was a great rest for him, giving him time to relax and also to write the book Throne of God.
The final visit was in 1985 when he made a quick trip of eight weeks time to visit all the believers. He arrived in the USA in the middle of June, visiting all the centres and then traveled on to Germany where by God’s grace he could meet everyone in a gathering, celebrating July 21st in Obertal, Schwarzwald. He then returned to India from France in early August. On these journeys many evident signs were present to show the heavenly protection and power that was always with Bro. Lawrie.
OTHER TRIPS ABROAD - EAST
Bro. Lawrie also made several trips to Sri Lanka and Malaysia. In February 1979, Bro. Lawrie had a chance to return to Sri Lanka after 23 years and visited many of the places in and around Colombo. He had some special spiritual experiences in that country. In 1943, he found God in the Tientson Tea Estate and then later 1949, when his eldest son Deva Evu was sick and dying of diphtheria, he and his wife dedicated their lives for full time service in God’s work. Upon his return in 1979, he prayed and re-dedicated his life.
In October 1981 Bro. Lawrie was able to complete the journey to Malaysia, and he held several days meetings in the India Medical Association Hall. Great crowds came and the devil-possessed were delivered. Many accepted this message. Afterwards smaller meetings were held in different homes.
On the last day, a brother who was taking photographs with a loaned camera lost the cover to the camera lens. He came to Bro. Lawrie very upset and did not know how to explain to the owner regarding the lost cover. As Bro. Lawrie was thinking this over, he suddenly saw the cover flying in the air and it lighted right on his Bible. All who were there were struck with awe.