Romantic love, for most Indians, is something you read about only in storybooks. Daring cinema films, while they frequently deal with the concept, are careful to end the film in a proper Indian manner. So I was faced with the big problem of communicating my forbidden and impossible love. I said nothing to Gisela, of course. But something in her eyes told me we both understood. Could God be bringing us together?
In a few hours we would be separated again, and I reminded myself I had other things to do. Besides, I thought, at the end of the summer she’ll be flying to Germany, and I’ll probably never see her again. Throughout the summer, surprisingly, our paths did cross again. Each time I felt my love grow stronger. Then I tentatively took a chance at expressing my love with a letter.
Meanwhile, the Punjab survey broke my heart. In village after village, our literature and preaching appeared to have had little lasting impact. The fruit had not remained. Most of the villages we visited appeared just as illiterate and lost as ever. The people still were locked in disease, poverty and suffering. The Gospel, it seemed to me, hadn’t taken root.
In one town I felt such deep despair I literally sat down on a curb and sobbed. I wept the bitter tears that only a child can cry.
“Your work is for nothing,” taunted a demon in my ear. “Your words are rolling off these people like water off a duck’s back!”
Without realizing I was burning out—or what was happening to me spiritually—I fell into listlessness. Like Jonah and Elijah, I was too tired to go on. I could see only one thing. The fruit of my work wasn’t remaining. More than ever before, I needed time to reassess my ministry.