Our first week of ministry here has gone really well and I feel like we are off to a great start. As co-director of the project (working alongside Donna Perkins) I have a somewhat unique view of the project. I often feel like a parent as we send the teams out to their ministry sites each day to share God's love with those they interact with throughout the day. Much of our work as directors is behind the scenes working out logistical details, planning future ministry site details, preparing our group meetings (like Bible studies, training talks, etc.), and praying for the teams throughout the day. Sometimes we get the chance to join the teams and watch them/join with them as they minister to those they come in contact with and those times are always a breath of fresh air. I know that Donna and I are thankful to lead such a wonderful team but have also felt the urge to join in more of the direct ministry--we both love teaching and working with children so we have to hold back and look for opportunities as God opens doors for us. Our main job here is to empower the teams and put them in a place where THEY can use their giftings to serve and minister to others. A few other thoughts/highlights I wanted to share with you as I have been spending time processing what God is teaching me:
- I am so proud of all the students/team members as they have stepped out in faith to minister each day! We have challenged them to be F.F.A.T. (Flexible, faithful, available, and teachable) throught the entire summer and they have definitely taken us up on that challenge and demonstrated godly patience & flexibility day after day. They continue to work hard each day to prepare but things here never go as planned! I have been so impressed as our teams have adapted to ever changing circumstances. I have also appreciated their hearts for the people they are ministering to. They have been praying with/loving on many people who are HIV positive. This is not easy work--it is emotionally draining and heartbreaking for them to see these wonderful children, who are so full of energy and hope, then have to stop and watch them take their HIV meds. Please pray for our teams to continue to be F.F.A.T.
- Do you ever feel like you have so many distractions/comforts built in all around you that it makes it difficult to maintain an intimate relationship with God? Being here has stripped me of many of my comforts and taken me out of my comfort zone. There is so much different here--like the food, clothing, no hot showers, unfamiliar surroundings, a new language, fewer entertainment options, etc. and this has been so good for me because it has forced me to focus on what is most important--my relationships with people around me and my relationship with God. It has also led me to think about the many "distractions" that I have at home that lead me away from people and God. As Christians we know that the only things that last for eternity are God, people, and His Word. This trip has been a good reminder for me to make some changes and invest more in eternity. It also inspires me to try and bring as many people into eternity with me as possible by sharing the good news of Christ's death and resurrection with as many people as I can!
- Lastly, another highlight for me has been getting to know Peter & Mercy Wiig the founders of the Shining Stars Centers for Youth Development here in Hyderabad. Peter is pictured above with Donna and I and I am amazed by the work God has been doing through him. It also breaks my heart to see that they are underresourced here and undersupported. I hope that we can do something to help provide them with ongoing resources to better equip them for their ministry here. He shared with Donna and I that they sometimes feel isolated and I would love to see our ministry of Here's Life Inner City partner with him to help him feel empowered, encouraged, and equipped for the ministry here. I am also praying that God raises up the necessary support that his family needs. If you are interested in joining their support team please get in touch with me and I will let you know how you can get started (email@example.com).
- Please pray for the following for our India project: 1) Pray that we would continue to grow in our relationship with God. 2) Pray that we would be unified as a team and encourage one another. 3)Pray for Peter & Mercy Wiig that God would provide them with all the necessary prayer & financial support for their ongoing ministry here.