Saturday, July 17, 2010

Walking in Faith

It’s been a while since our team (Candice, Daniela, Drew & Naomi) has updated you on our lives here in India, because we have been doing a lot of traveling as we were sent out to rural villages and towns during the first two weeks of being here. So this post will be a bit longer than the rest as we attempt to update you on two weeks of ministry here in India.

week one: 07/04 - 07/09

My team and I spent the week in the rural village of Athmakur. We arrived on Sunday morning after a two-hour bus ride from Hyderabad and were joyfully greeted by the Pastor of the local church and his beautiful family. Over the course of the week, we began to live life with this family, taking upon ourselves their passion for this village and its people.

One of our ministries to the village over the week was leading a VBS for the children there. On our first day, forty-two kids from all over the village gathered around the simple church grounds, eager and courageous in spirit. We began to lead them in the knowledge of God’s love, yearning with all our hearts to convey its deepness in the simplest of forms to their young minds. The kids were beautifully eager, hanging onto every word we spoke. Our only hope was that their eagerness was drawn to the Spirit rather than the group of Americans who came to their village. Towards the end of the night, we began to play games with the kids, and the church seemed to almost explode with joy. Our team then noticed a man, sullen-faced and angry, staring through the window. When Premdas, our dear friend and translator, approached the man, he began yelling in Telugu, shouting that we were corrupting his son with the words of our religion. He then demanded his son leave with him and stormed off toward the village.

The next day as we sat in the church preparing for the days events, we received news that shook us all quite deeply. The father that dragged his son out of the church that night beat him so badly that the boy suffered from pains in his body. The father then took his son to the doctor, claiming that the candy we had given his son made him sick. He even went so far as to report us to the local newspaper, saying that the foreign Christians had come to corrupt and convert their children, forcing our religion upon them. The reporter that the father spoke to was also the largest anti-Christian Hindu in the entire village. Our fears began to rise as talk spread of our motives within the village.

Later that day, we were scheduled to speak at a school assembly. Our aim was to encourage the kids in their value through Christ's deep love for them. When we arrived at the school, the anti-Christian reporter was there, camera ready in hand and face screaming his utter disgust for our being there. Originally, our talk included references to God and His creating us out of His great love for us. But because of the strong anti-Christian sentiments, we decided to re-word that section of our speech, trusting that the Spirit would move despite the absence of a direct reference to God. Praying that the LORD would protect us as we did His will.

I was much reminded of the book of Esther during this time, in that although God’s name may not be in the book, His name is definitely on the book, working together all things for the good of His people. So that became our prayer…that the LORD’s name would dwell on the assembly even if His name was absent from its content.

We witnessed God’s providence in a beautiful way that day. As the reporter’s suspicions were silenced by our omission of God’s name in the assembly, his demeanor was drastically shifted to welcoming us with open arms. So much so that he wrote a story about the Americans who came to India, which appeared in four local newspapers the next day. Thus, he opened the doors of other villagers’ hearts to be more open and accepting of not simply our presence, but also the words we spoke. God truly has his hand upon us, working all things together for our good. May we continue to trust Him in and through all things. His love for us is constantly breaking walls and uniting hearts. May we embrace this plan of His that is in perfect orchestration before us.

week two: 07/11 - 07/16

This past week, our team was sent out to a coal-mining city about six hours away from Hyderabad with team PULSE. When we first arrived, our hearts were a little bit shaken as we missed our kids from the previous ministry sites we had learned to call home. There was a mundane spirit surrounding our hearts and minds that we couldn’t seem to shake the first night there. But, we knew that the LORD had brought us to this city for a purpose much greater than our own desires. We spent the next few days in fervent prayer that the LORD would search our hearts and challenge our minds. During the week that we were serving in the town, we were stretched to our limits in a beautiful way. Over the course of two days each team visited two churches, and within those churches we led a main service to the full congregation and then were split up in order to lead a women’s and men’s time in a more intimate setting.

Something we’ve been learning here in India, through experience as well as through word of mouth, is the lack of fellowship within church communities. Although the people from the local villages or towns gather together for church on Sunday mornings, there seems to be a lack of fellowship outside the walls of the church, or even within them. So, during our time together as women, it was our deep desire that the women of these villages would come to know the beauty of fellowship. We led them to the book of Exodus, where we explored the ways in which God used women, specifically Moses’ mother, to raise up a great man of the LORD that literally changed the course of history. As the women came to realize their role in the Kingdom we began to challenge them with the power of community as we asked them to form groups of two to three women and simply pray together, sharing their struggles and joys with their fellow sisters. What followed was a beautiful display of the Kingdom. The room was filled with voices; so much so that one could not discern one voice from another. Women were opening their hearts to one another, allowing vulnerability to take center stage. And then we began praying, collectively. We couldn’t understand a word of Telugu, and they couldn’t understand our English. But we began glorifying the LORD in a beautiful way that morning, spreading the Kingdom in uncharted territory. The worries of anything left behind at home or at our previous ministry sites began to melt away as we watched the LORD cross every barrier, whether cultural, emotional, or lingual, to unite his daughters in the glorification of His name. It was the first time that these women had ever experienced spiritual fellowship, and our prayer for them is that it would continue even after our fingerprints have left their hearts.

The LORD is truly doing big things here in India, and we are so blessed to be used in such beautiful ways. May we continue to see ourselves as broken vessels, fixed by the King, and directed by the Spirit. May His good, pleasing, and perfect will be done.


  1. I continue to be humbled and encouraged by your experiences there. Thank you so much for posting! I find myself looking forward to reading your stories daily to see what God has done/is doing. As I type I am reminded to have this same type of excitement and anticipation...and recognition for what God is doing in my own life. Interesting. God's cool like that. :) Press on.

  2. Amazing !
    Thank you all for sharing such powerful and moving stories