Jan 24th, 2013
As previously mentioned, we visited a children’s program in a government building a few days ago. This is run by Pastor Bhudram, a Great Harvest Bible College graduate from last year. He is only 19 years old.
At first, he was not well received in this village, but then the Lord opened up a door for him to pray for a man who needed healing, and praise the Lord, he was healed! After the rest of the village heard of this miracle, they allowed their children to come to Bhudram. He is praying for their parents to understand and accept the truth of the gospel message and to start a church there very soon. He also has one outreach area where he is trying to start another church. There is a family of 3 willing to open their home. Please pray that more people in this village will be reached.
It’s amazing to hear from the Pastors that we are the first white people to visit these villages. Here in India, there is village after village after village… so I suppose it is very possible that this is true.
After visiting Bhudram’s ministry, Pastor Sunny, our driver Rajesh and our brothers Solomon and Renjindas (both students at GHBC) returned to Chennai. After many days of traveling with us and hearing the gospel message, Rajesh made the decision to commit his life to Christ and begin attending a church. We were praying that he would understand why we had come halfway across the world, and Praise God he did! Pray for his continued growth, that he may understand the scriptures, and be discipled by the brothers in Andhra Pradesh.
We, on the other hand, continued by bus and train because of the impassable roads in Rourkela, Orissa. The state of Orissa has many Hindu radicals and the people weren’t as friendly to us Americans. Our hotel was kind of scary, as there were Hindu symbols painted in the rooms and there was a lot of chaos in the early hours of the morning.
We took a 3 hour train ride to Ranchi, and then hopped on a bus that was supposed to take 8 hours but ended up being 14. We missed our stop and had to take autos to Katihar. We finally reached our destination in the state of Bihar. Thankfully, we only missed 1 day of ministry because of these conditions. One last side note…. the state of Bihar is known as the "Missionary Graveyard."
Despite the spiritual darkness, we are always encouraged when we meet up with other believers here. Out translator and guide, Pastor Dilip Sharma (from the Nepal/India border) has such a joyful spirit and amazing testimony. After moving to a village to plant a church, he spent many days alone in a makeshift tent, crying out to God, asking Him to bless his dirty water because it was the only earthly nourishment He could find or afford.
His humble beginnings made for a fruitful ministry. He is now a pastor of a church and travels as a missionary and evangelist. The Lord also provided him a helper and his wife is involved in the ministry, leading worship and teaching the children.
We also met up with graduate, Dilip Soren, his father, Soren Soren, and his brother, Phillip Soren. We were warmly greeted by the believers in a village called Chawny. The brothers and sisters there mat us in the street with music and flower necklaces. They proceeded to parade us from the street to the church where they washed our feet and we worshiped together. It was such a sweet time of fellowship and very humbling to be welcomed in such a way.
We visited one other church in this area, pastored by Dilip’s father in the village of Hadiaver. This fellowship is only 2 months old. It is so exciting to come into the church and to see the sign that says "Calvary Prayer House". All of these churches, reaching from southern to northern India, are united in their faith of the one true God.
Today, the 24th, we arrived in Sitapur, a village outside of the bigger city of Lucknow. We are now in the state of Utter Pradesh and are staying in a school with a wonderful family. This journey via night train was planned to be 17 hours, but it ended up being over 22 hours long. Needless to say, we have been stretched and it has been so good for us.
We were refreshed this morning by an inauguration of an extension program for Great Harvest Bible College. They have now translated their program to the Hindi language. Many pastors from Nepal have come to begin this program, and will share it in Nepal.
After the inauguration, we held another (surprise) Pastor’s conference and taught a bunch of children some songs and Bible stories in English. Pastor Paulson and his wife Naomi are strong believers and have about 100 children enrolled in this new school. It has only been running for 1 year and they are expecting many more to come next year. The name of the school is "Jesus Mission School". Many of the student’s parents are lawyers, police officers, etc… and they are beginning to wonder about this Jesus guy. Almost all of the students and parents are not believers at this time. Please pray for their salvation!
I must say, the discipline and order puts many other schools to shame. I have never seen 3 year olds sitting so still and quiet for so long! They listen and obey their teachers so well, and their uniforms are very professional and adorable.
This afternoon we will fellowship with the pastors that have traveled so far to see us. Thank you so much for your prayers as we are nearing the end of our trip. Tomorrow we will travel to the Taj Mahal and then onwards to New Delhi where we will visit some churches and minister in the slums.
We may not be able to blog again, so if you don’t hear from us… don’t worry! We are exactly where the Lord wants us, and that is the safest place to be. Thank you for your prayers! God Bless you, Brothers and Sisters in America!