Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, January 12-14
The last few days have been full and far away from wifi, so we have not been able to send or even write updates. Thank you for praying anyway.
After a quick flight from Manipur we were picked up by a GHOI church planter, Pastor Samson. It was then. Five hour drive (which turned into more) through the Indian rain forest to his house for our first church visit. Pastor Samson is also a leader over the 10 pastors in Tripura. Although the state is pretty small relatively speaking these pastors and churches are separated by hours or days simply because of the terrain and road conditions. Also, Hinduism and animism are still very strong here and missionaries are not allowed, so it’s also nice for the pastors to have the support of GHOI because of the spiritual darkness.
By the time we got there it was very late and the church had been waiting for quite awhile, but still we had a nice time of fellowship and sharing.
In the morning we packed up and headed out to visit as many churches as possible. Unfortunately because of the roads, we weren’t able to see all 11 in Tripura but still the time was very fruitful. It was good to meet the pastors and get an idea of what they go through each day in their ministries. The first church of the day was Pastor Thangphan’s church. Because we were going to be seeing so many churches we were going to divide the sharing and preaching up, which we did at the first few, but later we saw that the Holy Spirit had a different plan for some of the later places. The people here are very different from Southern India and it took us a bit to adjust to a different style of ministry.
We then went to a fairly new church (about one year). They met in someone’s house and the owner wanted to have a church building there as well. There was a sense of spiritual heaviness there, even with the pastor, so we prayed for him and them regarding that. Please continue to pray for Pastor Elio and the small group of believers that meet together, that their love and light would shine to their community and that they would be strong in the Lord and the power of His might to overcome the spiritual darkness there.
After the spiritually heavy church the Lord blessed us with some fruit! We went to a nearby village where a new work was starting. It had only been going on for 1-2 weeks, so there were not any believers yet. The Holy Spirit was present in a mighty way. There were about 15-20 people packed into a small room. We started with our theme song for this year, Thank You Jesus, and even at that time some people began weeping even though they can’t understand the words. It’s a powerful song though speaking of how Christ’s blood washes away our sins and that we are no longer His enemies. After that Pastor Ted preached the gospel message and invited those to come up for prayer who wanted to follow Jesus. As we were praying, they were weeping, and even those who didn’t come up were definitely moved and we wouldn’t be surprised if there were a few more. But we know they heard the truth and a seed was planted, so please pray that it will land on good soil and grow deeply.
After this we had to drive awhile (3 or so hours) before we got to the next location. It too was a place where there were no believers. The pastor had a GH Children’s Program going but no work yet among the adults. Somagain we shared some music and this time Luke shared his testimony along with the gospel and again people came forward. This time it was mostly youth, so that was exciting to see.
Then it was another five hour drive to the next location. A pastor and his friend had come from this other location just to see us because they didn’t think we were going to make it out there, but we wanted to try, so we loaded them into the car and there were now 11 of us packed in for the long, bumpy ride. God was with us, but by the time we got there it was about midnight, so a family opened up their home, we slept in our clothes, had a 6:30 am meeting with the church and were off by 7:30 for another 5 or so hour ride back to the airport.
It was a blessing to meet with the people one last time before heading home. We each shared with them what the Lord had put on our hearts for them and Pastor Ted gave a message and a few more youths committed their lives to Christ!
Pastor Sunny shared that they as Indians would not be allowed to open air preach, but because we are foreigners it wasn’t a problem.
On our way to the airport, the car we had rented broke down. We were amazed that it had even held up as long as it did. But it “happened” to break down in front of a house (they were few and far in between) and the family there tried to help fix the vehicle. When it was clear it could not be fixed they and another car drove us the remaining three hours or so to the airport. Before leaving the driver, Pastor Ted encouraged him in the Lord because he too had been hearing the gospel wherever he took us and he was listening intently. Please pray for him as well.
We eventually made it to the airport, said goodbye to our friends Pastors Sunny and Samson and have begun our journey home. We look forward to seeing you soon and sharing more stories about what God did here! Thank you so much for your prayers and support!