Today was a blessed combination of visiting churches, encouraging believers and sharing Christ. On the way to our first stop we stopped at a nomadic gypsy village where Pastor Calvin is working among the people. Of course the people were all out working either in the fields or herding cattle, but it was a blessing to see this small village where God is reaching out to those who have been outcast from society. (In the caste system the gypsies/tribals are considered even lower than the untouchables). As we were leaving the village, we were approached by a young couple who were new believers. They happened to see us drive by and so they turned around to come meet us. The husband (John) told us he used to be very anti-Christian and Pastor Ted encouraged him by reflecting on how much God loves us to go after us even when we are against him. Before getting into the van we met a non-believer with whom we shared the gospel. He wasn’t ready at that moment to accept Christ but we told him we would continue to pray for him.
We then headed out to the first church of the day. The pastor’s name is David and after sharing some encouragement and a word with the people, he shared with us about how God called him to be there (we’ll share his story in a future update after our return). Because the church is growing so much he is in the process of building a larger building, so we went outside and prayed for the church and then each of the team members laid a brick in what would eventually be the cornerstone of the church. That’s one of the fun things about coming here…you never know what kind of ceremony you’ll be asked to take part in (church dedications, funerals, weddings, baby dedications and namings, baptisms, etc.)
Later we went to one of Pastor Nehemiah’s churches where we had come three years ago. It was encouraging to see many of the believers still living out their faith including one girl we had baptized in the Indian Ocean on that first trip as well. John gave a word of encouragement and then we did a program with the children with some fun songs and Pastor Ted’s light show! And of course we ended our time with much prayer.
Pastor Nehemiah asks prayer for his wife, his ministry and starting a children’s program in 2016. His wife, Ruth, is currently pregnant and is having some breathing problems because of the air where they live, so she is currently living with her mother in another village. She should be able to come back after her first trimester so please pray for a healthy pregnancy and birth. Nehemiah also has some other villages he is working in and would like to develop a children’s program this year, so please keep thiose in prayer as well.
We then headed to a tribal church for more sharing from the word and encouragement with another Pastor David, followed by prayer and fellowship. The people were happy and encouraged by our greetings from America.
After this we had one more stop for the day. We were asked to take part in a memorial service for one of the believers from Pastor Calvin’s church. Then it was dinner and bed around midnight.