Sit with them…

“So Philip ran to him and heard him reading Isaiah the prophet and asked, ‘Do you understand what you are reading?’ And he [being the Ethiopian Eunuch] said, ‘How can I, unless someone guides me?’ And he invited Philip to come up and sit with him.”- Acts 8:30-31

This very familiar story truly captures the essence of what I have seen take place during this trip: pastors and their wives yearning to have a deeper understanding of Scripture, and a team being sent out to sit with them.

As we completed our last day of training, we were able to see immediate fruit from our several months of labor. Listening to the observations and applications from the pastors and their wives demonstrated that our time with them was not in vain and that they were successfully becoming equipped to continue teaching and leading the people of India.

At the end of one of our training sessions, I listened to a young pastor as he began to share the impact that our time in the Scriptures had made in his life. He explained that so many of them read the Bible everyday and yet don’t understand it well enough to gain much application. Many of these pastors are in charge of congregations that are also wanting to hear from the Lord, however, they have not been taught to systematically study and apply the Bible. He shared that the past two days have opened his eyes and he can now clearly see what the Lord is saying through Scripture. He also feels equipped to share the study method we taught him with those in his church. Praise God!

Today, on our way to the airport, we visited the home of one of the pastors that attended our training. He had just finished his church service. When we asked him what he preached on, he shared that he taught them the Bible study method using a passage of his choosing. Not only did he understand the method and apply it to his own time in the Word, he has now equipped 65 people that meet in his home for church. Praise God!

Though we have only been here for 10 days, the work we have done here will impact generations! However, the work is not done. There are so many pastors in so many places who are striving to preach and teach God’s Word effectively! They are committed to working and fighting tirelessly by the power and might of the Holy Spirit. What they need are more who are willing to get in the chariot and sit with them.

Are you willing to go?

Images of India

Good Times!

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Golden Temple in Amritsar

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Border Show… it’s kind of hard to explain.. :)

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Training (City #1)

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The believers learning the Sword Method (a method of studying God’s Word)…

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Pastors & Leaders discussing Scripture in small groups.

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The women…

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Henna by Jenna (aka Henna Storying)

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Worship with some national believers…

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Visiting a house church in City #1

Driving to City #2

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The view of the foothills…

City #2

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Emmanuel & Sony’s little ones…

Images of India

Women studying the Bible…

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Training in City #2…

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Carson teaching in City #2…

India Team Update!

Hello from India! I would imagine that you are all wondering where we are! We have been so busy that we have not had time to blog. By the end of each day we are just happy to crawl into our beds and crash.

Monday, we traveled to Amritsar. We spent the afternoon at another temple, this time the Golden Temple of the Sikh religion. Again, thousands of people worshiping idols. After the temple, we went to the “Border Show.” Amritsar is very close to the Pakistani border, and every evening they put on quite a show on both sides of the border. Each nation has a huge gate, placed back-to-back. They both have to open to allow passage between the countries. They both have a Border Security Force, as well. They make a big production out of changing the guard and lowering their national flags for the night. Lots of music and dancing, loud chanting (on both sides), with each side trying to out chant the other. It is quite the production. One of the pastors sponsoring the training in Amritsar is a former government official. He was able to get us access to the very gates themselves for a photo. Apparently, the photographer may place our photo in a local magazine (crazy Americans at the Border Show!). For me, it was a little unnerving being right there on the border, as skirmishes were going on at the time between the two countries just a few miles up the road. Most locals were not allowed access to the show for that reason, mainly foreigners were allowed in.

Tuesday we began the Pastor / Leader Training. The pastors and their wives slowly trickled in during the morning (everything is on Indian time, which means “oh, whenever”). We had a wonderful worship service, then training began. Several Chai breaks were included during the event, as well great Indian foods for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The fed us VERY well. And hopefully, we fed them as well, with spiritual training and encouragement. I will defer to one of the men on the team to tell you about the pastors and leaders they worked with, but can tell you about the women. Many of them spoke English, so it was easy to converse. These women (of all ages) were strong prayer warriors, and very well studied in their Bibles. They know their scripture! I do believe they poured into us as much as we into them. We began many wonderful relationships which we hope to continue to strengthen when we return.

We ended our time in Amritsar on a high note, with a gathering of believers at one of the pastor’s home. We sang American and Hindi hymns and songs. Carson played his guitar, while Anil played the Harmonium, with Kamal on the Hindi drums. Wonderful evening of praise and worship. The Indians have such energy! Worshiping with them is so inspiring.
Thursday we drove to Chamba. Amritsar is in the flatlands, but Chamba is in the mountains. The higher we went, the cooler it became. The views were absolutely spectacular! Crystal blue lakes, beautiful pines, similar to ours, and winding, scary roads!! Liz kept asking Emmanuel to let her drive, but he refused, as he says he still has too much ministry left to do in India so he could not afford to die now!

Side bar, just had an attack of the giant spider in our bathroom (Jenna, Liz and I are sharing a room). Jenna “bravely” killed the thing with her shoe as we all ran for high ground, calling for one of the men to come save us! Yuck! Hate spiders! I bet Jenna won’t wear that shoe again for awhile!

We completed our first day of training in Chamba today. Again, wonderful worship and wonderful fellowship. It is such a privilege to be here with these people. Their faith is so vibrant and strong, they shame me! The children sang for us last night and it was wonderful. They sang their little hearts out in praise to their King. We then quizzed them on the Bible, and they got it right almost every time! They then quizzed us, and well, we got it right most of the time. They stumped us!!

Tonight we went to the home of one of the neighbors, who were all attending the training. The father shared his story of recently converting to Christianity. He became a believer 3 months ago after Emmanuel and some other brothers prayed with him and his family for 3 full days and nights against demonic activity they were experiencing in their home. Not until they took all of the Hindu idols down to the river and lit a giant bonfire which consumed them all, did they finally have peace and joy in their home. What a privilege to pray over them and their home!

We will post pictures tomorrow. It’s late now, time for sleep!

Be His feet!
Jo

Bright Bookends

I’ve heard it said that the greatest stories are the stories of a small light in the midst of great darkness, like bright stars in a dark sky (think David and Goliath, Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, Schindler’s List, etc.).
If this is true, then some of the greatest stories are being written in the heart of India today.

The darkness of India was all too apparent today: street children aggressively refusing to let go of our hands, old men silently passing their last days on the side of the road, ordinary workers barely providing a mean existence for their families, and throngs of people devoutly offering themselves (and their food and their money) to statues of idols.

But God was good today in allowing us to see some bright lights at the bookends of our day. At breakfast we met an elderly couple using their retirement stage to travel to India and support the work of local pastors and missionaries. And after a very long and hard day of seeing Delhi (and getting a bit turned around outside the Delhi metro station), we were helped by a young Indian couple. About three questions into our conversation, they asked, “so you are believers, yes?” My thoughts were (“so we’re that obvious huh?!”). They told us that they were also believers, and had started an orphanage in their own home. The wife was currently on her way to lead college-age girls in Bible study! After spending a day observing the darkness of Delhi, we were greatly relieved to see how God is bringing light into this place.

In the smog-filled Delhi sky, it’s hard to see the stars. But they are still there…whether we see them or not. Once in a while, you may just be in the right place to catch a glimpse of a sparkle. We were blessed to see two of those today.

Pray for us as we travel to City A and meet our good friend Emmanuel and prepare for our trainings. I’m sure we’ll be starstruck by the time we finish :)

In Delhi!

Good news… We are in Delhi! Our 3 flights were great and we arrived on time at about 1:30am (India-time, about 5pm EST). We arrived at our hotel around 3:30am. Some of us slept– but not much! Our bodies are adjusting to the new time zone. Either way, we are so thankful to be here and could not have asked for smoother travel. As I write, I’m looking at 4 clay idols of Ganesh (the Hindu elephant god) sitting on the table next to me. These small idols are a reminder of why we are here… to bring good news and freedom to those in bondage.

We are about to eat breakfast and then spend the day in Delhi. Pray for us. We will be visiting various temples to orient the team to this very religious culture and to get a glimpse into the daily lives of the people. Pray for our prayers to be effective as we boldly pray against the idolatry here. Pray the Lord will give us opportunities to meet people of peace (those who would be receptive to the gospel)! We want to share the gospel as much as we can in our short time here.

And ultimately, pray for the day when Jesus will be glorified as the only True King of Kings in India!

October India Team

In just a few short days, FBC will send out another team to serve in India. The team will leave on Friday, October 10th and will return on Monday, October 20th. Carson and Ashley Cobb will be the team leaders, and the other four team members will be Jo Gafford, Jessie Holmes, Liz Eckbreth and Jenna Hurst.

October India Team

Our team has worked very hard to prepare for our pastoral trainings that we will hold in two cities of Northern India. We will spend two days in each city where we will spend time studying scripture and discussing Spiritual Warfare. We will seek to give the national Indian pastors reproducible tools that they can use in their ministries and own personal study of scripture. Our desire is to be an encouragement to the pastors, wives and children during our time with them. Fellowship will be a priority for us as well as intentional prayer time over the pastors and their families, and we’ll have communion with them. These trainings will be a time of teaching, fellowship, breaking of bread and prayer. Does this sound familiar? I hope so!

“All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lord’s Supper), and to prayer…They worshipped together at the Temple each day, met in homes for the Lord’s Supper, and shared their meals with great joy and generosity–all the while praising God and enjoying the goodwill of all the people. And each day the Lord added to their fellowship those who were being saved.”

Acts 2:42, 46-47

Please join us in praying for our team as we seek to further God’s Kingdom in India during our 10 days there. Pray that the Lord would speak boldly through us and that the believers would be encouraged and challenged in their ministries. The reason that we go is because our God desires that his name would be glorified by people from every single people group on earth. The areas that these pastors work in have very few believers–and often none at all. Pray that many would come to know Jesus Christ and that many would grow in their faith as a result of the work that the Lord has set out for us to do in India this month.

We cannot wait to serve in India! Thank you so much for praying!

Jenna Hurst, FBC Missions Intern

On the road again!

The team with our amazing translators: Boris, Miguel (Chanco native), and Pablo

The team with our amazing translators: Boris, Miguel (Chanco native), and Pablo

Today’s road led to shopping and tomorrow’s will lead home! We’re ready to see yall and we’re SOOO thankful for your prayers!!
Today we spent the morning exploring Antigua by starting with a breath taking view of the city at a cross that overlooks everything. It was beautiful weather and we took lots of pictures. From there, we went to a wood factory and saw the most gorgeous wood workings ever! The next stop was the local Artisan’s Market. it was full of people … many tourists like us and many Guatemalan handiworkers that made beautiful things. David & Glynis (our IMB missionaries) introduced us to some Christian sellers and helped us barter with the locals. It was so much fun! Overwhelming, since booth after booth was packed with things to sell, but fun nonetheless! By this time lunch was in order and our view of the volcano Agua was picture perfect out the window of the restaurant where we were eating. Every now and then the clouds would encircle the top like a wreath and it seemed as if we were eating in a postcard. The next two stops were yummy: the chocolate store and the bakery that sells local coffee! I’m pretty sure we all made purchases in these places! Finally we went to the Jade House – turns out real Jade is only found in 4 parts of the world: Russia, Burma, Japan and Guatemala. The tour there was interesting and the purchases were beautiful. Some of our team wanted a little more time at the market so David Miller gladly obliged while the rest headed back to rest up (and blog) before dinner. Here are a few of the thought’s I’ve gathered over the course of the week. There are way too many stories to tell and so many people to write about in one blog entry, but this will be some of my take away this week:
1 Peter 4:9 “Show hospitality to one another without grumbling.”
This country is full of the most hospitable people I have ever met. Each day in the village we were welcomed with open arms (as long as it wasn’t lunch time or they weren’t on the way to catch a bus) and each shop we went into we were greeted immediately.
Matthew 6: 34 “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.”
The people in this country live in the now. Shop after shop we saw how fervently they tried to sell us any and everything they had because this is their livelihood. Each day in the village we saw corn growing up and down the sides of mountains while animals like cows and chickens lived right there in the house or yard with the people. Survival mode isn’t something we just joke about when we get super busy – it’s real life for some people and I hope to live more in the now than in the stress of so much planning.
Revelation 7:9 “After this I saw a vast crowd, too great to count, from every nation and tribe and people and language, standing in front of the throne before the lamb. They were clothes in white robes and held palm branches in their hands. And they were shouting with a great roar, “Salvation comes from our God who sits on the throne and from the Lamb!”
There are many around the world that need to know about Jesus. When I was looking at all of the woven fabric filled with bright colors and all of the trinkets there were to sell it was overwhelming – way too many to count. Chanco is filled with people that need Jesus. As I wandered through I thought about how colorful it will be at the feet of Jesus one day when people from all over the world will worship Him – our hope and prayer is that Chanco will be represented at that great celebration!
Matthew 10:20 “It will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.”
Missions exists because worship does not. Tonight’s devotion ended in song and some of the lyrics said “You give life, You are love; You bring light to the darkness; You give hope, You restore; Every heart that is broken; Great are You, Lord. It’s Your breath in our lungs; So we pour out our praise; We pour out our praise; It’s Your breath in our lungs; So we pour out our praise to You only.” God poured out His love to the people with our voices in Chanco this week and we are more thankful for the opportunity than you can imagine. We talked about that at team time tonight … it was sweet sweet worship!
See you tomorrow friends!!

~Kristen Patrick~