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!