This week I genuinely fell in love with this place.Everything came together beautifully to create one of the truly best experiences of my life. While riding in a truck through a valley back to our hotel, my eyes were opened to an incredible love and passion for this place. In a day full of bus rides, ridiculous hikes through something akin to a rainforest on a cliff face in a beautiful river valley, praising the Lord through songs and prayer in Hindi, and preaching the Word in power and truth that was not my own to new believers, I clearly saw the love and passion that my friend who sent us out has for this place, its people, and for their salvation. By the end of the day, I knew it wouldn’t be so crazy if I spent a long time here or somewhere else in the world doing this sort of thing in the future. Yep, I said it.
I had the pleasure to work with two nationals absolutely filled with the Spirit. Despite hikes that were strenuous and even dangerous for me, a young guy in good shape, these nationals blew past me and it was tough to keep up. Which wouldn’t be that crazy if one wasn’t in his 50s with chronic knee pain and the other had one leg! They truly lived out the verse from Isaiah 40:30-31, “Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” Their strength was in the Lord, and He alone got them to the houses we went to to boldly proclaim truth and prepare new believers for baptism. They were full to the brim with the Spirit, a great encouragement to me even when they spoke, prayed, and taught in Hindi.
Spending time with these men and other nationals pushes me further and further toward living a life of love and ruled by truth. As James says in James 1:22, “Do not merely listen to the Word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” These men truly live their lives by every single thing the Word says. They are ridiculously serious that it should rule every second of our lives. After all, the Word says that those who don’t do what it says are liars, and the truth is not in them! Convicting. Every day, I am taught something new and a new way to apply Truth to my life. My walk continues to grow in new exciting ways every day, and my trust moves every day a little more to Him.
Because the place we were going to is very dangerous for white people and especially girls (mostly for believers’ sake, but also our own safety), it was only me and the two nationals who went out. The rest of the team stayed behind and prayed. But it was they who were truly on the front lines. The Word calls us to “pray without ceasing,” and that “the prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.” I’m not sure how much I totally believed that until this past week. All day long, while the nationals and I were out, they fought a battle against spiritual forces. I am very perceptive to spiritual attacks, and though I was told the place I was going was spiritually dark and dangerous, I felt almost nothing all day. Nothing could stop us, and the words and the Spirit of power I received were unlike any I had ever felt. Truly the work done was not of me. The battle was fought in our hotel room, I merely got to see the rewards. Isaiah 40:3 says, “Prepare the way for the Lord; make straight in the desert a highway for our God… and the glory of the Lord will be revealed, and all people will see it together.” It is through nothing of our own that people are saved, we merely prepare the way for the Lord to move, either in prayer or physically in person.
It is in this new understanding of how powerful prayer is that I ask you to continue partnering with us and our partners. Though it seems like we are on the front lines, those who pray are at least if not more on the front lines, preparing the way for the Lord to work. Pray for our national partners, that they would continue to effectively train up disciples and leaders to continue their work in new places and their own villages. Pray for wisdom and trust in the Lord’s plans for our team, and unity. Pray that believers would boldly proclaim the Truth without fear of persecution, and that even in persecution God’s name would receive glory. Pray against strongholds of darkness which seek to steal glory away from our Creator. I leave you with this that I read this morning about Mary: “Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill His promises to her.” How great are His promises to us if we would only believe! God always comes through on His promises, all we have to do is trust Him! Praise the Lord! Jai masih ki!