Hi friends! We apologize for the delay in getting out an update, we have been hard at work training and traveling over the last couple of days.
So far, India has proven to be the land of reversals. A few examples:
Here, people think that overweight means “healthy”. Some of our very normal-sized sisters were complimented for being so …. “healthy”.
Also, several people (Including Liz, Meghan, and two local Pastors) thought that I (Carson) was 29 years old! I’ve been given a few compliments in my life, but I have NEVER been told that I look old for my age. True reversal.
Here, our perceptions of India continually change as we travel from a pristine, streak-free, high-tech airport to over-crowded, unsanitary, poverty-stricken cities with crumbling infrastructure and desperate people.
Our weather has also been reversed as we travel from city A (hot and dry) to city C (cool and rainy).
My perceptions of Chip have also been permanently altered after a local brother said this phrase to him in a thick Punjabi accent: “Excuse me brother, a compliment for you sir. You look just like Stone Cold Steve Austin!” (The wrestler, for those of you who are not WWE cultured.) Not that Chip isn’t a tough guy…but come on, Steve Austin??
But perhaps the greatest reversal I’ve experienced has been spiritual. After arriving in Delhi, I was truly overwhelmed by the sheer numbers of people flagrantly throwing themselves after dumb and mute idols. I mean, it’s one thing to read the statistics on lostness in India – it’s another thing to SEE THEIR FACES and the faces of their children being raised in these empty traditions. It’s been a while since I’ve encountered something so discouraging that I just wanted to sit in a corner and sob.
But when we arrived in city A, my sorrows were reversed into joy when I met about fifty pastors and lay leaders who came for our training. Watching them passionately worship God to the beat of a Punjabi drum, and hearing their heart for the lost people of India renewed my spirit.
This soul reversal is probably best exemplified in our visit to a Sikh temple. (If you want to learn more about Sikhs, visit 4truth.net) At this golden temple, thousands upon thousands of people come for hours a day to seek forgiveness and purification for their sins. One of our dear local brothers grabbed my hand (it is normal custom for male friends to hold hands in India – don’t worry Mom and Ashley, it was only for about thirty seconds) and he asked me what I thought about this temple. I told him that it broke my heart to see all these people building their hope on vain idols. He responded gently and bluntly in his sophisticated Indian accent, “yes, so many people are going to hell”. I think “well, that’s one way to put it…where’s my corner to cry in again?”
But the brother didn’t stop there. He continued, “I come to this temple so many times and just pray; I ask the Lord who I will share the gospel with. We are not afraid and we do not give up.” Wow. My natural reaction to the enormity of lost persons in India is to retreat or become paralyzed. This brother sees the lostness as a call to charge forward through prayer. I pray that God will reverse my small faith.
This brother inspires me to pray that another great reversal will take place – that India will go from being a land where the vast majority of people worship lifeless, powerless idols to a land where the true and living God is worshiped by the millions of people here.
Will you take a moment to pray for this great reversal?
Grace and peace,
Carson for the June India team