Susan’s post from Monday:
What a day we have had! We left our hotel in J early for our 3+ hour drive to P. Other than the usual hair-raising, terrifying driving tactics required for any trip by land vehicle in India, it was a mostly safe and uneventful undertaking. (Unless, of course, you count the near miss of car sickness by Josh…)
Praise the Lord!
We arrived at City #2 to the home/church or our most gracious hosts Pastor SR, his wife, and three lovely children. When the service and training began at 10 AM, the congregation was not large, but an acceptable number. By the time we finished almost four hours later, the place was packed—what a blessing! Can you imagine any of our U.S. groups sitting on the floor to worship, praise God and study for four straight hours with almost no breaks?
After much glorious, robust singing and praise (with clapping and wonderful percussion accompaniment) plus fervent prayer, the FBC/LP team conducted the training sessions we had prepared. We covered topics such as Godly Living, Discipleship, Living as Godly Husbands & Wives, Leaders as Servants and a summary by Liz about how FBC/LP is planting churches in SC. When she reported how we have prayed for our brothers and sisters in India, we could see how very touching and meaningful it was to everyone in the room.
The most memorable part of our day was the sharing done by many of the men and women who gave testimony of the Lord’s work in their lives, churches and communities. First, one pastor told us how three young men have gone out from his church to plant more churches in their area. A second gentleman reported that although he had been attending a church where he lives, he felt led to go back to o his own hometown and start a Sunday evening meeting. First, three to four families came and it is growing. Even though his own pastor was a bit upset that he left to start another meeting, he said he must spread to all nations and that is what he is doing! His son is serving the Lord and the woman he married came to the Lord too. His daughter is studying Theology to further serve God too. He asked for prayer for this new work AND for his previous pastor to get over being angry!
A woman shared how she prayed for her son who was having behavior issues and problems in school. She brought him to church and as she and the congregation continued praying for him, he started to change and her husband began to attend church too. That son is now a believer and is married. Two daughters came to faith and they are praying that the married one’s husband will also come to the Lord. Another son is studying Theology.
Some of the most compelling reports were of persecution. One brother told how his community did not receive well the news that he became a believer. Nearly 100 people gathered around him and made him sit in the middle. As they were approaching to beat him, he closed his eyes and prayed. Miraculously, when he finally opened his eyes, his accusers were scattering. This same man’s son, who is a pastor, was grabbed at night by some men who came to break his legs. Again, the man who had grabbed him by the shirt and was about to harm him, let go and stopped. He was not hurt.
Two men wanted to let the group know that a sort of “Protection Team” has been started with the goal of helping believers who are being persecuted. They can be contacted if someone feels threatened because of their faith. There were more reports than we could reasonably relay here, but it is clear the Lord is working mightily in Northern India.
After the service and training ended, we were treated to a feast of amazing proportion and the hospitality we received was so very warm and gracious. Our brothers and sisters in Christ in India could not be any more welcoming and loving. We thank The Lord for them and all they are doing to further His Kingdom, despite many trials. We hated to say goodbye, but after many photos, hugs and well wishes we got on the road again so we could reach our next destination.
The nearly four hour drive gave many breathtaking vistas of the Himalayan mountains and some other visual treats we hadn’t really anticipated. There were many sightings of monkeys by the side of the road and around the bend in the road in two places we encountered a very large herd of goats with their herders and dogs. At one point there were so many of them that we had to stop anyway, so we just pulled off the road and took pictures of the herds and the precious baby goats. Most unexpected and exciting was a glimpse of a leopard by the side of the road not far from our final stop. Hillary spotted him first (she was ecstatic!) and a couple others also caught sight of him just as he leapt over a rock and down the side of the mountain. Like I said earlier…”What a day!” God is good—ALL THE TIME!