Church! We are so sorry! The Internet hasn’t been strong enough to send any blogs. So instead, we’ve been writing them and will now post them in order. Pray for us as we travel home today! Ask the Lord for gospel conversations and traveling mercies as we make our way back to the US. We look forward to giving you a more detailed update on the trip very soon!
Wednesday, April 5
After experiencing our first Indian storm last night, we hopped in the car this morning and headed to a new town, to be with new women, to share more Good News. Time is essentially an abstract concept in this culture so after our hour and forty minute car ride that was only going to take an hour, we arrived. (This is actually no problem at all except when you have been riding in the car for five hours and really, really, really need to use the restroom but are told that we are “very close” to arriving.)
Being with these women who love the Most High at such a high cost has been a process of continuously re-humbling myself before the Lord. While we have traveled to such great lengths to encourage these women, their hunger for spiritual growth is equally as encouraging. Their time of community and togetherness is intimate, beautiful, and just plain fun. Our team is practically prepared in that we have done our part to prepare our teaching but we are (or maybe it was just I who was) under prepared by how much our hearts would expand for our new friends. To see them come alive with boldness and with passion is the perfect reminder that we are our best, most authentic selves in the company of other believers.
Our time of training has gone well in the sense that when we share what’s on our hearts, they really and truly and intently listen with an air of expectance– expectance that the Truth has and will continue to radically transform all of our lives (as they rightly should expect). We have been clear in our belief that we are a united sisterhood, learning together in hopes of building and encouraging each other in what little time we have with them.
Today while unpacking God’s promises to us during our time together, a woman shared on how it was challenging for her to seek God with her whole heart. The fear she has felt and judgment she has received from choosing Jesus, while her family is still deeply rooted in Hindu practices, has been a heavy burden for her. While I can only relate in a very American way, void of persecution, it was a reminder that what we face as sisters in Christ have common themes that cross cultural boundaries.
It has been a privilege and a gift to be in the company of fellow Christ followers who are earnest in their desire to know God. While our bodies are feeling the effect of continuous travel, the Lord is renewing us each day to seek His provision.
Thursday, April 6
The third day of training was so sweet. We all got a great night of rest. We woke up and were able to take hot showers. As we sat to eat breakfast, Brother Emmanuel said, “Ah, You ladies showered!” It was quite funny. He may need some prayers being on an all women’s trip! He is such a blessing. Then, after breakfast we left to head to the training center.
As we started out the day, we had only a few ladies, but as the worship time came to a close, I looked around we were surrounded by 50 women! Praise the Lord! I can’t even explain how amazing it was. As Jenna was speaking, it was clear that the women needed the kids to be entertained. I had the privilege of sharing the gospel with children through coloring. They knew Jesus and what he did just with drawings. Even when you can’t speak their language, you can draw. Where there’s a will there’s a way! Praise the Lord. Then, the kids became restless and I took them outside. It was so much fun trying to play and having no clue what was happening. God is so good. The ladies inside got to hear the stories of how God used women in the bible.
Lunch time… Lets say we are not the best at eating with our hands. It was amusing to watch to say the least. The food is so spicy but so good! Jenna and I decided to try the peppers! As you can imagine, we ate our rice quickly! The people were so hospitable.
After we joined back together, the teaching continued. As we all got up to share, a storm came a brewing. Even as distracting as it was the women were so eager to learn and hear, so we continued on. God was truly present. We were able to teach the women about what it looks likes to be faithful. Faithful to the Lord, Faithfulness as exiles, faithfulness in waiting, faithfulness in marriage, Faithful to the church and his mission.
As we said our good-byes, some of them wanted to take pictures. Taking selfies with silly faces was so sweet and fun. We are so exited to join together with one of the pastors in the city for dinner tonight.
Saturday, April 8
As I write this blog we are chugging along the tracks on the night train from town P to New Dehli. We are on our way home. We are stacked three high on bunks that are so close together that you cannot sit up properly. God is good, we all slept well and the chai wallah is walking up and down the train offering chai for 10 rupees per cup.
Yesterday was an awesome day. We woke up early and Brother Emanuel took us deep into the Himachal Pradesh countryside, off road, up and down steep hills to a remote village for training. This training was a little different for us all as, most of the women who attended were converts to Christianity due to miracles and could neither read nor write Hindi. Most had not received even rudimentary bible training. It was particularly sweet to spend time teaching these new believers. But it was also a challenge as we needed to significantly modify the content of our lessons to teach to this particular group of believers. The training was amazing, God’s purpose prevailed.
Before the training began we were introduced to Jyoti, a 25-year-old believer who had married, by arrangement, a Hindu groom. The Pastor told us that during the arrangement the groom’s family knew that Jyoti was a Christian and that it was agreed Jyoti could practice her beliefs following her marriage. After the marriage this was not the case, and the young woman was forbidden to bring her bible into her marriage home with her husband’s family. Joyti had become sick due to the constant persecution and prayers by the local witch doctors against her faith. Joyti had returned to her father’s home for restoration and prayer. We were privileged to be able to pray earnestly over this young woman for healing of her sickness and restoration of her spirit. This young woman is bound by Indian culture to return to her husband and the spiritually abusive situation. Would you please join us in earnest prayer that the Holy Spirit will enter into her husband’s family’s hearts and that they will come to know Jesus as their Lord and Savior. We pray that Joyti and her faith will be a catalyst for revival in her state.
Thank you prayer warriors for your prayers. We could not do this without you! There is so much darkness here in India, and it is an honour for us all to represent the light of Jesus in this darkness.
As we step out into New Dehli today, please pray for opportunities to introduce the gospel to the people that we meet. May we be an example of His Love.