May 2012 Mission Journal

The House of God, The Church That Is Much Busy

The Hindu leaders came with their mobs and threatened violence against the small congregation that was meeting in a small building with blue window trim at the end of the rural Indian village of Rajupalem.

The church had been the last building at the end of the village since 1969, when John and Chitti’s father Gampala built the church to worship Jesus Christ on His Holy Sabbath. It is a tiny building, hardly taller than a man, and the doorways to enter seemingly made for Hobbits rather than humans. Even my own 5’-5” frame has to duck to enter the small space that the Church of God in Rajupalem had met for several decades.

The congregation itself remains a pariah of sorts even amongst the other minority of persecuted Christian denominations here in the jungle delta of Southeast India. But following the example of their late father, the two Gampala sons take Matthew 28:19-20 seriously, and are in a constant evangelism campaign to bring the truth of the Gospel to the desperate poor and low castes that suffer here in the slum villages. The Church of God was adding members often and the good works of the Gampala ministry gained respect of the destitute castes.

However, the jealousy and rage of the Hindu caste leaders could not be quenched against the congregation. The Hindus were outraged that their church was gaining members and growing, and they wanted them stopped.  By 2007, their mere presence was an affront to the radicalism growing to eschew Western influences and return India to it’s pure pagan Hindu roots. After refusing to bow to intimidation, stone throwing and other harassments, the Caste leaders threatened the congregation at Rajupalem with federal action, having conjured up a warrant that cited that the church building was too close to the government road, a road which the caste leaders also worshipped as a god. The true underlying cause however, was the desire by the Caste Pharaoh to occupy the farmland around where the church stood and provide a place to store grass and provide a place for his cows to rest.

With Federal warrant and threat of arrest for any worship services conducted at the building, the congregation was left to worship atop Pastor Johns single story meager home. Out in the elements of blistering sun and heat, insects, and monsoon rains, the congregation prayed for a miracle that they would have a church building to meet in someday.

During Mission India 2008, The Smith family along with 6 teens and young adults, laid the cornerstone for a hoped-for church to be built on top of John’s home.

 

The faith of the Gampala family was great enough to have the Mission team mimic an example from Genesis 28:17-18 when Jacob poured oil on the rock that he made as a pillar for the House of God. All members of the Mission Team poured out oil on the cornerstone and prayed that God would answer the prayers of the congregation to provide a building in which to worship Him and fellowship.

The faith of the brethren and the team would not have to wait long to see God work. During that same year, Brian and Stephanie Smith met with Scott and Carolyn Scharpen at a church festival, and describing the mission trip of that year, revealed the need of a church building for the brethren. Unknown to the Smiths, was that Scott and Carolyn were head of a Foundation that has as one of it’s functions, funding church buildings. With support from the Scharpen Foundation, God answered the prayers and faith of the brethren in India in a powerful way. During the next year, plans and construction began on a brick and cement structure built on top of Pastor John’s home.

Two years after the 2008 Mission Team prayed and poured oil on a foundation stone for a new church building, Brian Smith and myself, as part of Mission India 2010, walked up the steps to the new completed church building that towered in gleaming white above the shacks and huts of the slum village of Rajupalem. On the Sabbath of March 27, 2010 – the House of God was officially opened and dedicated to the glory of God. Ribbons were cut, lights and fans were turned on, and the entire assembly marched around the inside of the worship hall and sang in Telugu, “Holy, Holy, Holy” – and invited God’s presence to dwell among them in this new blessing He had provided them.

It was the sermon that Brian gave on that Day of Dedication that prompted me to write this essay today. During my 4 month stay here at the House of God, I have been witness to something beyond marvelous and at the same time, a stunning contrast in our own houses of worship that sit mostly empty much of the time.

During the sermon Brian gave at the dedication in 2010, he prayed and urged aloud that the House of God would always be a House of Prayer; a House of Thanksgiving; A House of Teaching and Learning ; House of Dedication to the truth; a House of Worship to God and a House filled with Songs of Praise. These key things Brian admonished them as he urged brethren to seek God’s heart. I will always remember that sermon, because I have never seen such gratitude and celebration written in the faces of so many people before. The joy and happiness was no more simple than that there was finally a place to meet and worship God without suffering.

I wondered to myself if I could ever get that overjoyed about having a building to meet in and worship as they did, taking for granted what God has always seemingly blessed the church back home with.

Since my arrival and stay here at the House of God this past January, Brian’s sermon has played over and over again in my head as I have been witness to every single hope and wish for this building he gave in 2010, being fulfilled.

 

The House of God is truly a beacon of hope and light here in the slum villages to those who suffer most, and is a central focus of the brethren here.

There is always activity going on related to God and the bible, sometimes 24/7. The House of God is indeed a House of Prayer.

From well before dawn, there are brethren that come into the worship hall to pray. The rasping whispers of words and song to God echo off the tile marble floors and cement walls. It’s an ethereal experience to hear the whispers of prayer and soft songs of worship to God as sunlight begins to grow and rays of light stream in through the windows in my palace room next to the Worship hall.

 

In turn each member of the family comes to the worship hall at some point in the morning to reflect and pray. The women often offer heartfelt tears with their supplications to God as do the widows who arrive around 10 AM every morning for two hours of devotion, prayer and service before the Gampalas provide a wholesome meal for them.

The men are quieter, silent in their meditation time and study of the Word of God.

By the time I am finished with my breakfast, children are gathering all about the House of God, chasing one another and doing all they can to laugh.  Soon the teens begin to arrive carrying bibles in cases, and the often usher the younger kids to order and begin leading them in prayers, sometimes alongside the widows.  Bible class begins on days when there is no regular school for the the children, and the opportunity exists to reinforce lessons learned the previous week in church.

 

While the children or the widows are being served in the worship hall, often women of the congregation come in the late mornings to help with chores.  Some come to help begin preparing the meal for the widows and children by slicing, chopping vegetables and cooking large posts of curry and rice.  Some women come to wash dishes from the night before and from breakfast.  Others come to help with laundry, a manual task of buckets, soap and beating the clothing on rock.

 

A few men sometimes stop by before or after work to bring food or supplies that the congregation needs.  Often when some vehicle or item breaks down, the men of the congregation come by to have a look to see about fixing it.  Always a good conversation is started, and always there is prayer for whatever undertaking requires attention.

After bible school, and every day for at least an hour, the House of God become a gymnasium as the kids play various games of chase, keep away or tag.  Later on when the younger children tire and move downstairs, the teens will sit and converse about various topics that usually involve teasing and laughter that echoes easily off the walls.

 

On exceptionally hot afternoons the widows will stay after lunch to lay on the cool tile and sleep the afternoons in the House of God, rather than suffer the dust and dirt of their shanties.

Always there is work going on in cleaning and maintaining the House of God.

An embarrassment for me is the eagerness that the brethren have when coming to my door to clean my room.  The dust is ever present here in India, and sweeping up the tiled floors is a daily chore.  With near glee, the brethren will sweep and scrub my floor, shelves and bathroom before mopping with nothing more than a rag, a bucket of soap water, knee and elbow grease.

I have never experienced a commune environment before, but if there was a Christian standard – The House of God would be it.  It is a living example of what Acts 2:44-47 describes of the First century church in Jerusalem.

The whole congregation involves itself with the tasks and needs of the church.  Every Friday afternoon Sagari and Ludia come to sweep the House of God and then mop the tiled floor by hand and ready it for worship the next day.   Girls often play surrogate mothers in watching the infants and toddlers.  Boys and teens take part in repairing broken light fixtures or rewiring burned out electronics. Women gather to peel, slice and prepare the 3 different meals that are cooked each day for the family and the widows.

When there is a scheduled Gospel meeting, the men come early and load up a bicycle cart with heavy speakers, amplifiers, keyboards and drums to ride to where the congregation will gather to worship and preach the Gospel.

Holy Days begin well before dawn.  Many members come with items purchased for the congregational meal, meat and large bags of rice, bags of onions and chilies.  Fires are begun early and large 40 gallon pots are set over them to cook rice and sambar while women are busy chopping spices and vegetables for curries.

If there is electric power, Christian hymns are played from CD to set the tone and mood of the day.  Men help turn over the large pots of boiled chicken or goat into large pots of curry.  Women begin to help bathe the younger toddlers for the mothers and the teens help the children to get dressed in their finest for Sabbath services.

Shortly after 11 AM, the booming voice of Anonda leading the calls to worship and then opening prayers.  Nearly two hours of worship is sung aloud, punctuated by loud beats of drum, tamborines and keyboard.  The congregation is led in reading one chapter from the bible that all repeat aloud.  Testimony from brethren is given and prayer requests taken.  After more prayer, the sermon and instruction is given followed by John dismissing the brethren in benediction and prayer for the meal.

 

The joy of the congregation eating together is certainly an occasion that brings much happiness.  Sadly these occasions are much more rare, and usually only able to occur on high holy days when donations are such that extra foodstuffs are able to be provided.  My presence and funding has made opportunities for such meals more numerous and I am able to perceive that the congregation is appreciating each one because they know that they are limited to my time with them.

 

There is a cohesive unity here among all the brethren that is amazing.  There are no cliques, no small groups of preferred brethren sitting together to the exclusion of others.  Teens of course enjoy the time with other teens, and in Indian culture, men and women pair off into separate groups, but mingling and meandering between everyone is a hallmark of the congregation, and no one is left by themselves.

 

There is a hollow feeling I have in myself when thinking about our churches back home, that sit mostly empty all week. We have elaborate and climate controlled buildings and cathedrals to worship God, and often they sit unused except for maybe a morning of worship and one evening of bible study.

I contrast that with the cement pillbox with the marble floor that is the House of God, and the gratitude I continue to see by the brethren for its existence by the daily use it provides them.

As I write this, there are four widows singing with several teens, ‘Nikanna Lokanna’ in the House of God and little Joshua is banging the bongos for them.  I’m smiling because the kids are anxiously awaiting for the widows to be called to lunch so they can play in the House of God either Dodgeball or Keep Away, two games I taught them during my stay.

I will be jealous of the constant service to God and one another that the House of God provides for these members of the Body of Christ.  I have been spoiled these past months, living in daily fellowship within a blessing provided by the Scharpen Foundation.  One wouldn’t think that a mere building could serve as an impetus that empowers the brethren here to do the work our Lord has given them to do in these fields of Our Lord’s Harvest.  But it does.

The noise has now moved on from worship songs to the giddy loud din of children playing.  One item Brian did not pray for during his 2010 sermon that has materialized as a daily benefit for the brethren here, is that the House of God is also a house of laughter and love.

For that reason, this place has far exceeded anything I could have imagined back in 2010.  I will miss my time here, having been spoiled rotten with daily fellowship and worship, something I will not have when I return home to a church body that is either scattered distant, or tepid in zeal compared to what I have experienced here.  For all who invested in this blessing for these least of God’s people, there is no value that can be placed on what you have given them, except that it is beyond what you could know.

Dhanyvadamulu.

Mission India 2012 Team’s Arrival and First Day

The Mission Team has arrived in India!  The Brethren at Hebron Home wasted no time in welcoming us in a way none of us will ever forget.  The first day’s activities for the team have already been completed and everyone is having a wonderful time.

There is very little time for us to write during our time here at Hebron due the amount of activites we are involved with the orphans from morning until late evening.  There is also a giant congregational worship service for the next two nights with the 1,000 members of the church in this area.  Brian gave the sermon last evening and Michael will give the sermon Friday night.

Because of the short amount of time for us to be online, we will let a few pictures tell the rest of the story of the last 28 hours.

Vandanamulu.

 

Kids Camp by Mission India Day 2

Sleep deprivation!  But the children here are feeding us much love and energy as Mission India at Hebron Home continues.

Temps are very high, well over 110 degrees here in Palakollu, and the mission team is definitely feeling the strain of the heat and the amount of service, but the love of Christ we are able to share, and receive from everyone is beyond our ability to express.  It is keeping us going strong.

We have several more days at Hebron with the orphans, and we are cherishing every moment.

 

Hebron Home Has Filled Our Hearts

If there ever was a place to fill your hearts with absolute joy, it is with the Sagar Jalli family and ministry at Hebron Home.

If there was ever a place to fill your hearts with heart-wrenching sadness, it is having to say goodbye to brethren, family and children at Hebron whom fill your hearts beyond what you would expect in such a very short time.

The five days at Hebron Home have been the most uplifting, busy and inspiring start to a mission trip since Kardias began them in 2008.  Hebron left such an impact, Rienne and Marissa are discussing coming back to Hebron again perhaps within a year to stay for a month to serve the orphans and ministry here.

At our arrival, we were greeted with a hero’s welcome, the energy from the children who are all excited to tell you their names and expect you to remember it, was a small glimpse into the full schedule we would participate in during our stay at Hebron.

The orphans at Hebron are well taught in the scriptures as their day begins in prayer and bible classes, so it was a delight for us to expand on their biblical understanding with our theme of the Fiery Furnace.

We had combined with VBS in India to create a MEGA-CAMP with literally a thousand children from the local area to hear about Jesus Christ and participated in a closing ceremony for the large activity that lasted a full week at Hebron.

 

The children at Hebron were delighted that we came to play with them, and several games of soccer and a near-tournament volleyball game caused loud cheers as Rienne and Marissa battled each other on opposite teams for a win.  Saturday night began with just some singing, but evolved into a dance party as the orphans taught us songs and dances, and Rienne and Marissa shared some line dancing from songs on their iPods hooked up to the amplifiers.

 

On Sunday, Brian and Michael met with twenty pastors who head nearly thirty congregations in four districts of a thousand brethren.  Some traveled great distances to meet with us.  As God always does, the messages from Brian and Michael ended up  complimenting one another on nearly the same subject to edify and build up the church of God in India. Hopefully the admonitions will help them avoid many of the same issues that have plagued the church in the USA.

 

The many questions from the pastors to Brian and Michael were inspiring, as the biblical acumen of these pastors was indeed on a level that showcased to us that the spirit of God is very much present in these men and their congregations.  Iron sharpened iron, and Sagar Jalli thanked us for the very uplifting and motivating messages and explanations during our question and answer time.

 

Sunday night afforded the Mission Team a chance to share our talents with the children.  Prasad and Anusha led the children in songs and dancing.  That was followed by a skit with Prasad, Michael and Rienne – who used some Nerf Swords to demonstrate the bible as the Sword of Truth against Satan and temptation.  Rienne battling “Satan” and dispatching him with skill was applauded and cheered.

Afterwards we treated all the children to a bonfire and roasted marshmallows for them which they have never had before.  Soon more songs and dancing began.  The Mission Team belted out an acapella rendition of “Prince of Peace”, and then the entire assembly marched around in a circle and sang songs.

 

Monday was a presentation of medical and sports equipment to Hebron from the brethren in the USA.  We also presented high quality vitamins to the staff for the orphans that Tyler Kincaid provided for these children.

Each team member was invited to say farewell, and both Rienne and Ericka were full of tears.  Saying goodbye to these children who grew on our hearts was very difficult for all of us.

 

 

Mission India 2012 began with a bang and fast sprint that gobbled up our time in fun and laughter.  Before we knew it, time had gone and the first half of our mission trip had come to an end.

Sagar Jalli and staff arranged for our transportation to Rajupalem for the second half of our Mission trip, and to our delight, both he and Prakash came with us for the 2.5 hour journey from Palakol to the House of God.  To our surprise, Sagar is planning to pick us up and escort us with Chitti and Prasad  Gampala to Vishakapatnum next Monday afternoon for our flight to Hyderabad and the end of Mission India 2012.

We cannot say thank you enough to Sagar Jalli, his staff and the children at Hebron for making our first week in India, a week that will live in our hearts forever.

Saying goodbye is never easy, but for us – saying goodbye to these children was especially touching.

Preaching The Gospel In Slum Village of Lanka

The second week of Mission India 2012 has taken us to the rural villages of Lanka and Rajupalem where preaching the Gospel to Hindus and serving Widows is a primary focus of the Gampala family ministries Kardias will serve.

After a warm welcome from our family after a week at Hebron, the pace of activity has been slower and the rest is much welcome for a tired team that hit the ground running nearly the moment they arrived in India.

Most of the activities during our time in the rural delta with the Gampalas is scheduled for the evenings, out of the heat.  This allows for the team to rest comfortably and sleep in at the hotel in Kakinada.  Michael and Ericka are sticking it out in the heat and humidity and staying at the Gampala family home at the House of God.  The pace of activities will change by Friday with an all-day Kids Camp at the House of God and then Sabbath Services and Pentecost Services Saturday and Sunday late morning before the team departs for home Monday afternoon.

A major feature of a mission trip in these rural slum villages is preaching the Gospel to the Hindus whom do not know, and have not heard of Jesus Christ.  The Mission Team took in their first Gospel Meeting Tuesday night and every member shared their love of Christ with the congregation and many curious villagers who came out to watch our revelry and joy in the Lord with songs of praise and worship to our God.  Some were moved to actually join us and sit down with the brethren.

 

 

 

 

Brian gave a rousing sermon and invited everyone to come to Jesus and rest from the toils of sin and superstition, and become holy which is the nature of God.

 

Brian and pastor Michael were then honored with shawls by the leading deaconesses of the congregation and then the team distributed cake and sweets to everyone within earshot of the Gospel meeting.  The treats were a nice physical sweet to the spiritual delights delivered that night.  Many then came up to the team members for prayers and blessings.

 

 

 

As always, one cannot help but feel a little bit as if we were living the Book of Acts in these primitive slums where the people still practice paganism.  The seeds of the Gospel scattered about and watered by the Mission Team we pray will land on good soil, as we know that God provides the increase.

 

125.6 Degrees of Fun at Kids Camp

On Friday May 26, The House of God became host to most of the children in Prasad and Anusha’s kid’s ministry “Save Kids” for a day-long bible camp with the Mission India team.

Unlike our time at Hebron Home where we had 2 full days and a Saturday night to treat kids to the many activities Rienne, Marisa and the MI12 team put together, we would only have one day of a few hours with the 200 kids in five villages surrounding the city of Kakinada.

Earlier in the morning, the team gathered in the House of God to put together the gift bags containing flashlights, bracelets, pencils and other assorted gifts with bible verses on them for the kids to remember the day with us, and of course candies to sate the sweet tooth all kids have.

The day began early and hot.  The local paper confirmed that the previous day’s temperature peaked at 51C, and this day’s temps would beat it by one degree, putting the daytime outside air temperature at 125.6 degrees.  Coupled with stifling tropical humidity and the heat-absorbing brick and cement of most structures in India, the heat does not wane with the sun, but turns most buildings into ovens.  Undaunted by the forecast, the mission team readied itself to share Christ and fun with the children of West Godavari District.

Auto rickshaws were sent out, two for each village where Prasad and Anusha minister to collect the children and bring them for the 40 minute road trip to the House of God.  It was almost shocking to see a three wheeled ‘trike’ loaded with more than two dozen children crowded inside and hanging on every available latch to stay on board.  But then, if you have ever seen an Indian commuter train, overcrowded transportation while hanging on for your life is every day here.

A little over an hour’s drive later, the rickshaws began arriving with excited kids streaming into the gate to the House of God, eager to spend time with the ‘aunties’ and ‘uncles’ of America in whom whites are rarely seen in this part of India, much less young adults and a ten year-old to play with!

With all the excitement of the first sets of children arriving from Kakinada, Golipapeta, and Muggapeta, it was blow to everyone’s happiness when two auto rickshaws returned empty. The driver’s reported that when they arrived at Rajaro Peta to pick up the fifty children there, the adults of the village beat the children who were waiting to come to the House of God and forbid them to go.  The drivers were sent away with a stern warning not to return.  The ever-present specter of the disdain of Christianity again reared it’s head upon the very children whose faith keeps the ministry of Prasad and Anusha going.

Once we were ready to begin, Prasad opened the day with prayer and some worship songs.  Most of the children there are just learning to pray to the God of all Creation instead of the Hindu gods of their parents, and the earnestness in the hearts of the kids was evident that the seeds of the Gospel are fallen on good soil.

Then the ministry and kids honored each of the members of the Mission Team with a garland and a flower keepsake. While the cost of the trinkets were less than pennies, to bestow an honor for the Americans who came to visit and share time with the kids was a priceless gift.

 

Then the children were divided into four groups, each child given a colored bandana to designate their group, which were titled with the bible story theme of M.I. 12: Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego and Nebuchadnezzar.  The kids enjoyed having the Team help them tie the bandanas on as the day’s activities began in earnest.

 

Each bible school group from the four villages came up to do a dance for the Mission team to a worship song.  In Indian culture, both boys and girls engage in choreographed dance. Dance is one of the primary ways in which stories are told in India.  Each hand gesture is a signifier of a specific idea and telling stories through music and dance is one of the primary ways in which the Gospel message stays in the hearts of these children.  As with most music in India, the beat of drums and bongos keeps a fast pace of worship that most of American Christianity would associate with disco or hip-hop, but in India – such music is ancient and relished with joy.

 

Afterward there were two presentations of dedication.  Prasad’s ministry has been hard at work for months to create two tools for these kids that they serve.  The first was a dedication of songbooks called “Joyful Hymns” that Prasad put together in English and Telugu.  Inside are the lyrics to many popular worship songs and hymns often sung by Christians in India, including many current and popular worship songs.  As Prasad noted, these songs of faith are more easily written on the hearts via music, and teaching and preaching the Gospel is most effective when taught to them in songs and dance.

 

To the joy of everyone, Rienne and Marisa then performed one of the worship songs in English for the kids.

The second dedication to the Glory of God and with prayer was for the completed first set of Y.E.A. lessons that CEM granted to Prasad and Anusha’s ministry.  For many weeks of daily work, Prasad and Anusha painstakingly translated and edited the first  Y.E.A. lesson and R.E.A.C.H. activity into Telugu, and printed out the first sets of booklets to distribute to the kids at the camp for use in their weekly bible school.  The happiness and joy of the Gampalas to have such fine teaching tools of sound biblical doctrine available, cannot be measured.  Michael and Ericka gave special thanks to Ron and Allie Dart for sharing their  hard work of training up children in a land desperate for such material as the Y.E.A. lessons provide.  It is humbling to think that lessons for American children to be rooted in scripture, Our God has seen fit for His use in the fields of Harvest in India.  The saying is true; once you step out in faith and do God’s work with your talents, there is no limit to where God will take and use you for His service.  YEA is now working on the other side of the planet with a persecuted but zealous group of brethren and children eager for the Words of Life.

 

Ericka then began to present the bible story theme for Mission India 2012; The Fiery Furnace.  Knowing the persecution, trials and suffering these children endure just to attend Prasad’s ministry each week, the M.I.12 Team decided that the story of faith by actual fire of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego was a story to inspire and let the kids know that Our God is strong enough to save them out of their own fiery furnaces, but even if God does not save them from each trial, that they should hold onto their faith and not turn back to the Hindu traditions that enslave their countrymen.

The story afforded Prasad the opportunity to use for the first time, a gift granted to him by George and Pam Dewey of a digital projector to tell bible stories and share the Y.E.A. lessons that Prasad also converted to Powerpoint.  In the weeks leading up to the Mission Trip, Prasad created a powerpoint slide show with vector drawings that Michael enhanced for Ericka’s story telling.  The lesson was a big hit with the kids and we hope the lesson was written in their hearts of remembrance.

 

As the temperature climbed outside, it also began to climb inside the House of God.  As usual, the power failed often, and the diesel generator was again put to use to keep the air circulating in the Church.

After the Powerpoint presentation, the camp broke for lunch that the Gampalas and their congregations prepared for the 130-plus kids.  It is amazing to see what a science serving large groups of people is handled by the congregation, and after prayer for the meal, rice and Sambar with dahl is as wonderful a meal as many of these children receive.

After lunch, the fun activities began.  First brian demonstrated an example of Christian love by assisting a teen boy stricken with palsy up into the House of God to take part in the craft activity Ericka and Marisa were teaching.

Down in the courtyard, under a tent canopy, Rienne worked with the kids to teach them ‘trust exercises’, an activity learned at U.S. church camps over the years.  The lessons were teaching the kids to trust one another, with the emphasis on how much more we should trust God to lead us.

 

Brian and Noah also worked in teaching a similar lesson by a different activity with plates  the kids would use, while upstairs Prasad, Ericka and Marisa were helping the children create a keepsake craft of the “Fiery Furnace” story told before lunch, a craft that the children were all eager to do once they learned they would be able to keep them.

 

Once the diesel ran out of the generator, the power was out, and the heat began to climb inside the House of God.  Undaunted by the furnace the Mission Team found themselves in, the eager smiles and desires of the kids to create their keepsake kept the team working on with the glue, felt and foam pieces that would create their works of art that they proudly showcased.

After the activities concluded, Brian gave a sermon for the kids about faith and holiness.  The day concluded with the Mission team handing out the goodie bags packed for each of them earlier in the day.  The gratitude seen in the eyes of the kids revealed that such gifts are a rarity in their lives, and sharing these gifts was worth all the sweat and time put into the day’s activities.  Sweat being the most pressing of the memories of that day as most of us soaked our clothing in the heat and humidity that kept building and became oppressive when the power ended the air circulation by fans.

The heat prompted Ericka to request that all kids coming down the stairs be given a cool glass of water before loading up onto the auto rickshaw for the long drive home.  Ruth upped the request by also providing sweets for the kids as they came down the stairs and said goodbye to the Mission Team.

 

As the Camp concluded in prayer, the sadness and tears of a day’s joy ending with some of the kids wrenched us hard, but we knew this day would live in their hearts forever.  As my sister Cindy likes to remind me often when I doubt what fruits our efforts have in such a dark and superstitious place, that none of us know for certain this side of the Kingdom of God what seeds are sown and which will take root and blossom into the full fruit of the Spirit.  That is God’s business, and we are to concern ourselves first and foremost with simply DOING what He leads us to do, and leave the increase to Him.

With the tools the brethren in the USA have placed into the capable hands of Prasad, Anusha and the Gampalas to effectively teach God’s Way of Life to a desperate people, I am eager to hopefully witness the fruits of these efforts in a few years time from now.  For I believe in my heart that the crop now being sown there will indeed be a mighty “Joshua Generation” as a witness to a nation that has never had the bible have an impact on it’s backwards culture.

Go to June 2012 Journal Entries >

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