The Calm before the Storm

The Calm before the Storm

Note: I am in a very reflective mood after a very long time of prayer tonight, Harry says I am just being overly dramatic and poetic with my writing, but for God’s sake (literally for God’s sake) I am halfway across the world right now, so I have earned the right to be dramatic. Continue on.

Today was our final day of preparation before we jump into things. As Rosalin, our main contact here, most eloquently stated with her laughter and infectious enthusiasm, “After today— very, very, very busy.” Her excitement is not in vain because God is moving in and through all of us, and we all have the privilege of playing some part in His plan. (How exciting! Her cheer is rubbing off on me already.) 

We began the day with prayer, Bible reading, and mapping out the next few days (there is little else to do here without wifi and unnecessary entertainment which we are used to in America). As the day progressed, clouds filled the sky and the temperature dropped significantly. Rosalin and her husband, Jyoti, warned us that today marks the beginning of the monsoon season, and I got to witness the storms (Harry was copying Jesus and sleeping through the storm. Typical). The storm brought: Winds. Rain. Stray animals panicking. Power outages. Booming Thunder (or is it lightning? Think about it). Though the storm today did not last very long, there was this period of pure bliss before the storm. A time when the temperature dropped, the winds ceased, and an eery silence reverberated throughout the town instead of the normal clamor which comes from this city of 50 million people. What was this weird phenomenon? I can only describe it as this: The Calm Before the Storm. 

In many ways, this is exactly what we have experienced over the last few days. We have been diligently preparing, we have sensed something approaching, and we have been dwelling in this period of peace before we dive fully into all that God has for us. 

The day culminated with a prayer meeting attended by some church members and friends of Rosalin. There were about 16 of us there, including the young man who was Baptized with the Holy Spirit last night. We had a short time of prayer, shared briefly about the Baptism of the Holy Spirit (something that the majority of the room had not experienced yet longed for), then had the young man share about his experience from last night. By time we were finished with the meeting, every believer (around 10 or so) who wanted to receive the Baptism of the Holy Spirit had begun speaking in new tongues (this part is always confusing for Harry and I because we are unsure if it is an Indian language or a Heavenly one). Rosalin was very excited as usual about this move of the Holy Spirit, but as Harry and I talked about tonight’s experience, it seems oddly commonplace. Don’t get me wrong, we are not taking it for granted. However, we have come to realize that as we seek after God, He is always, yes always, faithful in His response with signs, wonders, and miracles wherever we are in the world (Indiana, India, Topeka, Timbuktu, etc.) 

So here we are, on the brink of the storm. God is already moving. The winds are beginning to pick up. The thunder echoes in the distance. Tomorrow begins the “very, very, busy” and we are very, very ready.

Much love for my homies,
Grayson Judd

Have a Mango.?!

Have a Mango.?!

I sit here thousands of miles from home on a mattress which offers little more comfort than a board (but, on the bright side, promotes outstanding posture) while Harry rides through the moonlit and crowded streets of Orissa on the back of Jyoti’s motorcycle to buy some items for the next few days. Based on my experience on those streets, start praying for Harry right now. 

Today we had an early start, waking up at 7:30 (though jet lag woke had Harry going by 4:30) to make the hour long journey to the church we would speak at today. I could write a whole blog about that hour long car ride, the close calls, the animals, the sheer volume of people, any number of fascinating things which we encountered on our time riding that highway out of Orissa, Asia’s second most-travelled road (in case you wanted a bit of trivia knowledge for your next game night). We arrived at this church of about 90 people, and, after a bit of music, Harry delivered a sermon about the Madman of Gadara found in Mark 5. (Update: Harry just arrived back from his motorcycle ride. He has a wild look in his eye, his hair is all blown back, he is jittery. Honestly, he looks a lot like what I imagine the madman who encountered Jesus looked like.) Harry showed the people in attendance how this madman became one of the first ambassadors for Christ, someone who pleaded with people to be reconciled to God based on his life-changing encounter with Jesus. After this I got up and shared a testimony relaying some of the points and echoing the message that we all have had a life-changing encounter with Jesus which we need to share. We closed with a time of prayer and headed back on the road. 

On the way back to the complex, we stopped by for a surprise visit at Jyoti’s sister’s house where we met many of his family members. These people welcomed us with open arms, thus continuing the trend that I have noticed: Indian Hospitality > Southern Hospitality. I’ll stop there in case I am offending anyone’s heritage. 

With every passing minute we become more and more adjusted to the climate, culture, and time zone. The complex where we stay is shared by many families and Harry and I (mainly me), have become the main form of entertainment for these people. Oh no, we do not have to talk to them, perform for them, or put forth any effort to attain this role, they are fully content to sit there and stare at us as we go throughout the day (ironically, they just interrupted my writing of this to take pictures with me out on the porch). While I walk around this campus, they all smile and wave as the unfamiliar young American yells “hello” with a large grin. Without fail, in every conversation I have with these sweet people, they utter a broken sentence which evokes friendship, community, and warm feelings between us: “Have a mango.?!” (I added the extra punctuation because sometimes they state, sometimes they ask, and sometimes they force mangoes upon me). Though these people do not have much, they have an abundance of mangoes from the trees on these grounds and, even out of their lack, they give freely (and as a result I am rather tired of mangoes, but I dare not refuse their gifts). 

Have a mango.?! This is what I hope to do for the people here in India while I am among them. Only, I have no mangoes. Silver and gold? I don’t have that either. However, what I do have is an everlasting and abundant life given to me through Jesus Christ. This life will be my mangoes which I will give freely. I give my mangoes. I give my life. I give His life.

Keep on keeping on in Him,
Grayson Judd

I'll Pray About It

I'll Pray About It

We have finally arrived in India after two 8 hour flights: Atlanta-Paris, Paris-New Dehli. We spent the night in a hotel in the New Dehli Airport. We had to pass through 5 different security checkpoints just to get to our room, which makes me wonder who has been trying to sneak into this hotel. Grayson and I have had trouble not staring at the security guards who are walking around with AK-47’s. It seemed like one was guarding a water fountain last night, and I still don’t know if it was for the safety of the drinker or the water fountain. Either way, I am not allowed to drink the water here, which is a real struggle, mainly because I need water to survive. Using a water bottle to rinse your toothbrush is about as exciting as it sounds. Speaking of sounds, I am surrounded by Indian accents (go figure), which tempts me to give up my Southern accent. Seriously, I could spend the whole month refining my Indian accent, but this practice might be offensive to their culture. I’ll pray about it. Foreign countries are, for lack of a better word, foreign. Your senses are overwhelmed, and you feel out of place. But, one thought I’m always comforted by is that wherever you go, people are people. So in the middle of India, I do not have to worry about a thing because God takes care of me and desires to flow through me to meet the needs of the people around me, regardless of their skin color or bathroom habits. God loves these people, so I choose to lay down my life for them this next month. Thank God, He empowers us to do just that. Nothing compares to the cause of Christ. What an honor and privilege to show people Jesus, specially to a people who have not seen very much of Him. Please pray for us to speak boldly as we should, to be strong in the Lord, and to have opportunities to share with open people. 

Much love,
Harry Judd