One lady had injured her hip and wasn't able to lift her leg because of it. When we prayed for her, she immediately lifted her leg and gave glory to God.
The team begins their work in Nicaragua!
Baptism of Fire. I never quite knew what that meant till a few days ago.
Fruit that remains—that’s what God wants. God’s fruit looks much different than mangoes; His fruit is people. His word is the seed that penetrates hearts and brings forth salvation. He desires that all men be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth, that the precious fruit of the earth would be harvested.
The enemy wants you distracted. I’m pretty certain of that. He uses whatever forces he can to get your eyes off God. His number one target is your flesh because it is our weakest member here on this earth. Coleman experienced this truth first hand.
The second night in Mumbai, Coleman was slated to do the healing service. I was excited for him to get this opportunity to step out and be bold. We showed up at the meeting, and no one had arrived yet. Unfortunately, the lack of attendance was not the biggest problem. It seemed that the people had been replaced by bugs. Yes, bugs. There were these pesky ants all over the floors, right where Coleman was supposed to be preaching. On top of that, big bugs were flying around harassing the team. It was quite a sight! At some point, actual people joined the bug party. Before we knew it, the room was packed out. This is the environment where Coleman was supposed to minister on the Love of God.
Coleman stood up to speak. Mind you, the ants hadn’t moved yet. We thought maybe there would be some miraculous parting of the ant sea, but no, this was more of a “stand your ground” sort of night. Before I continue, it’s important that I fill you in on a little bit of Indian culture. When you are preaching inside a building, it is custom to wear no shoes. Basically, you preach barefoot. So, Coleman’s white feet were all exposed. As you can imagine, the ants were having a field day crawling all over his feet as he preached! Then, big bugs were swooping in around his head and getting in his hair. Based on my observations, they had some plan to take down the big white guy: infantry at the feet and air raids at the face. Then, next thing you know, the power went out! How the bugs pulled this off, I have no idea! This meeting was reminiscent of the plagues in Egypt. I was just hoping we didn’t start breaking out in boils. (I forgot to mention that whenever Coleman paused, there was one man who would interrupt him by yelling.) Somehow, Coleman made it through the message, and people received healing! God still worked in all the chaos, and the phrase “ants in your pants, ears, eyes, mouth and nose” had a whole new meaning. At least I think that’s the phrase…
The story may be humorous, but distractions will come your way every time you step out to do God’s work. Just remember to keep your eyes on Jesus. Your flesh may want to freak out and run, but stand your ground… even if it is covered in ants. The promise stands that Jesus will keep you in perfect peace as you keep your mind stayed on Him. Hold on to that truth!
Hope this encourages you today!
Give some life.
When in India.... lay hands on the sick and get engaged!
(Right now is a good time to admit that I am being dramatic. I think that our flights were SO uneventful that I have to make something out of nothing. So that’s what I’m doing.)
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,
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,
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.