I’m very tempted to take a nap right. We just gobbled some more chicken and vegetables, and it’s sitting a little heavy. But through many trials and tribulations, I will persevere! I will apologize before I begin this blog. Whenever I spend time in a foreign country, my English changes dramatically. I’d like to think I’m adapting to the culture, but I don’t think the Indians can understand this garbled English either. So here it goes…
We got into Mumbai around 11:00PM. At that point, we’d had very little sleep or water (as you read). We made it through the airport without a hitch. The Indians were very helpful, directing us to bathrooms and luggage. We had arranged to stay in Mumbai that night in the hotel, so that we could get some rest and adjust to the time. First, we had to find the man holding the “HILTON MUMBAI INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT” sign. Right outside the airport, there was a sea of people holding a million signs (that is not an exaggeration!). We finally found our sign, but unfortunately no one was holding it. It was literally sitting on a railing. So, in the most American way possible, I pointed at the sign, and all of the Indians started making noise. Finally, one guy chased down some people. I will probably never know who that man was, but I am forever thankful for him. Out of nowhere, a guy in a suit came up to us. In typical Indian style, he was talking to us while on the phone. Evidently, he was the hotel representative. He handed us to a big burly driver who took our luggage to the car. And somehow, by the grace of God, we made it to the hotel.
We checked in, called home, and went to sleep. Well actually, Coleman went to sleep, and I stared at the ceiling the whole night. It was terrible. That feeling of really wanting to sleep but being unable is a thing of torture. Alas, morning finally came. Coleman looked so remarkably refreshed. After watching him sleep the whole night, I was so happy for him. I know that sounds creepy, but it gets pretty boring at 4AM.
That morning, my girlfriend Becky picked us up from the hotel. She had led a missions team from ORU to India, and they were currently a couple of hours outside of Mumbai. We travelled by taxi and made the trek through the zoo. And no, it wasn’t an actual zoo. Just India. Coleman got to experience the cows, chickens, goats, sheep, and dogs of India as we drove to meet the missions team. (The team had been working with a ministry called SEAL Ashram that rehabilitates the sick and dying. SEAL finds desperate people that have been left for dead at the train stations and gives them a place to live and rehabilitate.) As we arrived at the ministry compound, kids came running out to greet us. These little guys quickly grabbed our bags and hands and led us to our room. The ORU team was in good spirits, and I could tell they were excited to see me. I say “me” specifically because I had been given stringent orders to bring sugary, processed food with me. They didn’t want me; they wanted my food. Truth be told, my suitcase looked like I was smuggling a shipment of Nabisco snacks into India. It felt as if I was solely responsible for supplying a whole country with Oreos. Double-stuffed, nonetheless!
But the real reason, I was there was to see Becky. This was by no means the purpose of my trip to India, but it was definitely the reason for a quick pit stop before jumping into ministry. Becky planned a healing meeting for us that first night we were there. During the service, the ORU team led worship. Then, I ministered on God’s love and His desire to heal, followed by some testimonies from the team. After that, we called people up for healing. We started with backs. I’ve learned from Jeremy Gall that it’s not a good healing meeting without some ministry to backs, so that’s what we did. A young lady and an old man responded for prayer. Both of them were healed! The woman cried as she shared her testimony to the whole room. Nothing like a good testimony to get people excited!
Then, I called up people with ear problems. Then, eye problems. Leg pains. Heart problems. Before I knew it, people were just dragging themselves up there. Just imagine, a room filled of 150 people who were at some point left for dead. Many people had mental problems. One of these men had shouted out randomly throughout the worship. There were amputees. There were kids with HIV. Some people would crawl their way to the front. It was like nothing I’ve ever seen before.
The team did really well. We divided and conquered as we ministered to people. One man had really severe tremors and no leg strength. The team had him walking around under his own strength and his tremors were subsiding. One blind man began to see light and shapes. One man was hearing better out of his ear. Kids were healed of chest pain. Honestly, it was one of the most chaotic times of ministry that I’ve ever been a part of. You’d be praying for one person, then someone else would come and grab you in the middle of the praying and want you to pray for them. It was overwhelming.
Thank God that His healing power still worked in the middle of the craziness. There was a lot of testimonies and healings that night. I wish I could piece the stories together better for you, but I think I understand a little better why the gospel of John says that there was a lot of stories that were never recorded. Jesus probably had this chaotic ministry going all the time!
We went to bed that night excited about what God had done. That night I had the privilege of watching Coleman sleep... again! Seriously, I did not get a wink of sleep. I do not know what the problem was.
The next day, my plan was to propose to Becky. Once again, this was not my purpose in going to India, but it just made sense. Both of us want to do international ministry in our lives, so why not begin our next phase in relationship while on the missions field. I think that’s pretty exciting, don’t you? ;)
I will not drag out the story. I just want you to know that it was very romantic despite the bugs and heat! We found a rock to sit on, and I brought out her “graduation gift” that I had not been able to finish on time. I can be quite the procrastinator. The gift was a book that I made for her of all over memories together. Right, as she opened it, the tears began to flow. Success! We flipped through the pages together.
Then we turned to the final page.
That’s when I knelt down and asked her to marry me. She said YES! And that’s how I proposed in India. I just needed a good story to tell the kids one day. I’ll spice it up a little more for them. I’m thinking elephants and mangos. Please send your suggestions in the comments below.
That night, we had another healing meeting. I will tell you more about the circumstances surrounding the meeting in the next blog. Hope you enjoyed the play-by-play.
Will write you something more spiritual later.