Just Another Post

•July 2, 2008 • Leave a Comment

Ahoy mateys. Not so much deep epiphany-like posts today, just feel like givin everybody some juicy filler. I would first and foremost like to let every one know that we have decided to indulge ourselves tonight with some delicious Domino’s Pizza. Jealous?! Nah, I’m sure that’s what you had for dinner a few nights ago and now you’re munchin’ on the leftovers, but for us, this is a big deal! We did have KFC on Sunday, and it far and away surpassed all of our expectations. So we really can’t wait for some good old American pizza. (I know I know, pizza’s Italian. Whatever)

So the ministry has been going very smoothly and the people we’ve met through it have been a mighty blessing. In the near future though, it may be changing a bit. There are some teams from other churches or organizations coming in and out of the area, and since their trips have tended to be much more short-term, they take over our current ministries, which is just fine, but we’re thinkin’ that we might have to make some adjustments. On Friday, we’re going to register to work with some of the Mother Teresa homes (for the…dying, sick and dying, orphans, handicapped children, etc) for about a week, and if it feels right and the Lord is pulling us in that direction, it may become more of a full-time thing. Also, today was one of those days where another team took over the teaching we do in the mornings, so Ryan and Sara went out to prayer walk the slums. They said it seemed like one of the most productive and satisfying days of ministry yet, so that may be another option for more of the ministry–prayer walks, more door-to-door stuff, or just letting each day be more Spirit-led and spontaneous. And personally, I’d be down with that because they brought back some delicious chocolate-filled caramels today!

So, last night Ryan and I visited the Mother Home (Missionaries of Charity Headquarters) to register to volunteer only to find out that there were designated times to do this kind of thing. Go figure, but it was totally worth it. As you all know from the previous posts, Calcutta isn’t the most delightful place, spiritually that is. (hence the term, kingdom of darkness!) Mother’s Home, however, is quite the exception. When we walked in, we could feel the peace of God all around us. It was as if the darkness wanted nothing to do with this place. The whole atmosphere was truly nothing but peaceful. We got the info we needed, saw Mother Teresa’s tomb, her very humble room, and received some pendants of the virgin Mary (yikes…). It was kinda weird seeing all of the white people around, but I really can’t wait to start volunteering. The most memorable part of the evening though happened in our taxi ride back home. When we got in, I looked at the driver, and thought he looked a bit familiar. I told Ryan, and we decided it was the guy who drove us to church on Sunday. The place where we get dropped off for church is called Music World, so Ryan looked at the guy, said “Music World?” and he knew exactly what we were talking about. Once he realized that he had been our driver, we all just started laughing. Now, laughing with and sharing a joke with someone who doesn’t speak the same language is one thing, but what really got to us was the odds. I mean, really, what are the chances of us getting the same cab driver twice, in all of Calcutta’s 17 million people?! We figured the odds were about 2 in a million. Mind = blown. I’m still not over it. And I don’t think I ever will be.

At this point, I would like to give a big shout-out to whoever invented our new best friend: Skype. What a great thing. Being able to talk to (and see!) friends and family back home, for FREE, is more than we could ever ask for. It has been such a huge blessing to talk to everybody. If you don’t have it, then google it, download it, and talk to us. When we’re on, it’s under either benjammin412 or chopecroll. Our wireless internet connection is hit and miss, but if you give us your username (which is also free to register), we’ll talk to ya when we can. And keep in mind the 11.5 hour time difference…

Once again, a big thanks to everyone who has been and is continuing to pray for us. If anyone has been praying for our finances, well, they have been answered. In abundance. We got about 15 or 20 percent more money back than we expected for refunding our train tickets, received a very generous amount of money from a few people back home, and found out that our stay in Calcutta is going to end up being about half as much as we thought. Praise the Lord! We love you guys, miss you, and can’t wait to see all of your beautiful faces. And don’t stop prayin! Peace

-Team India

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What I See

•June 28, 2008 • 4 Comments

I see so many battles to fight, but only God can see how this war will be won… The battles that we have stepped into to build The Kingdom here on the streets of Calcutta have brought us to the forefront of what darkness truly looks like, and how the light is only seen through Jesus’ eyes:

I see Jesus in the nuns in training (NITS as we have named them) we live with who work tirelessly putting great love into the small acts of service they do for us even when they get yelled at by the Priests. I am so saddened by the Priests here who are blind and leading others in blindness. I pray for only the simple gospel of Jesus to be over them, and that the way our team loves each other can be an example of how the body of Christ needs to be.

I see Jesus in the man and woman on the bridge we walk past every day on the way to the train station. They were intertwined together asleep this morning, giving any comfort they could to each other as people stepped over them and the rain poured down. The man’s hollow eye sockets, and the woman’s curses she yelled at me yesterday when I walked past when she tried to stab me with a brick still haunt me. I pray protection over our team as we travel all the streets here, and I pray that with each time we pass them our prayers and smiles show love.

I see Jesus in the 30 or so school children we teach English to in the mornings with the two classes we are involved with. The Holy Spirit is on these children like I have never seen before, and I have learned so much from Sara’s heart for spirit-filled children and their pure faith. They are excited to learn, and since the school is a Good Shepard Ministry school, they teach from a Christian world-view and each child is given equal opportunity regardless of caste. This school has grown so popular because the students get such a good education, that many Hindu families send their children there. These children receive the love and salvation of Christ from their teachers and then take it home and more often than not the families are saved. I Pray for these teachers that give up everything to teach in this 10’X10′ room in the slums.

I see Jesus in the people we pray for each afternoon. Ryan and I prayed with a family whose disabled daughter was told she would never walk or talk. This child’s first words were “Joy Jisu” (a blessing that Jesus brings Joy which believers here say), and she slowly walked around. She almost looked through me and gave me a blessing, kissing each cheek. She was 3. With each home we go into, we hear testimony after testimony of God healing people. I am so humbled to pray with these persecuted people who number only about one hundred in the slum. They are so passionate about reaching out to grow the kingdom, which is the greatest difference between believers here and in Kenya last summer. The team is so drawn to the strength of the persecuted church. Sara and I yesterday prayed in the attic of a house with a dying man, and his church family wept at the prospect of loosing such a humble man of God who had led so many to Christ. I could not feel any sadness because there was so much joy in me that people actually cared that this man may not be with them any more. In a dark place like Calcutta, it is not often that I see people care about loss of life. God’s beloved are dying all around us. We try not to step on them as we walk the streets, we try to pray at the train station platforms for the people that often get hit by trains and are carried past us in bags on poles, and Sara and I try to look each woman in the eye and smile because they are dying inside in this culture of so much oppression.

I see Jesus in the pastors here who work so hard to shepherd their flock. Ryan said something interesting that no matter where a pastor is, he is always working to show people the idols in their life and help them to see that Jesus is the only way past those idols. A huge difference between pastors in the US and here, is that in India pastors can actually touch and see people’s idols. Some homes we go to still have posters of gods and shelves of idols that they look to for comfort in addition to Jesus, in case He is not enough… I guess it is not any different than people who seek anything before trusting that all they need is Jesus. I cannot imagine pouring my life into these people to show them that they are set aside and loved by a holy God like these pastors do. They have taught me more about the Father’s heart for his lost children than anything else in my life. I pray that the families that have declared that all they need is Jesus, and share testimony after testimony that healing only came after they threw away their other idols, stopped taking medicines, and trusted alone in Jesus would be an example to those that mock them, and most of all an example to me.

I see Jesus in my teammates who challenge me to live more like Christ every day with the way they pursue a righteous life. I pray for more workers to be sent into this ripe harvest. Ben has really encouraged us all to become passionate about prayer, and so I also pray for more intercessors to be called to pray for Calcutta. I know that for myself this mission has produced some growing pains in how to BE a missionary, rather than how to DO missions. I feel so called to this place, and I can say even now I will never be the same.

I DO NOT see Jesus while smashed between 100 sweaty Indian men on a stopped train for 1/2 an hour on a hot and humid afternoon in the middle of the summer in India while wearing a full-length Salwar Kameez with the stupid scarf thing around my neck and beads of sweat dripping down my face and being pushed into the lap of another Indian man who yells at me.

Thank you all for your continued prayers and support.

-Christiana Hope Croll

The Kingdom of Darkness

•June 28, 2008 • 5 Comments

I know, seems like a pretty ominous title for a blog post, but I’m not here to water down the truth or make anyone feel comfortable. I’ll tell it how it is, and this is how it is: we are living in the kingdom of darkness.

When we first arrived in India, people would ask what we were doing and where we were planning on going. Whenever we would mention that Calcutta was on the itinerary, God-willing (which he did!), their reaction would be something like, “Oh man, that’s a tough place,” or “Wow, you guys are really brave.” Psh. We’d done the slum thing before. We were familiar with poverty, and quite frankly, we felt like pros, and brushed off each one of those comments. I mean, how bad could it be?

The last few days, after having really settled into our humble abode and becoming more acquainted with the area and the ministry, any comfort I had felt before had suddenly left me. I wanted to leave. I was negatively overwhelmed by everything about this city. I couldn’t understand why God would ever send me somewhere that I felt so out of place. I had strange desires to be back home with my friends and family without any worries, just livin’ some normal American life in the summertime. But the thing was, that’s not what I really wanted. I knew I was here for a reason. I wanted to want to be here, but I just…didn’t. Why? I spent 2 months last summer 9,000 miles away from home and loved every minute of it, aside from nearly dying, which is a different story, but the point is, I was so joyful in Kenya. I always looked forward to the next day of ministry. I couldn’t wait to go walking through the alleys of the slum or the layers of crops on the mountainside. So I realized what I had been truly missing in this place: joy. But again, why?

Yesterday our group had a “debrief” session, just having some time of vulnerability discussing where we were all at spiritually, emotionally, etc. At the end of the night, we made a vital discovery: Calcutta is Satan’s territory. Now, it would be wrong to attribute something to the enemy that is not his doing, but never have any of us felt the spiritual oppression like that which exists in this city. It has permeated through every street corner and into the atmosphere, the souls of the people, and even the animals. Beggars come crawling up around every bend and all I hear in my head is Jesus’ words: “Give to everyone who begs from you,” and I just have nothing to give but my prayers. People are bathing with the water from the broken fire hydrants as sickly men and women sleep on the side of the street, which is most likely where they will lay down and die. Most of the dogs look mangled and stricken with disease. The pollution hangs over the city like a dirty blanket. The other night I walked past a starving man lying on the street. He had no eyes. That was it. I couldn’t take it anymore. Was there any hope for him? I stopped on the side of the road, sat down, and wept. How did Jesus do it? Do I have enough faith to give that man new eyes? The real question is, do I have enough strength to walk through these streets without breaking down. The one time I swallowed enough of my pride to sit down next to a woman at the train station writhing in pain as she rolled back and forth on the ground and offered her some food and even prayer, she wouldn’t let me touch her. They have so convinced themselves of their complete lack of worth that even in their greatest moment of need they cannot accept love. If it wasn’t for our wonderful Redeemer, I wouldn’t hesitate to believe that there was no hope. Death has its dominion here. It is as if Satan has established his throne in the city of Calcutta.

I realized a serious mistake I had made before coming in assuming that this was just going to be another summer, and I wouldn’t have to fight. I wouldn’t have to really struggle. I was just here to love people and serve God. And then the Lord said, “Yeah, not this time, Ben.” It hit me that this is going to be some of the hardest 5 or 6 weeks of my life, and when I realized that, it’s almost as if it all became easier. Not easier to fulfill our ministry, but easier to swallow. When I acknowledged the presence of this darkness, I then saw what would be required of me to battle against it, and heck, even merely exist in it. It’s not SUPPOSED to be EASY! To think that I wouldn’t have to stretch myself to each and every one of my limits was quite the foolish idea. But now that I know where all of the negativity is coming from, I have an unquenchable motivation to conquer it. So yes, this is the kingdom of darkness, but if I’m not mistaken, Paul tells us in Colossians that God has “delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son.” So wait a minute, there is hope after all!

I once heard a great analogy for light and darkness (you’ve probably heard it yourself in one form or another) that was something to this effect: “All of the deepest, heaviest, most terrifying darkness in all of the universe could not put out the light from a single candle.” You see, it’s quite simple: we are those candles. The church in Calcutta is that candle. And it is the only thing that will overcome the darkness. At the same time, all of the light from every light-source in this world could not put out the spiritual darkness and oppression here, and that’s why the only hope is Christ. As it says in Revelation, “They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever.” Why not now? Isn’t God our only hope to defeat the darkness? Jesus legally defeated Satan on the cross, and it is, without a doubt, completely finished, but we are here to represent and literally enforce that victory. To have that victory, we must press hard against the enemy. Yes, we have been equipped with the armor of God to defend ourselves from all of Satan’s tactics, but the truth is, we’re on the offensive side here. If we are told that “the gates of hell will not prevail,” then we must assume that hell is on the defensive. I never heard that Heaven was defending any gates, so we don’t just sit around and wait to defend ourselves when we need to, but we step up to the front lines and enforce the victory of Calvary. And from what I’ve seen in the church here in Calcutta, there’s one heck of a chance to do that devil some damage.

I hope this gives you all a better idea of how to pray and intercede for us. Living in this kind of “kingdom of darkness” does not come without consequences. It can wear us down physically, mentally, emotionally, and most importantly, spiritually. It can even hinder us from accomplishing our mission. It sure has brought us to a new level of seriousness in our intercession and personal time with God. We always have the opportunity to be victorious, but sometimes we gotta take out the big guns to do it! So please let this insight guide your prayers. I feel like I could honestly write a book on all of this, but I’m probably nowhere near a publishing company right now, so that’s not gonna happen yet. I can’t wait to read everyone’s comments and write you all back. We love you and cannot justly express our gratitude for your prayers. Pretty soon there will be some more posts about what we’re actually doing and cool events that have happened. Be blessed, everybody.

-Ben

Calcutta Extended

•June 24, 2008 • 1 Comment

The streets of Calcutta are incredible. Our team cannot shrug off how the Spirit wants to move in them, its ridiculous. We were redirected to Calcutta at the beginning of the trip (our planned first destination was Bombay) and the Lord had purpose in that detour. Ben, Sara and I started feeling the nudge that we would be staying much longer in Calcutta than we anticipated several days before we got here, and Christy felt the same shortly after arriving. I don’t even know why we try to make plans sometimes, but long story short God has led us to stay in Calcutta for a much longer stay, perhaps throughout all of July. Sorry Bombay.

But enough with technicalities, our hearts are captured in this city. Every day is full with tears of joy and brokenness, every stare exchanged is full of compassion, and every conversation is filled with love for this people who are not merely enslaved by poverty, but physical idols and false gods. Every home we walk into (ten foot by ten foot room with thin bamboo walls and clay roof tiles) has a shelf on which various gods and images are placed, two thirds of the women have the red Hindu dot in-between their eyebrows with a red line going into their hairline.

We have gotten plugged into a school ministry which we are teaching 35 or so students english. Now when you say ‘school’ it makes you think of a building set aside that is recognizable, but no, there is no difference between this ‘school’ and any other inhabitation in the slum, its great. The students are quite young but hey, they love sunday school songs like “Jesus loves me” and most of the workers for OM here in calcutta were once students at the very OM schools we are working at.

Our team dynamic here is amazing-thank you for your prayers in this area, keep em comin’. In our last post we mentioned briefly how we were not all going out in ministry everyday but some would stay back to pray for those out in ministry. This specifically looks like 2 people out and 2 people praying back at home, we received confirmation in this through Nehemiah 4 and then through the pastor we are working with, Pastor Mahadeb. Also God is revealing individual purposes for each of us for the entirety of the trip, things are meshing together in a perfect net of Spirit guided praise and outreach and it is inredible, I don’t even know how to describe it fully-I definitely cannot do it in only a few sentences.

I need to go grab a bite to eat, nothing like rice and curry! But rest assured that so many of our prayers are going back home to friends and family, we love you and are continually lifting you up-seriously, thank you for doing the same, I find myself repeating this phrase over and over again but your prayers are irreplaceable, thank you for giving us strength when we lack it to bring the kingdom together while dismantling the plans of the enemy.

Calcutta

•June 20, 2008 • 9 Comments

I did title this post “Calcutta” because we have arrived here at our destination, but I must first brief you on what has happened since the last post. It may have only been two days, but they have been jam packed with so many good things. Last time you heard from us, we were staying in the relatively small village of Balasore for an undetermined amount of time. After spending about 32 hours on a train with very little food in our stomachs, we were bombarded with a couple mountains of rice at the OM base. Hunger was no longer an issue, but trying to clean our plates was! We are however becoming much more accustomed to the food here, and Christi is the spicy food champion. She puts away anything and everything that is put in front of her. I, on the other hand, have had to muscle down many a spoonful. Up here in the north though there is much more chipati (fried tortilla..things), which is delectable. Our time in Balasore was very restful and informative. We learned so much about the persecuted church in India and the true devotion that these Christians have to the faith. Hearing about there struggles and victories for Christ cannot do anything but captivate our attention, open our ears, and move our hearts. They are an inspiration. But on with the journey…

It was about 7:15 in the morning, Ryan and I are having some prayer time, and our friend Benjamin, who you all met in the last post, came into the room saying, “The trains still do not work. We must travel by jeep. Let’s go.” So we scurried to get all of our things together in a few minutes, and we were off! What we were told was going to be a 3 or 4 hour drive at most, turned out to be a 10 hour trek through the flooded jungles of Bengal. This is tending to be a trend here. Or else we don’t speak the same language. But to them, any period of time actually means..at least 3 times as long. On the journey, as I said, the land was completely flooded. The monsoon destroyed hundreds of villages and we drove past hundreds more if not thousands of people trying to fish the ruins of there shelters out of the water. We were told by our friend Govinda that this kind of flood has not come in about 10 years. It was truly devastating.

Our initial plan was to travel to another small village to once and for all catch a train to Calcutta. We did in fact manage to accomplish this task. We arrived at the station, purchased our tickets, got on the train, exchanged contact info, and said our farewells. Finally! We had made it to where we needed to be. We even met people on the train who said that they had had to sleep on the trains for 2 days during the delays. That would not have been so nice. But finally we were on our way! The train began to travel down the tracks and we knew we were homeward bound with nothing to stop us. Or at least that’s what we thought…

What a foolish idea, to think that we wouldn’t be confronted another taste of adventure. The Lord has decided to bless us with a double portion of this adventure on this mission of ours. I’m sure to curious to here what happened next. Well, to put it quite plainly, yes, we jumped off of a moving train. Benjamin came running up next to the side of the not so stationary traincar, and told us we must continue by jeep. He now had the task of picking up a few OM students in Calcutta and driving them back to Balasore. Believe it or not, we weren’t expecting this one. We quickly gathered up our bags and jumped back onto the platform into the arms of our long lost friends. And back to the jeep. 2 to 3 more hours of driving to go. Yippeekayay…

The rest of the drive was actually great, and we arrived in Calcutta soon. It is the biggest city I have ever been to, and in fact, quite beautiful. There are 17 million people that walk the streets alongside the ancient architecture and enormous bridges accompanied by over 4,000 slums. It seems quite Western in many parts as far as cleanliness and city structure, but it is beyond our sense of poverty throughout. Behind each green soccer field is a family living in the mud, and along each lively marketplace there is a community of sewage pipes where people nestle in at night. This is only a taste of Calcutta as we have only been here for less than a day. We are blessed to stay in a wonderful old Catholic convent with electricity, Western toilets, running water, and much appreciated showers. We also get 3 meals a day here, and so far it has been delicious. Tomorrow we will meet Pastor Mahadeb, who will be guiding us through the maze of slums and introducing us to our new home for ministry.

Our ministry may look different than what most would expect, but we are very confident of it. God is leading us to take a strong place of prayerful intercession for all the ministry. What does that look like? When we go out, we will go out only as a group of 2 or 3, hence there will always be 1 to 2 people praying for them the entire time. Every action the Lord does through us will be supported in prayer. We humbly ask you to join us in this intercessory prayer. Bill Johnson of Bethel Church in Redding once said that he and his wife had a big decision to make, so they asked someone to pray for them. For that person, 2 were assigned to pray. For those 2 people, 3 more were assigned to each to lift them up in prayer. So having prayer to fall back on is essential! You see, you are just as much active over here as we are. Our/Your prayers move God’s heart to action, and we need you alongside us. (Check out Dutch Sheets’ book “Intercessory Prayer”. You won’t regret it) Along with this, as a team, we have decided not to make known to you any of our needs. We do sincerely ask for your prayers, but we trust that the Lord will be very clear in communicating to you what we need prayer for. If you ever feel any kind of burden for us at any time or place for any reason, please let it lead you to your knees. And don’t shrink back in your prayers. Approach the throne with confidence. Expect God to move. Ask for the impossible, for the miracles, for the endless possibilities of Heaven to manifest through us here in Calcutta. We cannot thank you all enough. Be blessed.

-Team India

Welcome to India

•June 17, 2008 • 8 Comments

Hello everyone. First, I would like to apologize on behalf of all four of us for how long it has taken us to write our first post on the internet. We have just not had any chances until now. So, I am going to give as brief a summary as I can to try to capture what has been to us the longest but one of the most rewarding weeks of our lives. First of all, we arrived in Mumbai after sitting on the same plane for 21 hours. Our first answer to prayer came in the airport. We had been praying that customs would go smoothly, and when we went up to start the process, the man let us right through and we didn’t even have to do them! Praise God! After finding some help from the locals, we found out we had to go to a different (domestic) airport for our in-country flight to Hyderabad. We had our first Indian driving experience in a taxi across the city. Driving here is, well, for lack of a better word…insane. But so much fun when you finally build up trust in the drivers, because they know what they’re doing, even though I would get in an accident every 10 seconds. When we got to the other airport, our flight did not leave until the next morning (about 24 hours from then), so after venturing through the marketplace to get some blood flowing through our veins and ease the swelling in our feet, we spent the night outside the airport amidst the horns and whistles, hammers and saws, and crowds of people throughout the night. It was perhaps the best night of our lives! Our flight to Hyderabad was the nicest airline we’ve ever flown (Kingfisher). So luxurious…Well, we arrived in Hyderabad, which had a beautiful airport, especially compared to the one in Mumbai, which we have tagged as “The Unfinished City.” We drove to the OM (Operation Mobilisation) base and arrived to a very warm welcome from Leah and the rest of the community. The accomodations were extremely generous, and the food was a great introduction to our new diet. We had a few sessions of cultural training, but we took advantage of the stay mostly as a time to rest and gather our marbles with the 11.5 hour time difference. We visited the market one day, which was a pretty crazy experience, wandering through the underground labyrinth of little shops as the girls went out to buy some traditional Indian clothes. Ryan and I get off pretty lucky though, just jeans and a shirt! We met some amazing people at the base who shared their stories with us and gave us great tips about how to survive in India. The Church here is a true encouragement. There is a lot of persecution of the Church in India that the world doesn’t know about, and because of it, the Christians here are so strong and such an inspiration. Ryan and I (Ben) sat in a traditional Telugu church service, and I will never forget it. We all sat on the floor and listened to a language we’d never heard before, but felt such fellowship in the Spirit with these people even though we couldn’t communicate with words. The music was amazing. Just a drum and the voices of the congregation singing along with the beautiful harmony. Every one was so reverent. Each time we would pray, everyone would get on their knees, and the pastor was so passionate. It was an unforgettable morning! A brief experience I’d like to share with you happened one night at the base. Ryan and I decided to have a prayer session, so we began to pray and sing in the Spirit. The atmosphere was so thick with the Lord. We found ourselves singing “We Exalt Thee” over and over again. After 45 minutes or so, I decided to go to sleep. Ryan however stayed awake and when I had passed out, he turned over to me and asked, “Can you hear that?” I was asleep, so, no response. But he heard this: Three or four angels singing the chorus “We Exalt Thee” in the middle of our room! He said he could audibly hear them, and it was the most beautiful singing. I have a feeling that these experiences will be more and more common for us throughout the rest of the trip. So after four days at the base, we left on the train on Monday for Calcutta, and that has been an adventure in itself! The train station is a madhouse, but we had some great help from the locals and the OM staff especially to get us to the right place. So we boarded our train ready for the 30 hour venture, which is actually only about the distance from Denver to Kansas City. As has been common throughout the trip, our time was quite occupied with many games of Hearts to make the time pass, and since we have been starting to live more of a fasting lifestyle with irregular meals, we’ve been surviving on Clif Bars and Power Bars, but I’m pretty sure the Lord has been multiplying them. At about 7 or 8 at night on the train, another man named Rahmesh sat down next to us. We were all laying in bed, and he noticed I was reading “Evangelism By Fire” by Reinhard Bonnke, and asked to have a look at it. After a few minutes he asked me, “How do you know Jesus is the Son of God?” This question led to a great conversation while the others prayed for me to speak the right words. It turned out he was a Christian but wanted to be able to answer that question for his non-Christian friends. What a divine appointment. We talked for hours and made a new friend! About 24 hours into the train ride, we found that our train decided to change its mind and head back to Hyderabad, so we had to jump on another one headed for Calcutta. On the new train, we made it about one hour until it came to a stop. After sitting a couple hours, we informed Leah (our main contact and greatest help yet) about our situation. We were in a small town off the East Coast called Balasore for any of you geography nerds. She said that she knew of the place, and since the trains were likely going nowhere, she would have an OM person to pick us up from the train and stay at a base for the night. Within 5 to 10 minutes, our new friend Benjamin was standing in front of us on the train saying something to the effect of, “My name is Benjamin. I’m from OM. Come with me.” It was like a SWAT team! What a provider we have in the Lord. The one little village the train comes to a stop, it happens to be an OM base where teachers come for training in Bible school. So now we are staying at the base (with the most hospitable people ever) for an undetermined amount of time as the trains are shut down due to the heavy amounts of rain from the monsoon. We have never felt so wrapped up in the arms of God and His perfect will. It is as if He has been doing the walking for us, leading us to and fro everywhere he has set out for us to go. So far, the trip has been God teaching us how to “be” as a missionary or merely a foreigner rather than how to “do.” Since we are not in Calcutta yet, there has not been much ministry, but the Lord has been preparing us every day, and as I said, teaching us how to live amongst the people and adjust to the culture. Well, our time is running out for now, but we will hopefully be back soon. We are more than convinced that all of your prayers are determining our steps and we have no fear because of the great army of intercessors back home. Thank you again, and God bless you all. We’d love to hear from you as well. Until next time…

 

-Team India

They’ve arrived safe & sound!

•June 13, 2008 • 2 Comments

“Sherrie, have you heard anything?” ask Ben and Sara’s parents …

Friday 7am ~ Well, connecting on the team’s India cell phone has not worked yet, my skype chat messages haven’t been picked up, nor has the blog been updated … so I pulled out the big guns and just called Leah’s cell phone and YES OUR TEAM HAS ARRIVED IN HYDERABAD!

Leah had just spent the last few hours with them and they are now getting settled for a time of rest. Leah says each person on the team is FINE – HAPPY – WELL – SO SWEET – THANKFUL! She said that they look pretty exhausted and they told her everything had gone perfectly with their trip. They told her they were going to try to get internet connection so they could let us all hear from them and she said she would let them know I had called. Sweet Leah’s plan is to spend Saturday, Sunday, and Monday with our team and then they will be off to Calcutta on Tuesday.

There are so many praises in my heart for their safe and smooth travels and the beautiful condition of their hearts. Thank you for joining me in those specific prayers the past three days and now please join in praising Him for His grace, mercy and provision!

~ Sherrie