Sunday, January 30, 2011

My drive to Hyderabad with Devo






After church service today near where I am staying, Devo, who works with Saji and the HIV/AIDS ministry with YWAM -- came with me on my drive to Hyderabad -- it was about 1 and 15 minutes down and 1 and 15 back -- Devo had to preach and I dropped him off and then we connected later in the day after my visit with Trevain -- so I drove and he gave directions -- we did well although the traffic is pretty intense -- and the rules. . . .well there aren't any! So you have to really be aware of everything. Anyway- - there were some really interesting shots on the way -- while waiting for petrol at a petrol station -- or waiting in traffic -- I got some cool pictures - I hope you enjoy! Yes that is a man with a walking cane and two live chickens turned upside down getting a ride on a bike from a stranger without any helmet . . .Only in India!

Visit With Trevain - Neo Life Mission





Really nice visit today with Trevain and his Dad and son Bobby and wife Preeti. I also had the chance to meet their dog Roxy - who is a really big Great Dane -- really cool dog -- great disposition! Trevain is doing a really cool work through the organization that he founded called NeoLife Mission serving those infected and affected by HIV/AIDS -- Trevain is the one who really helped me find my way here in Hyderabad and worked so very hard on all the conferences we did in the last couple years -- so happy to see God's blessing on his ministry-- here is a link to NeoLife: http://www.neolifemission.org/

Saturday, January 29, 2011

New Puppies




Saji has a pug named Walnut -- because that is what the skin on his forehead looks like. I actually thought that he had the look of a permanent question mark? Anyway -- Walnut mated with Daphne -- Daphne is a Dachsund -- so Daphne gave birth the other day to 9 puppies -- that is right 9. They have pug faces and Daschund bodies -- really cute -- they are very small -- I have a couple photos for you to see.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

New Home





I thought I would share a few pictures from where I am staying. I have not had much time to get out and take other pictures of the surrounding area -- but I will. You can see from the photos where Saji & Priya's house is and I also included a shot of some the plants around the property. Saji is a green thumb and famous around here for that! The dog in the picture is named Lovely. She is a wild dog that has made this place her home. Saji & Priya have 3 other dogs, Wallie (a pug) Susie (A dachshund) and Dafney (Also a dachshund who just delivered 9 puppies the other night . . .whew!) The last shot is of the desk in my room where I am spending most of my time working on my online studies and the book project.

I hope to get some other photos over the weekend when I have more time. . . .

for now...

peace
john

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Reflections on the Mind and Mystery of Christ



I attended my first church service today -- a small house church of about 25 people about 15 minutes drive from where I am staying. I got to drive which was fun for me -- right side of the car on the left side of the street -- just like South Africa -- but WAY more challenges! Anyway the house church had the plastic chairs placed in the living room. Typical of an Indian gathering -- we left our shoes at the door and so barefoot walking inside. The message was in English with Telegu translation -- that is the language of the state that Hyderabad is in . . .Andrha Pradesh. They also have another church service that follows the one we attended which takes place on the roof of this house. Many houses have gatherings or events on their roof --

Anyway -- I was struck by the simplicity in which they worshiped, shared from God's word and even participated in communion (by the way -- I am not sure if the grape juice had been sitting in the sun -- but it was almost fermented - -it was like taking a shot! Was that real wine?) I thought about coming from the other side of the world and just walking in and sitting down and feeling totally a part of the gathering -- how cool and how appropriate that is for the Body Of Christ. It says in the book of Revelation that when Jesus returns -- he would have with him a group from, "every tribe and every nation" -- getting a glimpse of that is wonderful.

I also was thinking about how many of the churches in America seem to have lost that sense of openness -- so that a stranger stays a stranger when they visit a service. Now it is not because the format is totally different. It is more about the Heart and Spirit of the place.

I was following a Mentor & friends' website where he was asking others to comment on ways that perhaps we can reflect true leadership which reflects the Kingdom of God and not "Christian culture" and I wrote the following -- I repeat it here for you . . .

I have been getting an image in my mind (not sure if this is the Lord or not) of a funnel. Like the one you would use to pour oil into a motor. On one end it is very narrow and on the other end it is very wide -- When I think about some of the Church in America I feel as though we enter from the wide part of the funnel -- and the more we move on in life and in the "Christian experience" we feel more and more constrained by what is known as "The Church." There are a select group of people making all the decisions and everyone else has to "conform" to fit this small perspective -- even though we are the people who are the children of the one who spoke this entire world and all its brilliance and wonder into being - It feels as though we have taken the words of Jesus that said, "Narrow is the path that leads to life" and he also talks about "Broad being a path to destruction." I think that was in regards to the morality in the way we live -- not our perspective on life. When I think about facilitating the Kingdom of God on earth -- I think we have to have the mind and the mystery of Christ. Think of the most open minded person you have ever been around -- someone very secure in who they are -- not threatened by opposing viewpoints -- how refreshing it is to be in their presence -- How much more do think the Mind of Christ is. Jesus is the Mind over every mind. He is so secure in who He is. He knows Who He is and What He came here for -- yet there was incredible mystery about Him as well. When people think of Christianity in our day and age -- they tend to think of A narrow-minded political group that is very aware of what they are against or other stereo-typical attitudes that do not reflect our Savior. The bible tells us that we have access to His mind.

1 Cor. 2:16 for, “Who has known the mind of the Lord
so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ."

I think we have also lost the mystery of life -- because we know "The Truth" it is almost like the awe and expectation of life are gone -- we have "arrived" it seems and we are trying to manage everything instead of giving the Holy Spirit His place in our lives and in turn in the Church. We have lost the ability to sit in God's presence and just be silent in the majesty of His presence and who He is --and to let Him birth His will in our hearts and reflect it in our lives --

1 Cor. 2: 6 We do, however, speak a message of wisdom among the mature, but not the wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. 7 No, we declare God’s wisdom, a mystery that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began. 8 None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. 9 However, as it is written:

“No eye has seen, No ear has heard, No Mind has conceived
what God has prepared for those who love Him" —

10 these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit.

These words cause me to turn the funnel around and to peer through the narrow side and look out the other side into an ever increasing ever widening perspective into the mystery of God.

January 19, 2011 - 10 Year Anniversary


I wanted to write a short post which was in no way a reflection of the significance of it, but just to Thank God for His blessings and power in my life. I celebrated a 10 year anniversary of being clean and sober on January 19th -- while I was on my journey to India. And it is significant -- because it seems since that day -- I have always been on a journey somewhere -- God has done so many amazing things.

I would have never thought that by walking away from the hold of alcohol and drugs and all the things in my life that I could not or would not face for whatever reason and submitting myself fully to the will of the Lord -- that He would take me, wash me clean, start a new healing process and set me loose around the world to testify of His love. I have been able to share about Him in the United States, Canada, Europe, South Africa, Uganda, Egypt, Guatemala, India, Nepal, Tibet, China and to see many incredible life-changing miracles. With my own AIDS diagnosis in 2001 -- I thought it was going to be the end of my life -- but it was actually a portal by which God used the threat of my own death as a doorway to life -- and in turn it would be a chance to share His life with others around the world. Especially to those that are infected or affected by HIV/AIDS.

I have by no means arrived -- in fact I think the closer I try and get to God, I am even more aware of my need for the Love of Jesus Christ -- and its power to transform me -- but I am confident of the grace and mercy that he continues to show me and that every day and even moment that I choose to turn to Him -- that He can take my normal life and make it extra-ordinary.

"He who seeks to save his life will loose it, but He who seeks to loose his life for my sake will find it."

To all those who have supported me in ways that are known or unknown to you - -I say thank you . . . and may we all walk in what He created us for!

Peace
John

HYDERABAD - DAY ONE


Thanks for all the prayers! Arrived safely in Hyderabad at 3:30am on Friday the 21st of January. After getting my bags and clearing customs -- I was greeted by two staff members Devan & Kirin of the YWAM HIV/AIDS ministry that my Friend Saji directs and was driven to Saji's place. Devan & Kirin had to get up at like 1:30 am and then drive to get me -- crazy dedication from those guys.

Arrived at the house and Saji got up to make tea and we had a short visit and then I went to get some sleep. I slept from 7:30 am to 12:00 noon and then got up and did some reading and organized my room. Saji had told me about a Graduation Ceremony from YWAM Hyderabad from the recent DTS group. We attended it and it took place on the roof of the base building with a Tent that had been erected for the event. It was nice to attend and I also saw Anand, the director of the YWAM base, where I spoke a couple years ago -- and then also Dr. Sujai & Dr. Lavanya, from Nereekshina Ministries. Dr. Sujay asked me to do a two-day conference for their patients -- so I will probably Combine Diagnosis to Discipleship & Telling Your Story for them -- we shall see. Only a matter of a few hours in the country and already a great open door . .

It feels very peaceful to be here -- I am so thankful for my new Church family and friends in Idaho (and Washington) for the Love, Support and sendoff that I received.

It is a new day, a new opportunity and I am thanking God for what He will do.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Abu Dhabi Airport



I forgot to post this when I was in Abu Dhabi so you could see the inside of the airport. The colors are a very bright kiwi green and a very cool blue. The airport is nowhere near what the airport is like in Dubai -- which is amazing -- but this has an old-school feel about it which is more true to what we would imagine for this region.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Countdown . . .

It is now 10:53 am and I am in the last phase of prep for my trip. Taking care of banking, stuff around the house, packing and also making sure that I have all that I need for 1) School for the online courses I am taking and the other classes that I have just reading assignments for, 2) my writing materials for the book I am working on, 3) Conference and Speaking Materials for the weekend trips to the different cities around India and some other things as well. In 31 hours I will start my journey to Hyderabad, India -- which will take about 43 hours. I think this is the longest journey I have taken overseas. Due to using miles for part of the ticket and looking to save some money on the ticket -- I am going to pay for it in different ways I think (smile!)

I look forward to sharing the things along the way . . .

Peace
john

Saturday, January 8, 2011

HEADING TO INDIA


Looking forward to getting back to India. I leave Spokane International Airport on Tuesday evening, January 18th at 6:30pm and will fly to San Francisco where I will get an overnight flight to New York. I will be spending the day at the airport and then will fly the evening of January 19th on Etihad Airways from JFK to Abu Dabi Airport in the United Arab Emirites. I land on the evening of the 20th at 9:45pm and then I leave at 10:50pm on the 20th from Abu Dabi to Hyderabad where I arrive at 3:50am on the morning of the 21st. That is a long haul for sure -- but I am looking forward to being back. I will keep you updated as I go!