Monday, December 16, 2013

Walking By Faith, A Gift Given And Received

Sunday morning began with a drive into an area about 15 minutes from where I was staying and I was to preach at this church.  I had met the pastor at the HCU workshop and he was excited to share his church with me and graciously opened the pulpit.

Pastor A.C. and his family & Me


I noticed they had very deep worship -- this comes from generous hearts.  I found out the physical building was just finished one year ago and 95% of it was paid for by the congregation -- including some folks who are laborers themselves making nearly nothing -- gave so much towards this building.  They love God and they put legs on that love!

After an introduction by Sura, I shared from Luke 24, the Road to Emmaus.  I had prayed that God would use this message to be an encouragement -- with translation I had an hour -- so I had to really move through things.  The main point about this message was about walking in faith and not getting distracted with the major life events and to be intimately connected with Jesus.  I tell you, when you continue to minister every day there is a spiritual muscle that you have to press into the Lord -- and I was feeling that this morning.  When it came time for the end I felt led to lead them in a chorus of Alleluia and to speak out some things that the Spirit might be touching on -- I asked them to release things to the Lord as the Holy Spirit pointed it out-- after another prompting for a response to receive Jesus for the first time -- I was happy to see that 6 people raised their hands and made decisions for Christ!  It has been awhile since I have seen this fruit -- that is an encouragement to me.

After the service I had two significant conversations -- one is that a guy who is physically disabled for 24 years and has battled with the the government to get support because of a whole host of reasons.  He has also had great conflict at his place of employment as he is the only Christian amongst Hindus and they treat him very poorly.  Just when he got some headway with his case for health insurance coverage on surgery he needs to have -- they moved his case to another state - -means he would have to pull his kid out of school and a leave his job -- the list goes on and on -- he said to me that when he heard the message about not getting caught up in your story and that Jesus wants us to surrender to Him and receive things as from his hand and to walk by faith -- God touched him and he prayed to release the whole thing to God and is feeling a major release of peace in his life after 24 years!!!   That is crazy - -How amazing is God.

The other young kid that came up to me said that when i shared part of my story before the message -- God spoke to him to get involved with Sura with ministering to the Hijira.  An uncle that he loves has left his family and is living as a woman amongst this group.  This young man wanted me to pray for him because he felt called to serve in this way.  The pastor said his church was going to commit to prayer for this community and that they would be welcome inside his church  -- this is groundbreaking for India!

A GIFT FOR MEERA's GROUP

Sura had told me that there was a Commercial Grinder that Meera had talked about wanting to have to make vegetable pills (in essence -- home made vitamins and juice, etc.,) which could generate an income for the group.  They could also offer griding up spices or other things for people in their community and charge for it and that is income.  So we went to the store to see what we could get -- we found a really amazing one for $230.00 us dollars which was 14,500 rupees - I had been praying about a small amount of money I took before I left the states which is from money we had in Seat of Mercy Ministries to tithe towards some other work -- I felt so strongly that this was the gift.  So I told Sura -- that Seat of Mercy Ministries would buy it.  So we went after church to go pick the thing up -- IT IS SO HEAVY -- like 150 pounds.

Electric Grinder



So not only was it a challenge to put it in the car - -but when we showed up at Meera's place and they come out in the saris and trying to lift this thing and carry it from the car to the small hallway near their house -- if I had could have videoed that -- it would have been priceless --- I was laughing and so were they.

anyway -- we loved with not just words -- hopefully God will bless the deeds and they can utilize this as a source of income and move away from other ways that are destructive!

Seat of Mercy Ministries presents a Wet Grinder to the Hijiras for Income Generating Work
After this -- it was off to have a lunch and then off to meet the next group.  This was spiritually the toughest place.  I could feel the spiritual heaviness where we were -- it pressed hard against my chest and their was a feeling of chaos around.  This was very different than the other two places we had visited.  Nonetheless, we had prayed before we arrived so we knew the Lord was with us --

Where they live is touch -- pretty much either mud or brick places in the dirt -- slum area -- off the side of the road where nothing else is around.



So after they gathered in front of one of the places they stay -- they set out mats and a couple chairs for Sura and me -- and I started to share some of my story with them.  It took some time for them to really settle and listen -- so many distractions -- dogs running into the area and barking -- cars honking as it was outside near the road -- even some unexpected visitors.







Me sharing with another Hijira Group (friend of group in chair to right)
This group was interested in the HIV/AIDS part of my story.  Many of them are active in prostitution and are a high risk group.  I asked them if they had been tested -- most said no -- they were afraid to go -- I told them it was important that they know their status and if positive get treatment.  Getting to the part of following Jesus was father away from this group -- on the surface of this conversation -- but afterwards in our discussions -- one of the Hijira came up to Sura and said they wanted to see the Jesus film.  So he is going to come back and show it to them in the next few weeks -- inviting others around and will put up a sheet as a screen and show it right there in their area -- it is 2 and 1/2 hours.  What a gift that film is in explaining who Jesus is and why he came.

This ended up being a gift for me as it was so personally challenging -- hard to explain - -but I could feel demonic stuff coming after me that used to be a part of my life -- it was as if it came back to the places it used to dwell but did not have access and the Spirit of God was like a fire guarding my soul.  Powerful and Humbling -- my life looks way cleaner on the outside now -- but it is only because Jesus has cleaned it up on the inside -- and If he can do that for me -- these new friends can as well.

I have made a commitment to pray for them in our prayer meeting on Thursdays -- so I am getting the name of each Guru we visited and all the Hijiras in their group.  We are going to believe God for transformation in their life!

Posing out side their home -- where the Jesus Film will be shown in a few weeks.


Well if that wasn't enough -- I was still going to finish the day by going back to Sura's place and to have a time with the 35 girls that live at his house.  His amazing wife cooks for this entire group every day -- and for her own family as well.  What an amazing woman.

Sura introduced me -- we had a time of singing and then I got to teach them a song which is done in rounds -- that was fun . . .

Afterwards I shared a bit from Psalm 139 and shared about how special they were to the Lord.   They work so hard on their school -- the whole country does for that matter for those who are students.

Me singing with the girls -- fun!!
After -- it was a simple but lovely meal with Sura and then some prayer and a trip back to my hotel where I fell Asleep.  This was my last day of a very full week in Bhubenaswar.  It will take some time to process all of this -- as it moves by so quickly -- so many people you meet -- such deep stories -- some tragic . . . the love of the Lord and yet the darkness of the brokenness -- it catches up at some points and then I release it to the Lord.

This week has been a gift on so may levels.  I have so much to be thankful for and also such a desire to make my life count on this earth for the Lord.

g'night.

1 comment:

Cynthia Stiverson said...

Wow! What a full day of ministry, John. I pray God will constantly be in the process of renewing your strength and filling you with exactly the words and thoughts you are to share in each moment to each person or group of persons.
Oh, how I would love to hear you sing Allelujah...or just about anything again! Miss doing ministry with you, brother.
God bless, Cindy